Conseco Inc. has joined the bidding for Kemper Corp., Chicago, with an offer of $3.25 billion in cash and stock valued at $67 per share. The financial services holding company would separate Kemper's life insurance and real estate operations by selling them to Conseco Capital Partners II, its private equity fund, and merge Kemper's mutual fund, asset management and brokerage operations into a new, wholly owned subsidiary.
A white paper on U.K. pension reform issued late last week included several proposals to protect participants' rights.
Among the proposals were: that funds meet a minimum solvency requirement; that pension payments be indexed to increases in prices; the establishment of an occupational pension regulator that would have the power to investigate the handling of pension assets and impose penalties in case of wrongdoing; and the creation of a fund that would cover up to 90% of pension fund losses through criminal activity if the employer is unable to make up the loss and that would be funded by a levy on the pension funds.
The $100 million pension fund of Les Schwab Tire Cos. hired Sanford C. Bernstein for a $5 million separately managed U.S. small-cap equities account. It also invested $5 million in the international equity mutual fund of BEA Associates. Assets for the accounts came from new cash.
The $24 million pension fund of Green Mountain Power Corp. hired two asset managers to manage more than half of the fund's assets.
PanAgora Asset Management will manage $16 million in domestic large-cap stocks, said John Lampron, assistant treasurer for the fund. Axe-Houghton Associates will manage $3 million in domestic small-cap.
Trustees of the $1 billion-plus Montgomery County (Md.) Employees Retirement System authorized an increase in the fund's real estate allocation by five percentage points from the current 2.5% over the next two years.
However, the fund's allocation is unlikely to top 6.5% because some of the fund's existing real estate closed-end investments will be liquidated during that time, said Julie Dellinger, executive director.
The Labor Department is planning to release an interpretive bulletin offering guidance on proxy voting for corporate pension fund managers and investment advisers in early July, said Assistant Labor Secretary E. Olena Berg, who heads the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.
Through June 10, foreigners were net buyers of $4.27 billion of Japanese stocks this year, compared with a total of $841 million in all of 1993, said Thomas Norton.
Mr. Norton is the president of Thomas Norton Associates Inc., New York, a broker of Japanese emerging growth stocks. Mr. Norton was citing data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
U.S. and European institutional investors are more concerned about social issues than corporate governance, according to a survey released by The Conference Board on relations between companies and large investors.
In contrast, British companies report corporate governance issues rank above social issues for institutional investors there, largely because of the attention focused on the subject by the Cadbury report.
In all cases, however, those surveyed say that company performance is the top concern for large investors.
Paribas Asset Management has launched an open-end emerging markets fund with a twist. The fund, which trades on the Dublin Stock Exchange, has two options: Investors can participate in the passively managed portion that uses Baring Securities' emerging markets index, or they can participate in a portion that allows them to choose from among 17 country portfolios, each tracking a separate Barings country index.
In the latter case, investors can set their own allocation among markets and once a month are allowed to transfer assets among them.
A new report from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, Washington said public and private employers spent $629 billion on non-cash benefits in 1992, representing 18% of total compensation.