WESTPORT, Conn. - Value Asset Management bought a 75% stake in investment manager Harris Bretall Sullivan & Smith, San Francisco.
Price of the sale was not disclosed.
Harris Bretall partners all will receive stock in VAM's holding company and will retain a 25% stake in Harris Bretall, which will continue to operate independently.
Also, Harris Bretall President W. Graeme Bretall, who will continue to head the firm, has been appointed to the VAM board of directors.
Other senior management at Harris Bretall also will remain intact.
Harris Bretall has about $2.1 billion in assets under management and focuses on large-cap growth equity.
VAM is a holding company that invests in privately held asset investment firms with between $500 million and $10 billion under management.
Court settlement reached
in Boston Carpenters case
BRIGHTON, Mass. - Five former trustees and two current trustees of the Boston Carpenters Apprenticeship Fund, Brighton, Mass., have agreed to pay $62,500 to the fund, and revise procedures for what expenses the fund pays, under a legal judgment obtained by the Labor Department. The trustees also will pay a $12,500 civil penalty, as mandated by federal pension law, for breach of fiduciary duties.
The judgment in U.S. District Court in Boston settles a lawsuit filed by the Labor Department in 1995 over the alleged improper purchase by the trustees of the pension plan's land in Brighton for $900,000, far higher than the fair market value as assessed by an appraiser hired by the trustees. Also settled was a dispute over the reimbursement of trustees' expenses for travel, meals and drinks, car rental and hotels.
ontra Costa County
delays EAFE search
CONCORD, Calif. - The $2.2 billion Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association delayed an impending search for an EAFE manager because the board asked its consultant to review other scenarios, said Chuck Barron, assistant retirement administrator.
The board was considering a top-down EAFE manager for a $70 million assignment. But it asked Dorn Helliesen & Cottle to evaluate bottom-up and other types of EAFE investments and report to the board.
The amount of the assignment could change as well. Funding likely will come from a reallocation.
The board could make a decision by the end of the month.
Alaska State nears real estate decision:
Juneau, Alaska- The $10billion Alaska State Pension Investment Board named seven semifinalists in its search for a team of core-plus and value-added real estate equity managers.
Two to four managers will be hired, to manage between $300 to $400 million.
Core-plus real estate equity finalists are Allegis Realty Investors, INVESCO Realty Advisors, PM Realty Advisors and SSR Realty Advisors.
Value-added manager finalists are Fidelity Management Trust, Lowe Enterprises and Urdang & Associates.
Final selection is expected in October.
Lynn City drops
LYNN, Mass. - The $112 million Lynn City Contributory Retirement System terminated Investment Advisers Inc., Minneapolis, which managed $23 million for the system in domestic midcap to large-cap growth stocks.
"We didn't think the management was up to par," said Barbara Belliveau, executive secretary. IAI executives didn't return calls seeking comment.
Ms. Ellsworth also cited a high turnover of portfolio managers at the firm as a reason for the termination.
New manager, custodian
eyed by grocers' fund
ST. LOUIS - Trustees for the Associated Grocers Co. of St. Louis, Missouri's $11 million defined benefit plan will decide in the next 30 to 45 days on hiring a new investment manager.
Boatmen's Trust now is the sole investment manager, running a balanced portfolio, and is custodian.
Larry Steelman, president of Associated Grocers, expects the fund will use Bankers Trust as custodian and possibly an arm of NationsBank as the new sole investment manager. Nothing has been finalized, he added.
Fund officials are now reviewing and interviewing managers. Boatmen's recent purchase by NationsBank and exit from the custodial business is what prompted the fund to look at other management firms.
draws to an end
BATON ROUGE, La. - City of Baton Rouge & Parish of East Baton Rouge Employees' Retirement System trustees narrowed their search for a domestic fixed-income manager to six finalists: PIMCO; Western Asset Management; BlackRock Financial Management; Standish, Ayer & Wood; Orleans Capital Management; and Lincoln Capital Management.
The final selection will be made before the end of the month, according to Jeff Yates, executive director of the $600 million fund. The placement will be at least $40 million.
Piper Jaffray settlement
approved by court
MINNEAPOLIS - Piper Jaffray received final federal court approval for a class-action settlement with investors regarding the use of mortgage-backed securities in Piper Jaffray's seven closed-end mutual funds, a statement from the firm said.
