The $309 million Norfolk County Retirement System, Dedham, Mass., is searching for fixed-income managers to run short-term and long-term domestic bond portfolios and an international bond portfolio, said Timothy Cahill, county treasurer. The deadline for RFPs for the short-term bond manager is March 13; and for the long-term domestic bond manager, March 20. The deadline for the international bond manager is March 27. The fund is contemplating adding at least one domestic bond manager, but might cut its allocation to an existing manager and hire two instead. And since the fund's new mandate calls for an international, rather than global bond manager, the fund is searching for a manager that can run an international portfolio instead of a global bond portfolio. Current global manager Guiness Flight is expected to participate in the search. "If we change (from Guiness Flight) it won't be because of performance because they have done a great job. It will be because they don't have a product to offer to us," Mr. Cahill said. Also, trustees of the fund have agreed to send out RFPs for a U.S. small-cap value manager. Funding will come from $130 million the system pulled out of the Massachusetts Pensions Reserve Investment Trust and $30 million from three managers terminated last fall.
The $53 million Fitchburg (Mass.) Retirement System is searching for its first international equities manager, said Kevin Leonard, the Segal Advisors consultant who is assisting in the search. The system is searching for an active, commingled manager to run a $2.5 million portfolio. The system now has all of its assets in a balanced fund with Safety Fund National Bank, a local bank. Money for the new manager will come from the 60% of the system's assets in fixed-income assets. The RFPs will go out later this week, with a deadline of April 1. Finalists will be picked at the system's May board meeting.
The San Jose (Calif.) Retirement System is searching for a large-cap growth equity manager for both its $1.3 billion police and fire fund and $900 million federated employees plan. The search follows the termination of Chancellor LGT, which managed $70 million for each fund. The fund is not comfortable with the lack of stability at Chancellor LGT, said Ed Overton, retirement administrator for both funds. The final size of the mandate has yet to be determined. Mercer and Callan (consultants for the police fund and federated plan, respectively) are compiling lists of managers to be considered.
Belgacom Pension Fund is seeking an international equity manager to run a 8.5 billion Belgian franc ($227 million) portfolio. The Brussels-based fund will finance the portfolio from new contributions. The deadline for the first phase is March 31. The fund has a total of 82 billion Belgian francs ($2.2 billion).
The City of Los Angeles' deferred compensation plan, with about $1 billion in assets, is looking for service providers that could allow it to cut its number of core investment choices and offer a one-stop "window" option. The window would allow participants to invest in dozens of mutual funds and also might include a discount brokerage option, said Steven Montagna, management analyst. The plan is searching for an investment adviser to provide bundled or unbundled service, including investment options and record keeping. William M. Mercer is assisting. The 457 plan now offers 27 investment choices, 16 through Great Western Bank and 11 through the Hartford Life.
V.F. Corp., Reading, Pa., will consider conducting a small-cap equity manager search and a U.S. bond manager search later this year, said Louis Fecile, vice president-employee benefits. Any 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.
The $4.2 billion Employees' and Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County might increase its global equity allocation said John E. Fitzgerald, executive director. The fund already has $35 million in global equity with Brinson Partners, invested under a 10% "basket clause." But a change in state law now allows the fund to invest up to 10% of its total portfolio in foreign equities. No decision has been made as to how much will be added to global equity or if the allocation will go to Brinson. Later this month, the plan will give an additional $250 million to balanced index manager Northern Trust Quantitative Advisors. The firm now handles $390 million.
The $340 million City of Dearborn (Mich.) Retirement System might search for a consultant and probably will start an asset allocation study in the next three months, said Marcel Pultorak, finance director for the city. Mr. Pultorak plans to look at local firms to assist with the study, before deciding to do a full-scale consultant search. The plan has an asset mix of 65% U.S. stocks, 30% bonds and 5% real estate.
The Structural Iron Workers Local 1, Forest Park, Ill., might adopt a self-directed approach for its $125 million money purchase plan. Trustees will be discussing whether to change the plan's structure over the next two or three months, said Ronald Stone, administrator. The union's $275 million defined benefit plan would remain intact, he added. Marco Consulting is assisting.