Press Release: GBPHB announces new investment fund alternative

GBPHB Announces New Investment Fund Alternative

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2014

Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or

Glenview, IL—The board of directors of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) announced the creation of a new investment fund—the Equities Social Values Plus Fund (ESVPF)—an alternative for investors who prefer a fund that applies additional screening criteria compared to other GBPHB funds. The additional criteria will focus on unsustainable human rights and/or environmental practices. The new fund will be available January 1, 2015, replacing the Balanced Social Values Plus Fund.

ESVPF Objective and Screens

The new Equities Social Values Plus Fund will hold U.S. and international stocks, also applying the same six screens as GBPHB’s other funds by excluding from investment companies that provide products or services that inherently conflict with United Methodist Church (UMC) values as outlined in the Social Principles.*

GBPHB is providing this new fund option to individuals and United Methodist-affiliated institutions that wish to apply additional criteria in an effort to avoid investing in companies that may profit from what some view as egregious environmental and/or human rights policies and practices. GBPHB will continue with its successful engagement program in all other funds by collaborating with its socially responsible investment partners to advocate for change by promoting more sustainable business policies and practices aligned with UMC values.

ESVPF Fund Management

MSCI ESG Research, an internationally recognized expert in evaluating corporate environmental, social, and governance policies and practices, will identify companies that ESVPF will exclude from investment because of their unsustainable environmental and/or human rights records. Northern Trust Investments, Inc. will manage the new fund as an index fund based on indices developed exclusively for GBPHB by MSCI ESG Research. The fund will be available to participants in GBPHB’s defined contribution (DC) plans who are able to self-direct their plan investments. The DC plans available are: United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP), Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP-DC), Retirement Plan for General Agencies (RPGA), and the Horizon 401(k). The fund will also be available for investment by institutional clients of GBPHB’s investments division, Wespath Investment Management.

ESVPF Availability

The new fund will replace the Balanced Social Values Plus Fund (BSVPF) on January 1, 2015. In the second half of 2014, GBPHB will formally notify participants and Wespath clients of this change and action they must take to invest in the new fund.

* The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits does not invest in companies that derive significant revenue from the manufacture and/or sale of alcohol, tobacco, weapons, gambling, pornography, and the management or operation of prison facilities.


About the General Board
The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 91,000 clergy and lay employees of the Church.

GBPHB is the largest faith-based pension fund in the United States and ranks among the top 100 pension funds in the country. As a socially responsible investor, GBPHB is actively involved in shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, portfolio screening and community investing.

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The United Methodist Reporter receives press releases on a regular basis from UM related agencies announcing events and other programs. We are providing them unedited as a service to UMR readers.

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