TACOMA, Wash. -- Frank Russell Co. released a new version of Russell Performance Universes analysis software that is designed exclusively for use with the Microsoft Windows 95 operating system.
Russell officials claim it is the first software of its kind that runs with Windows 95. Russell also has upgraded another of its software analysis products, Russell Performance Attribution software.
The Windows 95 compatibility of RPU software allows investors to analyze and present information on relative investment performance with user-friendly features, including drag-and-drop functions and automatic updating of charts.
"Investment professionals need to be able to constantly update and adjust their reports for particular clients, so we built in more flexibility and ease in communicating investment results," said Kalani Codenys, RPU product manager at Frank Russell.
According to Ms. Codenys, new features in RPU are:
Object linking and embedding to allow automatic updating of charts that are linked to other Windows applications;
Greater graphic flexibility so users can modify graphics in presentation without leaving the RPU program and so multiple graphs can be placed on a single page;
The ability of users to create their own data folders that can then be dragged directly into a chart in order to create new graphic displays of the data.
"The more we learn about this software, the more we like it," said George Larson, financial analyst in the investment analysis group of Chevron Corp., San Francisco, one of Russell's software clients.
"Let's say we want to compare our pension fund managers against a half a dozen indexes. We can just grab the indexes quickly and put them in a component file without having to deal with each one separately," said Mr. Larson.
"The best features (of RPU) are complete customization for reports and links that automatically update your reports when new data comes in," said John Kevin, a portfolio analyst at The Vanguard Group, Valley Forge, Pa., a client. "You don't have to re-create the wheel each time you update your records."
The upgraded RPA software can assemble and display data from a specific selection of assets in a pooled fund. It has eight new options to summarize and display data; the effects of changes in currency rates on performance can be analyzed by assigning specific currencies to individual report formats, avoiding time-consuming adjustments. For more information, contact Chris Phillips at Russell at 253-594-1858.
New apartment database
WASHINGTON -- Officials with the Multifamily Housing Institute, Washington, is offering a new financial database on apartments, which MHI says will be useful for money managers, pension consultants and pension funds in making investment decisions. Institutional investors and consultants can use the database, called Apartment Performance and Trends DataSource, or AptData, to measure the performance of apartments they are considering acquiring, said James T. Pastore, a spokesman for MHI.
They also can use the database to compare how apartments they already own are performing financially against other apartments in the database, he said.
The database also can be used to see how apartment markets are performing in various geographical areas, said Mr. Pastore.
AptData contains financial information on nearly 3 million apartments, and information is included in up to 225 categories. Data providers include more than 100 of the largest apartment owners, lenders, loan servicers and managers. AptData will be available the first quarter of 1998. For details, contact Shaun M. Brady at MHI at 202-624-7191.
Wisconsin uses Merrin platform
MADISON, Wis. -- The $46 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, will use Merrin Financial Corp.'s Multi-Currency Trading Platform.
The Wisconsin fund selected the Merrin product after a rigorous selection process and with help from the consulting firm Price Waterhouse, said Mike Besul, information technology director for the Wisconsin fund.
The investment board is also planning to use Merrin's InterMarket Trading Network. The order routing network allows traders and portfolio managers to send trades and receive indications of interest electronically across a network directly and securely from their broker, according to officials with Merrin.
BARRA adds to Cosmos
BERKELEY, Calif. -- New analysis tools have been added to BARRA Inc.'s Cosmos software, a fixed-income portfolio management software system. They include:
Decision, software to help analyze and manage exposures of taxable and tax-exempt bonds and derivatives. It uses what are called Key Rate Durations to evaluate effects of changes in interest on any security or portfolio.
Precision, BARRA's software for the analysis of structured products such as collateralized mortgage obligations and mortgage-backed securities.
The tools result from BARRA's acquisition earlier this year of Global Advanced Technology Corp., New York. BARRA's fixed-income products now range from sophisticated single-security analysis to risk management in both a single-country and global context.