The IRS has conceded defeat in its disputes with thousands of small employers over conservative interest rates and retirement ages they assumed for calculating their pension plan contributions in the mid-1980s.
The agency's announcement that it will expedite more than 2,000 such pending disputes follows its decision not to appeal its loss in the Citrus Valley Estates case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The IRS has lost almost all of the cases it had disputed. Exactly how the disputes would be settled out of court could not be learned.
The IRS' disputes over actuarial assumptions resulted from its small pension plan audit program that ended some years ago.
Executives at Duff & Phelps Corp. are in high-level talks to sell the company to Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance, company and industry sources told Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.
Duff & Phelps' Chairman and CEO Francis Jeffries wouldn't confirm the report. He would only say: "We've talked with a lot of people in the last several months, but we can't comment on who."
Robert W. Fiondella, CEO of Phoenix Home Life, did not return phone calls.
The reported deal follows a scuttled attempt by Govett & Co. to purchase Duff & Phelps about three months ago.
An Oregon Circuit Court judge declared unconstitutional Measure 8, which requires public employees contribute 6% of salary to the Oregon Public Employes' Retirement System starting July 1.
The judge said the measure, which was approved by voters last November, violates workers' contract rights.
The state intends to appeal.
Separately, the Legislature approved a bill creating a two-tiered pension system for public employees, reducing the benefit formula for workers hired after Jan. 1, 1996. Gov. John Kitzhaber is likely to sign the bill.
Connecticut State Treasurer Christopher Burnham's anti-shakedown bill was passed by the House of Representatives and now awaits the signature of Gov. John Rowland.
The bill, which was approved by the state Senate last month, would prohibit both the incumbent and challengers running for treasurer from accepting campaign contributions from executives whose firms do business with the treasury.
The SEC has resumed giving companies "no action letters," permitting them to exclude shareholder proposals dealing with ordinary business matters from their proxies. The SEC has issued two letters so far this year, letting Southwestern Bell Corp. hold back a shareholder proposal dealing with blocking caller ID, and allowing B.E. Aerospace Inc. to withhold a proposal on the McBride Principles.
The $17 billion Virginia Retirement System, Richmond, selected Lehman Brothers Inc. to help it find buyers for RF&P Corp., its real estate affiliate.
Fees for the work are expected to be in the range of $1.75 million, said Bill Sullivan, a retirement system spokesman.
The $60 billion New York State & Local Retirement Systems, Albany, added $50 million each to global fixed-income managers Morgan Grenfell Asset Management and Strategic Fixed Income, according to Cynthia Munk, a fund spokeswoman. Both were hired in February and received initial allocations of $100 million. The money for the increases came from cash flow.
The $678 million Chicago Firemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund shifted $10 million to a fixed-income portfolio run by Putnam Investments from an equity portfolio managed by Chicago Asset Management.
The change is part of a move to shift assets closer to the fund's target allocations.
Putnam now manages about $67 million in a low-volatility fixed-income strategy, and Chicago Asset manages about $85 million in large-cap value.
In the future, the fund will move $55 million out of large-cap value, $15 million out of large-cap growth and $10 million out of core large-cap, according to fund documents. Also, the fund will be moving about $10 million into small-cap growth, $9 million into small-cap value, $25 million into international equity and $33 million into active fixed income.
The remainder of the shifts probably will be handled through existing managers.
Mercer is assisting the fund with its asset allocation.
The $271 million Genesee County Employees' Retirement System, Flint, Mich., hired Asset Strategies Portfolio Services to replace SEI as investment consultant, according to Warren Vyvyan, retirement coordinator.
Its first assignment will be a search for fixed-income managers to replace CSI Asset Management, which runs a $100 million domestic fixed-income portfolio for the fund. Prudential is closing its CSI unit.
The $675 million Brown University endowment, Providence, R.I., hired Bramwell Capital Management for a domestic equity allocation. Assets came from cash, said Robert Kolyer, assistant vice president, investments. He would not disclose the amount of the allocation. The search was done in-house.
North Fork Bancorp, Mattituck, N.Y., hired Scudder Defined Contribution Plan Services to provide a fully bundled service for its $4.5 million 401(k) plan. The firm had used William M. Mercer but switched to Scudder because Mercer wasn't able to do daily valuation for a small plan, according to Jackie Tooker, assistant vice president. Mercer remains the plan's consultant.
North Fork chose six investment options.
Jeremy Clegg has left Gartmore Pension Fund Managers, London, three months after joining the firm as marketing director.
A Gartmore spokeswoman said Mr. Clegg left because of differences in management style; his departure was by mutual agreement.
Mr. Clegg said he was legally bound not to comment on his departure or his plans.
Kayla J. Gillan, deputy general counsel of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, confirmed she has been recommended to fill one of three vacancies on the SEC. She said if nominated by President Clinton, she would accept the job. Ms. Gillan has been recommended by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Vic Fazio, as well as more than a dozen members of the Council of Institutional Investors.
Because of her backing by the council, which was influential in getting Steven H. Wallman onto the commission, and because she's with one of the nation's most influential public pension funds, she is believed to have a good chance of being nominated.
Richard A. Westcott, founder and chairman of Investors Management Group, Des Moines, died in his home May 31 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mr. Westcott founded the firm in 1982; it now has nearly $1.1 billion under management in domestic equity, fixed income and cash management.
Mr. Westcott's responsibilities as a senior managing director had been assumed by other senior managing directors. The chairman's post will remain vacant for now.