If you didn’t read about the massive fund controlled by the Mormon Church, you will. With 16,000 plus members tithing 10% of their earnings, the fund has amassed a $100 billion fortune—a cash-generating behemoth that would make Warren Buffett blush.
Roger Clarke, the head of the investment fund Ensign Peak that controls the church’s money, used to be a professor at Brigham Young University, reports Ian Lovett and Rachael Levy for the WSJ. He was running an investment firm in Los Angeles when he got the call. “It certainly wasn’t the most attractive financial office,” Mr. Clarke said. “But you want to make a difference in your life…This was an opportunity.”
Be careful of those who want to make a difference in the world with your money. Guiding this “opportunity” for Mr. Clarke is one Ray Dalio, Report Lovett and Levy: “On his office bookshelf, Mr. Clarke keeps a copy of Principles by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates.[Clarke] said Bridgewater deputies have visited in the past, and that Mr. Dalio’s firm ‘helped us think about what’s happening kind of in the broader economy.’ Bridgewater declined to comment.”
Declined to comment. Typical. We know Mr. Dalio is living his best life. Who else has the church been listening to? According to the WSJ:
Mr. Clarke said the fund has pulled some of its money from an investment firm called Fisher Investments after the founder, Ken Fisher, made remarks last year that Mr. Fisher later called “inappropriate.” A spokesman for Fisher declined to comment.
Declined to comment. Despite Ken Fisher’s apologies for remarks called “off-color” and “sexist,” Ensign Peak wasn’t alone in abandoning Fisher. The Boston Retirement System pulled $248 million from Fisher Investments. Fidelity ended its $500 million relationship with Fisher too.
What’s most telling about this must-read article is how little it’s tithing membership knows about the fund. Take Carolyn Homer, who said: “When I hear members of the church say, ‘It’s none of your business how wealthy we are,’ that to me is echoing the very scripture we revere, and not in a good way.”
You and I are witnessing a widening canyon dividing big money funds from you the investors and members they portend to represent. You may not even be able to trust the world’s largest asset manager anymore.
When you faithfully give to a cause, whether it’s your church or your retirement, you entrust leadership to look out for you. As we’ve seen in my series “You Invest, They Win,” the rules may apply to you but not to them. The big money has some answering to do.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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