School contribution may be skipped
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Legislature passed a bill Dec. 2 allowing the Chicago Board of Education to skip its annual contribution to the Public School Teachers' Pension & Retirement Fund of Chicago if the funded ratio reaches 90%.
This year the ratio is 95%, said Michael Nehf, executive director of the teachers' fund. "It jeopardizes the pension fund's strong financial position and it's an unfortunate precedent that was set."
The $8.2 billion fund will lose $20 million in school board contributions this year and about $400 million over the next 10 years. The money withheld from the teachers' fund, along with revenue from "sin taxes," will be used to fund schools statewide.
Houston firefighters' fund cited for performance
HOUSTON -- Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund has been named the top performing U.S. public pension fund for the five-year period ended June 30 by R.V. Kuhns & Associates. The $1.4 billion fund had a compound annual return of 15.5%, the best of 88 public pension funds included in the survey.
Danny Bowers, chief investment officer of the fund, said the strong returns were largely because of minimal turnover among fund managers, asset allocation and a long-term approach.
Former pension officer gets prison sentence
AUSTIN, Texas -- Merle Wilkins, former pension officer for the Austin Employees Retirement System, has been sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and bank fraud in federal court.
She also will pay $210,557.73 in restitution and $200 to The Victims of Crime Fund. After her prison term, she will have three years of supervised release.
Where and when Ms. Wilkins will report to prison has yet to be determined.
Number of strategic alliances skyrockets
CHICAGO -- More strategic alliances were formed in the first half of 1997 by financial services companies than in the previous six years, according to a report by Anderson Consulting. In the first six months of the year, 1,869 alliances were formed, Anderson found. In the previous six years, there were 1,768 alliances of banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies in North and South America and Europe.
The report says alliances have become important for financial services firms. But such firms often are not fully prepared to handle the negotiations, structure the deal or manage the alliance.
Joint venture offers HOLT's valuation services
CHICAGO -- HOLT Value Associates and Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group formed a joint venture to offer HOLT's company valuation process to corporate clients.
The venture, called Deloitte/ HOLT Value Associates, seeks to give the top managers of public companies a way to gauge the impact of their decisions on their company's stock price.
Institutional Shareholder acquires Proxy Voter
BETHESDA, Md. -- Institutional Shareholder Services, a unit of Thomson Financial Services, agreed to acquire Proxy Voter Services, proxy company serving the Taft-Hartley pension fund and investment managers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
United Asset buys 49% of Integra Capital
BOSTON -- United Asset Management is acquiring 49% of Integra Capital Management, a Canadian manager of managers. Terms were not disclosed.
Integra works with Lincluden Management and Gryphon Investment Counsel, which manage Integra's $3.9 billion in assets on a 50/50 basis. Both firms manage balanced, equity, fixed-income portfolios; Gryphon also managed international stocks. UAM bought 49% of Lincluden in July.
The owners of Integra are the firm's principals as well as Lincluden and Gryphon. UAM executives won't say whose ownership is being purchased. Integra principals have signed employment contracts to remain with the firm, said UAM spokesman Jonathan Hubbard.