By Alyssa Schnugg
Lafayette County’s $20 million trust fund from the sale of the old Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi hospital in 2012 held steady, gaining slighting during a volatile market in the first six months of 2019.
Steven Sansom, CEO and founder of Green Square asset management firm that manages the trust fund, presented the second quarter report to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors Monday.
The firm adjusted the fund’s allocation recently to be very conservative with 89 percent of the funds being invested in fixed income – bonds and money market funds, and 11 percent in stocks. The proposed target is to have a 90/10 allocation.
“Our choice there served us well,” Sansom said.
The fund’s value at the end of June was $20,656,422, up from $20,097,067 in January.
Sansom said raising the fixed income allocation is in response to the volatile market that has lacked stability in recent weeks and in reaction to some economists who say a recession could be on the horizon.
In 2012, Baptist paid the city and county $60 million to buy the hospital so it could get out of its lease and build the new Baptist hospital that opened in November 2017. Baptist sold the old facility to the University of Mississippi for $22 million. The city and county split the funds and received $30 million each. The Board of Supervisors at the time elected to take $10 million and pay off all county debt and invest the remaining $20 million.
The goal is to keep the principle safe while allowing the Board to receive 3 percent of the fund’s earnings each year. Since it’s inception in 2012, the county has received close to $3 million from the profits of the fund. Each year, the supervisors have elected to put those funds, which have averaged about $500,000, toward road repairs.
During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the investment saw a -1.5 return, down from a 4 percent return last fiscal year. However, since January the fund has had a 2.8 percent return.