W.R. Lazard is in talks to acquire another money management firm to add to its asset base. The talks are in the preliminary stages, said Melvin Neal, vice chairman. He would not identify the firm.
Lazard had been rumored to be discussing a merger with Smith, Graham Asset Management, another minority-owned firm. Both Mr. Neal and Ladell Graham, chairman of Smith Graham, denied the rumor and said they had not held talks.
The $800 million pension fund for Sandoz Corp., New York, terminated three active domestic stock managers, moving the $210 million they had run into a large-cap index fund managed by State Street Bank, said Robert Hunkeler, associate director-management and financing.
Managers terminated were BEA Associates, Delaware Management and Neuberger & Berman. Mr. Hunkeler said the separations were amicable.
The fund now has $280 million in the index fund. Market neutral and overlay strategies will be added to get ``an active complement,'' said Todd Tibbetts, manager-trust investments and foreign exchange.
Mr. Hunkeler said the move is part of a strategic plan to focus active management on inefficient investment classes.
Trustees of the $60 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, Sacramento, will be asked next week to approve an RFP for up to two money managers to evaluate the fund's existing real estate portfolio and make recommendations on which properties may be tradable into public REITs.
The manager or managers hired also will evaluate the REIT candidates for their potential for further investment by CalSTRS. No dates have been set yet for the RFP, but work on distributing the RFP is expected to begin shortly if the board approves the staff request as expected.
Capstone Asset Management acquired New Castle Advisers, which has $200 million under management in short-term cash, intermediate-term bonds and synthetic GICs. Terms were not disclosed.
All staff will remain; Howard Potter, New Castle's president, has become a managing director of Capstone.
The $1.2 billion Montgomery County Employees' Retirement System, Rockville, Md., increased its allocation to its S&P index fund with State Street Bank to $150 million from an initial $104 million, said Patrick Bell, senior investment officer. The money came from an across-the-board cut in existing managers' allocations.
The system probably will conduct an asset allocation study at the end of the year, and examine the possibility of investing in tactical asset allocation, he said.
SEARCHES & HIRINGS
The $2.5 billion New Hampshire Retirement System, Concord, hired Jennison Associates Capital for $150 million in large-cap domestic equities. Turner Investment Partners was terminated. J.P. Singh, the fund's director of finance, cited lagging performance by Turner and the perception that the firm's ``strategy for the future was very vague.'' Robert Turner, chairman and CIO of Turner Investment Partners, could not be reached for comment.
Evaluation Associates assisted in the manager search.
The $500 million St. Paul (Minn.) Teachers' Retirement System hired two domestic fixed-income managers, said Eugene R. Waschbusch, secretary and treasurer. State Street Research & Management was assigned $100 million; Voyageur Asset Management, $50 million. The money had been run by CSI, which was absorbed by Prudential.
The $70 billion New York State and Local Retirement Systems, Albany, renewed its contract with real estate consultant Institutional Property Consultants following a search, said a spokesman for State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, trustee of the retirement system. The contract is for three years.
Mellon Mortgage Co. was hired as the retirement system's mortgage servicer, replacing Chemical Bank, said the spokesman.
Nevada Power Co., Las Vegas, hired Twentieth Century Services as bundled service provider for its $16 million defined contribution plan. Seven Twentieth Century/Benham mutual funds will be offered, as well as a BZW Barclay's Global Investors equity index fund.
Twentieth Century will provide daily valued record keeping, education and communications and other services.
Nevada Power had used Fidelity for investments and Towers Perrin for administration and record keeping.
The $350 million Middlesex County Retirement System, East Cambridge, Mass., invested $1.5 million in venture capital in the North Atlantic Venture Fund II; $10 million in Irish equities with the Allied Irish Bank; and $3 million in Dragon Pacific, a Vietnamese venture capital fund. Funding mostly came from cutting the allocation to domestic bonds and allowing the system to increase its non-U.S. equities allocation