The markets have responded favorably to the unprecedented level of government stimulus, the reopening of economies around the world, and the progression of COVID-19 vaccine trials. Understandably, the economy is in poor shape and unemployment is coming off all-time highs as people slowly go back to work. The pace of the recovery will largely depend on infection rates and the timing of a vaccine (likely months away).
U.S. stocks in the S&P 500 had another strong quarter gaining 8.9%. International developed stocks in the MSCI EAFE Index were up 4.2%. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index was up 0.6% for the quarter.
In previous updates, we reiterated our focus on the long-term nature of endowments, portfolio diversification, and a disciplined approach which is shared by our investment manager, Wespath Institutional Investments. We understand the timing of the market’s recovery is uncertain but this disciplined approach allowed us to participate in the Q2-Q3 market recovery. Wespath has successfully weathered many market downturns over the past century and will continue to prudently manage our assets, staying true to their long-term investment approach. Their additional COVID-19 market comments can be found at https://www.wespath.com/Home/Coronavirus.
Benchmark performance comparisons will be available later this month once the Lipper Median returns are released.
We remain fully staffed and most of our staff is back in the office. We are working regular business hours and are available via telephone, email, and Zoom. Our telephone system is mobile so you should be able to easily reach us. We encourage you to call if you have a question or just to visit. We are available for in person meetings with appropriate distancing and of course Zoom meetings with boards and committees.
If your church does not have the ability to receive online or electronic gifts, your members can make gifts through our website at https://okumf.org/services/online-giving/. They have the option to make a one-time gift or a recurring weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly gift for a specified time via bank account draft or debit/credit card. At the end of the transaction, there is a Message section where they can designate their gift for their church, ministry, and any special instructions. We will then forward the funds to your church to fund ministry. We do not charge a fee for this service but there is a 2.75% processing fee charged by the bank for debit/credit cards. There is no fee for bank account drafts.
If you are still receiving paper statements and would like the convenience and quicker receipt of statements, please complete the attached form or online at https://lastinggood.org/2019/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/onlinerequestform.pdf. Online statements are generally available on the second business day of each month. You will receive an email notification when they are available. You also have access to the previous 12 months of statements online.
(You can access the pdf file of this letter here.)