By Jerry Love, LBF donor relations
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Positive economic news, the welcoming of two new trustees and a budget surplus to finish 2017 highlighted the quarterly meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Foundation Board of Trustees meeting February 6
Members also learned that $1.7 million in donations benefiting Louisiana Baptists’ ministries had been received in 2017 and the Foundation was still seeking new accounting software. Trustees also discussed changing the current format of the Board’s meeting.
Lee Morris, Investment Consultant with Graystone Consulting, gave trustees a glowing update on the performance of the LBF portfolio and general overview of market conditions.
In his remarks, Morris described the equity markets as “having a banner year” with emerging markets and developed international equities leading the way. He said the expectation is for international equities to continue to outperform domestic equities, possibly for several years.
Other issues he addressed:
–Fixed income positions are, as expected, are producing very modest returns.
— Convertible securities and preferred stocks, have done well compared to their indices and added value to the fund mix in 2017.
— Moran Stanley’s Global Investment Committee projects the equity markets around the world may experience volatility over the next few weeks and then move higher again.
The investment returns for the major components of the LBF portfolio for the year ending December 31, 2017 were as follows:
— Short Term Fund: 0.87% actual yield;
— Group Investment Fund, comprised of various market sectors: 11.97% total return;
— Diversified Income Fund, conservative income-oriented fund: 2.58% total return.
Chuck Murray, LBF controller, reported assets under management, as December 31, 2017 stand at $162,967,300.
Despite decreased revenue from the Cooperative Program, Murray reported cost recovery income and investment income were higher than projected which allowed the LBF to finish the year with a slight budget surplus.
Jerry Love, Director of Planned Giving, told trustees that gift activity had increased. Additions to existing funds combined with gifts from couples and individuals along with stock donations totaled $1.72 million beneffitting churches and ministry organizations, he said. Additionally nine estate plans were completed that will leave gifts in the future.
Executive Director Wayne Taylor and Murray reported they are pursuing the best option for accounting software. So far, two different commercial trust accounting software packages have failed to match the functionality of the LBF’s existing customized system.
The current system, in use since 1999, still works well and has been upgraded to a new platform, but there is a need to find new technical support for future enhancements or repairs Taylor reported.
The Board approved a recommendation from the Investment Committee regarding the operation of the Reserve Fund for the Short Term Fund (STF). Created during the 2008 financial crisis, the fund supports the assets of the Short Term Fund.
The recommendation would allow the Executive Director and Controller to allocate money to the reserve each month within a specific dollar range. The allocations and reserve fund balance are reviewed each quarterly meeting.
Trustees also approved the Spending Policy of the Foundation’s permanently restricted accounts to 2.29%. This percentage would give the beneficiaries an increase of the dollars distributed to them in 2017.
In other action, the board discussed a significant change to the current meeting in regards to the elimination of the standing committees. By changing the structure to a single meeting, it would eliminate repetitive activities and discussions. Trustees will study the matter further and discuss it at the spring meeting.
The board also welcomed new trustees Terry Arceneaux of New Orleans and Mark Lewis from Lake Charles.
The next LBF trustee meeting is scheduled for May 8, 2018.
To learn more about the work and ministry of the Foundation, to review investment returns for its managed funds, or to see a list of current trustees, go to the Foundation website.www.LBFinfo.org.