State Street Global Advisors will form a Hong Kong-based direct investment firm to take controlling stakes in small, listed Asian companies. The firm will be called Asian Direct Capital Management and will be headed by Roy Hood, former chief executive of Rothschild Asset Management's Asian operation. Also, European Direct Capital Management, a Vienna-based start-up 60% owned by SSgA, later this year will seek to raise $200 million for a limited partnership investing in controlling stakes in listed and unlisted securities in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and eventually Russia.
Both firms are part of SSgA Global Alliance, a State Street initiative to create money managers in alternative asset classes.
A bill introduced in the House would help small businesses set up simplified defined benefit plans that would be fully funded at all times and in which employees will be fully vested as soon as they are eligible to participate. Introduced by Reps. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and Harris Fawell, R-Ill., the legislation would eliminate paperwork, non-discrimination test requirements and PBGC premiums.
The bill would allow employers to establish simplified plans along the lines of cash balance plans Employers can fund the SAFE plans through purchasing individual annuities from insurers, or setting up a SAFE trust plan.
Ventura County Employees Retirement Association, Ventura, Calif., issued RFPs for an consultant. Only eight or nine firms were sent RFPs, including incumbent Asset Strategy Consulting, said Van Perris, retirement manager for the $1.5 billion fund. Trustees decided to do a search after Asset Strategy proposed an increase in its fees. RFPs are due June 9.
Sterling Heights (Mich.) Retirement System approved a new asset allocation that could result in manager searches, said Larry Amez, president of the board of trustees. The $145 million fund added small-cap equity as an asset class and increased real estate and non-U.S. equity targets. The new mix: 40% U.S. large-cap equity, 10% U.S. small-cap equity, 10% non-U.S. equity, 35% bonds and 5% real estate. The fund had a mix of roughly 60% stocks, including 4% in international, and 40% bonds. Merrill Lynch assisted. A decision on how to proceeed is expected at the board's May 27 meeting.
Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield Wis., is searching for a small-cap value and a mid- to large-cap manager for its $400 million defined contribution plan. The small-cap manager will run $10 million and the mid-/large-cap manager will run an unspecified amount of more than $10 million. Jeffrey Slocum & Associates is assisting, said Tom Bauer, retirement plans manager. Custodian Northern Trust now has the money in a value index fund. The search is expected to be finished in the next couple of months.
Lansing (Mich.) Retirement System is preparing to issue RFPs for a consultant.
The board of the $300 million fund felt personnel turnover at current consultant Hannah Group necessitated a search. Hannah will be allowed to participate. The search should be nearly finished within the next 90 days, said Bob Swanson, director of finance.
The Communications Workers of America/International Typographical Union pension fund, Washington, is asking Digital Equipment Corp. to ensure that its chief executive and chairman are separate people to keep control of the company balanced. The $1 billion pension fund, which owns 48,000 Digital shares, filed a shareholder proposal on the issue yesterday.