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Significant milestone reached, Annuity Board’s Hawkins reports

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The Annuity Board reached a significant milestone during the past year, President O.S Hawkins told messengers June 13 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans.

“As you may remember, during last year’s convention, messengers approved an expanded mission statement and two ministry assignments for the Annuity Board,” Hawkins said. “This action paved the way for the Annuity Board to make available new products and services in the coming weeks and allows us to become a full-service retirement agency for our participants.”

In the past year the Annuity Board’s trustees approved the restructuring of the board’s investment funds from an unregistered fund environment to a registered mutual fund environment. This led to the creation of AB Funds Trust, a family of 13 no-load, registered mutual funds. AB Funds Trust will serve as the investment vehicle for the Annuity Board’s retirement plans.

In addition, arrangements were made for eligible participants to have Individual Retirement Accounts [IRAs] and Personal Investment Accounts by purchasing shares in AB Funds Trust through PFPC Distributors, Inc., a registered broker-dealer. SBC Trust Services, Inc., an Annuity Board affiliate, will serve as IRA custodian. Launch of the new fund structure and products could be as soon as July 2, but is not anticipated to be later than Sept. 1.

“We are excited about this opportunity in the coming months and hope our participants will take advantage of the new products including traditional and Roth IRAs and personal investment accounts,” Hawkins said.

“Our goal is to truly be your LifePartner[tm] at every stage of your ministry as we continue to serve those who serve the Lord with the integrity of our hearts and the skillfulness of our hands,” Hawkins said.

During his report Hawkins reported on several other aspects of the Annuity Board’s work during the past year, including:

— Introduction of several new insurance products, including a Medicare supplement plan and a dental program for churches.

— More than 5,100 new medical participants added to the church and group medical plans.

— More than 4,820 new persons enrolled in the Church Annuity Plan and contributions increasing by 6.2 percent.

— More than 29,300 participants/beneficiaries receiving funded benefit payments from the board.

Hawkins also commented on the decline of the stock market during the past year. “I know many of you have expressed concern about losses in the stock market, but rest assured that our investment department is doing an excellent job and 10 of 13 Annuity Board investment funds outperformed their respective passive benchmarks.”

June 24 is Adopt An Annuitant Sunday throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. “I hope you will join with other Southern Baptists across the nation in extending God’s hand to faithful ministers and their widows who dedicated their lives to the gospel ministry,” Hawkins said.

Currently, more than 2,500 receive $75 per month through this ministry, and more than 800 persons are receiving supplemental assistance grants.

Hawkins counseled ministers “to take responsibility for yourselves and prepare for your retirement years, and I hope all the laypersons sitting in the audience will return to their churches with the burden to pay your pastors and staffs salaries worthy of their calling.”

“The coming generations of Southern Baptist ministers will live longer than ever and many of us will have 10 to 20 years of service available to be volunteers on the mission fields. Let us prepare ourselves for these days ahead,” Hawkins said.

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