Some $15.5 million will be paid to shareholders over four years. There also will be an offer to repurchase a limited amount of closed-end shares at net asset value.
Board members also will propose that three of the funds be converted to open-end status two years from the effective date of the settlement, if fund discounts do not fall below 5%.
A spokeswoman said there is still one other related suit outstanding.
Kerr pension fund
WASHINGTON - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. reached a preliminary agreement with Fremont Partners and Kerr Group Inc., ensuring the continuation of the Kerr pension plan and providing for accelerated funding of the pension plan.
Under the agreement, Kerr will continue to be responsible for the pension plan, which covers 5,600 workers and pensioners, and is underfunded by about $41 million.
Kerr, which is being acquired by Fremont Partners, a leveraged buy-out firm, also will contribute $3.5 million to the pension plan when the acquisition is completed, and $35.5 million periodically until January 2003.
When the final agreement is signed, the PBGC will drop its efforts to take over the pension plan, but will continue to be second in line only behind Fremont's primary lenders for all of Kerr's assets.
The agreement will be in effect for at least five years and until Kerr achieves investment-grade ratings.
add self-directed plans
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The health-care industry's use of self-directed defined contribution plans increased 33% since 1993, to 89% from 75%, according to a Roper study sponsored by The Copeland Cos.
The study said defined benefit plans remain the primary retirement vehicle, but plans are starting to cut back on cost-of-living adjustments. Only 11% of plans now offer COLAs, a 21% decrease since 1995 and a 39% decrease since 1993, according to the study.
The average participation rate in health care defined contribution plans increased to 67% from 58% in 1995.
index to track REITs
NEW YORK - Standard & Poor's Financial Information Services is introducing a composite index designed to track the performance of REITs. The new index consists of 100 REITs and covers more than 80% of the securitized real estate market. Issues have to be traded on a major U.S. stock exchange to qualify and must have a market value at least $100 million.
The REIT Composite Index is composed of equity, mortgages and hybrids. Roughly 25% of the index is retail; 23%, apartments; and 16% industrial and offices and the rest mortgages and hybrids.
Chamber of Commerce
taps EDC for services
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce hired EDC Co. to provide members and chamber employees with discounted third-party administrative services for 401(k) and flexible benefit plans, said Sharon Konieczny, a spokeswoman. EDC will provide all record keeping, custody, compliance and reporting services, as well as employee education and communication.
Chamber members will save 15% to 70% off regular administrative fees.
TIAA-CREF lets spouses
participate in 1 program
NEW YORK - TIAA-CREF opened up its Rollover IRA program to the spouses of the 2 million participants it services in the higher education and research institutional market.
The program also is open to active and retired employees of K-12 public school employees and their spouses. The same 10 investment options offered to active 403(b) plan participants are available to IRA customers.
Web site offers real time
look at stock exchange
NEW YORK - The American Stock Exchange has unveiled its redesigned Web site which offers a page with a real-time view of the trading floor of the exchange. at www.amex.com. Special video software is required.
PBGC's Strauss explains
meeting with priest
WASHINGTON - PBGC Executive Director David M. Strauss, who was deputy chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore until July, told a Senate panel investigating campaign finance abuses that a March 15, 1996, White House meeting between Mr. Gore and a Buddhist priest was not a preamble to a fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple in Los Angeles the following month.
And Mr. Strauss denied the April 29, 1996, temple luncheon Mr. Gore attended was intended to be a fund-raiser, and denied he knew about any money collected at the event.
"I believe I know what a fund-raiser is, and this was not a fund-raiser," Mr. Strauss testified in Washington before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Nor did the vice president have any knowledge the event was a fund-raiser, Mr. Strauss told lawmakers. He said Mr. Gore relied on him and briefing materials for information about the event.
Republican lawmakers have pointed to extensive correspondence between Mr. Gore's schedulers and other aides, some of which Mr. Strauss said he was privy to, that frequently referred to the event as a fund-raiser.
Mr. Strauss' testimony was central to an ongoing inquiry into Mr. Gore's involvement in illegal campaign fund-raising last year.