http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=24232 Seminary delays movement of $90M to management firm By Staff Oct 23, 2006 FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, delayed the transfer of $90 million away from the Baptist Foundation of Texas to the seminary’s own foundation during their semiannual meeting Oct. 16-17 after questions surfaced about the investment strategy of the company that would manage the money. The Southwestern Seminary Foundation had retained the services of The Investment Fund for Foundations (TIFF) -– a Charlottesville, Va., company –- as a primary fund manager, but several Internet blogs posted information about TIFF’s management of the seminary’s endowment funds shortly before the trustee meeting had begun. Bloggers claimed that the use of TIFF by the seminary foundation would violate the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent resolution calling for Southern Baptists to oppose the production and sale of alcohol. TIFF, which also manages endowment funds of the American Bible Society, Baptist Community Ministries of Louisiana and the Virginia Baptist Homes, invests in thousands of stocks and bonds to reduce risks. But among its investment holdings are multiple “sin stocks,” or stocks in alcohol and tobacco companies including Coors, Heineken, Kirin Brewing Co., Tsingtao Brewing Co., Foster’s Group, Carlsberg Brewery of Malaysia, British-American Tobacco of Asia and Japan Tobacco. In Greensboro, N.C., last June, messengers at the SBC annual meeting went on record as expressing their “total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages.” How Internet bloggers were leaked information about the use of TIFF -- information meant only for the seminary’s trustees -– is uncertain, but Marty Duren, moderator of the SBC Outpost blog, posted information about the company Oct. 15, the day before the trustee meeting was scheduled to begin. Duren said he wondered if the members of the trustee board had been “made aware of the specifics of this situation.” Duren claimed that the use of the company, in addition to violating the alcohol resolution messengers adopted in Greensboro, also would run counter to a statement issued by the participants of the Joshua Convergence, which said they opposed “the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Throughout its history, our Convention has stood against the evils of alcohol. The present generation can in good conscience do no other.” Benjamin S. Cole, an Arlington, Texas, pastor who opposed the SBC’s resolution on alcohol in Greensboro, also mentioned the investment of seminary funds in Coors Brewing company on his blog, Baptist Blogger, Oct. 16, or the first day of the seminary trustees’ meetings. Those first-day meetings are not open to the public. Instead of proceeding with the transfer of the funds, Southwestern trustees adopted a recommendation from at-large board member Geoffrey Kolander during the meeting. That statement read: “Southwestern Seminary Foundation shall make a conscientious effort to steward investments which are consistent with the biblical, moral, and ethical standards embraced by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its parent organization, the Southern Baptist Convention.” The board’s business administration committee also made a recommendation that the “governing documents, investment policies, and control policies of the Southwestern Seminary Foundation be reviewed by outside counsel for best practices and that a risk assessment be conducted on Southwestern Seminary Foundation’s activities.” In many cases, Baptist schools, organizations and churches look to GuideStone Financial Resources, formerly the SBC Annuity Board, for the management of retirement funds. The group also has an endowment fund for needy annuitants. Blogger Art Rogers asked on Duren's blog why GuideStone could not manage the seminary's funds in order to better facilitate the ministry of the seminary. When asked by Baptist Press for comment on the handling of Southwestern Seminary’s endowment fund, GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said he did not wish to comment "on any other SBC entity’s affairs." In response to questions Baptist Press posed to the seminary, Paige Patterson, Southwestern’s president, wrote that investing with GuideStone is an option and that the decision to delay would give trustees more time to consider all options. Patterson said the initial move to transfer funds was not due to dissatisfaction with the Baptist Foundation of Texas but added that the seminary would “eventually do better in our yield.” He said the seminary was “given a foundation and need[ed] effectively to use it.” Patterson added that Southwestern’s primary concern is to limit exposure to so-called sin stocks and noted the difficulty in avoiding them in equity markets. “Southwestern wishes to expend every effort to honor God in investments as well as ministry,” he said. Duren concluded that Southwestern Seminary’s decision to postpone the transfer of its funds to its own foundation and the management of TIFF was the result of “the openness and accountability that is being provided in the blogosphere,” which he claimed was working for the benefit of Southern Baptists. Duren wrote that in the past, investment transactions like this transpired “without second thought,” stating that bloggers raised questions that had to be considered, showing the importance of conducting SBC business in the open. “Closed door sessions, except in extreme circumstances, tend toward trouble,” he said. At the end of the trustee meeting, board chairman Van McClain of New York told trustees that material from their meeting notebooks could be removed and taken home. But he reminded trustees that the information should be guarded. “It is confidential information. It should not be shared with anyone outside of the trustees. That is for your information only,” McClain said. A trustee asked McClain to repeat the statement, which he did, thanking the other trustee for the opportunity to restate his point. The Southwestern Seminary Foundation was created in 1998 and formerly was known as the Harold E. Riley Southwestern Foundation. A longtime seminary supporter, Riley donated the foundation to the seminary last year, and in September 2005 the SBC Executive Committee Southwestern Seminary’s acquisition of a controlling interest in the foundation. Riley also recently pledged $16 million to assist the seminary with the construction of a new chapel.