DUBLIN, Ireland - New Ireland Assurance Co. PLC, Ireland's second-largest life insurer, named Chase Manhattan Bank as global custodian to Ir600 million ($948 million) in equities, said Michael Dangerfield, group investment manager.
Chase replaces an Irish bank Mr. Dangerfield declined to name.
He said New Ireland Assurance made the change to get improved processing and servicing its of its securities.
Equity holdings rise
20.7% to $8.9 trillion
NEW YORK - Equity holdings of the world's major institutional investors rose 20.7% to $8.9 trillion last year, pushed up by strong stock markets worldwide, according to Technimetrics Inc., a New York-based financial information firm.
London-based managers topped the $1 trillion mark in total equity assets, rising to $1.018 trillion from $754 billion at year-end 1994. Other European financial centers, at year-end 1995, include: Zurich, $411 billion; Geneva, $264 billion; Paris, $261 billion; Frankfurt, $157 billion; and Edinburgh, $138 billion.
North American money managers' equity assets grew to $4 trillion in 1995, a rise of $980 billion at the top 2,200 institutions. The leading cities: metropolitan New York, $896 billion; Boston, $604 billion; San Francisco, $289 billion; Los Angeles, $243 billion; and Chicago, $179 billion; Philadelphia, $173 billion; Toronto, $173 billion; Hartford area, $126 billion.
Tokyo, the only Asian city with more than $100 billion in equity assets, remained virtually flat at $1.524 trillion in total equity assets.
at Asian midcaps
SAN FRANCISCO - Matthews International Capital Management has turned a more favorable eye on perceived undervalued midcap stocks in Asia, said Carol Chuang, senior portfolio manager. Believing many of the region's big-cap stocks have become relatively pricey - even as earnings growth of the underlying companies slows from a brisk pace - the firm is putting more emphasis on midsized stocks.
In its Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund, the firm has about 52% in midcap stocks vs. about 43% in large caps. Until January, the ratio was just about the opposite. In its Hong Kong exposure, about 65% to 70% of the portfolio is now in midcap stocks, up from about half of that amount at the end of 1995.
Some of the Hong Kong-listed midcaps Ms. Chuang likes: C.P. Pokphand Co. Ltd. in agribusiness; Giordano Holdings in retailing; and Dah Sing Financial Holdings.
office in Edinburgh
EDINBURGH - William M. Mercer Ltd. has opened an investment consulting office in Edinburgh, headed by Andrew Green, an actuary who has worked for Mercer for the past 10 years.
"This is an operation we wanted to set up as an extension to the London consulting practice," said Mr. Green, a senior pension consultant.
The expansion was fueled by added responsibilities placed on trustees by last year's Pensions Act and a growing need for investment advice. Mercer's U.K. investment practice has doubled in size in the past five years, noted Andrew Dyson, who oversees the firm's U.K. investment consulting practice.
U.K. funds sell 2.4 billion
in domestic equities
LONDON - British pension funds sold a net of 2.4 billion ($3.7 billion) in U.K. equities during the first quarter, continuing a 3-year-old trend, according to the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics.
In total, self-administered U.K. pension funds made net investments of 2.4 billion, down from 3.3 billion in the fourth quarter, but up from a net disinvestment of 492 million in the first quarter of 1995.
The biggest gainers from U.K. pension investors: U.K. gilts, 1.7 billion; authorized unit trusts, 1 billion; and short-term assets, 1.5 billion. Net investments in overseas equities increased 231 million. U.K. pension funds had total asset of 519 billion at the end of 1995, up 17% from 443 billion a year earlier, the government agency said.
Total net investment by all U.K. institutions was 13.5 billion in the first quarter, down from 14.9 billion in the previous quarter - but double total net investment of 6.8 billion in the first quarter of 1995.
Short-term assets increased by 3.4 billion; U.K. gilts rose 5.3 billion; overseas securities increased 3.8 billion. U.K. stocks fell 543 million.