The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and its investment management company Ensign Peak Advisors have agreed to pay a combined $5 million to settle an investigation into disclosure failures and misstated regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC charged Ensign Peak with failing to file forms that disclose the size of the Church's investments and how those investments were managed. The Church released a statement on Thursday, February 16, 2022 acknowledging its commitment to comply with the law.
Ensign Peak has agreed to pay a $4 million penalty, while the Church has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty. The Church and Ensign Peak will also be required to hire a consultant to monitor its compliance with federal securities laws.
The investigation by the SEC began in 2019, when the SEC began receiving complaints about the Church's investments. The SEC alleged that Ensign Peak had failed to file forms that would have disclosed the size of the Church's investments and how those investments were managed. The SEC also alleged that Ensign Peak had misstated regulatory filings.
The settlement with the SEC is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the Church's investments. In 2020, the Church was forced to disclose the size of its investments for the first time, revealing that it holds $100 billion in investments. The Church also revealed that Ensign Peak, which manages the Church's equities portfolio, had made a number of investments in companies that are at odds with the Church's ethical and moral stances.
The settlement with the SEC is a sign that the Church is taking seriously its commitment to comply with the law. It is also a sign that the Church is making an effort to be more transparent about its investments. However, some have questioned the Church's commitment to transparency, noting that the Church has not released the details of its investments despite the fact that it is a non-profit organization.
In light of the settlement with the SEC, Church leaders have affirmed their commitment to comply with the law. They also noted that the Church is committed to protecting its members and their investments.