Fleet Financial Group renewed its five-year contract with SEI Corp. for trust and securities accounting software for the combined $70 billion trust business of Fleet and Shawmut National Corp. SEI will provide its SEI 3000 software to support investment management, account administration and operations for 75,000 trust accounts.
Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo is planning to add new products by the beginning of next year, including a REIT fund and several hybrid funds using commodities. Grantham Mayo is close to an agreement with a firm that will operate a pool of more than 25 managers to handle different commodities. Grantham Mayo will use the commodities as a return enhancement vehicle, said GMO partner Jeremy Grantham. The firm will attach the commodities' alpha to assets such as U.S. Treasury bills, Treasury bonds, the S&P 500 index and possibly a commodity index.
Merrill Lynch acquired the assets and client business of third-party record keeper Preferred Benefits Corp. Terms were not disclosed. Preferred Benefits provides daily valued record-keeping services to more than 1,000 of Merrill Lynch's small and midsized defined contribution plan clients through an alliance.
Union Bank of California is searching for a record keeper for a new proprietary bundled 401(k) product for plans with 100 or fewer employees. The product, to be marketed by retail brokers, will be launched this spring. Investments will likely include the bank's proprietary Stepstone mutual funds and other funds. Stepstone already offers a bundled product for plans with more than 100 employees.
Managed futures firms reported positive preliminary returns for October but continued to lag major stock and bond indexes for the year. The Managed Account Report flash estimate of commodity trading adviser returns was up 0.8% for October, bringing the year-to-date return to 9.81%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was down 0.36% in October, and up 29.31% for the year through October. The Salomon Broad Bond Index was up 1.34% and 15.14% for the same periods.
The BARRA/MLM Index, an index that uses a simple trend-following system to act as a benchmark for managed futures managers, was up 0.98% in October and 8.49% for the year through October.
Returns in pooled stable value funds held steady in the third quarter with an average return of 1.6% for the quarter ended Sept. 30, according to the Heuler Analytics universe of pooled GIC funds, the same as during the second quarter.
For the 12-month period, pooled GIC funds returned an average of 6.5%, up slightly from the 12-month average of 6.43% reported at the end of the second quarter. The Hueler universe consists of bank pooled funds totaling more than $23 billion in stable value assets.
The $6.2 billion San Francisco City & County Employees' Retirement System is sending out an RFP for one or more small-cap value managers. The RFP is due back about mid-December. The board hasn't decided how much the manager or managers will receive or the source of funding. The search is being conducted primarily in-house.
The $3 billion Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, Oklahoma City, will issue RFPs for a pension consultant next week, said Jo Witt, secretary-treasurer. RFPs are due Jan. 15, with final selection to follow soon after. Mercer, the incumbent, is expected to compete; its contract expires in January. State law requires investment and consulting services be rebid every five years.
The Rutgers University Foundation, New Brunswick, N.J., hired Bank of New York to manage $7 million in a balanced portfolio. Assets came from an existing manager. The endowment has $167 million in assets, according to the Money Market Directory.