After Gaining Key Distro Access, a Faith-Based Fund Firm Staffs Up
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Monday, January 07, 2019

After Gaining Key Distro Access, a Faith-Based Fund Firm Staffs Up

After gaining access to a key broker-dealer platform last year, a faith-based, multi-manager fund firm's distribution chief has been been ramping up his team. Meanwhile, the Texas-based firm is also taking its values-based investing approach beyond negative screening.

William Christopher Lofland
GuideStone Funds
Head of Intermediary Distribution
"Edward Jones added our funds last year to their Guided Solutions platform," Will Lofland, head of intermediary distribution at Dallas-based GuideStone Capital Management [profile], tells MFWire. "We really kind of staffed up to be able to accommodate that going into the new year and really make the externals more efficient."

That staffing up involved adding a three-person internal wholesaling team to Lofland's three-person external wholesaling team. The GuideStone Funds are now one of only two faith-based mutual fund families on Edward Jones' Guided Solutions platform, Lofland says, and this is the fund firm's first big relationship with a "large-scale regional B-D that has a lot of top-down influence."

"We stand to gain some marketshare," Lofland says of the platform placement with Edward Jones. "That'll probably account for about 20 percent of our distribution team's time spent in 2019."

GuideStone Capital Management is part of 101-year-old GuideStone Financial Resources, a non-profit affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church. The funds launched in 2001 for use specifically by workers with Southern Baptist churches (especially in, say, their 403(b) retirement plans), and in 2004 GuideStone broadened distribution of the funds to others in the evangelical Christian community.

In 2014 Lofland joined up as the fund's firm first external wholesaler, and soon GuideStone began distributing to the broader investing and advisory world. Last year GuideStone Funds brought in nearly $450 million in sales, Lofland says, and their AUM reached $13.8 billion as of December 31, 2018. GuideStone Financial Resources now has more than 425 employees, including 40 on the GuideStone Capital Management side.

Meanwhile, over the last 18 months the GuideStone Funds team members have "ramped up" their values-based investing efforts to go beyond the negative screening that's been the core of their efforts for some time. GuideStone's motto, he notes, is "Do Well. Do Right. Do More."

"We incorporate a good deal more shareholder engagement ... We really felt that that was a natural area where we should be doing more," Lofland says. "We're working with [portfolio] companies on things like labor practices, lending practices."

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