Murray Johnstone on block
United Asset Management put Murray Johnstone, its Scottish fund management subsidiary, up for sale. The asking price is reported to be about 150 million ($225 million).
Jonathan Hubbard, a spokesman for UAM, said sale discussions predate UAM's recent acquisition by Old Mutual, but any deal now would have to have the approval of Old Mutual. UAM and Murray Johnstone have retained Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette to search for a buyer, he said.
Potential buyers are rumored to include rival Scottish firms Aberdeen Asset Management, Britannic Asset Management and Edinburgh Fund Managers.
Bush and Social Security
George W. Bush, Republican presidential nominee, promises to fix Social Security if he is elected.
In his acceptance speech in Philadelphia Aug. 3, Mr. Bush said he would revitalize the system by giving younger workers the choice of investing part of their payroll taxes in the stock market.
He also would endow irrevocable property rights on Social Security, a departure from the current system, which gives workers no legal rights to their benefits. Under his proposal, older workers would see no changes -- "No reductions, no way," Mr. Bush promised them
Trading flap hits 56
Transamerica Life Canada fired three employees, suspended 17 others and placed 36 under review as a result of inappropriate employee trading activity in the NN Information Technology Fund that cost shareholders $4 million to $6 million, said Barry Francis, Transamerica spokesman.
The NN Information Technology Fund is managed in Luxembourg but invests in U.S. Nasdaq stocks. Employees took advantage of the six-hour time difference between Toronto and Luxembourg to make trades for the fund based on the closing Nasdaq prices in the afternoon, hours after the daily closing price had been fixed at the end of the business day in Luxembourg.
If the stock prices rose during the day, the Transamerica employees could buy at the fixed price, knowing that the value of stocks held by the fund had increased. If the stock prices dropped, they could sell shares and avoid taking a loss, Mr. Francis said.
Canada probes fund activities
Canadian securities regulators are investigating the trading activities of pension funds and mutual fund companies. The British Columbia Securities Commission asked fund managers for trading records covering six separate days from December through June and requested tapes or transcripts of taped discussions about stock transactions.
Regulators from the Alberta Securities Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission have requested similar information from fund managers.
Langley Evans, deputy director of enforcement at the BCSC, said, "I can confirm that a review is under way, but I can't talk about the details about what firms (are being investigated) and the nature of the inquiries."
The investigation follows a stock manipulation scandal at RT Capital Management, the pension fund management arm of Royal Bank of Canada.
Bank picks Morgan Stanley
Banca Monte dei Paschi Siena appointed Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Investment Management to run $10 million of its $2.72 billion proprietary fund in international equities, said Marco Mazzucchelli, bank CFO.
The assets will be managed as part of MSDWIM's newly launched global core equity strategy, which is style-neutral and invests in non-domestic equities by sector, said Horacio Valeiras, managing director, global core equity. MSDWIM already manages $25 million of the bank's proprietary fund in international stock.
Virginia watching Baer
The $40.8 billion Virginia Retirement System is reviewing Julius Baer, recently hired to manage $100 million in core international equities, said Craig Scholl, managing director of public equities.
The review was prompted by the imminent departure of Julius Baer's international equity team, he said. "Certainly an event like this, where there is such a high turnover of staff, might be reason for termination, but no decision has been made," Mr. Scholl said.
N.Y. Teachers drop class
New York State Teachers' Retirement System trustees voted to eliminate global fixed income as an asset class. As a result, the $89.2 billion system will terminate Fiduciary Trust, which managed $589.8 million; Lombard Odier, $612.7 million; and Welling Asset, $814.28 million. That money will be shifted and used opportunistically to help the Albany-based system reach its new target asset allocation, recommended by consultant Evaluation Associates. The new targets are: 55% domestic equity; 20% domestic fixed income; 9% international equity; 6% real estate; 6% mortgages; 3% alternatives; and 1% emerging-markets equity.
Florida shortlists 22
The Florida State Board of Administration requested proposals from a shortlist of 22 active large-cap domestic growth equity managers and expects to hire two to three to run $200 million to $400 million each, said Ken Menke, assistant chief of equities. Proposals are due Aug. 18; the $101 billion system plans to interview candidates in early November and make a decision by the end of that month, Mr. Menke said. The system will cut back on its passively managed $2.4 billion Wilshire large-cap domestic growth portfolio to fund the new mandates.
Manager names CEO
Neil Cochrane was named CEO of Franklin Templeton NIB Asset Management, formed when Franklin Templeton paid $27 million to take a 50% stake in South Africa money manager NIB Asset Management, which has 22 billion rand ($3.1 billion) in assets under management. Mr. Cochrane was CEO of NIB Asset.
Richard Anderson will be chief investment officer of the new firm, and Carey Millard will be head of business development. Mr. Anderson was CIO at NIB Asset, while Mr. Millard was head of the firm's mutual fund business.
CEO named for Fleet Asset
Keith Banks was named CEO and CIO of the newly formed Fleet Asset Management, a division of FleetBoston Financial, said spokesman Bruce Spitzer.
Mr. Banks was an equity analyst, portfolio manager, global head of research and most recently, managing director and head of U.S. equities at J.P. Morgan Investment Management. Fleet Asset Management will include Fleet Investment Advisors, Columbia Management, Galaxy Funds, institutional sales and retirement plan services.