- The SEC is investigating whether the investment arm of the Mormon Church has complied with the rules, according to The Journal.
- Ensign Peak Advisors managed assets worth $100 billion in 2019, a whistleblower complaint has revealed.
- A church representative told the Journal it was working with regulators and committed to full compliance.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the mormon church investment manager has complied with disclosure rules, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The extent of his wealth only became apparent in 2019, when David Nielsen, a former employee of Ensign Peak Advisors, which managed assets worth $100 billion for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS), made a whistleblower complaint.
He alleged that Ensign Peak should not be given tax-exempt status because it did not engage in any charitable activity. These claims were denied by church officials who said no tax laws were broken, according to the newspaper.
The SEC’s investigation into whether Ensign Park complied with disclosure rules for the assets it managed was at an advanced stage, The Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Doug Andersen, a representative for LDS, neither confirmed nor denied the investigation, but told the publication, “We are always willing to work with government regulators to resolve issues and are committed to full compliance. “
the church says Le Journal in 2020 that the fund was used as a bad weather account to prepare for the next financial crisis.
However, its $100 billion worth in 2019 was twice the size of Harvard University’s endowment and larger than some sovereign wealth funds, according to the report.
On January 31, Nielsen’s attorneys submitted a 90-page memorandum to the Senate Finance Committee, alleging that Ensign Peak had made false statements to the Internal Revenue Service about the extent of his assets and whether he held any foreign bank accounts.
Ensign Peak Advisors, the Mormon Church, the SEC and the Senate Finance Committee did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment, made outside of normal business hours.
Some Mormons also questioned the secrecy of the funds in 2019, according to The Journal, as well as how the money was used and whether they were to continue to tithe to the church.
Members must donate 10% of their annual income to remain in good standing. THE LDS website says the funds are used to “edify the Church and further the work of God throughout the world.”
SEC rules require managers such as Ensign Peak to disclose holdings in U.S.-listed companies, which the Journal said were worth about $40 billion. The rest of its assets would be fixed income securities, private companies or funds.