Thursday, December 2, 2021

Lafayette’s Baptist Fund Up $600K Since January

After a tumultuous 10 months, Lafayette County’s $20 million Baptist fund investment has made more than $600,000 thus far.

When COVID-19 hit, the stock market crashed and the principle of the fund dropped to close to $19.6 million but rebounded above $20 million by March 31.

As of Oct. 15, the fund’s value is $21,215,601. On Jan. 1, 2020, it was worth $20,604,035.

In 2012, Baptist paid the city of Oxford and Lafayette County $60 million to buy the hospital in order to get out of its lease and build the new Baptist hospital that opened in November 2017. Baptist eventually sold the old facility to the University of Mississippi for $22 million. The city and county split the funds and received $30 million each. Lafayette County Board of Supervisors at the time voted to spend $10 million to pay off debt and invest the remaining $20 million.

Most years, the county receives about $500,000 from the fund’s interest, which has traditionally gone to repaving roads and fixing potholes. The county did not get a payout this year.

Earlier in the year, the Board directed Green Square – the investment firm handing the Baptist fund for the county – to reduce the percentage of the fund invested in stocks to no more than 10% and invest the other 90% in bonds, creating a very low-risk fund.

Tim Ballard, a senior investment advisor with Green Square, said that the move saved the fund during the volatile first half of 2020.

Now that the market seems to have steadied somewhat, the Board allowed Green Square the flexibility to increase the allocation in equities, or stocks, up to 30%. The current allocation is 85.2% in fixed income or bonds; 11.9% in equities and 2.9% in cash.