SEARCHES & HIRINGS
Three merging Midwest utilities are searching for a consultant to assist them in considering the consolidation of part or all of their retirement plans. The three -Wisconsin Power & Light Co., Madison, Wis., IES Utilities Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Interstate Power Co., Dubuque, Iowa - have more than $480 million in defined benefit and $240 million in defined contribution assets combined.
Their current consultants are leading contenders, but other firms will be considered. Wisconsin Power now uses Yanni-Bilkey; IES uses Capital Resources; Interstate uses the Principal Group. The companies also are considering selecting a single trustee. Wisconsin Power now uses M&I Trust, IES uses FIRMCO, and Interstate uses Dubuque Bank.
The utilities will merge under the name Interstate Energy Corp., to be based in Madison. Decisions on the consultant and trustee could be made by summer.
East Bay Municipal Utility District Employees' Retirement System, Oakland, Calif., narrowed to three the candidates in its search for custodian for its $375 million fund, said Lloyd J. Sawchuk, treasury manager.
They are State Street Bank & Trust, Bankers Trust and Northern Trust. The new custodian will replace incumbent Wells Fargo, which also was a candidate but didn't make the finals. The fund's board could make a decision next month.
Otter Tail Power Co., Fergus Falls, Minn., hired Lazard Freres as a U.S. small-cap manager for its $125 million defined benefit plan. The firm will replace Investment Advisers in running $7 million. Bruce Clark, manager-compensation and employee benefits, would not give the reasoning for Investment Advisers' termination. Mercer assisted.
Hampden County Contributory Retirement System, Springfield, Mass., with $115 million in assets, picked Sirach Capital to manage $30 million in an active core bond portfolio, said Alison Ellsworth, the Segal Advisors consultant who assisted. Funding for Sirach came from Freedom Capital, which continues to run $45 million in stocks for the system.
Petrie Retail Inc., Secaucus, N.J., hired Bank of New York as custodian, trustee and investment manager for a newly combined defined benefit plan. Petrie's and Winkleman Stores' defined benefit plans were consolidated into one plan under Petrie Retail.
Assets for the consolidated plan will be managed in a balanced strategy. Evaluation Associates assisted. A Petrie spokeswoman declined to state the size of the plan.
Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Provida SA, Santiago, Chile, a pension fund administration firm, selected three non-Chilean equity mutual funds. They are: State Street Global's SSgA Emerging Markets Fund, for a $2.5 million investment; an Asian fund of Morgan Stanley, for $2.5 million; and an emerging markets equity fund of INVESCO, for about $3 million, said a Provida official who asked not to be named. Provida, which manages the equivalent of $6 billion, is the largest AFP in Latin America