Grossman exits BlackRock
Blake Grossman, a BlackRock vice chairman, will leave the firm by the end of the first quarter to “explore new opportunities beyond BlackRock,” according to an internal memo from Laurence D. Fink, chairman and CEO, obtained by Pensions & Investments.
Bobbie Collins, a BlackRock spokeswoman, confirmed in an interview that Mr. Grossman will leave and will not be replaced as vice chairman.
Mr. Grossman joined BlackRock after its December 2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors, where he was CEO. He also is a member of BlackRock's global executive and global operating committees. He will serve in an advisory role until his departure, Mr. Fink said in his memo.
Sources who asked not to be identified said Mr. Grossman's departure long had been planned. According to Mr. Fink's memo, Mr. Grossman has been gradually passing on various duties to other BlackRock executives over the past year, including his role as head of scientific investments.
His investment duties have been assumed by J. Richard Kushel, senior managing director and head of portfolio management, and Ken Kroner, managing director, CIO and head of the scientific active equity business and global markets strategy group.
Illinois Teachers names chief
Richard W. Ingram was named executive director of the $33.2 billion Illinois Teachers' Retirement System at a special board of trustees meeting in Chicago last week. He will begin at the end of January and has signed a three-year contract.
Mr. Ingram is executive director of the $5 billion New Hampshire Retirement System, and will continue to serve in that role through Jan. 21, confirmed Marty Karlon a spokesman. The pension fund's board will discuss at a Jan. 11 meeting the process to replace him, Mr. Karlon said.
R. Stanley Rupnik, Illinois Teachers' CIO, had been interim executive director since the April 8, 2009, resignation of Jon Bauman.
Korn/Ferry International assisted.
Exelon, Motorola make contributions
Exelon Corp. plans to contribute $2.1 billion to its defined benefit pension plans in the first quarter, confirmed Paul Elsberg, Exelon spokesman.
The contribution is expected to increase the $8.66 billion plans' funded status 12 percentage points to 89% by the end of 2011, according to an 8-K filing with the SEC.
Changes in federal tax law passed last year allowing for bonus depreciation “will generate approximately $1 billion of cash for Exelon Corp.,” which will be used for part of the contribution, according to the filing. The remainder is a cash contribution from the company, Mr. Elsberg said.
Motorola Solutions, meanwhile, will contribute $100 million above any required contribution to its pension plan over the next five years under an agreement with the PBGC, confirmed Gary Pastorius, an agency spokesman.
Motorola Solutions, formerly known as Motorola Inc., reached the agreement with the PBGC before the spinoff of its Motorola Mobility business was completed Jan. 4.
According to Mr. Pastorius, Motorola Solutions will continue to sponsor the plan, which had total assets of $4.09 billion as of Sept. 30, according to a Pensions & Investments survey. According to the survey, the pension plan has been closed to new employees since Jan. 1, 2005.
CalPERS shifts $724 million
CalPERS transferred a $724 million real estate portfolio, National Office Partners, to existing manager CommonWealth Partners from Hines, confirmed Clark McKinley, spokesman for the $220.3 billion system.
The shift was part a restructuring of CalPERS' $15 billion real estate investment portfolio, he said. The portfolio lost 53.6% in the year ended June 30, according to the latest real estate quarterly report.
The NOP portfolio was a joint venture between Hines and CalPERS. The portfolio was the lowest performing in CalPERS' core office subsector, earning an annualized 0.6%, after fees, since its July 1998 inception.
UBS: Funding ratio up
The funding ratio for the typical U.S corporate defined benefit plan rose 7 percentage points in the fourth quarter to 84%, according to a UBS Global Asset Management report.
The 84% funding ratio as of Dec. 31 was the same as a year earlier, Kris Kagel, a UBS spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
In the latest quarter, assets were up 4% while liabilities declined by 4%. For the year, assets rose 10%, with liabilities increasing by the same percentage, “resulting in no material funding ratio improvement for the typical pension plan,” according to a UBS news release.
Hedge fund indexes top 10%
Hedge fund indexes returned more than 10% in 2010, according to early reporting from major index providers. For the year, Hedge Fund Research's HFRI Fund Weighted Composite index was 10.42%; Hennessee Hedge Fund index, 10.2%; and HedgeFund Intelligence composite, 9.44%. Hedge funds of funds' 2010 returns were about half as large as those of single and multistrategy hedge funds. The HFRI Fund of Funds Composite index was up 5.42% for the year.
By comparison, one-year returns of other major market indexes were S&P 500 (with dividends), 15.08%; Barclays Aggregate Bond, 6.56%; and MSCI World, 9.55%.
According to HFR, the best-performing hedge fund strategy last year focused on energy investments, with the HFRI EH: Sector-Energy/Basic Materials index returning 15.98%; followed by the HFRI RV: Fixed Income-Asset Backed index, 14.32%; and the HFRI RV: Multi-Strategy index, 13.93%. The only hedge fund strategy index with negative returns in the year ended Dec. 31 was the HFRI EH: Short Bias index at -21.3%.
Holy Cross appoints new CIO
Timothy Jarry was named CIO of the College of the Holy Cross, replacing William Durgin, who retired in December.
Mr. Jarry was associate CIO at the college. In an interview, Mr. Jarry said he will be responsible for investments of the college's $570 million endowment and $40 million defined benefit plan. He also will advise on investments for the college's $150 million 403(b) plan, he said.
Mr. Jarry said his previous position will not be filled. Dan Ricciardi, an analyst in the college's investment office, was promoted to investment officer, and Mr. Jarry will hire another investment officer soon. He declined to provide details.
13% returns for U.K. plans
U.K. defined benefit pension funds returned about 13% in 2010, down from about 15% in 2009, driven by strong domestic and international equities, according to two separate estimates released Jan. 5.
In State Street Investment Analytics' WM UK Defined Benefit Pension Fund Universe, the average estimated 2010 return was about 13%, down from 15%. In a separate estimate, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing put the weighted 2010 average return for a U.K. pension fund at 12.5%, down from 14.4% the previous year.
The State Street report said the return estimate was aided by U.K. equities, which returned an estimated 15% in 2010, and emerging markets equities, where returns were as high as 25% in some countries.
BNY Mellon said aggregate emerging markets equities returned 22.6% in 2010, while Asia ex-Japan equities returned 23.4%. U.K. equities returned 14.5% for the year.