Alaska Permanent Fund, Juneau, will again seek legislative approval to raise the equity limit on its $19 billion fund to 60% from the current 50%.
The Budget and Audit Committee will introduce such a bill when the Legislature convenes Jan. 12, said Rep. Terry Martin of Anchorage, who favors increasing the fund's investment flexibility. He complained the fund is required to sell stocks to stay at the 50% limit, incurring an opportunity loss as the markets have risen.
Jim Kelly, director-communications, said the fund had to sell $600 million in stocks in the fiscal year ended June 30. The fund's current allocation is 50% stocks, 43% fixed income and 7% real estate.
In the previous legislative session, a similar bill was not approved.
Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York, New York Police Department Pension Fund and New York City Board of Education Retirement System as well as New York State Teachers' Retirement System, all voted to join New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall's lawsuit against officials of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. The aim is to protect their investment in the company, which is under investigation by the government for mismanagement and fraud.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, Pasadena, and the National Industry Pension Fund, Washington, also joined the suit, bringing the number of institutional plaintiffs to 12, with a collective stake of 15.3 million shares in Columbia.
Merle Wilkins, former pension officer for the Austin (Texas) Employees' Retirement System, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and bank fraud in federal district court in Austin.
She also will pay $210,557.73 in restitution and $200 to The Victims of Crime Fund. After her release from prison, she will have three years of supervised release. Where and when Ms. Wilkins will report to prison has yet to be determined.
Slightly more than half of the nation's public pension funds have safeguards built into state laws to protect benefits promised to current employees, according to a study of 272 public plans by the Public Retirement Institute. The benefit guarantees typically cover the benefit formula, vesting, the ability to purchase service credits and benefit rights, according to the study. Other funds offer benefit guarantees through state constitutions, contract law or other legal guarantees.
More than 80% of 401(k) total plan costs are associated with investment expenses, according to data included in just-released 1997 401(k) Provider Directory Averages Book by HR Investment Consultants. Most employers don't know how much they are paying for 401(k) plan services, said Joe Valetta, principal at HR. Fees for a 500-participant plan range from a low of $158 to a high of $767 per year per employee with an average of $371 per year, according to HR.