Ensign Peak Advisors

Helmut Nemetchek of German ZFT Television: In my country we say the people’s churches, the Protestants, the Catholics. They publish all their budgets annually to all the public. Why is not this possible for your church?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, we simply think that information belongs to those who make the contributions, not to the world. That’s the only thing. Yes. (Gordon B. Hinckley Interview – ZDF German Television Salt Lake City, Utah January 29, 2002 Conducted by Helmut Nemetschek at 47 East South Temple - Church Administration Building)

This discreet holding company for LDS Church assets is worth billons. The Salamander Society challenges any full time LDS tithe payer to contact Church headquarters and request financial disclosure of Church assets and get any other response than - "Sorry, that information is not available."

Please submit any reliable information about Ensign Peaks that Hinckley says "belongs to those who make the contributions" in the box below.

Financial information of the LDS Church in Canada for all to see

02/22/2007 - by Adieu LDS from Recovery from Mormonism

I was reading this mornings paper and I saw an advertisement from the Government of Canada that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has launched a website called “Giving to charity: Information for donors.

I found the site and entered “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and 452 matches were found.



Information on this site has been posted with the intent that it be readily available for personal and public non-commercial use. It can be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from the CRA

It appears that the information is broken down into units. I did find the main financial information as THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS IN CANADA

Here is the information posted.

Financial Information

Cash, bank accounts, and short-term investments $ 85,008,000

Amounts receivable from all others. $ 2,213,000
Inventories $ 1,200,000
Capital assets (at cost or fair market value) $ 707,410,000
Other assets $ 216,000
Total assets $ 796,047,000

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities. $ 2,377,000
Other liabilities $ 108,438,000
Total liabilities $ 110,815,000


Total eligible amount of tax-receipted gifts $ 1,672,737
Total amount received from other registered charities $ 122,552,263
Interest and investment income $ 5,174,000
Other revenue $ 1,069,000
Total revenue $ 130,468,000


Travel and vehicle $ 2,741,261
Office supplies and expenses $ 1,123,835
Professional and consulting fees $ 5,659
Salaries, wages, benefits, and honoraria $ 14,052,961
Amortization of capitalized assets $ 1,777,296
Other expenditures $ 86,972,988
Total expenditures before gifts to qualified donees $ 106,674,000
Total charitable programs expenditures included in line $ 90,824,989
Total management and administration expenditures $ 15,849,011
Total gifts to qualified donees, $ 10,151,567
Total specified gifts to qualified donees $ -1
Total expenditures $ 453


Impressions from a CFO by raghib

I asked a friend of mine, who is the CFO of an international company, to give me his impressions of the numbers. I did not tell him where the numbers came from - only that it was a non-profit organization. Here is what he told me:

I would think a non-profit would have some type of endowment which would be classified as long-term investments; this only shows the 85 million in short term which usually means low yielding investments

Huge amount of capital assets; maybe they include investments in here, but I would read that as being property and equipment. If that is the case, they must have a bunch of buildings or something. If they don’t have investments in here, it sure seems like a lot of moola here.

I’m guessing other liabilities contains donations that haven’t been paid out yet, but if its not, that seems like a lot of liabilities. Mortgage on a palatial headquarters, maybe?

Other expenditures of 87 million sure is a big amount to be classified as other.

It seems kind of odd that they’ve only paid out 10 million in other donations. If the other $105 million didn’t go to any sort of philanthropic stuff, what was it spent on?

If that is the complete list of expenditures, it looks like they spent about 15 million less than they brought in which I find odd. I thought most non-profits try and put all the money to ‘work’ as soon as they can.

The eye-popping number from my point of view. Some analysis. by Bob McCue a Canadian tax attorney and ex-Mormon

Thanks for posting that. Fascinating information. I went looking for the same thing a couple of years ago, and could not find it. All I could find with a 440 individual ward entities, which is pretty much useless.

Here are a few off-the-cuff comments to help those who might not be as familiar as I am with how financial statements, and charities in Canada, work.

