The Florida State Board of Administration won the National Association of Securities Professionals Pacesetter Award for 1997.
The award is presented "to individual trustees (or funds) that have promoted the full involvement of women and minorities in the investment industry."
The $70 billion Florida state fund has $400 million in all types of equity investments with Progress Investment Management Co., a manager of managers that allocates assets to 10 minority and women-owned firms.
They are: Brown Capital Management; Sloate, Weisman, Murray & Co.; GLOBALT; Paradigm Asset Management; New Amsterdam Partners; Sturdivant & Co.; Fortaleza Asset Management; The Edgar Lomax Co.; Valenzuela Capital Management Inc.; and American Re Asset Management.
"The FSBA's efforts and commitment demonstrate that competitive economic benefits can be obtained and fiduciary standards can be fulfilled through the use of emerging firms in the industry," said Marx Cazenave, president and CEO of Progress.
The managers' aggregate benchmark mimics the Wilshire 2500, said Lan Janecek, chief of equities at the Florida fund. Mr. Janecek said Florida fund officials are considering allocating more money to the approach.
The board does not set a quota for the number of minority money management or brokerage firms it uses.
Tom Herndon, executive director of the national group, said in a statement the fund has sought to increase minority manager involvement and the award shows the fund is making "real progress."
He added: "I hope that other funds around the country will look at what we have been able to accomplish in Florida and will open the door further."
Past winners of the Pacesetter include: the District of Columbia Retirement Board; Nicholas Maiale, chairman of the Pennsylvania State Employes' Retirement System; and H. Carl McCall, comptroller of the state of New York.