In the June 15 issue of Pensions & Investments, Barry B. Burr wrote an article on page 3 about the merger between Norwest and Wells Fargo and how it would impact the investment shops of the two firms.
Overall the article was well done, with one glaring exception -- your writer made the claim that neither Norwest nor Wells Fargo is a significant player in the defined contribution business. This claim is simply not true and we want to set the record straight.
The defined contribution business is a major strategic focus for Norwest and is one of our fastest-growing businesses.
We currently manage more than $8.5 billion in defined contribution assets and with the recent acquisition of Milwaukee-based EMJAY Corp., we provide record-keeping services for more than 550,000 participants.
Our proposed merger with Wells Fargo will add significantly to both numbers, further solidifying our status as one of the nation's 20 largest providers of defined contribution services. In addition, we have built a reputation for delivering outstanding services with a client satisfaction rating in excess of 95%.
Clearly, Norwest is a significant player in the defined contribution business and our presence will continue to grow as we bring together the combined resources of Norwest and Wells Fargo.
Laurie B. Nordquist
Senior Vice President, Employee Benefit Services
Norwest Bank, Minneapolis
CalPERS and politics
Steve Hemmerick's "Gag Rule: CalPERS disallows thorny questions" (Frontlines, page 8, July 13) failed to note that State Controller (not Treasurer) Kathleen Connell's campaign committee is suing the California Public Employees' Retirement System over its policy, which prohibits the treasurer and controller from accepting campaign contributions from those doing business with the system. The policy does not apply to Ms. Connell's challengers in the current election, or to the governor or legislative leaders who appoint additional members to the board.
When William Crist, president of the CalPERS board, asked Charles Valdes, chairman of the investment committee, to rule Ms. Connell's representative out of order for questioning money management executives about political contributions, he continued enforcement of a double standard with no legal standing.
The irony is that CalPERS is viewed an effective leader in the area of corporate governance, seeking independent boards with high moral standards.Yet, the ethical policies it chose to adopt for its own board consisted largely of unenforceable window dressing in violation of several laws.
Had the policies gone through the legally required rulemaking process, CalPERS would likely have adopted more modest conflict of interest regulations with regard to political contributions and stronger regulations with regard to the gifts which Pensions & Investments has editorialized against. As it is, the court will likely throw out the rules regarding political campaign contributions but will probably leave the weaker gift policy standing, since Ms. Connell's campaign committee did not ask the court to address that issue.
Editor, Corporate Governance
http: www.corpgov.net, [email protected]
Editor's note: The Frontlines item was written before the suit was filed.
Rothschild client contact
In your May 18 Directory of Money Managers, I should have been listed as client contact for Rothschild Asset Management Inc. I am Kenneth W. Ostrowski, managing director of business development, marketing and client services. I can be reached at (212) 403-5457.
Kenneth W. Ostrowski, Managing Director
Rothschild Asset Management Inc., New York
Your May 18 issue of Pensions & Investments included a special section that listed money managers, the assets they manage and other pertinent information relating to their investment style, etc. Unfortunately, our firm, Hanson Investment Management Co., was omitted from the issue. We have appeared in previous issues and I know we are in your database. The person in our office responsible for filling out questionnaires has no recollection of receiving your 1998 questionnaire, which I believe to be the cause for the omission.
Accordingly, I would be most appreciative if you would include our name as a firm mistakenly omitted from that issue..
Hanson Investment Management Co., San Rafael, Calif., had $1.138 billion under management worldwide as of Jan. 1. Of those assets $827 billion was internally managed U.S. institutional tax-exempt assets.
The firm is primarily an active domestic equity manager employing a bottom-up, fundamental, long-term approach to investing in what is best characterized as conservative growth or growth at a reasonable price securities. It uses market timing/active duration for its fixed-income investments.
The asset mix as of Jan. 1 was 89% stocks, 8% bonds and 3% cash.
David E. Post and Steven E. Cutcliffe are chief investment officers and client contacts. The telephone number is (415) 499-1400.
David E. Post, President
Hanson Investment Management Co.
San Rafael, Calif.