WELS INVESTMENT FUNDS
Download information regarding how WELS Investment Funds enhances WELS ministries.
Download information regarding how WELS Investment Funds enhances WELS ministries.
Learn the historic return data, portfolio insights and weightings, and asset allocations for the WELS Funds.
Does your congregation have an endowment or scholarship fund, or other long-term investment assets? As an affiliate of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, WELS Investment Funds provides cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios exclusively for WELS-affiliated ministries.
By pooling our God-given talents and resources, we can take advantage of lower institutionally priced investment opportunities not available to smaller investment accounts. It’s a way we can help support each other.
As an affiliate of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, we provide cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios exclusively for WELS and affiliated organizations. WELS Funds are designed primarily for the investment needs of endowment funds and scholarship funds that strengthen and enhance our ministry as a whole.
The mission of WELS Investment Funds is to strengthen and enhance the ministry of WELS and WELS-affiliated organizations by providing professionally managed investment portfolios.
Board of Directors
WELS Investment Funds is governed by an independent board whose directors are members of WELS congregations and who are elected by the Synodical Council.
Officers & Staff
The day-to-day affairs are carried out by its officers and other WELS employees. For administrative convenience, efficiency, and cost effectiveness purposes, WELS Investment Funds leases its personnel from WELS. WELS also provides services relating to the processing of transactions, preparing investor account statements, and the preparation of corporate financial statements.
WELS Investment Funds has retained Vanguard Institutional Advisory Services® (VIAS) as its primary investment advisor. VIAS assists the board in implementing WELS Investment Funds’ investment policies by focusing on controlling three primary factors: risk through asset allocation and diversification, selection of quality investment managers, and investment-related costs.
A representative of WELS Investment Funds is available to answer your questions about WELS Funds. To request a copy of the WELS Investment Funds Annual Report, ask a question, or schedule a visit for your organization, please call James A. Holm, CFP®, or Monica L. Peavy at 877-888-8953 or contact us via web form.
What is the relationship between the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and WELS Investment Funds?
WELS Investment Funds is a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Its mission is to strengthen and enhance the ministries of WELS and WELS-affiliated organizations by providing cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios.
The Board of Directors of WELS Investment Funds is responsible for the operation of WELS Investment Funds, including the engagement of investment consultants. Directors are appointed by the WELS Synodical Council and serve four-year terms.
The day-to-day affairs are carried out by its officers and other WELS employees. For administrative convenience and cost effectiveness, WELS Investment Funds leases its personnel from WELS. WELS also provides services relating to the processing of transactions, preparing investor account statements, and the preparation of corporate financial statements.
Who can invest in the WELS Funds?
You must be a 501(c)(3) organization that is affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (listed in the WELS Yearbook). Individuals may not invest in WELS Funds.
At this time, WELS Funds are not available to WELS-affiliated organizations located in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, or Virginia.
How does my organization invest with WELS Investment Funds?
A custodial account agreement, custodial worksheet, and direct deposit form must be completed to establish a new account. For assistance contact Monica Peavy, Investor Services Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-256-3207.
All investments made pursuant to the custodial agreement will be held in the name of WELS Investment Funds (or such other entity selected by WELS Investment Funds) as nominee for the organization, with actual ownership of the investments remaining in the organization. Each organization investing in the WELS Funds will be assigned an interest (an “ownership interest”) in the assets of each chosen WELS Fund reflecting the pro rata interest of the organization in the assets of the particular WELS Fund. The value of the organization’s ownership interest may fluctuate as the value of the particular WELS Fund fluctuates.
Which WELS Fund is most appropriate for my organization?
WELS Investment Funds serves as the administrator of four investment portfolios: WELS Endowment Fund, WELS Balanced Fund, WELS Equity Fund, and WELS Income Fund.
The WELS Endowment Fund seeks long-term capital growth with some current income and is designed primarily for endowment funds. It has a target asset allocation comprised of 75 percent equity and 25 percent fixed income and has a long-range investment time horizon.
The WELS Balanced Fund seeks long-term capital growth and a low to moderate level of current income. It has a target asset allocation comprised of 60 percent equity and 40 percent fixed income and has a mid- to long-range investment time horizon.
The WELS Equity Fund seeks long-term capital growth by investing in a portfolio of equity securities that is well diversified by industry and company size. It is composed of 100 percent equities and is subject to potentially large short-term price fluctuations. It has a long-range investment time horizon.
The WELS Income Fund seeks to provide income by investing primarily in investment-quality debt securities. It is composed of 100 percent fixed income securities and has a short- to mid-range investment time horizon.
What is the minimum initial investment to open an account?
