FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EASTON EPISCOPAL FUND
Q. Who can purchase the Fund?
A. Any parish or organization in the Diocese of Easton under the supervision of the Bishop of the Diocese of Easton is eligible to purchase shares of the Easton Episcopal Fund.
Q. Does it cost anything to purchase Fund shares?
A. No, but there are costs that are deducted from the Fund’s returns. The direct and indirect cost of the Balanced Fund for the year ended December 31, 2020 was 0.248% of average assets invested in the Fund. For an investor having on average $100,000 investment in 2018, the fee was $248.
Q. How do we buy and sell shares of the Fund?
A. First, you have to open an account. Under the ACCESS AND FORMS tab on this website, there are downloadable forms for New Account Application, as well as forms for additional Purchase and for Withdrawal and Redemption. In addition, your Vestry must determine who is authorized to make purchases of sell shares in the account and complete a Change of Authorized Individuals form, which specifies those named as authorized to purchase or sell shares. Once those forms are completed those authorized individuals may access the Fund to purchase or sell shares via telephone.
Q. What happens when officers in the Parish change?
A. When an authorized individual leaves his or her position, your Vestry should identify newly authorized individuals to the servicing agent, Mutual Shareholder Services, by updating your account via the Change of Authorized Individuals form. If you do not notify us that an individual is no longer authorized to enter orders, that person will continue to have the ability to send instructions to the Fund. However, money will only be sent to the address of record, either at the bank account specified on the account application form, or to the mailing address specific in the account application form.
Q. How does money get to us when we redeem or sell shares?
A. When you open the account you will specify how you want to receive cash that is withdrawn from the Fund. In most cases, you will give us banking information and money will be sent to your Parish bank account electronically. You may also request that money be sent to you by check. All distributions are made to the Parish address of record. We will not accept instructions to send money to a third party
Q. Our parish is on the Constant Rate of Return program. How is the rate determined, can we use a different rate, and when do we get the distribution?
A. You are not required to use the Constant Rate of Return for your Parish’s distribution. It is a recommendation made annually by the Board of Managers, who meet to discuss what an appropriate rate of withdrawal should be for the coming year. The Board takes into account the current state of the market and the overall economy. Relying on reasonable and prudent expectations about investment return, inflation and a general understanding of the needs of parishes, a withdrawal rate called the Constant Rate of Return is determined. The Board then makes a recommendation to parishes. For example, the 2021 recommended Constant Rate of Return is 5.25% (though some parishes continue to use 4%).
To calculate your parish’s annual Constant Rate of Return, first calculate the average investment balance you have had in the Fund for the 13 quarters ending September 30 of the year prior to the distribution. Then multiply the average of those 13 quarters by the Constant Rate of Return, and divide that total by 12 to determine the appropriate monthly distribution. The drop-down tab Calculating a Periodic Withdrawal, under THE FUND, will walk you through it. If your Parish wishes to initiate a Constant Rate of Return, alter your current Constant Rate of Return or use a different calculation to determine either the percentage to withdraw or the dollar amount to withdraw, you must send instructions to Mutual Shareholder Services specifying the amount and frequency of the desired distribution. The Board no longer notifies Mutual Shareholder Services, the Fund’s servicing agent, as to each parish’s Constant Rate of Return or distribution amount. It is up to each Parish to determine the proper amount of its needs and to notify Mutual Shareholder Services as to its individual distribution percentage and its frequency. The dropdown tab under THE FUND, Calculating a Periodic Withdrawal will walk you through it.
The distribution is a decision that is entirely in the hands of the investor. No one is required to follow the recommendation of the Board of Mangers. However, in determining distribution rate, Parishes should be mindful of the Maryland State law that is applicable to the prudent management of institutional funds.
Q. A parishioner has given us stock. Can we invest this stock in the Fund?
A. No. The Fund can only accept cash investments. If you receive stock that you wish to invest in the Fund, you should sell the stock and invest the cash proceeds in the Fund. If you do not have a brokerage account through which to sell the stock, please call Chris Maxwell at 410-810-0851 for assistance in accepting the gift.
Q. How can I tell how much our parish has invested in the Fund?
A. Every month, you will receive a statement showing all transactions for the current year. If you would like to get information between statements, you need to set up your online account access. Once established, you can get information at any time via the ACCESS AND FORMS tab on this website, which will lead you to Mutual Shareholders Services secure website with a dropdown list in which you will find Easton Episcopal Balanced Fund. You can access your Parish’s accounts there.
Q. What do I do if the website does not work?
A. Mutual Shareholder Services, our shareholder servicing agent, has an independent website that will
provide you with Fund holding information. You can access this information by going to
http://www.mutualss.com. Click on the “Fund Info” tab, select “Account Info” and then select “Easton Episcopal Balanced Fund” (this website is for all Mutual Shareholder Services Fund clients so the list of Funds is long). Enter your account number and password and the history of your account will appear. Your account number and password are the same on either system.