By Jerry Love, LBF director of planned giving
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Some positive economic news, a significant increase in assets and deposits, highlighted the quarterly meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Foundation Board of Trustees meeting May 8.
Pat Lacour, trustee from Pineville, chaired the morning meeting of the investment committee and had Lee Morris, Investment Consultant with Graystone, give an update on the performance of the LBF portfolio.
Morris said the first quarter saw “lots of noise, with not much happening,” explaining that there was a lot of volatility in the equity markets without much progress in investment growth for the beginning of the year.
The outlook for fixed income positions is still very modest, he added, saying the general expectation is that the Federal Reserve will bump rates higher at least a couple more times this year. However, the LBF’s bond portfolio managers are continuing to maintain shorter durations, hedging against the rise in rates.
Other smaller investment allocations in the LBF portfolio, such as preferred stock, and, oil and gas MLP’s, continue to add value to the mix of assets so far this year, he said.
Morris told trustees analysts expect international equities to see gains in the near term and that market circumstances are more favorable to active management of portfolios than passive (mirroring an index) management, a situation for which the LBF is well positioned.
Morris concluded by explaining how the asset allocation of the portfolio is mitigating risk, and by assuring trustees that individual sub advisors and managers are being closely monitored to ensure they are staying with their specific strategy.
On March 31, 2018, the quarterly investment returns for the major components of the LBF portfolio were:
— Short Term Fund: 1.08% actual annualized yield;
— Group Investment Fund, comprised of various market sectors: -0.95% total return;
— Diversified Income Fund, conservative income-oriented fund: -0.89% total return.
In reviewing the Foundation’s financial positions for the first quarter of 2017, Chuck Murray, controller for the Louisiana Baptist Foundation, reported assets under management were $169,764,480 — an increase of approximately $4.6 million in the first 3 months of the year. He also reported a net surplus for the budget.
Following up on a discussion from the previous meeting, the operating committee, chaired by John Carroll of Columbia, debated at length the format of the trustee meetings.
After considerable discussion, the committee proposed keeping the standing committees but asked all trustees to attend both committee meetings. Thus, any business conducted in committee would be heard by all trustees and acted on in a more efficient manner, and, in most cases, the afternoon plenary session of the full board could be eliminated.
Jerry Love, director of planned giving, reported a slow start on gifts at the beginning of the year, telling trustees this seemed to follow the pattern of the last several years of most gifts coming in later months.
Love said the staff has been making presentations to churches and ministry events in an effort to encourage Louisiana Baptists to leave a gift to their chosen ministry while living, or, as part of their estate plans. He also said the Foundation is exploring and implanting social media advertising in order to target information to select demographic groups, regarding estate stewardship.
Following lunch, the trustees approved the recommendation from the operating committee regarding the meeting format.
The next meeting for the Louisiana Baptist Foundation Trustees will be July 24, 2018.
The Louisiana Baptist Foundation assists individuals with gifts that benefit Louisiana Baptist churches and ministries, and to assist Baptist churches and entities with financial management.
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 www.LBFinfo.org.