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Crypto news: SEC and the investigation into the Mormon church’s secret investments

Hot crypto news on the horizon: the SEC is reportedly investigating the Mormon church’s $100 billion secret investment portfolio. The news is also reported by Watcher.Guru’s official Twitter account, which reads:


SEC investigation into Mormon church: everything there is to know

The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is launching an investigation into the Mormon church’s $100 billion investment portfolio. Apparently, the church had attempted to keep its investments secret until a former employee disclosed the holdings in 2019.

The SEC is now launching an investigation into potential violations committed by the investment arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Little is known about the contents of the investigation, outside of the fact that it is at an “advanced stage,” with settlement likely.

The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints had secretly amassed an investment portfolio worth tens of billions of dollars, of which few outside of it were aware.

This development has now drawn the attention of the US regulatory agency, with an investigation made public recently. Specifically, the SEC-initiated investigation sought answers as to whether or not the church “complied with disclosure requirements for large-cap asset managers.”

In addition, the report notes that the investigation could see a settlement in the coming months, according to sources close to the matter. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal report highlights the SEC’s fact of responding to “violations of the money managers’ reporting rules by imposing fines.”

In contrast, the fine potentially imposed on the Mormon church is currently unknown. Next, the report notes that it is not uncommon for the SEC to close investigations, even at an advanced stage, without any enforcement action being taken.

In any case, at the center of the SEC’s investigation is Ensign Peak Advisors, an investment company wholly owned by the Mormon church that manages its assets.
The report notes that Ensign Peak has filed disclosure documents in its own name with the SEC since February 2020.

The words of the Mormon church and the SEC’s allegations

SEC investigation focused on whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as LDS, complied with disclosure requirements for large money managers.

Doug Andersen, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, refused to confirm or deny the existence of the SEC investigation:

โ€œThe church works with many government regulators to ensure that we comply with the law. We take these responsibilities very seriously.โ€

Through it all, Ensign Peak executives did not respond to requests for comment. The current size of Ensign Peak’s holdings remains a well-kept secret. The company, based in Salt Lake City, was incorporated in 1997.

According to the rules of the SEC, there are certain types of investments it must disclose, such as US-listed stocks it manages directly, which totaled about $40 billion as of 30 September.

The rest of the portfolio consists of investments such as fixed income securities, private companies or funds. Ensign Peak had about $100 billion in holdings in 2019. Investment managers with at least $100 million under management publicly report their quarterly holdings.

The numbers are tracked by public companies and investors. About 5,000 entities file the form, according to SEC data released in 2020.

The size of the church’s investment holdings first came to light in 2019 after a former investment manager of Ensign Peak, David Nielsen, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, arguing that Ensign Peak should not be treated as a tax-exempt charity because it did not conduct any charitable activities.

Peak’s disclosure regarding Mormon Church investments

As anticipated, for more than half a century, the Mormon church quietly built one of the largest investment funds in the world. Almost no one outside of the same knew about it.

Part of that mystery vanished late last year when a former employee revealed in a whistleblower’s complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the fund, called Ensign Peak Advisors, had amassed $100 billion.

The whistleblower also alleged that the church had misused some of Ensign Peak’s funds. Officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, colloquially known as the Mormon Church, denied these allegations.

They also declined to comment on how much money their investment fund controls. “We have tried to be somewhat anonymous,” said Roger Clarke, the head of Ensign Peak, from the company’s fourth-floor office above a Salt Lake City food court. Ensign Peak does not appear in that building’s directory.

Interviews with more than a dozen former employees and business associates provide a deeper look inside an organization that in the 1990s transformed itself from a small-money operation into a behemoth that rivals Wall Street‘s largest firms.

Alessia Pannone
Alessia Pannone
Graduated in communication sciences, currently student of the master's degree course in publishing and writing. Writer of articles from an SEO perspective, with care for indexing in search engines.