The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania’s Investment Committee brings experience and knowledge that benefits every endowment.
Paul Huck is a problem solver. Whether as a mathematics major graduated from the United States Naval Academy or as the Chief Financial Officer of Air Products and Chemicals, Huck faced many challenges. And whether serving in the U.S. Navy or managing finances and businesses for the Fortune 500 company, he has always been a keen thinker and researcher. Huck understands how to carefully construct a plan to get things done.
“If you do not start, you will never finish,” Huck quietly reminds people when faced with a problem or challenge that needs to be solved.
When he began recruiting board members in 2013 for the start-up Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania, Huck sought experienced, specialized professionals who could help build a best-in-class organization. He knew this expertise was critical in order to solve the long-term funding needs of our local Catholic institutions and causes.
“I wanted to bring experience and knowledge into our boardroom,” Huck says. “I looked for people who were experts in their field, who knew what they were doing and got things done. I also wanted people who were committed to the Catholic faith.”
In addition to leaders in foundation management, nonprofit tax accounting, parish operations and legal estate planning, Huck recruited financial advisors skilled in managing investments.
The Catholic Foundation’s Assets Under Management (AUM) have quickly grown in the past six years to more than $28M in 122 funds. The natural outcome from this growth was to organize a more formal investment committee.
Investment Committee Brings 60 Years of Experience to the Catholic Foundation
The Catholic Foundation’s Investment Committee of Tom Scalici, Rusty Seyle, and Mike Guman bring more than 60 years of expertise to the mission, which is to help provide financial stability for Catholic parishes, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations in the region. Their talent, experience, and commitment are essential in managing the Foundation partners’ funds and assets. Each of them brings a unique investment specialty to the table, Huck says.
Scalici, investment committee chairman and vice chair of the Foundation’s board, is CEO of Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management. Seyle is the Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Seyle Hickey Wealth Management of Raymond James. And Guman is a Senior Advisor Consultant at Invesco Global Asset Management.
The investment committee works closely with Concord Advisory Group, the Catholic Foundation’s investment advisor. Concord has decades of investment experience with Catholic and other faith-based organizations. Together, they work towards making sure that the Catholic Foundation’s portfolio produces a favorable return and at least meets its 7 percent goal. They surpassed that target with double-digit returns for four of the past five years. Like everyone else, the Catholic Foundation felt the downturn of the market in 2022.
“I have spent my career managing a prudent investment process for retirement plans, institutions and individuals,” says Scalici, who played a key role in developing the organization’s investment blueprint.
Investment Oversight and Expertise That Cannot Be Matched
“Following industry best practices, hiring institutional money managers at low fees, screening every security to make sure they comply with moral and ethical standards consistent with Catholic values, and comparing our performance to industry peer groups is the process we have implemented,” Scalici adds. “We have met with every parish in the Diocese and few, if any, are able to implement this sophisticated process due to either the level of funds they have or the resources of the lay committees.”
Guman agreed. The level of oversight and expertise the Catholic Foundation provides cannot be matched anywhere in the Diocese.
“The Board and its investment committee are comprised of members that bring a broad and diverse amount of experience and investment knowledge to the table,” Guman says. “They have created and managed portfolios for individuals and their families, businesses, institutions, foundations and charitable organizations for many years.
“The group has achieved the highest levels of certifications of industry standards within their professions and have been recognized by publications such as Barron’s and Forbes as the best in the country for what they do.”
Building a Well-Diversified Portfolio With the Foundation’s AUM
With continued growth of its AUM, the Catholic Foundation has been able to build a well-diversified portfolio covering all the major domestic/international securities and fixed-income investment classes. All classes are overseen by low-cost institutional money managers who specialize in these different areas.
“We have experts managing each portion of the portfolio,” Scalici says. “Hitting the $25M mark allowed us to get into some alternative asset classes designed to reduce risk and enhance return.”
When its portfolio reached $25M, the Catholic Foundation was designated as a “Qualified Investor.” Being part of a larger pool of assets is a definite benefit for Foundation partners.
“As assets continue to grow, the value proposition on the investment side increases for our partners,” Seyle says. “Partners now have access to better investment vehicles and lower institutional fees than they would by investing on their own.”
By adopting an institutional investment solution, the Catholic Foundation has a different story to tell than when it began ten years ago or even six years ago.
“The institutional investment solution removes emotion and focuses on long-term strategy,” Scalici says. “By adding new money to funds, we use rebalancing as a risk management tool to take advantage of market volatility.”
For parishes, schools, and ministries this is important. They can invest money confidently with the Catholic Foundation, knowing that their investment not only will grow, but also will produce annual income that can be used to fulfill their missions forever. This is the Catholic’s Foundation’s bedrock purpose: to help Catholic causes create a solid financial future and ensure their success forever.
And when it is truly finished, Huck will be satisfied with another problem solved.