Board chooses firms to manage hospital trust fund

COLUMBUS — Two financial firms have been selected to manage Lowndes County’s $30-million hospital trust fund.

The Lowndes County Reserve and Trust Fund board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to select Stephens Capital Management and Renasant Wealth Management to manage and invest the money from the county’s hospital sale.

Twelve firms had initially offered proposals. The board selected three to make presentations. The other firm interviewed was Wells Fargo Advisors.

The Commercial Dispatch reports details of the contracts with the two firms have not been finalized. Based on the fee schedule each firm provided in a scenario of managing $15 million, however, Stephens would charge $87,000 and Renasant would charge $86,625.

“I think that’s a trade-off we have to do to have some diversity and to have some competition,” said county Supervisor Harry Sanders, president of the trust fund board. “They’re not going to want to let the other one beat the other one. They’re not going to overly gamble or take shortcuts, but they’re going to pay better attention.”

The Legislature created the Lowndes County Reserve and Trust Fund this year and authorized the county to place funds in interest-bearing accounts including state, federal, government and corporate AAA bonds, as well as common stocks.

The reserve fund trustees are all five Lowndes County supervisors.

According to the law, trustees can choose to transfer up to 85 percent of the interest made yearly into the county’s general fund. The remainder would roll back into the $30 million principal and stay there. None of the principal can be spent unless supervisors declare an emergency, in which case up to 5 percent could be withdrawn on the condition it is paid back.

Baptist Memorial Health Care bought the previously county-owned hospital in 2001.

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