N.J. sells off Talisman
The $82 billion New Jersey Division of Investment has sold all of its 780,000 shares in Canadian oil company Talisman Energy, despite the positive performance of the company's stock. The shares were sold at $44 each. The $82 billion fund began selling stock in October after becoming concerned with its performance prospects, said Steven Kornrumpf, director.
Talisman received bad press because of its involvement in the Sudanese oil project Arakis, according to the American Anti-Slavery Group.
Mr. Kornrumpf said Sudan's "horrible human rights record" was the major contributing factor to the fund's fear of poor returns.
Dave Mann, head of investor relations at Talisman, did not return calls for comment by press time.
SEC probes Silvester
The SEC is investigating billions of dollars in transactions made by Connecticut's former state treasurer Paul J. Silvester. Mr. Silvester pleaded guilty in September to federal racketeering and money-laundering charges. The guilty pleas were part of an ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney.
This latest investigation, by the Boston district office of the SEC, widens the potential for government action against individuals and companies that might have acted improperly but are not charged criminally.
The SEC has asked for files on all of Mr. Silvester's bond-writing transactions. The new inquiry may result in the postponement of Mr. Silvester's sentencing, scheduled for March 20.
Shaw closing unit
D.E. Shaw is expected to get out of program trading Feb. 8. Program trading represents one of the fastest growing segments of the brokerage industry.
"The firm has not made any official announcements," said Nick Gianakouros, senior vice president. "We are exploring options for that unit, and have been for some time."
Boeing disclosure sought
A Boeing Co. investor and retired employee is asking the company to give shareholders detailed information about the contribution of its pension fund surplus to its bottom line.
Donald W. Shuper has proposed a shareholder resolution that would "strongly advise" the company's board of directors to ensure "complete and clear disclosure" of the pension fund's contributions to Boeing's earnings since 1990.
The company is fighting to keep Mr. Shuper's resolution off the shareholder ballot on the grounds that his statements are false and misleading and that accounting issues related to its pension fund are ordinary business matters.
Art Institute boosts global
The $505 million endowment of the Art Institute of Chicago increasined its global fund exposure, because trustees "sensed more opportunities" in the asset class, said Robert Mars, executive vice president of administrative affairs.
The fund added $80 million to its global balanced portfolios and put $20 million in a market-neutral hedge fund. Funding comes from reducing domestic equity and fixed-income exposure by $100 million. American Express is the only manager affected by the changes.
Public funds at $1.7 trillion
Public retirement systems can thank the stock market for their growth in assets, as their cash and security holdings grew to a record high of $1.7 trillion in fiscal 1998, up $237 billion from the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than $1.2 trillion of that was invested in private securities: $639 billion in domestic stocks; $258 billion in domestic bonds; $195 billion in international securities; and $159 billion in mortgages and other securities. Only $278 billion was held in government securities, and $91 billion in cash.
Manchester to rebalance
The $103 million Manchester (Conn.) Retirement Allowance Fund plans to rebalance its portfolio this month to reduce its domestic equity exposure and increase its international stock exposure, said Alan Desmarais, director of finance.
The fund's domestic equity target is 40% but the asset class has grown to almost 50% Mr. Desmarais said. The international equity allocation is 10% existing managers Hotchkis and Wiley and Bank of Ireland will receive additional money as part of the rebalancing.
Venture returns dip
U.S. venture capital funds had a net return of 27%for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from 37%in the previous quarter, data from Cambridge Associates' proprietary benchmark database showed.
But the net return on venture funds was 136.4%for the year ended Sept. 30, beating the 27.8%S&P 500 return for the same period. The private equity index returned 24.9%for the same period.
New Brinson exec
Thomas Madsen is the new co-head of UBS Brinson/Brinson Partners' equities unit. He replaces Richard Carr, managing director and co-head of equities, who will retire June 30. Mr. Madsen was a managing director at J.P. Morgan Investment Management.
Harbor taps Carr
Jay Carr joined Harbor Capital Management as managing director of the company's Taft-Hartley business, a new position.
He left Alliance Capital Management, where he headed the Shields Alliance division of the company that handled Taft-Hartley clients. Mr. Carr was one of the original founders of Shields Asset Management, acquired by Alliance in 1994.
Cox joins GLOBALT
Carole Cox was hired as senior vice president and portfolio manager at GLOBALT Capital Management, a new position. She was a managing director and principal for City Capital Consulting.
Also, Timothy Voelkel joined the firm as vice president, marketing and client service. He was a vice president at SunTrust Equitable Securities.
Mezzanine fund closes
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette closed DLJ Investment Partners II, a $1.6 billion mezzanine investment fund believed to be the largest of its type. Investors include the $40.9 billion State Board of Minnesota, St. Paul, which has committed up to $75 million to the fund. Over time, DLJ intends to borrow an additional $400 million to add leverage.
The fund will invest in debt and preferred stock in leveraged acquisitions and growth financing for public and private companies and off-balance-sheet special situations.
First Capital goes quant
First Capital Group, the institutional investment management group of First Union, hired William E. Zieff as managing director. He will set up a new quantitative unit.