The reported revenues ($130 million) are comprised mostly of contributions from other charitable organizations ($122 million). These would likely have been funds transferred from individual wards (also registered as charities) to an aggregator charity of some kind. Add to that something over $5 million in investment income, and a few million dollars in direct revenue and you have a total of $130 million. The direct revenue to the aggregator entity may be attributable to donations made by individuals wealthy enough that they do not wish to have their charitable contributions scrutinized by their local bishopric. There is a facility for the donation of funds in this fashion, as well as for the contribution of stocks and other properties, bequests by Will, et cetera.

The expenditures are also interesting. The $14 million in salaries would likely relate, for the most part, to the Church educational system employees. Additional salaries would be paid to cleaning and maintenance staff, those in charge of constructing new buildings, et cetera. I doubt that any of the general authority's salaries would be run through this account.

Total expenditures are equal to $110 million. Of those, $90 million were expended on charitable activities. This would include new buildings, missionary work in Canada, donations to needy members, et cetera.

I thought the 10 million donated to other charitable organizations was interesting. That number surprises me. I would be interested to know where it went. Canadians, by themselves, could not possibly have donated that much money for the purpose of international relief or other special funds the Mormon Church provides for that kind of thing. It is possible, however, that because significant surpluses are accumulating in Canada, that the Mormon church exercised its discretion to make significant international donations out of its Canadian funds in order to give effect to the wishes of people in other places who also donated funds.

To understand this, consider the way in which missionary work functions. There are limitations on the extent to which charitable funds raised in Canada can be used for purposes outside of Canada. For example, monies contributed for the purpose of missionary work with regard to Canadian Mormon kids who go on missions is used for missionary work in Canada, and the Canadian kids who serve their missions elsewhere are funded through other (non-Canadian) Mormon revenue sources. Once funds have been donated to the Mormon Church, you can take from one pocket and put into another with a huge amount of discretion.

The eye-popping number from my point of view is the total assets on the balance sheet, as well as the cash balance on account. The Mormon Church in Canada has accumulated $85 million in liquid assets. Financial statements are required to be prepared on the basis of the lower of cost or fair market value. Hence, the $700 plus million dollars of capital assets can be sure to far under estimate the real value of those assets. This means that the Mormon Church in Canada has, conservatively, far in excess of $1 billion in assets under its belt, with something close to $100 million in liquid assets.

I also note that the Mormon church owns significant commercial (that is, noncharitable) assets in Canada which would not be required to be disclosed on the financial statements we have been looking at. These include one of the largest ranches in the world, located in Southern Alberta. When the value of these assets is considered, the little old Mormon Church in Canada comes into view as a financial juggernaut.

The Cumorah Project indicates the Canada has a little over 100,000 members. That sounds about right to me. On the face of those numbers, the financial disclosure makes sense. If there are 100,000 members, we will be generous and say that 50% are active. If we have 50,000 active Mormons, about half of those will be adults. That means we have 25,000 active adults. Half of those will be serious tithe payers. This brings us down to about 12,500. If you divide $125 million by 12,500 active adults, you get about $10,000. Does the average Mormon adult tithe payer in Canada pay $10,000 and ties and donations per year? Probably not. What this means is that there are either some Mormons who pay an awful lot of tithing, or part of that $125 million is coming into the Mormon coffers as a result of business assets owned in Canada. In either event, we are close to a full explanation.

Here's the interesting concept for active Mormons in Canada. And by extension, my bet is that we could extend this to active Mormons in the United States. The Mormon Church in the United States is far wealthier than its Canadian branch.

If you take those same 25,000 active Mormon adults, and distribute the $85 million in cash to them, this comes out to $3,400 each. And, I would conservatively put the Canadian Mormon churches assets at a fair market value of $2 billion, without considering the value of its business assets. If you divide $2,000,000,000 by 25,000, you get $80,000.

Many Mormons have more equity tied up in Mormonism than in the houses and investments combined.

Here is a personal story to bring the lunacy of this situation into focus.

When my wife and I were struggling university students in Edmonton, she worked for the first eight months of our marriage until shortly before the birth of our first child. As a result, during our second year of marriage (after the baby was born) we received an income tax refund $700. For us, in those days, this was a huge amount of money. We were in student loan debt up to our eyeballs; I had approximately 5 years of university left; my wife had just quit her job; we had a brand new baby and needed all kinds of stuff in that regard; we had virtually no furniture and what we did have was pathetic; our car limped from repair a repair; et cetera. You get the picture.

