President Clinton's federal budget proposal for fiscal 1998, released today, is thin on employee benefit provisions.
The budget carries over from last year a provision to expand fully deductible IRAs to individuals with gross incomes (adjusted for tax deductions) of up to $65,000 and for families with incomes up to $100,000 - double current limits. And the current $2,000 annual cap on contributions would be increased each year to reflect inflation. The administration also is expected to separately unveil a legislative package of pension simplification and technical correction proposals.
The documents also showed the PBGC's liabilities have shrunk to $13 billion from $19 billion in fiscal 1997.
WR Lazard acquired Pecksland Associates, an equity manager. The deal is expected to close Friday; terms were not disclosed.
Pecksland will be merged with WR Lazard Asset Management and its chairwoman, Phoebe Zaslove, will be CEO of the combined entity, to be based in a new Boston office.
The combination creates a firm with $1.4 billion in assets, said Marianne Camille Spraggins, CEO of WR Lazard. The firm will expand its product offerings after the merger.
Institutional Shareholder Services recommended investors withhold voting for Walt Disney's five directors up for re-election at the Feb. 25 annual meeting. ISS also recommends shareholders vote for two executive compensation plans but against both shareholder proposals, one on sweatshops and one on executive compensation.
The first compensation plan is a cash bonus plan for top executives linked to performance; the second is a bonus plan for CEO Michael Eisner, which requires shareholder approval. One shareholder proposal asks Disney to tell shareholders what standards it uses in picking suppliers; the other asks the board to review pay practices for top executives.
The PBGC reached an agreement with Anchor Glass Container Corp., Tampa, that will keep the company's three pension plans alive. The PBGC will drop its court action filed last month, which sought to terminate the plans. The plans have $325 million in assets and nearly $515 million in liabilities.
Consumers Packaging, which is purchasing most of the company, will pay $18 million in missed contributions at the close of the sale. The new Anchor also will pay required pension contributions, which last year totaled $30 million. Owens-Brockway, a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois, will acquire a small portion of the old Anchor and be responsible for about $15 million of the unfunded liability.
Vitro, Sociedad Anonima of Mexico - the old Anchor Glass parent - will guarantee payments of up to $70 million over the next 10 years if the PBGC needs to terminate any of the pension plans.
Without seeking SEC permission, Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has taken the unusual step of directly informing a shareholder that it doesn't plan to include a proposal in its ballot for its May 13 annual meeting.
Mercy Health Services, Farmington Hills, Mich., had asked the semiconductor manufacturer to tell shareholders the number of women and minorities it employs in each of the nine major job categories identified by the EEOC. The religious investor also asked the company to describe what it is doing to hire more women and minorities.
Cypress CEO T.J. Rodgers notified Mercy Health in a letter that the company did not plan to include the proposal in its proxy ``because we believe it is fundamentally flawed.''
William E. Morley, senior associate director in the SEC division of corporation finance, confirmed the company has not requested permission to exclude the proposal from its ballot. While the deadline has passed, the agency can't take any legal action against Cypress unless the company mails out its shareholder ballot without the proposal in it, he said. The SEC intends to remind the company of its responsibilities to comply with proxy rules or face legal action, he said.
Company officials did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
The Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Assocation, Concord, Calif., hired Bankers Trust to temporarily manage a $55 million GDP-weighted international equity indexed portfolio. The money had been actively run by an unidentified firm that was terminated, said Chuck Barron, the $2 billion fund's assistant retirement administrator.
The Rhode Island State Investment Commission, Providence, hired Fidelity as administrator for its $83.6 million 457 plan.
Aetna Life Insurance and Variable Annuity Life had offered a life insurance-based plan to the plan's participants.
BMW of North America hired Diversified Investment Advisors to provide retirement planning education to employees for both the company's $15.5 million defined benefit plan and $19 million defined contribution plan. Diversified already is sole manager of the company's defined benefit plan