Luzerne County Retirement Board, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., is conducting an asset allocation study of the $166.8 million pension fund in hopes of finding ways to improve investment returns, said Steve Flood, county comptroller and a member of the retirement board. The study could lead to new manager searches early next year, Mr. Flood said. The fund had a 4.87% return for the year as of Oct. 31; the overall performance goal is 7.5%. Consultant Merrill Lynch is assisting.
Separately, the fund took back $12.8 million that Wells Real Estate Investment Trust had under contract to manage until 2008, Mr. Flood said. The move is part of a settlement between the fund and Wells, which was one of 20 money managers the board sued in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg last year, alleging the firms mismanaged pension fund money. Wells is the first of the firms to settle. Discovery in the lawsuit is scheduled to begin in early 2005, according to Mr. Flood.