In those days, a separate building fund was still maintained by the Mormon Church. And, the Mormon Church in Edmonton was trying to raise money for a new stake center, and the funds were not rolling in as required. Our ward was mostly a student ward, but the bishop was instructed in any event to make a special plea for building funds. He did his duty.

After listening to him, and having the tremendous religious faith both my wife and I had at that time, we went home and did as he requested. That is, we took the matter of whether we should make an additional financial sacrifice to the Mormon Church to our Heavenly Father in prayer. Oddly, we both felt we should do that. So we took $500 of the $700 income tax refund, and gave it to a building fund for Mormon chapel on the outskirts of Edmonton that I don't believe I have ever even seen.

And we did this for a religious institution that was no doubt at the time (as well as now) awash in cash. Blind faith is a wonderful thing. It facilitates quasi-fraud in religious circles (as just described) as well as bad investment decisions.

Tithing is simply a form of taxation. It is a way of dealing with the financial needs of a community of people. The history of tithing shows that it has been calculated in a vast number of different ways in the various religious communities that used this concept. The concept of the tithe has changed within the Mormon community as well as countless others.

However, just as government bureaucrats tend to do whatever they can to maximize the budgets under their administration, religious bureaucrats to the same thing. And, if you don't have to account for how much money you have on hand, how much money you need, how you spend your money, etc. it is a lot easier to increase the size of your empire.

This explains why in the early days of Mormonism, financial statements were made available to the members of the Mormon Church, and why that practice was eventually discarded. This is one of the main reasons for which religious institutions that use democratic principles of disclosure and the delegation of power from the members to the leaders, tend to be more healthy for those involved.

As abuses of this kind become better known, I expect to see pressure mount for reform within institutions such as the Mormon Church. These things, however, happen on a glacial time scale.

I've been doing some more digging

02/17/2003 - by catholicgirl

I've been doing some more digging on the Internet regarding Ensign Peak Advisors, including on the EDGAR site, and came up with the following interesting link:


(which is essentially a purchase agreement of common stock between Ensign Peak and MDU Resources, Inc., a company that shows up a lot in Ensign Peak's dealings).

If you scroll down to page 6 of the .pdf file, you'll note that the address for Ensign Peak Advisors is listed as:

Ensign Peak Advisors
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

What do we know about "Ensign Peak" the LDS shadow organization?

02/15/2003 - by Deconstructor

From the Salt Lake Tribune Article:

"[The largest investment fund in Utah] is managed by Ensign Peak, a nonprofit corporation organized in 1997 to "benefit, perform the functions of, or carry out the purposes of" the LDS Church, according to Ensign's articles of incorporation."

"Ensign Peak's board of trustees includes LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley and two members of the LDS Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Robert D. Hales and Henry B. Eyring. Hales is a former general manager of Gillette, vice president of Max Factor International and president of Hughes Broadcasting Corp."

"Ensign Peak's president is Roger G. Clarke, an investment and options scholar who concurrently serves as chairman of Analytic Investors Inc., a Los Angeles firm with $3.1 billion in assets under management, as of Dec. 31, 2002."

If I recall correctly, our Ex-Mormon insider going by the name "Flew The Coop" posted about Ensign Peak. He said that top church officials have been selling church assests off to this entity over the last few years.

God is really bad with money

02/17/2003 - by Dagny

Hmmmm. This article is VERY interesting. I wonder if Ensign Peak (gawd, who came up with THAT name) pays its board trustees? I thought GAs weren't supposed to sit on boards any more? I guess when it is the prophet playing puts and options with god's money, that is OK!

Lets see. God needs "Ensign Peak" to manage his money. He needs a team of lawyers and a huge PR firm. He needs lots of fancy buildings with great landscaping, parking lots and light fixtures. God is sounding more like an American businessman all the time, eh? The best perk about being God is getting tax breaks the humans don't get.

God is really bad with money. That is why he needs yours all the time.

