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Wednesday, February 13, 2002

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Reported by InvestmentWires Staff, 

Even while seeking a buyer, John Hancock Financial Services CEO David D'Alessandro is honing his ability to say no. It seems, the insurer is in a parking lot brawl. Boston developers Arthur Winn and Roger Cassin covet an 11,000 foot parcel next to the Hard Rock Cafe that Hancock uses as a partking lot for a $400 million office building in Boston. D'Alessandro says the parcel is not for sale, reports the Boston Globe. So far the fight has lasted three years and D'Alessandro is not giving up. He has resisted entrities from then Massachussetts governor Paul Cellucci among others.

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NICSA has a new web-based learning center, which includes a Mutual Fund Industry Specialist Program. It is intended to provide training and educational functions for financial services firms.

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Gardner Jackson has been named to the Fundamental Large Cap U.S. Equity management team at SSgA. He joins Kimberly Gluck, William Page, Chris Sunderland, and Anthony Fiore. They are responsible for $1.6 billion in assets invested in U.S. Core Opportunities, Socially Responsible Equity, and Large Cap Growth Opportunities.

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Fidelity may be losing some of the spotlight, and perhaps assets, to former fund managers. Eric Kobren, author of Fidelity Insight, is now directing wealthy investors and institutions into hedge funds run by ex-Fidelity portfolio managers. Kobren is recommending 11 hedge funds run by ex-Fidelity staff through a fund-of-funds approach, reports the Boston Globe. The minimum purchase through Kobren's fund is $1 million and it levies an 80 basis point advisory charge and a 500 basis point performance fee. Kobren's newsletter has been seen by some as influential in driving assets into highlighted Fidelity funds.

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Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. (D, NJ) has authored yet another bill to reform 401(k) plans. The Pension Protection and Diversification Act of 2002 (HR 3640) echoes the Senates Boxer-Corzine bill. It would limit employer stock to 20 percent of any participant's account, vest employer matches in stock after 90 days, and limit the deduction for matches made in employer securities rather than cash.

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Nortel Networks is the latest plan sponsor to be hit with a lawsuit over losses in company stock in a 401(k) plan. Participants are charging that the company improperly induced participants to buy Nortel stock in the Nortel Networks Long-Term Investment Plan, according to Dow Jones. The suit charges "material misrepresentations and omissions" in participant communications.

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The trustees of Enron's 401(k) plan, ESOP and defined benefit plans are resigning under an agreement reached with the Department of Labor, reports the Wall Street Journal. The control of the plans will be passed to an independant fiduciary to be named by the DoL within the next month. Enron will pay compensation of up to $1.5 million annually and expenses for the outside fiduciary.

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How much company stock is too much? While Congress debates the answer the Schwab Center for Investment Research has released research that provides a more analytical framework. The study looked at portfolios built around an index fund and varying amounts randomly selected stock using data from 1926 to 1998. Some 25,000 permutations of the scenario showed that risk heightens dramatically when that stock reaches 20 to 30 percent of the portfolio. Schwab's Mark Riepe suggests the study may create a rule of thumb for 401(k) investors.

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InvestorForce has named Leo Dolan as chief operating officer. He will be in charge of day-to-day business operations for such areas as sales and marketing. He most recently served as senior vice president in charge of the investment advisory group at SEI Investments.  

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