GuideStone Financial Resources trustees heard reports from the Southern Baptist entity’s executive leadership team and staff about the ministry’s key lines of business during their July 29–30 meeting in San Francisco.
Trustees also adopted a response to a motion during the SBC annual meeting in June for convention entities to “provide an update related to their efforts to address abuse” for the 2020 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
President O.S. Hawkins, in his address to trustees, referred to GuideStone’s annual theme, the Year of Harvest, to discuss how the ministry is looking outward, inward and ultimately upward to reap the harvest the Lord has prepared for it over the last several years.
Reminding trustees of the completion last year of its long-range plan, GuideStone 100, Hawkins told trustees that the ministry must always know where it is going, who it is and why it is here. To maintain the momentum GuideStone has had, the organization adopted Vision 20/20 to run concurrently with the last years of GuideStone 100 and forward.
Vision 20/20 is a long-range strategic plan guiding the ministry with three strategic goals: increasing market share, responding to changes in the marketplace and aggressively managing costs within GuideStone.
“When William Lunsford, our first president, promised Southern Baptists that we’d care for them in their old age and walk beside them, he was making a commitment that we seek to live out each and every day,” Hawkins said. “It is our prayer that we never lose sight of the vision we have: to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security.”
Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones spoke to key initiatives GuideStone is pursuing, including identifying relationships that have the potential to help GuideStone achieve its vision and mission, evaluating the current service model and identifying future enhancements, focusing on participant outcomes, and a customer experience transformation focused on improving technology to provide better outcomes and experiences.
Jones emphasized that these initiatives aim to enhance GuideStone’s effectiveness in serving its participants. A survey taken earlier in 2019 asked 10,023 GuideStone participants how satisfied they were in their relationship with GuideStone, with 98 percent saying they were somewhat or very satisfied.
When asked for the one word they would use to describe GuideStone, the top five responses, comprising a third of the responses, included “Trustworthy,” “Helpful,” “Reliable,” “Dependable” and “Christian.”
“We do not take these results lightly,” Jones said. “Our intent is to continue listening to our participants, anticipating and exceeding their expectations at every turn.”
Financial results continue to be strong: As of June 30, organizational assets hit another all-time high with $16.4 billion in assets under management, an increase of $1 billion year-over-year. Retirement and investment contributions are up 22 percent for the first half of the year, as compared to the same period in 2018. Institutional plus intermediary channels comprise 40 percent of contributions in 2019, compared to 28 percent in 2018 and 20 percent in 2017. GuideStone continues to reap the benefits of increased brand awareness and enhancements to the investment lineup.
Among the items enhancing GuideStone’s brand awareness were honors received in March. At a dinner in New York on March 7, GuideStone Funds was awarded the Lipper Fund Award from Refinitiv — formerly presented by Thomson Reuters — as the Best Overall Small Fund Family for 2019. The entire GuideStone Funds family won the Lipper Fund Award for 2019 Best Overall Small Company over three years (out of 29 eligible as of Nov. 30, 2018) based on risk-adjusted total return. Of the 222 small fund families, only 29 met the standards to be considered for the Best Overall Small Fund Family prestigious award, with up to $76.8 billion in assets under management. This marks the second time in less than a decade that GuideStone was honored with this top award.
On the insurance front, claims have increased year over year from 2018 to 2019 and medical and prescription drug inflation is running higher than the amount used in pricing. Contract renegotiations have reduced carrier expenses and decreased internal operating expenses have helped offset the increased claims and inflation.
On the property and casualty front, revenues continue to grow even as expenses remain consistent. The nationwide program in an alliance with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company grew in 2018, as GuideStone now serves as a Brotherhood Mutual agent in Louisiana. It continues to serve as an agent in Texas and Alabama. GuideStone currently is renewing 98.3 percent of its P&C clients.
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Source: Baptist Press