Fund managers big on global, not on U.S., survey shows
LONDON - Fund managers worldwide are very negative on U.S. equities but remain bullish on stocks as a whole, according to a Merrill Lynch survey of 279 money managers. According to the survey, conducted earlier this month, institutional investors' overall market sentiment became more positive in the past month as money managers were starting to shift attention to Europe and emerging markets.
The Merrill Lynch Stock Market Conditions Indicator rose to 15.6 in July, its highest level since November 2001, from 12.3 in June, thanks to an improvement in equity valuations. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they expect equities to be higher a year from now and 37% hope for double-digit returns from world markets in a year's time.
Robeco to buy Sage Capital
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Robeco Group will acquire U.S. hedge fund-of-fund manager Sage Capital Management, which will be renamed Robeco-Sage. Terms were not disclosed, said Pam Cantor, Robeco spokeswoman. Sage manages about $300 million for institutional and high-net-worth investors. Sage will develop global hedge fund-of-fund products for clients in the United States and elsewhere, Gery Daeninck, CEO of Robeco, said in a statement.
FSA considers closing pension plan
LONDON - Financial Services Authority, Britain's securities regulator, may close its L148 million ($229 million) pension plan because of a L31.5 million deficit and the possible implementation of the new British accounting standard FRS 17, which would increase the amount of the shortfall.
"We have initiated a staff consultation process and we are considering various options in how to deal with the deficit ... one of which would be closing the scheme, which is also being considered by thousands of other companies," said Robin Gordon-Walker, authority spokesman. Other options, including introducing a hybrid scheme or simply increasing contributions.
ABN AMRO, Framlington settle
LONDON - ABN AMRO Asset Management announced it reached an out-of-court settlement with rival money manager Framlington Group in a dispute over two former ABN AMRO portfolio managers who defected earlier this year. In a joint statement, the two firms said George Luckraft and Nigel Thomas would remain on leave from ABN-AMRO until Sept. 8, when they can join Framlington.
The pair left ABN AMRO in April. Soon after, ABN AMRO initiated legal proceedings to prevent them from working at Framlington, claiming they breached their contracts by not providing a year's notice and working for a rival during that notice period.
TD Asset hires OFI to subadvise
TORONTO - TD Asset Management hired OFI Institutional Asset Management to manage the TD Global Select Fund, replacing Perpetual Portfolio Management. The fund is "constantly striving to make the best portfolio management available to out unit holders," said Steve Geist, president of TD Mutual Funds. TDAM officials had no further comment; Perpetual officials declined to comment.
Prudential unit acquires manager
MEXICO CITY - Prudential Financial's Mexican subsidiary, Prudential Apolo Operadora de Sociedades de Inversion, agreed to buy mutual fund manager Operadora Finamex from Grupo Financiero Finamex and Finamex Casa de Bolsa, according to a statement from Prudential Financial. Terms were not disclosed. Operadora Finamex had 2.6 billion pesos ($269 million) under management as of May 31; Prudential Apolo had 7.1 billion pesos under management as of that date.
Fortis hires LGT to run portfolio
BRUSSELS - Fortis Bank hired LGT Capital Partners to create and manage a portfolio of private equity funds of funds for its general accounts, said Marc Moonens, Fortis executive director for funds of funds. Mr. Moonens said he wants to add some U.S. buyout funds to Fortis' holdings.