Fresno County Employees puts Northern Trust in global custodian seat

Fresno County (Calif.) Employees' Retirement Association hired Northern Trust as global custodian, confirmed Phillip Kapler, retirement administrator of the $3.2 billion pension plan.

Northern Trust replaces State Street Corp. (STT), which was the other finalist. Mr. Kapler said the board had “misgivings” over State Street's benefit disbursement services. Carolyn Cichon, State Street spokeswoman, did not have comments from bank officials by press time.

An RFP was issued in June. Investment consultant Wurts & Associates assisted.

Separately, the pension fund's board at its Nov. 7 meeting terminated Standish Mellon Asset Management, which ran a $96 million opportunistic fixed-income portfolio. Wurts & Associates recommended the pension plan eliminate its 6% opportunistic fixed-income allocation to avoid overlapping with core-plus strategies. As part of that move, the board also moved a $130 million Loomis Sayles opportunistic portfolio into the existing $167 million Loomis Sayles core-plus account.

The Standish Mellon assets will fund a new emerging markets debt strategy. Wurtz is conducting a shortlist search for that account; interested managers can contact the consultant, Mr. Kapler said in a telephone interview.

Also, the board on Dec. 5 will hear presentations from Artisan Partners (APAM) and William Blair as part of a shortlist search for an active international growth equity manager to run $221 million. The search is the result of the October termination of Oechsle International Advisors. A hiring decision is expected at the December meeting.