New Castle News

February 5, 2013

City pension fund shows gain

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — New Castle’s employee pension fund had a strong performance in 2012.

As of Dec. 31, the total of the portfolio was $25,905,576 as reported by the two investment managers at the quarterly meeting of the pension fund 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.

Present were Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, council members MaryAnne Gavrile and William Panella and John Biangone, representing the firefighters. The board was one member short of quorum, meaning no votes could be taken on any matter.

As of Dec. 31, Ameriprise Financial’s value was $11,602,020, while Huntington Private Financial Group’s was $14,303,556.

The fund showed a gain of $2,662,473 for the year, due largely to a strong showing in the stock market.

Huntington’s share of the portfolio increased by $1,256,647, or 9.54 percent, while Ameriprise’s portion increased by $1,405,826, or 13.49 percent.

Amerprise outperformed the benchmark index of 11.50 percent for the year. However, combined, the portfolio showed a gain of 11.28 percent, slightly underperforming the index.

The benchmark index is a composite of Standard and Poors, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and U.S. Treasury bills.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, Ameriprise showed a gain of $9,076, or 0.13 percent, and Huntington had a gain of $78,887, or 0.57 percent.

Combined, the portfolio increased by 0.37 percent for the quarter. The benchmark index went up by 0.56 percent for the quarter.

Eugene Gabriel of Ameriprise said his company’s performance in the fourth quarter was a combination of stocks and bonds.

Ameriprise’s bond portfolio, he said, increased by 1.19 percent, outperforming the aggregate bond index return.

One of the negatives for the last quarter was a slight erosion in consumer and business confidence. On the positive side, there was steady job growth and a rebound in the housing market.

Joseph Sniezek of Huntington echoed those sentiments, saying housing prices “continued to work their way back up” and jobs continued to be created.

Randall Rhoades, the city’s pension attorney, commended the investment managers “for a great year.”

He said the two managers have different investment strategies, creating a diversity that benefits the fund.