The Players

Last updated 02/15/2003

Roger G. Clarke is also president of Analytic Investors, Inc and is responsible for the strategic direction of his firm. His main focus is on the integrity of the overall research of the firm’s strategies including Core Equity, Global Tactical Asset Allocation, Fixed Income and Option-based products. He was previously President and Chief Investment Officer at TSA Capital Management, a firm that was acquired by Analytic in 1996. Roger concurrently serves as President of Ensign Peak Advisors, an investment management affiliate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Recognized as an authority in quantitative investment research, Roger has authored numerous articles and papers. He has served as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Portfolio Management, Derivatives Quarterly and the Financial Analysis Journal. He is also a recipient of the Graham and Dodd Scroll from the Financial Analysts Federation and the Roger F. Murray Award from The Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance. Roger also served on the faculty of Brigham Young University for over 10 years where he specialized in investment and options theory. Roger received a Ph.D. in Finance and a MS degree in Economics from Stanford University as well as MBA and BA degrees in Physics from Brigham Young University. Clarke is also listed as an associate editor of the Journal Of Investment Management.

F. James Cowan Vice President of Utah Retirement Systems. Appointed July 18, 2001. Current term expires June 30, 2005. Represents investment community.

Scroll down to page 3, "Retirement Board Welcomes Three New Members" (Cycles,Holiday 2001) regarding one of its three new members, F. James Cowan.

"Mr. Cowan is Senior Vice President of Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc. of Salt Lake City, UT, which handles investment matters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . ." - 02/17/2003 - catholicgirl

Ed Dennis Ed was elected to the Board of Directors of Deseret First Credit Union in 1993 and has served as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary of the Board. Prior to being elected to the Board, Ed served as a member and Chair of the Supervisory Committee. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and also chairs the Asset/Liability Management Committee and serves on the Strategic Planning and Training Committees. He is employed by the Church in the Investment Securities Department as the Director of Finance/Controller and is a CPA.

"Using Heron Technologies snap-on modules has relieved the pressure on my staff. We used to work 60 to 80 hours a week. Now that doesn't happen. People are even taking vacations." -Ed Dennis, Finance Director, Ensign Peak Advisors R>Salt Lake City, Utah. - 02/17/2003 - catholicgirl

R. Matthew Tullis Who appears to have nine lives (or at least, more than one)

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises national banks to ensure a safe, sound, and competitive banking system that supports the citizens, communities, and economy of the United States.

On March 19, 2002, the OCC found it necessary to sanction by Removals/Prohibitions, By Consent one:

R. Matthew Tullis, Zions First National Bank, Salt Lake City

OCC Treasury Release/2002-27

Fear not, for the young man truly has friends in high places...he pops up a few months later working for Merrill Lynch...certified and authorized by the State of Utah to deal in Public Funds and Securities.

Utah Sate Certdeal.pdf

The lad's got "KnowWho", no? - 02/17/2003 - Fawkes

December 22, 2000
Oculus Hires Execs, Moves Into New HQ
By boston.internet.com Staff

Oculus Technologies, a Boston peer-to-peer (P2P) company, has named three executives: Matthew Tullis, CFO; Ronald Czik, vice president of engineering; and Robin Waldman, vice president of marketing.

Tullis comes to Oculus with more than eight years of industry and management experience from California Bank and Trust, where he served as vice president. He was also vice president at Ensign Peak Advisors and adjunct instructor at LDS (Latter-day Saints) Business College. - 02/17/2003 - catholicgirl

Ivan T. Call Is on Ensign Peaks board and teaches at BYU Marriott School of Business.

The Companies and Corporations

MDU Resources Group, Inc. Provides energy, value-added natural resources products and related services that are essential to our country's energy, transportation and communication infrastructure."

