Blackstone mulls IPO
Blackstone Group is considering filing for an initial public offering, sources close to the firm say. Although a final decision has not been made, Blackstone could file within the next two weeks to sell a 10% stake, with the help of investment bank Goldman Sachs. John Ford, Blackstone spokesman, and Christopher Williams, Goldman Sachs spokesman, both declined comment.
Some private equity funds have launched IPOs in Europe, including KKR and Apollo.
Gore slams short-term mindset
Former Vice President Al Gore said pension investment needs to change if sustainable factors such as environmental concerns dont fit into the short-term-ism of current asset management. Speaking March 14 before about 900 people attending the National Association of Pension Funds Investment Conference in Edinburgh, Mr. Gore proposed that pension fund trustees truly match assets and liabilities by integrating sustainability factors into the investment process.
If you adopt a long-term view and not just say you do, then (sustainability factors) are not only more relevant but they also become the most distinguishing set of values you can use to determine what firms are going to perform better than others, said Mr. Gore, who is also chairman of Generation Investment Management, a money manager focused on socially responsible equity investing.
Fairfax fund hires consultant
The $1.9 billion Educational Employees Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (Va.) hired New England Pension Consultants as its investment consultant, replacing Mercer Investment Consulting, said Alan Belstock, executive director. Although Mercer had rebid, in the end, the board preferred New England Pension Consultants based on the structure of the firm, which is exclusively focused on pension consulting, Mr. Belstock said. NEPC will conduct an asset-liability study later this year, he said.
County pulls real estate money
The $5.2 billion Alameda County (Calif.) Employees Retirement Association will withdraw its $50.6 million investment in the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, according to minutes from the systems March 14 board meeting. The minutes cited high management fees, organizational issues and decreasing net returns as reasons. Betty Tse, CIO at ACERA, did not return a call requesting comment.
There has been no change in the portfolio management team in the past four years. The increase in management fees partly reflects the additional resources invested to ensure compliance in the Sarbanes-Oxley environment, Chang Suh, chief portfolio manager at the AFL-CIO trust, wrote in an e-mail response to Pensions & Investments request for comments. As of Dec. 31, the trust has outperformed the Lehman Aggregate Bond index for the one-, three-, five- and 10-year periods, according to the e-mail.
CIO shakeup at PGGM
Piet Roelandt was named CIO for portfolio management at PGGM in the Netherlands, and Johan van der Ende was named CIO for strategy and structured investments, confirmed spokeswoman Ellen Habermehl. Mr. Roelandt is director of portfolio management at the e81 billion ($107 billion) pension fund, and Mr. van der Ende is director of structured investments. Both will retain those duties.
They replace Leo Lueb, who resigned as CIO effective March 1 and will now work as an adviser to Else Bos, CEO for investments. He had been CIO since February 2006. Ms. Habermehl said Mr. Lueb decided his talents would be best used in another way. Attempts to reach Mr. Lueb at press time were unsuccessful.
Grocers pick new provider
Associated Wholesale Grocers hired JPMorgan Retirement Plan Services as bundled provider for its three 401(k) plans and its deferred compensation plan, with combined assets of $100 million, said David Carl, executive director of finance. Fund officials decided to conduct a search when previous provider U.S. Bank Institutional Trust & Custody sold its 401(k) business to Great-West. Great-West was not invited to bid. The 20 investment options remain unchanged.
Caremark merger OKd
Caremark Rx shareholders approved its proposed merger with CVS by a substantial majority of outstanding shares, based on a preliminary tally, according to a Caremark statement. CVS shareholders voted Thursday to approve the proposed merger.
The $229 billion CalPERS, however, voted its 2,108,179 Caremark shares and its 3,134,410 CVS shares against the merger, according to its website. The $159.6 billion CalSTRS voted its 2 million Caremark shares and 3 million CVS shares against the merger, said Sherry Reser, CalSTRS spokeswoman.
By contrast, the $90 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board voted its CVS shares for the merger, while the C$100 billion (US$85 billion) Ontario Teachers Pension Plan voted its 24,000 Caremark shares against the merger but voted its 39,500 CVS shares in favor.
Kansas, N.J. eye divestment
The $13.3 billion Kansas Public Employees Retirement System could be required to divest companies with business operations in Sudan while the $79 billion New Jersey Division of Investment would have to divest companies with ties to Iran.
In Kansas, a bill before a state House committee would require KPERS Executive Director Glenn Deck to compile a divestment report for the 2008 Legislature to address the financial impact of divesting such companies. The bill was unanimously passed by the state Senate on March 14.
In New Jersey, the Iran divestment is contained in legislation to be considered by the state Assemblys Appropriations Committee. If approved by the committee, the bill would go to the state Senate. Tom Vincz, spokesman for the investment division, wasnt available for comment.
Dunn charges dropped
All charges against Patricia Dunn were dropped March 14 by a California judge. Ray Cunningham, a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, said Ms. Dunns health played a role in his decision, according to a court transcript. Ms. Dunn is being treated for cancer.
Ms. Dunn, former chairman and director of Hewlett-Packard, faced felony fraud charges stemming from allegations that H-P used false pretenses to access individuals phone records during the companys investigation of media leaks. She became an H-P director in 1998, when she was also global CEO of BGI. She stepped down as CEO in 2002 to focus on her cancer treatment. Ms. Dunn was also non-executive vice chairman at BGI she resigned in October.