UM pension board focuses on long term, despite losses

UM pension board focuses on long term, despite losses

(UMNS) Pension leaders for The United Methodist Church are assuring participants that their accounts are well-funded through a diverse portfolio of investments, despite losses of $1.5 billion during 2008.

Shaky U.S. and world financial markets have hurt investments of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, the largest faith-based investor in the United States. However, its leaders say the losses are still less than the broad market averages, and they are preaching a "stay-the-course" philosophy to the 74,000 clergy and lay employees participating in their plans.

"We recognize and accept the cycles in the market, and right now the markets are down," said David Zellner, chief investment officer for the Evanston, Ill.-based agency.

"But we have a disciplined investment process that we’ve had in place for many years, and we stick with that process. We don’t waver, and we do not panic. We take a very calm approach."

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