The Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States of America has fined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its investment management company, Ensign Peak Advisers Inc., for hiding $32bn in investment fund.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the SEC announced charges against Ensign Peak Advisers Inc. for failing to file forms that would have disclosed the church’s equity investments, and for instead, filing forms for shell companies that hid the church’s portfolio and misstated Ensign Peak’s control over the church’s investment.
The church was also charged for causing these violations.
To settle the charges, the SEC said that Ensign Peak had agreed to pay a $4m penalty and the church agreed to pay a $1m penalty.
The SEC found that from 1997 through 2019, Ensign Peak failed to file Forms 13F, the forms on which investment managers were required to disclose the value of certain securities they managed.
According to the SEC, the church was concerned that disclosure of its portfolio, which by 2018, grew to approximately $32bn, would lead to negative consequences.
The Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Gurbir Grewal, stated, “We allege that the LDS Church’s investment manager, with the Church’s knowledge, went to great lengths to avoid disclosing the Church’s investments, depriving the Commission and the investing public of accurate market information.
“The requirement to file timely and accurate information on Forms 13F applies to all institutional investment managers, including non-profit and charitable organisations.”