The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (known to everyday people as the Mormons) made bank off the boom in GameStop stock earlier this year, new SEC filings reveal. The Church saw a gain of over 900% on stock owned through its secretive investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors.
As Business Insider reports, Ensign Peak Advisors bought 46,000 shares of GameStop stock at the end of 2020. In January 2021, the floundering game retailer’s stock’s price rose and fell wildly thanks to the collective bizarrity of the internet. Ensign’s total investment jumped in value from $US867,000 ($1,112,014) to $US8,732,000 ($11,199,663) through that period. Ensign also invests in tech stock such as Tesla, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. It’s also got some stock in entertainment ventures like Dave & Buster’s, Six Flags, and the WWE.
Ensign Peak Advisors is an investment manager for the Mormon church, which the Wall Street Journal reports amassed $US100 ($128) billion in early 2020 while keeping its dealings private from business partners and Church members. According to WSJ, the fund gets its money in part through surplus tithes, or donations, to the Church, a fact that’s currently part of a lawsuit following a former portfolio manager blowing the whistle on the operation in 2019. Officials told the WSJ the fund is for the Church to maintain its work in the case of another 2008-style financial crisis, but it’s caused concern among some Mormons who saw their institution’s secretive wealth holdings as counter to the message of the Book of Mormon.
GameStop has brought us some delightful memes, the absurd names of redditors being explained to Congress, and a pet food tycoon taking the reins to try to revive the Funko Pop retailer. Now, we have the Mormons in on the action too. Who knows what’s next?