GuideStone Funds has been managing assets for many years, but it wasn’t until 2012, when GuideStone won Lipper’s Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S. over the three-year period ending November 30, 2011 that financial advisors became aware of the Christian-screened mutual fund family’s stellar track record—one that clearly demonstrates that there is no need to sacrifice values for strong investment performance.
Since then, said Ron Dugan, vice president and investment officer at GuideStone, the interest level in the company’s products has been sky rocketing, so much so that this year, GuideStone—which manages around $10.7 billion in assets—finally opened up its suite of global mutual funds to the broader investing public.
“Winning the Lipper award really put us on the map,” Dugan said, “and made people aware of the fact that Christian-screened mutual funds can be on par, if not even above par, to other funds.”
GuideStone created its first mutual fund products in 2001 but even before then, the firm was managing retirement assets for pastors, missionaries and employees of Southern Baptist and Evangelical churches and ministries. The funds have a clear mandate, and that is they do not invest in any companies that are inconsistent with Christian values. They are global and GuideStone uses a manager-of-manager approach, “so that we are not picking the individual securities but providing our sub-advisors with a list of companies that they must exclude from consideration as they go around implementing their own strategies,” Dugan said. “We have resources to do that particular research and our larger investment team is charged with identifying the best-in-class sub-advisor talent and putting them together in a multi-manager framework.”
Each of the fund managers must generate consistent positive return performance by managing risk and try to achieve the greatest amount of operational efficiency possible, he said. GuideStone monitors their performance on a regular basis to make sure they are fulfilling their assigned roles.