WASHINGTON -- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters wants BankAmerica Corp. to stop giving golden handshakes of more than $3 million to departing executives without getting the green light from shareholders.
In a shareholder proposal filed Oct. 21, the Teamsters urged the bank's directors to adopt a policy implementing its recommendation. In a letter to Slomon D. Trujillo, chairman of the bank's compensation committee, accompanying the shareholder proposal, Bartlett Naylor, director of corporate affairs at the Teamsters, expressed outrage at the $30 million severance pay bank President David A. Coulter stands to collect, despite his role in the bank's more than $1.4 billion losses tied to its loan to the New York investment firm of D.E. Shaw.
"BankAmerica's breach of trust with shareholders over disclosure of the D.E. Shaw losses calls into question what role executive compensation may have played," Mr. Naylor wrote. If Mr. Coulter collects the $30 million, "this presents the hypothesis that compensation policies of senior BankAmerica executives fail to police against untoward risk at best, and may even serve as an attractive hazard at worst."
CREF participants reject tobacco divestment bid
NEW YORK -- College Retirement Equities Fund participants rejected, for the third consecutive year, a resolution urging the fund to divest its holdings in tobacco investments. CREF is the $130 billion variable annuity component of the $231 billion TIAA-CREF pension system.
The results -- 25% in favor of the proposal, 68% against and 7% abstaining -- were announced last week at CREF's annual meeting at its New York headquarters.
"I continue to believe the real reason for the small vote supporting this resolution is that we provide our participants with an excellent tobacco-free option, the CREF Social Choice Account," said John H. Biggs, TIAA-CREF chairman, president and CEO.
ACERA considering high-alpha strategy
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association investment committee members said they are interested in pursuing a high-alpha investment strategy for the $3.2 billion plan.
Committee members said they will probably use two or three concentrated portfolio or enhanced index managers and will allocate $150 million among them.
State board increases venture capital allocation
HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Board of Investments increased its venture capital allocation, giving an additional $20 million to UBS Brinson, said Chuck Hunter, senior portfolio manager for the $3.5 billion fund. The money will be divided evenly between domestic and international investments, Mr. Hunter said.
Brinson now manages $92.6 million for the Montana Board.
The move will come from cash, Mr. Hunter said.
City system searches for plan administrator
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Ann Arbor City Employees' Retirement System is searching for a new plan administrator to replace Rob Hubbs, whose contract was not renewed, said Dean Moore, financial director and board chairman for the $360 million fund.
Money manager searches will be one of the responsibilities of the new administrator, said Mr. Moore, adding that there is no timetable for selection. A final decision is expected by January. The search is being conducted in-house.
PBGC filing deadlines now to coincide
WASHINGTON -- Pension plan sponsors will be able to send their insurance premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. at the same time as their annual financial reports, David M. Strauss, PBGC executive director, announced at the annual conference of the American Society of Pension Actuaries in Washington.
As a result, pension plans on a calendar year will be able to pay their annual insurance premiums by Oct. 15, instead of Sept. 15. Pension plans must file their 5500 statements by July 31, but most plans use the two allowed extensions and file by Oct. 15, according to a PBGC spokesman.
Most pension plans operate on a calendar year, but the agency intends to make a similar change for plans that don't, so their insurance premium and financial report filing deadlines will coincide, Mr. Strauss said.
Separately, the federal pension insurance agency issued a new publication to help small businesses with defined benefit plans better understand the operation and requirement of the federal pension insurance program. Copies of the booklet may be downloaded from the PBGC Web site at www.pbgc.gov.
Labor Department supports independent audit regs
WASHINGTON -- The Labor Department, as expected, will propose regulations requiring independent audits of pension plans if their assets are not held by certified financial institutions, Meredith Miller, deputy assistant secretary for program policy, said.
Ms. Miller said the Labor Department's pension department will seek public comment on the proposed regulation. "The goal is to make information available" to participants, while ensuring the assets are safe, she said.
Ms. Miller's announcement follows a department investigation into the embezzlement of more than $2 million in assets from the Westbrook, Conn.-based Emergi-Lite Co.'s 401(k) retirement plan by Gary Moore, the recently convicted former investment manager, record keeper and trustee.