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Rating:Odd Lots, February 17, 2000 Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, February 17, 2000

Odd Lots, February 17, 2000

Reported by Hayley Green

Playing fair
From The Wall Street Journal
The tug of war over who owns the Janus funds continues to stretch on between the Denver fund firm and its 82%-owner, Kansas City Southern Industries Inc. Last week, KCS changed its annual report to say that it has control over Janus. KCS says it needed to clarify the control issue with the SEC to proceed with its plans to spin off Janus and its other financial-services businesses in a new entity to be called Stilwell Financial. Officials at Janus are saying, no, parts of the filing contradict an agreement KCS signed with Janus founder and chairman Thomas Bailey more than a decade ago. Further conflict continues to arise as the KCS filing essentially states that company has the right to replace Bailey.

Brennan looks to build European biz
From The Wall Street Journal
Vanguard Group chairman John Brennan has been having long business lunches in Europe, but that's the only thing he is willing to stretch. Brennan is refusing to pay high charges for retail distribution, and at the same time won't slash the firm's already low fees to buy institutional business. He said he wants to serve European clients like American clients. Vanguard's European operation is small, but growing. Over the past two years, Vanguard's assets under management in Europe have grown from $60 million to $350 million and its European staff has grown from zero to five people.

Will the Peanut gang fade away?
From The New York Times
The death of Charles Schulz on Saturday, just as the final original "Peanuts" strip appeared in newspapers, has experts in the field of corporate identity divided over the future of the brand. Some say they believe that Peanuts can remain alive and vital to new generations if the brand is tended as carefully by the Schulz estate as it was supervised by him in life. Others believe that the Peanuts gang, must inevitably suffer the fate of characters from comic strips like "Li'l Abner" and "Pogo," which faded from popularity after their creators died and consumer tastes changed. Metropolitan Life insurance, Fossil, Hallmark, Hasbro and Pez have all used the Snoopy cast to market their products.

Not all retirement calculators are equal
From The New York Times
Not all web retirement calculators are equal, according to a test done by the New York Times. Companies like Vanguard, Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer consumer-finance software vendors like Quicken and many other programs offer similar services that allow users to calculate retirement needs. The Times said the service is for people who want to avoid paying serious money to a professional financial adviser but found that several Web sites gave very different results when fed essentially the same information. Quicken calculated that a hypothetical 45-year-old couple would have enough savings and income after 20 years to total more than $118,000 a year, almost as much as their current income. The planner at Fidelity's Web site, however, said that the couple would be $219,000 short of what they should have saved for retirement by 2019, the year they stopped working. The software recommended that they save an additional $661 a month to close the gap. Charles Schwab's site was more dim. It calculated that the couple's savings would fall short by nearly $2.5 million. "Based on the assumptions you have entered, your retirement assets will run out in 2027," it warned. Less than a decade after retiring, they would be broke.  

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