Stay calm, financial experts say
Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor
September 16, 2008

Stay calm, financial experts say

Stay calm, financial experts say
Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor
September 16, 2008

Investors shouldn’t panic despite the financial crisis on Wall Street, Baptist money managers say.

Officials at the N.C. Baptist Foundation are monitoring the situation, said Dolly Pierce, the organization’s treasurer, chief financial officer and chief operating officer. She said the foundation is comfortable with its current mix of stocks, bonds and alternative investments.

“We have a good asset allocation that’s proven to be a success for us, regardless of whether the market performing well or not,” she said.

The foundation manages charitable remainder trusts and gift annuities, which both pay an individual for a time and then pay to charity. It also manages endowment funds that are created by individuals or churches to support Baptist causes across state and the Southern Baptist Convention.

The foundation also manages accounts for churches, such as funds for scholarships, cemeteries, buildings and choir robes. Some churches also invest their reserve funds through the foundation.

The foundation has four primary investment funds. A growth fund has about 80 percent equity and 20 percent fixed income assets. A balance is evenly divided between the two. An income fund has 20 percent equity and 80 percent fixed income. A fixed income fund has only that type assets.

Individuals who have charitable assets cannot choose the way they are divided. The foundation selects the way those assets are allocated based on specific objectives.

Churches and other Baptist institutions can decide how to divide their assets.

Pierce said some have chosen more conservative funds in the last several months, but the foundation had not received any calls early this week about changes.

“The more level-headed investors will ride this out,” she said.

Pierce said the foundation had some investments connected to the mortgage crisis but was overall well protected. She was still trying to determine how much of the $146 million the foundation manages was affected.

“We were obviously impacted by what happened,” she said.

Officials at Guidestone Financial Resources were gathering information about the situation on Tuesday, said Curt Sharp, Guidestone’s executive officer for denominational and public relations services.

Sharp said Guidestone might release a statement later. Meanwhile he suggested that Baptists read an article on the Guidestone web site about investing in volatile markets.

“We don’t see this as any reason for our participants to panic,” Sharp said. “Most economists and financial experts are saying we’ve weathered other storms before and we’ll weather this one.”