Surplus asset use approved
LONDON - The U.K.'s High Court ruled the National Grid Co. PLC had appropriately used 47 million pounds ($77 million) in pension surplus to pay for layoffs and other employer-related costs.
The June 10 ruling overturned findings by the U.K.'s Pensions Ombudsman. An appeal, however, is expected.
The court also held similar arrangements involving 377 million pounds in surplus assets from the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme, an industrywide pension fund, were valid.
While some pension experts believe the ruling will encourage employers to continue well-funding their plans, others thought the ruling was relevant mostly to privatized industries, such as electricity and water companies.
3i's second fund raises 537 million ECU
LONDON - 3i PLC raised 537 million ECU ($605 milion) for the first closing of its second fund to invest in unlisted companies in continental Europe.
London-based 3i committed 50% of the assets raised for Eurofund II, with eight institutional investors from Britain, the United States and Asia providing the remainder. Most were participants in other 3i funds.
EUROPEAN FUNDS GAIN $202 BILLION
LONDON - European investment funds hit a record $1.65 trillion by Sept. 30, 1996, up $202 billion in 12 months and nearly half of size of U.S. mutual fund assets, according to Lipper Analytical Services, London.
Lipper's latest European Fund Industry Directory further reveals fixed-income products are declining in importance, as a shift toward equity investments occurred last year. Equity fund assets rose 16.9% in 1996, while bond and money market asssets increased 12.7% and 10.6%, respectively. Equity funds now account for 27% of European fund assets, up from 20% in 1991. France led the list at $430 billion, followed by Germany ($282 billion), Britain ($208 billion), Switzerland ($177 billion) and Spain ($130 billion).