New Castle News

May 7, 2013

City pension fund continues positive trend

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — New Castle’s employee pension fund continues its positive trend.

As of March 31, the total of the portfolio was $26,827,239 as reported by the investment managers at the quarterly meeting of the pension fund board of trustees last night.

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

Largely due to an upward trend in the stock market, the fund showed a gain of $1,629,439, or 6.08 percent, for the first quarter. The gain is net of fees paid to the investment managers and distributions to beneficiaries.

The benchmark index increased by 6.15 percent for the period. The benchmark index is a composite of Standard and Poors, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and U.S. Treasury bills.

Huntington Private Financial Group’s share of the portfolio increased by $913,481, or 5.96 percent. Ameriprise Financial’s share gained $715,958, or 6.23 percent.

Huntington’s value as of March 31 was $14,850,464 while Ameriprise’s was $11,976,775.

Joseph Sniezek of Huntington said the growth in company earnings continues at a modest pace and employment numbers continue to be positive. He said equity markets are favored because of disappointing returns in fixed income, or bonds, and cash markets.

Eugene Gabriel of Ameriprise echoed the point on employment and on corporate earnings. He also said interest rates remain low and the global economy is improving.

He noted the Wells Fargo fund portion of Ameriprise’s portfolio is heavily weighted in Apple, which underperformed for the quarter. As a result, the performance of the portfolio wasn’t as good as it could have been, he said.

The pension board was one member short of a quorum, so no votes could be taken. Present were Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, council members MaryAnne Gavrile and Thomas Smith and John Biangone, representing the firefighters.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)