The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled employers can't fire employees to change benefits. In the case - Inter-Modal Rail Employees Association vs. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. - Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said while an employer can amend or eliminate its benefit plan, it can't terminate employees and move their jobs elsewhere for that purpose.
Former employees of Santa Fe Terminal Services filed suit when parent Atchison, Topeka canceled its cargo handling contract with SFTS and moved it to another company that had lower benefit levels. Employees of SFTS who didn't want to move to the other company were terminated.
Refco Group today confirmed its acquisition of Forstman-Leff Associates, a money manager with $3 billion of U.S. equities for institutional clients. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but one consultant indicated the deal was worth $70 million. Refco President Tone Grant declined to corroborate the amount.
Mr. Grant said a holding company will be formed with him as chairman and Donald Phillips as president. Mr. Phillips is former chairman of investor Sam Zell's series of real estate funds. The holding company will consist of Forstman-Leff, which will retain its name, and former members of the institutional fixed-income group of UBS Asset Management, which joined Refco last week.
AMRESCO Advisors purchased the investment advisory contracts of Seidler Realty Advisors, bringing its total assets under management to $1.1 billion and total clients to 40, said Gary Schwandt, AMRESCO managing director. Seidler's pension fund clients include the San Diego County Construction Laborers, San Diego County Cement Masons, Sheet Metal Workers of Southern California, and Arizona and Nevada and San Diego Electrical Workers, according to the 1997 Money Market Directory.
Mutual of Omaha hired Callan Associates to help design and development of a new series of proprietary mutual funds to offer in a new bundled 401(k) plan program debuting in the third quarter.
Callan will write the investment mandates and hire separate account managers to run various asset classes for the mutual funds, said Bud Wright, senior vice president and director of Mutual of Omaha's retirement plans division. A series of lifestyle funds also will be offered, using the core proprietary funds as underlying investment vehicles.
For the bundled program, targeted at plans with 100 to 1,000 participants, Callan will pick mutual funds and be responsible for performance measurement, monitoring and oversight of the manager-of-manager stable. Manager selection will be finalized by July 1.
Mutual of Omaha also is in the final stage of selecting a third-party administrator for its new bundled program. A record keeper will be selected before July 1.
The State of Illinois Employees Deferred Compensation Plan, Springfield, issued RFPs for record-keeping services. Responses are due June 4, according to a fund spokesman. The contract is expected to be awarded by September. The $850 million 457 plan has about 34,000 active participants. T. Rowe Price is the current record keeper and is expected to rebid for the contract, required by the state every five years.
Hedge fund managers were down on average 0.12% in April, based on the performance of managers in the WPG-Hennessee Hedge Fund Index. The best performing hedge fund style was Latin America-focused managers, who returned 3.15% for the month and 21.36% for the four months. Biotech hedge fund managers were the worst performers, with -1.5% for April and -3.6% for the four months, according to WPG-Hennessee.