LONDON - U.K. pension funds reached a historic high of 8% in cash by year-end 1996, according to John Clamp, chief executive of Combined Actuarial Performance Services Ltd., Leeds.
In 1996, British funds were net sellers of their two best-performing assets classes: U.K. and U.S. equities.
Overall, the CAPS survey found the median pension fund return (including property) was 10.8% in 1996. But the spread of 2.2 percentage points between the upper quartile return of 12% and the bottom quarter return of 9.8% was the narrowest since the firm began measuring performance in 1980.
With a smaller group of managers controlling more of British pension assets, it raises the question whether managers essentially are doing the same thing, he said. Mr. Clamp warned the trend toward concentration of assets in the hands of a few balanced discretionary assets will continue this year. "This year, there will be a further flight to big names," he said.
State Street tapped
as adviser to depository
BOSTON - State Street Global Advisors was named chief technical adviser to the First Russian Specialized Depository, a private firm licensed by the Federal Commission for the Securities Market of the Russian Federation to provide custody and administrative services to Russia's unit investment funds.
A specialized depository is a custodian, fund administrator and transfer agent that services Russian unit investment funds. FRSD is one of three firms licensed by the Russian commission to exercise fiduciary oversight of Russian unit investment funds and their management companies.
AMSTERDAM - William M. Mercer Klein Haneveld Investment Consulting BV has outgrown its original quarters in The Hague, and has relocated to Amsterdam.
The consulting firm had been operating out of the home of Chief Executive Henk Klein Haneveld. But recent staff additions have caused the firm to grew to 12, from the four staff members the firm had when Mercer acquired it two years ago.
William M. Mercer is focusing on the Dutch pension market, the second largest in Europe after Great Britain.
The Dutch subsidiary could grow to 20 people within the next year to 18 months, if growth meets expectations, said Robert Baker, a senior investment consultant based in London.
Principal Financial gets OK
for Mexican partnership
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Principal Financial Group received formal approval from Mexican authorities to operate a private pension fund management firm with Mexican partner Abaco Financial Group. The firm will be called AFORE Confia-Principal.
Reynelle Cornish of Abaco said in a release that the AFORE seeks a 4% to 6% market penetration by midyear.
The two companies also will work to develop a life insurance business through Confia and other companies in the Abaco group.
BankBoston unit sets
Latin American division
BOSTON - BankBoston's Global Foreign Exchange Group formed a Latin America unit to develop products for institutional clients.
The six staff members will handle all aspects of foreign exchange, including market risk management, deal execution, sales, trading, marketing, credit and operations and systems. Pedro Piedra heads the unit.
Brydon named chief
of AXA management unit
PARIS - Donald Brydon will become chief executive officer of AXA Asset Management Europe April 23. He also will join the executive committee of AXA-UAP, the Paris-based insurance giant.
Mr. Brydon most recently had been acting chief executive of Barclays de Zoete Wedd, the investment banking arm of Barclays Bank PLC, London. However, Mr. Brydon left shortly after Bill Harrison was named chief executive of BZW a year ago.
Previously, Mr. Brydon had been chairman and CEO of BZW Investment Management Ltd. and is a former chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds.
At AXA, Mr. Brydon will be involved in coordinating global asset management activities, which include Alliance Capital Management and National Mutual Funds Management. Based in Paris and London, he will report to Henri de Castries, who heads AXA's global asset management activities.
AXA-UAP managed some $445 billion globally, as of June 30, including 1,077 billion francs ($186 billion) in Europe.
AXA-UAP also will bring on Denis Kessler as senior executive vice president and member of the executive committee. Mr. Kessler has been chairman of the Federation Francaise des Societes d'Assurance (the French Insurance Industry Federation). He will oversee AXA's insurance operations outside France and Great Britain as well as U.S. life insurance operations. He also will coordinate strategy in retirement and pension funds globally.
U.K. pension assets
hit 650 million pounds
LONDON - U.K. pension assets reached a record-breaking 650 million pounds ($1.05 trillion) at year-end 1995, according to the U.K. government.
Total pension assets rose 50 billion pounds in 1995, according to the latest available data. Corporate and public plans totaled 575 billion pounds, while personal pensions - akin to individual retirement accounts - hit 75 billion pounds, according to Department of Social Security estimates.
Peter Lilley, secretary of state for social security, noted the U.K.'s strong pension funding exceeds that of all other European Union countries combined, and boosts savings and investment into the U.K. economy.
Brunswick Russian fund
LONDON - Brunswick Capital Management (Cayman) Ltd. launched the Brunswick Russian Growth Fund. Managed out of London, the fund will be targeted to institutional investors worldwide.
The fund will invest largely in actively traded Russian equities but focus on little-known companies to achieve long-term capital growth. The fund will be an open-end, no-load fund - one of the first of its type to focus exclusively on Russian equities, the company said in a release. Brunswick Capital Management Ltd. will be the adviser.
Brunswick Capital Management (Cayman) Ltd. is part of the Brunswick group.