Church settles with SEC over disclosure charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission regulate securities markets and enforce federal securities law Photo credit: pixabay

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on the settlement of concerns from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

Ensign Peak Advisors is an affiliate investment manager for Church holdings. According to the Church statement, since 2000 Ensign Peak filed the required quarterly Forms 13F as separate LLC companies instead of one aggregated filing. This was done because of advice from legal counsel, as the Church wanted to comply with reporting regulations as well as maintain maximum privacy of the portfolio.

These forms are created to publicly disclose the names and values of these securities, the SEC claimed Ensign Peak was “depriving the Commission and the investing public of accurate market information” by filing the holdings as LLC shell companies rather than a single portfolio.

According to the findings from the SEC order, “the Church was concerned that disclosure of its portfolio, which by 2018 grew to approximately $32 billion, would lead to negative consequences.”

These concerns were expressed by the SEC in June 2019, and since then Ensign Peak has filed 13 of the quarterly single aggregated reports in accordance with SEC requirements.

The settlement reached with the SEC resulted in a fine of $5 million and the Church confirmed it would be paid by church investment returns.

“We affirm our commitment to comply with the law, regret mistakes made, and now consider this matter closed,” said the Church statement.

Read the full statement and Q&A on the church website.