Bell Atlantic probe asked
Some Bell Atlantic employees have asked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, to investigate whether Bell Atlantic discriminated against older employees when it converted its traditional pension plan to a cash balance plan.
"We believe our plan does not discriminate," said Steve Marcus, a Bell Atlantic spokesman. The company credits the cash balance accounts of older employees with a higher percentage of pay than younger workers; older employees also got additional amounts credited to their accounts at the time of the conversion, Mr. Marcus said.
In August 1998, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to throw out a class-action lawsuit against the company's conversion.
Market drop predicted
Yet one more economist is predicting the U.S. stock market could suffer a huge drop in value in the next decade. In a study released late last week, Peter Diamond, economist at MIT, predicts the U.S. stock market could lose a third of its value, adjusted for inflation, over the next decade. It then would regain levels so it would leave the market at roughly the current level at the end of the decade.
Pension provisions reborn
President Clinton may have vetoed the Republican tax bill that contained a package of pension provisions, but lobbyists hope the entire package will be included in a Republican minimum wage bill expected to be introduced any day.
But since the minimum wage bill is expected to be less than one-tenth the size of the nearly $800 billion tax bill, and the pension package alone is estimated to cost $15 billion over 10 years, it is iffy whether all of the pension provisions will make it into the new legislation.
Slaughter back in the running
Board members of the West Virginia Investment Management Board were expected to decide Oct. 4 if H. Craig Slaughter will keep his job as executive director of the fund, which manages $6.5 billion in pensions and state operating money.
The meeting was called after Administration Secretary Joseph Markus, who earlier had accepted the job, withdrew over potential conflicts of interests related to the sale of pension obligation bonds.
Mr. Slaughter's contract with the state expired earlier this year.
Sole manager eyed
Cascade Natural Gas expects to move to a sole manager by the end of the year for its $43 million defined benefit plan, said J.D. Wessling, vice president and CFO. Currently, Aeltus runs bonds and Palley-Needelman, stocks. Wurts & Associates is assisting.
Universal Leaf taps 3
The $124 million defined benefit plan of Universal Leaf Tobacco hired Brandywine to run a $12 million small-cap value U.S. equity portfolio and State Street Global Advisors to run a $20 million Russell 1000 value index fund because of a recent asset allocation study.
Funding will come from rebalancing.
Colorado picks SSBCiti
Colorado College Savings Plan selected SSBCiti Asset Management Group as manager of Scholars Choice, a new college savings program, said a spokesman for state Treasurer Mike Coffman. Investors will choose from seven age-based investment portfolios consisting of a mix of equity and fixed-income mutual funds.
Students can use the money for tuition at any college or university nationwide.
Wokingham hires 2 for cash
Wokingham District Council in England hired Investec Guinness Flight and INVESCO Asset Management to run identical L15 million ($24.7 million) cash management mandates. The council's immediate cash flows, which fluctuate daily, will continue to be managed in-house. This is the first time the council has outsourced management of its cash investments.
Cooperate, but don't merge
Deutsche Bank would consider "cooperation" with Societe Generale but is not considering a full merger with the French bank, a Deutsche Bank spokesman said.
"It is correct that the strategy of Deutsche bank in euroland is going in the direction of cooperation" with other financial institutions in the region, said the spokesman. He would not say with which banks the German group was considering joining forces.
The spokesman said a Sept. 29 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper article quoting Deutsche Bank chief executive Rolf Breuer on his views about Societe Generale reflected "theoretical ideas" about how European banks may consolidate in the future.
A spokeswoman for Societe Generale said the bank was not aware of any proposal from Deutsche Bank for an alliance.
Deutsche Bank has E560 billion ($593 billion) in assets under management, dwarfing Societe Generale, which at the end of June had L87 billion ($139.2 billion).
AEW co-founder Eastman dies
Thomas G. Eastman, co-founder of Aldrich, Eastman & Waltch, died of heart failure Sept. 26. Mr. Eastman, 53, who later served as CEO and co-chairman of AEW, with his partners sold the firm to Nvest in 1997. Since then, he served as a consultant to AEW Capital Management and managed his family's investments.
Mr. Eastman, who graduated from Stanford University in 1968 and the Harvard Business School in 1970, was prominent in the real estate industry. He was a founder, director and past chair of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers and served as a director of Bedford Property Investors Inc., a real estate investment trust.
Mr. Eastman is survived by his wife of 27 years, Terry Beckley Eastman, their two sons, and a sister. Memorial contributions may be made to Stanford University, Office of Development, 301 Eucina Hall, Stanford, Calif. 94305-6076.
Baring's Archer joins Dresdner
Mark Archer was appointed head of U.K. institutional business development for Dresdner RCM Global Investors (U.K.). The position is new. He will be responsible for all aspects of the bank's institutional sales and client activities in the United Kingdom. He now works for Baring Asset Management, where he is director, U.K. sales and client service.
Johnson joins Aeltus
Earl Johnson Jr. has joined Aeltus Investment Management as director of institutional marketing and sales. He will work in Washington and concentrate on public pension funds. Formerly, Mr. Johnson was vice president and partner at JMC Capital Management.