My thoughts are you may have hit on something. The form 8-k filing where MDU Resources Group sold Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc 189,689 is a great place to start. What does MDU Resources do? Why would the church be interested in it? Who actually benefits from this? - 02/17/2003 - Jeff C

The Investigators

"The SEC is aware of the former private business relationship between the two and of Cowan's position at Ensign Peak, although The Tribune was told there is resistance from members of the LDS Church who work at the SEC to expanding the case.
"Religious affiliation, though, does not influence any SEC investigation, said Israel, who would not say if he is a member of the LDS Church.
- 02/17/2003 - catholicgirl

The Legal Lingo - Protection vs Evasion

I recently read somewhere, I don't recall exactly, that the church's investmernts might be audited. Could this be a way to keep the real knowledge about finances protected if the books are forced open? I mean, if it is true that church assets are being transferred to Ensign peak? Why does the church continue to get religous tax exempt status if the books are closed? - 02/17/2003 - kristinela

Utah Code section 16-6-41, which governs inspection of books and records of nonprofit corporations, guarantees that:

"All books and records of a nonprofit corporation may be inspected by any member, or his agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time." - 02/17/2003 - catholicgirl

This doesn't apply to corporations sole. Any church can be a corporation sole; it's the way most churches are incorporated. - 02/17/2003 - Sophia

As a Corporation Sole by statute, they do not have to give any financial information to anyone. It is their own soverign kingdom. - 02/17/2003 - No lawyer but

Corporations Sole and the State of Utah

The LDS church (like many others) is NOT a typical 501(c)(3) (i.e. charitable) organization. Instead, it is a "corporation sole". This is a distinction which — though addressed in Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code — dates back centuries, to English common law. Historically, a corporation sole is the head of a religious congregation or organization, who is supported financially by the congregation.

In the US, a corporation sole (aka 501(c)(3) religious — as opposed to charitable, scientific, literary, etc. — organization) is not only not subject to taxation on the congregation's donations — it doesn't even have to provide income statements on those donations to the IRS. (Fortunately, in many other countries, such paperwork does have to filed with the tax authorities.) Nor does it have to demonstrate that the donated income has been used for charitable purposes. Finally, in the US, a corporation sole is not legally obligated to disclose any aspect of its finances to any of its supporting donors. - 12/30/2006 - Nick

One small error in the above statements.

A 501(c)(3) church is exempt from filing the nonprofit 990. It does not have to be a Corporate Sole. The Corporate Sole gets away from a Board of Directors as well. Generally a Board of Directors of a large church will require an annual audit and disclosure. Since there is only one board member, he can do whatever he likes. Pieces of the organization used to be audited by Arthur Anderson. I don't know who is doing it now. There is not an overall audit or consolidation. - 12/30/2006 - Jim Huston

Comment Section

Tithing is not taxation. It is used for building God's kingdom on the earth. I love to see the Church grow and the gospel spreading throughout the earth. I love to know that wherever I go there will likely be a meetinghouse and temple in which to worship. Tithing is done by the members in order to build their faith and to bless them with prosperity. I would not trade the blessings, both physically and financially, that we have received from tithing for anything. Once the Spirit has manifest the truthfulness of these principles and you can see the connection between obedience and blessings, curious probings by non-believers don't affect you. We remember how the Spirit made us feel when we learned those lessons as we experimented upon the word. Thank goodness comments and opinions of others outside our faith cannot take that away. By the way, why not an article on the many ways the LDS Church serves and provides for the needs of thousands of people outside our faith in times of all types of disasters? Oh, but those figures would be hard to get also because the Church does not make them available either. The tithe payers I know are the happiest people I know. Those who don't tithe do not have the same blessings as those who do. Those who tithe and then stop soon lose the blessings they had. I've seen this over and over for 40 years now. I think most LDS tithe payers trust the Church leaders and the Lord or we would not be tithing in the first place. - 11/25/2014 - Linda


I agree with Pres. Hinckley! I don't want my contributions being disclosed to the world. I'm not contibuting it for the recognition (or condemnation) of the world. That's not the purpose. Obviously by the ammount of members faithfully paying tithing, there sure must be a pretty great reason they keep doing it. - 12/15/2008 - Jessica


There is nothing mysterious about Ensign Peak. Get a life! - 04/18/2003 - anon


What a perfect shell game. Bring the money in tax free, invest in for profit companies, place LDS leaders on the board but let LDS business men run the companies so that if they need to do a less than ethical transaction, LDS is not "responsible" since it is a private corporation while LDS controls the whole show.

Another nice benefit is LDS can hold vast amounts of tax free cash and dispense it to the company that would provide the best tax benefits and returns for maximum return.

GM, AT&T and other corporations should think about starting a church to run their money through and reap even bigger profits. - 04/12/2003 - nsewanswers@aol.com


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