The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied a hefty fine against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its investment manager, Ensign Peak Advisers Inc., for failing to properly disclose its investments. The fine, which totals $5 million, was issued in an order from the SEC on Tuesday.
The SEC accused the church of going to “great lengths” to avoid disclosing its investments and, in doing so, “depriving the commission and the investing public of accurate market information.” https://t.co/KiH4iNgrmm
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 21, 2023
The Church was accused by the SEC of concealing its investments through multiple dormant entities from 1997 to 2019 and failing to disclose the extent of its equity portfolio. Ensign Peak Advisers Inc., a non-profit organization that managed the Church’s financial investments, was in charge of this. The non-profit purportedly employed 13 shell companies to create and submit documents rather than using its own name.
Under the settlement, Ensign Peak has agreed to pay a fine of $4 million to the SEC, while the Church has agreed to pay $1 million. The Church asserted that, since 2000, Ensign Peak had obtained and followed legal advice on how to fulfill its reporting responsibilities while preserving portfolio privacy. The Church also stated that it had created “separate companies” to file mandatory disclosure documents where necessary.
In 2018, the Truth and Transparency Foundation made claims about the Church’s financial conduct, stating that it held $32 billion in investments. The SEC’s Division of Enforcement Director, Gurbir S. Grewal, commented in a news release that “We assert that, with the Church’s awareness, the investment manager for the LDS Church made significant efforts to avoid disclosing the Church’s investments, which deprived both the Commission and the investing public of precise market data.”
In response to the accusations, the Church declared that “Ensign Peak and the Church have collaborated with the government for a considerable period to reach a resolution. We reaffirm our dedication to conform to the law, express remorse for any errors committed, and now regard this issue as resolved.”
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Caller