Submitted by Kristi Kinnison
United Methodist Foundation
Kristi Kinnison has announced the ways the Mountain Sky UM Foundation is trying to balance safety with service in these pandemic-filled days. She writes, "We wish you grace and peace during these days, weeks, and months. We are working hard to maintain the delicate balance between the safety of our staff and community with our service to all stakeholders. We seek your grace as we work hard to adapt our processes. Here is an update about the Mountain Sky United Methodist Foundation regarding your investments, and the actions we are taking to responsibly steward all resources." An update on endowments will be in a future update note.
The Foundation’s Investment Committee had an emergency meeting on Thursday. I’m sure you are not surprised to know that the investments that we manage for churches have decreased in total value. Please know that we remain a fiduciary to our churches and we will not be reacting to the markets in any way that deviates from our investment policy statement.
Wespath Institutional Investments, our investment manager, hosted a webinar on Thursday afternoon. This was perhaps the most encouraging report I have seen regarding the financial markets. A recording is available here. It is about 25 minutes long and I encourage you to watch.
Churches considering liquidating their assets or changing their strategy should be mindful of their own investment policies. Deviating from investment policies without the full support and acceptance of the congregation could be problematic in the long run. Furthermore, most investment managers agree that timing the market is never advised.
If your church needs cash now or anticipates needing to liquidate investments to generate cash in the next few months, a dollar cost average approach out of the markets is one strategy that many investors take during times like this. Please send us an email to discuss your options. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Investment Committee will meet regularly to continue to monitor the investments. I will send updates as they are available.
Methodists Helping Methodists Fund Investments
Investors in the Methodists Helping Methodists Fund should be assured that their capital continues to be used to provide loans for churches (see previous section.) Now more than ever we are demonstrating the power of this impact investment connection, a true partnership for ministry.
Know that all loans we make to churches are secured by first or second lien Deeds of Trust on the real property. The average loan-to-value ratio (that’s how much churches owe compared to how much their property is worth), is less than 50%. This means that the underlying security for your investments is very strong.
The Methodists Helping Methodists Fund has been in place since 1961. It has never had a default or loss of principal, and we intend for this trend to continue. We know we can maintain that track record by working with churches by offering interest only payments or, if necessary, total payment relief.
Interest rates for Methodists Helping Methodists Fund are guaranteed by contract in the fixed-rate options of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year time deposits. We have a legal obligation to continue honoring these arrangements. Furthermore, our committee foresees that the fixed-rates of our offering will most likely remain stronger than the market-rates that have dropped to near zero. Your investments remain strong and secure.
You can read all the topics on this new post on the MountainSkyUMF.org website which has a list of topics of probable interest to investors, endowment committees, and the big issue of safety of staff and those who need the services of the Foundation.