A group of Walt Disney shareholders are claiming victory because the company agreed to comply with their request on sweatshop labor practices, even though their resolution received only 8.5% of shareholder votes at the Feb. 25 annual meeting.
Progressive Asset Management, the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church and Franklin Research and Development asked Disney to report on the standards it uses to hire contractors, suppliers and buying agents worldwide.
But Tom Deegan, a Disney spokesman, said, ``They're taking credit for pressuring us, which is not a fair way to describe it all.'' The company has had a code of conduct for years, but will now publish the code on forms that can be posted at contractors' and licensees' operations around the world, he said.
Equitable Real Estate acquired a 50% stake in AMB Rosen Real Estate Securities, a public REIT money manager. Equitable bought its interest in the firm from AMB Institutional Realty for an undisclosed sum. The firm has been renamed ERE Rosen. The other 50% is owned by Kenneth Rosen and Michael Torres, the principals.
The REIT company - which has $170 million under management - will continue its operation from Berkeley, Calif.
The Minneapolis Employees' Retirement System might boost its real estate allocation, said Farouki Majeed, investment officer for the $1.2 billion fund. It would assign a new manager $15 million to bring the real estate allocation to its 5% target. The system would consider both real estate managers and REIT investments. Assets would come from cash flow. A decision could be made next month.
Mississippi State University, Starkville, is doing an asset allocation study for the $90 million endowment fund, said David D. Easley, chief financial officer-development foundation. The board is considering boosting the equity allocation to 70% from 65%. The remainder is in fixed income. The board could make a decision in May. Wellesley Group is assisting in the study.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, will hold hearings March 19 on the savings and investment proposals in President Clinton's proposed federal budget for fiscal 1988, including a proposal to expand tax-deductible IRAs. ``The president has recognized the need for tax incentives for savings and investment. I heartily concur,'' said Mr. Archer. He also noted he continues to believe that replacing the current tax system with a consumption tax is the ultimate solution for increasing the national saving rate.
Nashville and Davidson County (Tenn.) Metro Employees Benefit Fund hired Furman Selz, George D. Bjurman and Associates and Insight Capital and Research to manage an increased equity mandate.
Each firm will get $8 million for small-cap growth equity from the $971 million fund, said Christi Pierce, accountant. The hires come after an asset allocation study that increased overall equity investments to 75% of assets from 60%. The bond allocation was lowered to 25% from 40%, but no managers were terminated. PaineWebber assisted.
GTE added five individual investment choices to its $4 billion 401(k) savings plan as well as an aggressive growth strategy fund to its four strategy funds.
The new individual choices are the MAS Fixed Income Fund, Morgan Stanley Institutional Equity Growth Fund, Templeton Institutional Foreign Equity Fund, Templeton Institutional Emerging Markets Fund and Warburg Pincus Emerging Growth Fund. With the additions, 10 individual choices are being offered.
The aggressive growth strategy fund is composed of 85% core domestic, international and aggressive U.S. equity funds and 15% aggressive international equity funds.
Robert H. Graham was named CEO of AIM Management Group, succeeding Charles T. Bauer, who will remain as chairman. Mr. Graham was a co-founder of AIM in 1976 and was elected president in 1989 after serving as executive vice president.
Bluford H. Putnam was named to the newly created position of president at CDC Investments. The former managing director at Bankers Trust Global will oversee investing and marketing at CDC.
No one will directly take his place at Bankers Trust Global. According to a spokesman, his role as chief investment strategist for equities was restructured. Frank Salerno now is chief strategist for passive and structured portfolios; a chief strategist for actively managed equities has yet to be appointed.
Jacques Rolfo, former CIO at CDC, will head the structured programs group of CDC Capital, the capital market subsidiary of CDC North America. His is a new position. Mr. Rolfo will lead the expansion of CDC Capital in institutional and propriety structured products