New Castle News

November 6, 2012

City pension fund has strong quarter

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A resurgence in the stock market resulted in a strong third quarter for New Castle’s employee pension fund.

The fund increased by $1,104,195, or 4.52 percent, for the three-month period.

It was a substantial turnaround from the second quarter, which showed a loss of 3.41 percent, reflecting a down market.

The total of the portfolio as of Sept. 30 was $25,710,604 as reported by the investment managers at the quarterly meeting of the pension fund’s board of trustees Monday night.

The board is made up of the mayor, the five city council members and three employees representing police, firefighters and non-uniformed personnel.

Huntington Private Financial Group’s share of the portfolio had a value of $14,145,980 while Ameriprise Financial Services’ value was $11,564,624.

Ameriprise showed an increase of $652,077, or 6.05 percent, and Huntington had a gain of $452,118, or 3.33 percent, for the quarter.

Combined, the portfolio out-performed the benchmark index, which showed a gain of 4.49 percent. The benchmark index is a composite of Standard and Poors, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and U.S. Treasury bills.

Joseph Sniezek of Huntington called it “a solid quarter for the equities.” He added that U.S. companies continue to do well.

Eugene Gabriel of Ameriprise said corporate profits remain strong. The economy has shown “slow growth, but it’s positive,” he said.

For the first nine months of the year, the portfolio gained $2,574,449, an increase of 10.88 percent. The benchmark index was up by 10.87 percent for the period.

Individually, Ameriprise has increased by 13.34 percent and Huntington by 8.92 percent for the first nine months.

The portfolio mix for Huntington is about 68 percent in stocks, 29 percent in bonds and 2.5 percent in cash. The mix for Ameriprise is 70 percent in stocks, 24 percent in bonds and 6 percent in cash.

The fund’s investment guidelines allow for 53 percent to 73 percent to be invested in stocks, 22 percent to 42 percent in bonds and up to 15 percent in cash.