THE DOMINICAN order and other religious congregations have pooled together their financial resources to form a mutual fund that will ensure a steady flow of income to support religious projects and apostolates.

“Owned by the Religious for the Religious,” the Ekklesia Mutual Fund Inc. is being managed by private sector professionals and is open to all religious institutions and schools.

According to its prospectus, the fund aims to be a “safe and profitable investment,” with money to be invested mainly on Treasury bills and government bonds which are considered the safest in the market.

“Its investment policies are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the religious community, among them: generate sufficient returns to support the religious’ specific apostolates; safeguard the safety of the religious’ investment capital; and ensure that the investments are not channeled to enterprises that promote products and services contrary to the universally accepted Christian principles,” the fund’s profile on the website of the Investment Company Association of the Philippines read.

The Ekklesia Mutual Fund had P137.6 million in assets as of September 30, and earned P4.3 million in gross investment income for the third quarter of 2007, public records showed.

The Dominicans own 10.5 percent of the fund, with the Dominican Province of the Philippines and Colegio de San Juan de Letran owning 5.25 percent or 4.9 million shares each.

St. Louis University of Baguio run by the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or CICM holds the biggest stake at 26.3 percent or 24.7 million shares, followed by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer or the Redemptorists with 21.3 percent or 19.7 million shares.

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Other owners are St. Theresa’s College of the ICM or the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (17.3 percent or 16.3 million shares), Assumption College of Makati of the Religious of the Assumption (7.7 percent or 7.3 million shares), and the Jesuits’ Isabela Cultural Corp. (5.5 percent or 5.2 million shares).

The Ekklesia Mutual Fund is selling 144.5 million new shares to raise nearly P200 million more based on the value of each share, pegged at P1.33 each. The minimum initial investment is P50,000, and additional investments should be at least P10,000. The funds can be redeemed without redemption charges.

The Multinational Investment Bancorporation headed by Ramon Ilusorio is the fund manager, receiving a fee of two percent per annum of the value of the fund’s net assets.

“Ekklesia expects to benefit from the 30-year experience of Multinational Investment Bancorporation in handling religious accounts,” the fund’s prospectus said.

Fund managers acknowledge that there are risks in investing in the mutual fund as there is no guaranteed yield and the investments are not protected by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. The share price is not guaranteed and investments could be lost “in whole or in part.”

To minimize risks, investments other than government securities must be screened by the fund’s board of directors.

“Ekklesia has not incurred any long term debt and will not use any portion of the proceeds to reimburse any officer, director, employee, or shareholder for service rendered, assets previously transferred, money loaned or advanced or otherwise,” the prospectus stated.

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