Bell Atlantic Seeks Minority-Owned Investment Firms To Manage $50 Million in Pension Assets
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Bell Atlantic Seeks Minority-Owned Investment Firms
to Manage $50 Million in Pension Assets
New 'Discovery Fund' Supports Goals of Wall Street Project
January 14, 1999
Michel Daley, Bell Atlantic
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic is seeking minority-owned investment firms
to manage $50 million from its pension funds, the company announced
At the Rainbow/Push Second Annual Coalition Conference in New York
City, Bell Atlantic said it will assign responsibility to manage
$50 million in pension fund assets to a new "Discovery Fund" which
will be managed by five minority-owned investment firms. These money
managers will invest the money in equities and fixed income
securities, such as stocks and bonds.
"Minority-owned investment firms have been largely shut out from the
rewards of managing the billions of pension-fund dollars held by
Fortune 500 companies," said Bell Atlantic President and Chief
Operating Officer James G. Cullen. "We are now making a strong
commitment by taking an activist approach to investing with minority
businesses. In addition, the minority-owned firms we're looking at
meet the criteria which we believe are important in making this
GTE Corp., another telecommunications firm, separately announced
today that it also would transfer $50 million into the fund. Bell
Atlantic and GTE are the first and only two companies to make this
commitment, although the Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project is
challenging other companies to follow.
The Rainbow Push Coalition is working to move the world toward
social, racial and economic justice. Its Wall Street Project was
launched to challenge corporate America to end the multi-billion
dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers.
Bell Atlantic initially considered a pool of more than 30 minority-
owned money managers, including Latino, African-American and Asian-
The company is now narrowing the field of participants and expects
to sign contracts with five firms by March 31. Northern Trust, a
leading pension fund consultant, will administer the fund and have
oversight responsibilities for the firms selected. Bell Atlantic
will be responsible for reviewing the fund's performance.
This is the second announcement made this week regarding
financially-related diversity initiatives at Bell Atlantic. On
Jan. 12, Black Enterprise Magazine and Citigroup announced that
Bell Atlantic will contribute $10 million to a private equity investment fund that will be used to finance the growth of
minority-owned or-managed businesses.
"Such initiatives reflect both our long-standing commitment to
inclusion and a growing appreciation of diversity as a
fundamental business strength," Cullen said. "We're expanding
organizational assumptions, systems and practices, not only to
help increase our diversity and make Bell Atlantic a better place
to work and to do business with, but to create a competitive
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications
and information industry. With 42 million telephone access
lines and eight million wireless customers worldwide, Bell
Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline
voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and
the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell
Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors
in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and
investments in 23 countries.