Sponsor input sought
The Labor Department last week asked for public feedback on the cross-trading of securities by employee benefit plans. Such cross-trading, where two or more employee benefit plans may swap securities held for them by the same investment adviser, currently is prohibited under federal pension law.
The DOL intends to use the public feedback to create standards and safeguards for granting exemptions from its ban on such cross-trading.
Lukomnik quits NYC
Jon Lukomnik, New York City's deputy comptroller for pensions, is resigning May 1. He will join CDC Investment Management, as a managing director in charge of business development and strategic planning, a new position.
A replacement for him at the comptroller's office hasn't been named.
Big getting bigger?
If rumors of a planned merger between Merrill Lynch and Chase Manhattan turn out to be true, the merged firm would oversee $594 billion in assets, and probably would hold Merrill's spot as the third-largest money manager in the world.
Merrill and its units manage about $480 billion. Chase Asset Management, Chase Manhattan's investment unit, manages about $114 billion in total assets.
Bill aids portability
Reps. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that would let American workers take retirement savings from job to job. The bill would let workers move assets among 457, 403(b) and 401(k) plans.
The bill also would let workers move money between IRAs and employer-sponsored plans. It would allow employees to roll over any after-tax contributions to their retirement plans when they switch jobs, and would speed up vesting of matching employer contributions. Employees could claim the entire match after three years, if employers vest all at once, or after six years if employers vest gradually.
The $55 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board will challenge an SEC decision to exclude its shareholder bylaw amendment resolution at Shiva Corp. The resolution asks the company not to reprice stock options without shareholder approval. A spokesman said SWIB will appeal the decision to the full panel of SEC commissioners. It also will consider other options, including possible legal action.
CalPERS' new principles
The $130 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System approved corporate governance principles for Japanese corporations that seek to lessen the influence of corporate insiders. Among them: Japanese corporate boards should include truly independent directors; and corporations should appoint truly independent auditors.
Trustees also approved setting aside up to $350 million in new venture capital investments. CalPERS trustees intend to employ a third party to implement a venture capital investment program that will take the form of a partnership, a limited liability company or a joint venture.
Belgian fund hires 2
Voorzorgskas voor Geneesheren, Tandartsen & Apothekers VZW hired two currency overlay managers to hedge its noneuro-bloc exposure, said Karel Stroobants, deputy general manager. The 14.5 billion Belgian franc ($387 million) fund for doctors, dentists and pharmacists hired A.G. Bisset and State Street Global to hedge the fund's 4 billion franc exposure to currencies outside of what is expected to be the 11-member euro bloc. The mandates were split evenly between the two.
3 tapped for private equity
The $21 billion Pennsylvania State Employes' Retirement System will allocate a total of $95 million to private equity funds, a statement from the fund said. The system committed $40 million to Lexington Capital Partners II, up to $30 million to Halpern Denny Fund II, and up to $25 million to Polaris Ventures II.
The allocations will be funded from cash and are subject to contract negotiations.
Mellon gets TAA boost
The $35 billion Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York trustees voted to increase the TAA portfolio managed by Mellon Capital by $278 million. The money came from its two other TAA managers: $157 million from Barclays Global Investors and $121 million from PanAgora. Both managers will be retained.
Blue Cross goes for value
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas hired Carl Domino Associates to run $20 million in value equity for its insurance assets, confirmed Bill Davisson, manager of corporate accounting. Capital Resources assisted.
Baptist fund bundles
Baptist Health Care Systems hired Fidelity as a bundled provider for its 403(b) and 401(a) plans. Fidelity will provide the same 15 investment options for each plan in addition to record keeping and education. The $25 million 403(b) plan had used four Fidelity mutual funds and a MetLife GIC fund as options; the $10 million 401(a) plan had NAMCO, INVESCO and SAFECO as investment managers for three investment options. Benefit Actuaries was the record keeper.
Global standards issued
The Association for Investment Management and Research offered for public comment global investment performance standards. The proposed draft of the standards is available for public comment until year end. The standards are designed to give investment managers a single set of performance presentation guidelines in marketing outside of the United States (P&I, Jan. 12).
Allocation under review
The $139 million Brockton Contributory Retirement Program is conducting an asset allocation study and restructuring its investment policy to fit with a new asset mix. With the help of consultant H.C. Wainwright, the board is expected to select a new asset allocation in late April or early May, said Harold Hanna, executive secretary. The current mix: 39% U.S. stock; 10% international stock; 33% U.S. bonds; 8% international bonds; 8% real estate; 2% venture capital.
Glenmede names manager
Stephen A. Mozur was named vice president and senior portfolio manager for Glenmede Trust. Mr. Mozur formerly was a senior vice president and portfolio manager for Newbold's Asset Management, now part of Pilgrim Baxter. He replaces Ron Stribley, who left the firm. Mr. Mozur will be in charge of Glenmede's large-cap value equity mutual fund.
Norfolk adds 4
The $309 million Norfolk County Retirement System picked four new U.S. equities managers: Zak Capital for midcap growth; Boston Co. for midcap value; Harbor Capital for large-cap growth; and Freedom Capital for large-cap value, said Timothy Cahill, county treasurer. Funding will come from reducing the size of State Street Global's passive equity portfolio. Each midcap manager will get $24 million. Allocations to the large-cap managers will be set after the fund completes its search for a passive manager.