General Board of Pension and Health Benefits—Supporting Your Financial Future
December 21, 2009—As this challenging financial year draws to a close, you remain in our thoughts and prayers, with our appreciation for your steadfast support. Please know that the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (General Board) continues to maintain our long-term focus on your behalf, assuring your retirement benefits are ready and available when you need them.
The assets in your retirement plans are invested in a socially responsible manner and held in trust to help assure your retirement future. Although these investments were impacted as markets declined, your plans and the assets that support them are prudently managed for the long term; the General Board does not employ short-term, shortsighted decisions that would put your future at risk. The financial markets have improved over the past few months, and that is reflected in the performance of the investment funds we manage.
Conference Financial Obligations
Our management and staff have been working very closely with conferences for nearly a year to help identify and understand pension plan funding requirements and the financial circumstances faced by each conference. Also, the board of directors has spent many long hours discussing the impact of the recent economic downturn on conference pension contributions, and we have provided financial relief within our control to help conferences meet their future funding obligations. Rest assured that we are committed to our fiduciary obligations to you and all who have devoted their lives in ministry and service.
Management Integrity and Financial Strength
Every once in a while, it helps to reflect on the financial strength of the Church agency that supports you. The General Board manages approximately $15 billion in pension fund assets—it is the largest denominational investor in the United States and among the largest pension fund managers in the country. The management and staff of the General Board bring personal and professional integrity to their work, upholding the values of the Church while striving to exceed best practices in the financial and health services industries. Members of the board of directors audit and fiduciary committees are people of both great faith and professional expertise in financial management. They oversee internal and external agency audits, benefit studies and valuations, and they spend considerable time reviewing reports and soliciting expert advice from independent third-party consultants and actuaries as part of their oversight role. The agency is well-regarded for the high standards we have set that many denominations and other not-for-profit organizations seek to emulate.
We speak on behalf of the management and staff of the General Board when we say that we are working in your service. You are in our hearts and minds as we make prudent business decisions to support your financial future—that is our mission.
Wishing you every blessing for the holiday season and in the New Year, we remain yours in His service,
|Bishop B. Michael Watson
||Barbara A. Boigegrain
|Chair—Board of Directors