ARLINGTON, Va. -- The $1 billion Arlington County Employees' Supplemental Retirement System, trustees approved a study to determine whether to develop an alternative investment program, said Bruce Kallos, administrator. Three board members will work with Ashford Capital, the system's investment consultant, in the next several months. If it decides to start one, it would probably invest between 5% to 12% of assets; funding would come from cash.
Endowment rebalances after equity surge
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Nature Conservancy Endowment Fund put 10% of the $830 million fund into cash, rebalancing its portfolio after the equity component shot up to nearly 70% late last year, said John Wood Bolton, director of investments.
Equities returned 50.3% in 1998, driven by an Amerindo Investment Advisors portfolio, which surged 156.5%. "They used an emerging growth company strategy, focusing on technology and biotech stocks, which were terrific," said Mr. Bolton.
He added the fund took some profits and put 10% of total assets into cash reserves. The fund is considering changing its asset allocation, which is 60% equities, 20% fixed income, 10% market-neutral and 10% cash.
Ball Corp. narrows midcap search
BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The Ball Corp. narrowed its search for its first midcap growth U.S. equity manager to six finalists, but temporarily suspended the search due to staff changes and the recent relocation of its headquarters from Muncie, Ind., said Ann Scott, manager of investor relations and pension plans.
Diversification is the reason for the hiring by the $648 million plan.
The new manager will be allocated no more than $10 million and will be funded by terminating an underperforming manager, said Ms. Scott. She added an internal review of its managers by the investment committee will identify the most likely manager to be terminated.
Atlantic Investment Management, Ball's only midcap value U.S. equity manager, is not likely to be terminated, based on its performance so far, said Ms. Scott. The portfolio size was not disclosed. A decision is expected by February.
Fund Evaluation Group is assisting.
Pension education pioneer Nel Daniels dies
BROOKFIELD, Wis. -- Avonel "Nel" Daniels died Jan. 11 following a battle with lung cancer. Ms. Daniels worked for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans for 34 years, retiring in 1993. She was the foundation's first paid employee, concluding her career as director of education programs.
"No single individual did more for the education of (pension plan sponsors) than Nel Daniels," said Dallas Salisbury, executive director of the Employee Benefits Research Institute, Washington.
"She put her imprint on everything we've done," said John Altobelli, chief executive of the IFEBP.
Ms. Daniels is survived by five children and 10 grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to Northland College or to the First Congregational Church of Hartland, Wis., in care of David Daniels, 2554 Huebner Road, Oconomowoc, WI 53066.
L.A. fund will visit European equity finalists
PASADENA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association selected finalists in its search for a European equity manager.
Those selected are Putnam Investments; Fidelity Management Trust; and Clay Finlay. The $337 million allocation earmarked for the new manager is in a passive European index fund run by Bankers Trust.
Staff for the $25 billion fund, which originally considered nine managers for the job, is scheduling on-site visits to the finalists over the next few weeks before a final selection is made.
City retirement system invests more aggressively
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco City & County Employees' Retirement System board of trustees approved use of an aggressive short-duration cash management program run by Northern Trust for up to 20% of the fund's mortgage-backed securities dollar roll $300 million cash portfolio.
The new program, Strategic Opportunity Aggressive Return, is designed to provide 175 basis points over LIBOR. It uses swaps and options, but risk is otherwise tightly constrained, said a fund spokesman.
The $10.1 billion fund is seeking a higher investment return than it receives from its other three cash management programs.
Ohio Employees restructures deferred compensation option
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program restructured its $1.8 billion guaranteed return option, allocating existing manager Bankers Trust 40% of the portfolio.
Bankers Trust now manages $350 million, with the amount expected to rise within the next few years. Nationwide and State Street Global, the fund's other stable value managers, will split the remaining assets in the next few years. Bankers Trust will continue managing a synthetic GIC portfolio for the $3.6 billion fund.
The three managers will continue running underlying stable value assets in the portfolio, which will include synthetic GICs, a separate account consisting of bonds and possibly a small amount of traditional GICs. A fixed annuity managed by Nationwide, which is being liquidated, previously contained a majority of the portfolio's assets.
Investment firm founder Zalman Chaim Bernstein dies
NEW YORK -- The founder of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Zalman Chaim Bernstein, died Jan. 6 at age 72. The cause of death was complications from lymphoma.
Mr. Bernstein founded the New York-based firm in 1967. It is now one of the largest independent money managers in the world, with $80 billion under management for retail and institutional investors.
The firm began as a money manager for wealthy individuals, and soon became a powerful Wall Street firm, expanding into institutional research and asset management.
Mr. Bernstein, who changed his name to reflect his Jewish heritage in the mid-1980s, stepped down as chief executive of the firm in 1993 but remained on the board and was chairman of the executive committee at his death. In recent years he had become a philanthropist, residing in Jerusalem, where he was very involved in Jewish causes.
He was founder and chairman of the AVI CHAI Foundation and the TIKVAH Fund and was a founding trustee of the SHALEM Foundation, a public policy think tank devoted to exploring Jewish causes.
He is survived by his wife, six children, three grandchildren, his mother and a brother.
L.A. board narrows record keeper search
LOS ANGELES -- City of Los Angeles Board of Deferred Compensation narrowed a search for one record keeper for its $1.1 billion 457 plan to five finalists, said Steven Montagna, management analyst. Finalists are incumbent National Deferred Compensation, Aetna, Fidelity, State Street Bank and Great-West Life & Annuity. The fund had two record keepers, but incumbent Hartford Life chose not to rebid, he said. A final decision is expected by February.
William M. Mercer is assisting.
New York pension funds raise activism levels
NEW YORK -- The New York City pension funds are raising their activism for the 1999 proxy season, according to the Council of Institutional Investors. The council reports four of the five employee funds (the exception is the New York City Board of Education fund) have filed, or plan to file, shareholder resolutions at 31 companies, up from 27 in 1998.
Thirteen of the resolutions are resubmissions from 1998. The funds have also sent letters about the MacBride Principles (involving fair employment by companies with operations in Northern Ireland) to three other companies -- Estee Lauder, NTL Inc. and Toys R Us.
Eight of the firms receiving resolutions -- Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Fleming Cos., Great Lakes Chemical Corp., Kmart Corp., Mallinckrodt Inc., Reebok International Ltd., Silicon Graphics, and Tenneco Inc. -- have been on the council's Focus List of underperforming companies in the past two years.
Progress team helps Newport expand its horizons
SAN FRANCISCO -- An international investment management team at Progress Investment Management Co. has begun working at Newport Pacific Management Inc. to help expand Newport's expertise beyond Asian investing. Both San Francisco firms are subsidiaries of Liberty Financial Cos. Inc., Boston, which acquired Progress in last year's second quarter.
Charles R. Roberts and Richard S. Yeung will lead the Progress team at Newport, which manages about $1 billion in total assets for institutions and private families. Officials said the Progress team will continue to manage some portfolios for Progress, which handles about $2.1 billion in assets, primarily through a manager-of-managers system.