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Rating:Crawl, Walk, Run: a $10B Subadvised Shop Spreads Its Wings Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, April 27, 2015

Crawl, Walk, Run: a $10B Subadvised Shop Spreads Its Wings

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A 97-year-old shop is dramatically expanding the reach of its $10-billion, subadvised mutual fund arm.

John Jones, president of the GuideStone Funds [profile] and chief operating officer of GuideStone Financial Resources (the parent nonprofit), confirmed that the faith-based fund family has opened up its offerings "to the broader investing public." For now, that outreach starts in GuideStone's hometown and in the RIA channel.

"We brought on additional staff to connect with the financial advisor community," as well as staff to work with different platforms, Jones told MFWire in a recent interview.

GuideStone also teamed up with a public relations firm, JCPR, and started an advertising campaign. GuideStone is based in Dallas, and much of that campaign is starting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of North Texas.

"We've taken out a lot of advertising," says Roy Hayhurst, department head for denominational and public relations services at GuideStone Financial Resources. He describes the non-profit's outreach as "very deliberate, very methodical," a kind of "crawl, walk, run" approach to advertising.

Ron Dugan, vice president and investment officer for GuideStone Funds, confirms that on the distribution side, the fund shop is focusing "primarily on the RIA community," not wirehouses.

"We have that on our radar," Dugan says. "We're not trying to do everything at one time."

"We have the opportunity now to go to fund platforms," Dugan adds.

GuideStone Financial Resources traces its history back to 1918, when seed money from John D. Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller Jr. helped create the nonprofit to help retired Southern Baptist preachers and their widows. The nonprofit offers employee benefits and financial services to pastors and other workers of Southern Baptist churches. In 2001, GuideStone launched its own manager-of-manager mutual funds for the Southern Baptist community. And in 2004 they extended their mutual fund distribution reach to others in the evangelical Christian community.

"It has been a very slow, focused process," Jones says.

Now Jones sees an acceleration of the growth of investor interest in socially responsible investment offerings, like the GuideStone Funds. And GuideStone's performance is drawing attention, too, winning multiple Lipper awards. Jones describes it as a "very appropriate time" for GuideStone to extend its mutual fund reach to the broader investing public.

"We're not just a flash in the pan. We have provided consistent, excellent results over that period of time," Jones says. "The biggest change for us is building the awareness of GuideStone Funds."

GuideStone now has $10.7 billion in its mutual funds, and more than $2 billion in non-registered investment products (including a stable value capital preservation fund). Most of its assets come from 403(b) retirement plans for employees of churches, colleges, hospitals, retirement homes, universities, and other Christian-affiliated organizations. 

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