HAS KÅRE J. SMITH USED BCC TO BECOME WEALTHY?
Kåre J. Smith has been the leader of BCC for many years. He has also during the last few decades amassed a fortune valued at many tens of millions of crowns. Hence, he must have used BCC to get rich. This kind of Erasmus Montanus-logic has been used by the media, the latest being TV2, which they appear to base their comments on when describing Kåre J. Smith and our church community. Reality is quite different.
By Johanne Reiersrud – Photos by BCC
- There are no leaders in BCC who receive or have received monetary compensation for their ministry; it is done on a voluntary basis.
- Kåre J. Smith has been a board member of BCC from the early 1990’s until 2011.
- From 2003-2010 Smith was a salaried employee of the organization and received an average salary of 248,659 crowns per year. The final year he received a salary of 296.548 crowns.
- Accounts at BCC have for many years been audited by distinguished Auditing companies, and a comprehensive internal system of control is in place to ensure the church’s resources are managed and administered in a secure manner.
- For many years the Accounting practices in BCC have been open to all member for review, been published openly on our websites, and in later years been broadcast on live TV. Members are regularly encouraged to send in any questions if they have concerns about church finances.
Unprincipled media coverage
It is with mixed feelings BCC publishes this article. We have held to a fundamental principle that we do not wish to comment on the personal finances of either our members or leaders, as long as it has no impact on the church.
Our desire has been to relate to everyone for who they are and what they mean to BCC, and not whether they are rich or poor. Unfortunately, we are now experiencing elements of media coverage about BCC that are unprincipled, making it necessary for us to address things which should actually be completely unnecessary to ever be mentioned.
Minimum allowance from BCC
Kåre J. Smith has throughout his period of employment received a salary from BCC well below the industry average. He has also during this period received amounts to offset travel expenses for trips to church conferences and gatherings where he has been the featured speaker. He has not been paid any other fees or allowances.
Currently BCC pays neither a salary or travel expenses for Smith, even though for more than 10 years he has traveled the entire globe to preach the gospel of Jesus and to help people.
Thousands of individuals can testify that he has been personally involved in helping them when they were in need. His personal engagement with such matters has not only been a fulltime occupation, but has required the bulk of his time, weekends as well as weekdays.
Family business – interview with the manager
The question then is how his fortune was made. The answer is not found in BCC’s books, so to find out we sat down to chat with his son Kristian.
Kristian J. Smith (33) is the manager and a board member in KJS Inc., the company which comprises the bulk of Kåre J. Smiths fortune.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
– I am married, have one child, and live in Ås in Akershus. My education is in economics and business law. In 2010 I began to work in the family business, and shortly after became manager.
Can you say more about your role in the business?
– I am the manager of the company KJS INC, which is a private investment company, where the bulk of the family fortune is located. I also have part ownership in the company and sit on the board together with my brother. Several of my siblings and in-laws are also involved in various aspects of the business.
There are huge assets involved in KJS INC, which in 2018 were valued at several tens of millions. How were these assets acquired?
– They were acquired through hard and goal-oriented work. We have tried – like many others who have made good money these past years – to find relatively new companies with a large potential for growth. We buy into these companies, and in many instances our strategy is to take control of the supply side in order to improve and augment purchasing, usually from Asia and other countries with lower costs. We have enjoyed great success with this strategy in several fields, internet commerce being one of them.
Are there other things you have made money from?
– We additionally have some property investments and some financial investments which have provided good returns.
What has the role of your father Kåre been in this?
– My father has been exclusively a passive owner. He has used all his time on the church throughout the whole world. He sat on the board of directors for the company for some years, because of his ownership position, but had absolutely no active role in the businesses.
Since your father was not involved, are you the driving force in the business activities ?
– That is only partly correct. We have had a team of competent coworkers who have worked on the projects and had pivotal roles in the success of the company. It is also the case where most of our successful projects have been carried out in conjunction with Bernt Aksel Larsen’s investment company. There is no hiding the fact that his competence, capacity, and strategic insight has been an extremely important reason it has succeeded so well for us. It is correct that my father Kåre has had little to do with this, and that I am heavily involved. However, I would also add that the companies that were under our umbrella at different times have had several hundred employees, many of whom worked hard and smart. They certainly deserve a large amount of credit for our success.
We also know your father has contributed large amounts to BCC.
– That is completely right. As an example, he took the financial gift he received from the members all over the world on the occasion of his 70th birthday, and gave it directly to BCC. Throughout the years he has also contributed financial gifts amounting to millions to both BCC and the local church in Oslo/Folo where he has lived for most of his life. From one of our investment companies we own together with Bernt Aksel Larsen’s company we have contributed over 50 million crowns to BCC.
Kåre J. Smith is a leader we in BCC extremely appreciate. He not only uses all his time to speak God’s word without payment, but together with his family has also contributed generously to our activities throughout many years. Therefore, we cannot relate to how we are often portrayed by the media. Our organization has good order in our accounting and finances.