Kwasha Lipton Group 401(k) investment alliance has linked up with Charles Schwab to offer a self-directed brokerage/mutual fund window option to its bundled alliance plans. Margaret Ann Cole, KL investment consultant, said the Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account will become available to all of Kwasha Lipton's bundled clients either through voice response or the Internet. Kwasha already has established relationships with 20 mutual fund and separate account managers in the alliance.
The Schwab program will allow Kwasha clients to gain access to more than 1,100 mutual funds as well as individual stocks and bonds.
Amalgamated Bank of New York has agreed to buy an 80% stake in First Trade Union Bank, said a spokesman for the seller. First Trade Union Bank, is owned by the $800 million Carpenters Combined Benefit Funds of Massachusetts, Boston. Its parent, Los Angeles-based First Trade Union Trust, specializes in union pension plan administration.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.
Extreme winter weather conditions hampered pension fund offices across the Midwest today.
At the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Des Moines, a recorded phone message stated the office was closed because of the inclement weather. And a phone message at the Kansas Public Employees' Retirement System, Topeka, asked callers to try back on Tuesday. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, remained open despite some heavy snow.
``Everybody got in today,'' said Vicky Herring, a spokeswoman.
In Lincoln, Neb., the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems offices also remained open. ``Very little staff is here today, but we're still open,'' said a staffer.
It was ``a harsh February'' for futures managers, who reported an average return of -1.4% in the month, according to preliminary data at Managed Account Reports. The biggest losses came among in currencies, according to MAR, while diversified strategies were up 1.6%. Futures fund-of-funds were down on average 0.1%.
More than 40% of CEOs around the world say their companies now take into account an aging work force in their long-term business plans, according to a recent survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.
Evidently, there is good reason for doing so. Watson Wyatt's survey found 88% of the 773 CEOs responding see a link between workers' age and their productivity. Specifically, as a worldwide average, chief executives believe productivity peaks at an average of 43 years of age. This level of productivity is sustained for an average of 15 years before falling off, the CEOs said.
``But early retirement en masse for this huge demographic group isn't an option,'' said George Bailey, global director of Watson Wyatt's human capital group. ``Companies cannot afford to lose so much talent and experience all at once, especially when there are comparably fewer younger workers to take their place,'' he said.
One innovative way companies can raise their work forces' productivity is through flexible work arrangements. According to a different Watson Wyatt study, in the next two to three years, 90% of U.S. employers will allow employees to work from home and 75% will institute job-sharing policies.
ING Barings trimmed its Latin America GDP growth forecasts for 1998. THe firm also expects slower progress in the reduction of inflation and additional currency weakness because of spillover from the Asian crisis.
Overall, the region will register real GDP growth of less than 3.5%, this year, down from 5.25%, forecasted Arturo Porzecanski, ING Barings' chief economist for the Americas. For several countries, ING Barings has cut its GDP growth forecasts from expectations of two months ago. Countries with reduced 1998 growth forecasts are: Chile, trimmed to 5.5% from 6.5%; Colombia, 4.4% from 4.8%; Ecuador, 2.5% from 3.4%; and Mexico and Venezuela, both cut to 5% from 5.5%.
CORRECTION: It was incorrectly reported in the March 6 issue of P&I Daily that Henry Cavanna, a managing director at J.P. Investment Management, is retiring from the firm.