Chris Maxwell, Vice Chair, Board of Managers – January 21, 2021
We believe that performance should be measured using a rolling three-year calculation, which
offers a more accurate measure over time than one short-term uptick or downturn. Using this
calculation, our rankings were quite low in our beginning years when our assets were managed by
outside advisors. March 2013 was the end of the first three-year period for the Easton Episcopal
Funds. Unfortunately, each of our outside managers failed to meet either the Board’s clearly
expressed expectations or their own performance projections. Since none were able to meet their targets, we ended contracts with outside managers in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
Instead, we deployed the assets into an active/passive index investment strategy. This lowered
our costs by 75% and improved our ranking. As of December 31, 2020, our 1-, 3-, and 5-year ranking
placed us in the top 22% for one and three years, and in the top 16% for five years. Since we
began the fund on March 31, 2010, there have been 94 three-year measurement periods. For the last 48 of these measurement periods, we have been in the top third of our competitive universe
for every period.
By early January 2021, our assets stood above $32 million compared to $27 million a year earlier.
We have more than 200 accounts belonging to the Diocese, Parishes, and other diocesan entities. The
direct administration expenses of running the fund, which are paid for by the shareholders, are
now at an annual total of $77,000, a rate of 0.248% of assets managed, which is very low. For every $10,000 invested, the annual cost is $24.80. The Easton Episcopal Funds is more cost effective than 95% of comparable funds tracked by Morningstar.
The Board’s objective is to generate enough return so that after Fund distributions, inflation and a little growth, you will have more money than you did the year before. We don’t achieve our goal every year, but we do achieve it most years, and over time our returns are substantially greater than the Constant Rate of Return target, meaning: Investor Parishes generally kept up with inflation and still saw their principle grow.
On January 19, 2021, we increased our Constant Rate of Return recommendation from 4.75% to 5.25% based on the three-year average value of portfolios. Please note that following the Constant Rate of Return recommendation by the Board of Managers is a suggestion, not a requirement for Parishes and Diocesan entities.
With the guidance of our voting and non-voting members alike, we are pleased to announce that since 2010, the fund has distributed more than $9 million to our investors, enabling the Diocese, parishes, and other holders of the fund to pursue their missions.