District of Columbia Retirement Board, with $4.8 billion in assets, placed Denver Investment Advisors, a U.S. small-cap growth stock manager, on its watch list because its performance has lagged the benchmark, said Sheila Morgan-Johnson, CIO. The board had $221 million with Denver at the end of 1997. For the year ended Dec. 31, Denver reported returns of 16.1% vs. 22.5% for the Russell Midcap growth index, Ms. Morgan-Johnson said.
The board also is ``closely monitoring'' Cowen Asset Management because of its erratic performance and might terminate it if its performance does not substantially improve in the near term, she said.
Cowen manages $90 million in U.S. small-cap value stocks for the fund. Its returns have lagged the Russell 2500 benchmark by 470 basis points since December 1994, she said.
Aliant Communications, Lincoln, Neb., terminated small-cap growth equity manager Driehaus Capital. Mike Tavlin, vice president-treasurer, would not comment on the reason for Driehaus' termination, but said the move followed the $240 million pension fund's quarterly review.
Aliant also allocated money to a small-cap value stock fund from DePrince, Race and Zollo, which already manages large-cap to midcap equities for the fund. The money came from a reallocation, Mr. Tavlin said. The firm will manage the portfolios separately.
Mr. Tavlin declined to reveal the dollar amounts of any of the portfolios. Performance Analytics assisted.
Pension plan sponsors want the PBGC to invest more of its assets in stocks in order to beef up its surplus and allow it to cut insurance premiums, David M. Strauss, PBGC executive director, said in a Friday speech in Washington.
But Mr. Strauss believes it is more important to make the agency work better than to focus on ``growing the biggest surplus we can simply for its own sake,'' he said before the Institutional Investors Institute. Also, because stocks are more volatile, putting more of the agency's assets into equities could put those assets at risk at a time when the agency might need that money to pay out benefits, he said.
V.F. Corp., Reading, Pa., will consider searching for U.S. small-cap equity and bond managers, said Louis Fecile, vice president-employee benefits.
Searches have yet to be approved by trustees, but could start as early as late April, he said. The company completed an asset allocation study for its $525 million defined benefit plan late in 1997. The new mandates would help to diversify the fund, he added.
Hewitt is assisting.