GuideStone ends April at $10 billion mark

DALLAS (BP)--GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention reached a significant milestone -- $10 billion in organizational assets -– as of April 30.

"This is an extraordinary achievement for GuideStone," GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. "This is a testimony both to the hard work of our employees and to the faithful men and women who trust GuideStone for their retirement and insurance needs."

Founded in 1918, GuideStone Financial Resources is a leading financial services provider of retirement, investment, life and health plans. Operating as a church benefits board, the organization serves more than 180,000 participants worldwide including Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches, ministries and institutions. GuideStone's affiliate, GuideStone Funds, which utilizes a multi-manager approach in building its investment products, is recognized as the largest provider of Christian-based, socially screened registered mutual funds.

Rodric E. Cummins, GuideStone's executive officer for investment services, said the last four years "have been very strong for GuideStone, and we are pleased with our investment team and the quality of our investment management services. We believe our rigorous, yet disciplined, investment process has consistently positioned our funds to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities across global markets and allowed our funds to gain solid traction in the investment marketplace."

The year has marked several additional accomplishments for GuideStone:

-- Rates for many of GuideStone's medical plan participants declined for the third year in a row, with more than 40 percent seeing a decrease in 2007.

-- GuideStone's Adopt An Annuitant ministry, which provides income assistance to many retired Southern Baptist ministers and their widows, was able to adopt higher monthly income limits for applicants -- thus allowing for more people to participate. Benefits for the lowest income levels were expanded.

-- The Mission/Church Assistance Fund likewise adopted new limits, expanding the number of eligible Southern Baptist churches for which GuideStone will contribute a portion to the pastor's retirement account.

-- In January, GuideStone launched the first Christian-based date target -- or lifecycle -- mutual funds, the MyDestination Funds. Each of the MyDestination Funds is a diversified "fund-of-funds" with an asset allocation that gradually becomes more conservative as an investor approaches retirement. The five funds are managed to specific target dates and 15 years after retirement in 10-year increments -- 2005, 2015, 2025, 2035 and 2045 -- allowing investors to simply choose the year closest to their planned retirement.

GuideStone's website is undergoing a major overhaul and will soon go live.

"GuideStone's theme in 2007 is the 'Year of Advancement,'" Hawkins said. "We encourage our staff to do well, to serve our participants with excellence, and to do right, to perform our tasks with integrity. It is that mixture of performance and values that makes GuideStone unique in the financial services marketplace.

"We believe the future is bright for GuideStone and those who we are privileged to serve," Hawkins said.


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