The minimum to open an account is $10,000.
Who manages WELS Funds and selects their investments?
WELS Investment Funds’ board of directors has retained Vanguard Institutional Advisory Services® as investment consultant for WELS Investment Funds. As a co-fiduciary, the investment consultant is responsible for making investment recommendations to the board. Once the recommendation is approved by the board, the investment consultant, after consideration of the WELS Investment Funds’ investment policy statement and the various investment objectives and restrictions therein, has the discretion to implement and oversee the implementation of the investment recommendations. WELS Investment Funds reserves the right to change any or all investment consultant(s) at any time without notice.
What is the investment philosophy of WELS Investment Funds?
We base our investment philosophy on the following beliefs:
We believe that the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. From a human perspective, we utilize our knowledge, experience, and available professional resources to provide efficient and effective investment management. Ultimately, we acknowledge that it is the Lord who provides for our needs in the manner that is most beneficial for our individual and collective good.
We believe we can be better stewards by pooling our collective talents and resources. We recognize that each WELS congregation or WELS organization could develop their own investment policies, retain their own consultants, and invest independently in separate portfolios. However, we believe that together we can benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of the membership throughout our synod. Together we can also leverage economies of scale.
What are the fees and expenses?
All direct expenses and any expenses allocated by WELS related to the operation of WELS Investment Funds (e.g., rent for office space; utilities; and financial, technological, and human resources expenses) are charged directly to the WELS Funds. While these expenses vary from year to year, for the fiscal year 2022, they are projected to be approximately 0.17% of the assets in the WELS Funds. In addition to the operational expenses, the weighted average expense ratio for the WELS Endowment Fund, WELS Balanced Fund, WELS Equity Fund, and WELS Income Fund are currently 0.16%, 0.14%, 0.20%, and 0.06%, respectively.
How frequently are additions or redemptions to the WELS Funds processed?
WELS Funds’ transactions are processed on the first business day of each month. Additions and/or redemption requests must be received by WELS Investment Funds at least one business day prior to month-end for processing. Funds received prior to month-end will be held in a non-interest-bearing cash account until processed. Redemption proceeds will be deposited in the organization’s bank account via direct deposit.
Are there any restrictions on the sources of funds that may be invested by my organization to participate in WELS Funds?
Due to restrictions imposed under federal and state securities laws, all funds invested for participation in WELS Funds must be limited to the following types of assets:
Assets of a revocable trust or assets attributable to a retirement plan providing for employee contributions or variable benefits may not be invested for participation in WELS Funds.
Each participating organization should contact WELS Investment Funds if it has any questions as to whether it meets requirements.
What if I have additional questions?
A representative of WELS Investment Funds is available to assist you. To receive a copy of the annual report, ask a question, or schedule a visit for your organization, please call James A. Holm, CFP® or Monica L. Peavy at 877-888-8953 or contact us via web form.
Monthly market values and transaction activity are available online. For login instructions, please contact Monica Peavy at email@example.com.
From Bill Burns, CFA, Vanguard senior investment consultant
Uncertainty has been weighing on market sentiment since mid-2021 and has carried into the first three months of 2022. Year-on-year inflation readings accelerated to levels well above central bank targets as the Omicron variant pushed COVID cases up even as vaccination rates climbed and amid rising energy prices from the Russia/Ukraine war and ongoing supply shortages.
Vanguard believes in these times of uncertainty investors should focus on the things they can control, such as having clear, appropriate investment goals; developing a suitable asset allocation using broadly diversified funds; minimizing investment costs; and maintaining perspective and long-term discipline. Maintaining a strategic asset allocation is the best defense to a portfolio over time and in times of extreme market volatility.
Vanguard.com provides research that demonstrates the importance of tuning out short-term market volatility. History has shown us that remaining disciplined has served investors well over time. With geopolitical tensions such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, investors often ask whether a link exists between current events and financial market performance. However, when we examined major geopolitical events over the past 60 years, we found that while equity markets often reacted negatively to the initial news, geopolitical sell-offs were typically short-lived and returns over the following 6- and 12-month periods were largely in line with long-term average returns. Please see the slide below regarding market downturns.
I want to assure you that Vanguard is monitoring the developments in Ukraine and inflation closely and that Vanguard’s advice remains steadfast to focus on the long-term view.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
WELS Church Extension Fund exists to provide loans and grants to qualified mission congregations so they can acquire land and build or renovate ministry facilities—used as tools for gospel outreach.
WELS Foundation exists to assist God’s people in support of God’s ministry through the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
As an affiliate of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, WELS Investment Funds provides cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios exclusively for WELS and affiliated organizations.