News

Important Update on AMEC Retirement Services

Statement from the Department of Retirement Services

March 30, 2022

Over the past few months, we have been grateful for the patience and support of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church community as we have grappled with the devastating news that the AME Church and, specifically, retirement plan participantsmay have been the victim of a financial crime.

At our open General Board meeting in December, and subsequent meetings in January and March, we have shared all possible details with the AME Church community. 

As previously discussed at those meetings, during the 2021 leadership transition of the AME Church Department of Retirement Services, a newly elected plan administrator uncovered possible financial irregularities in certain retirement fund investments. Out of an abundance of caution, we immediately engaged outside legal counsel and forensics experts to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation. We continue to actively work with federal authorities who are investigating this matter and recover any misappropriated funds. 

The AME Church takes financial irregularities and disclosures seriously, and we are committed to the restoration of any impacted retirement funds. We are also committed to making every fund participant whole by restoring their full investment plus interest. 

Potentially impacted retirement fund participants have received a notification in writing, and we will continue to provide impacted parties direct updates on this matter. As the federal investigation into the matter remains active, many details remain unavailable.In the interest of transparency and accountability, when these details are made available to the church, we plan to share them with plan participants and our community as soon as possible.

We appreciate our community’s concern and remain grateful for the patience and prayers of our clergy, staff and members as investigations into this matter remain ongoing.

If you have additional questions on this matter that are not addressed in the below Frequently Asked Questions, please direct those questions to general_inquiries@amecnational.org.

If you are a plan participant, please direct account questions to participant_inquiries@amecnational.org

We request that all media inquiries on this matter be directed to mediainquiries@amecnational.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What happened?

At the 2021 General Conference, the AME Church elected new leadership for the Department of Retirement Services. During the transition to the new department leadership, the newly elected plan administrator uncovered possible financial irregularities in certain retirement fund investments. Out of an abundance of caution, we immediately engaged outside legal counsel and forensics experts to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation. We continue to actively work with federal authorities to investigate this matter and recover any misappropriated funds. 

2. What is the status of the situation?

The AME Church retained outside legal counsel and financial forensics experts to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation into holdings managed by the Department of Retirement Services. The AME Church is also actively working with federal authorities to investigate this matter. 

3. What are you doing to address this issue?

The AME Church takes this crime seriously. We continue to actively work with federal law enforcement to investigate this matter and recover any misappropriated funds. The AME Church is committed to making every fund participant whole by restoring their full investment plus interest.

A Special Task Force Committee has been assembled representing the Department of Retirement Services Commission, the General Board, the Council of Bishops, and AME Church members at large to develop a plan of reorganization, recovery, and restoration for fund participants. 

4. How will fund participants be made whole?

The AME Church is committed to making every fund participant whole by restoring their full investment plus interest. We are actively working with federal authorities to recover any misappropriated funds. We have also assembled a Special Task Force Committee to develop a plan of reorganization, recovery and restoration for fund participants. The process of restoration has begun.

5. What are you doing to protect finances in the future?

We take the stewardship of retirement funds very seriously and are currently conducting a full review of the Department ofRetirement Services’ protocols and operational policies. A Special Task Force Committee has started the process to assure that this never happens again.

6. When will the investigation be complete?

The federal investigation into this matter remains active and many details remain unavailable. In the interest of transparency and accountability, when these details are made available to the church, we plan to share them with plan participants and our community as soon as possible.

7. I have questions that haven’t been answered here. Where can I get more information?

Please direct additional questions on this matter to general_inquiries@amecnational.org. If you are a plan participant, please direct account questions to participant_inquiries@amecnational.org

Updates will be provided on the AME Church website as additional information becomes available.