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ECB axes State Street from pension fund

EUROPE – The European Central Bank has axed State Street as sole manager of its pension fund, replacing it with Irish Life.

“Yes it is correct, I herewith confirm that Irish Life has become the manager of the ECB's pension fund,” said ECB spokeswoman Regina Karoline Schüller. A State Street spokesman in the UK also confirmed the move but had no further comment.

According to the bank’s 2004 annual report the fund was worth €120.2m and had €148.8m in obligations.

Last year the ECB warned that low interest rates could lead to “reckless or speculative” investing by pension funds.

Meanwhile State Street has advised its shareholders to vote against a corporate governance proposal brought by activist Patrick Jorstad at its annual meeting.

“I believe that State Street's board is independent in name only, and that the multiple interlocks belie their claims to the contrary,” Jorstad told IPE.

He’s bringing three proposals for the Boston-based bank’s meeting, to be held on April 19, including a call for the termination of a poison pill arrangement.

The bank disagrees, saying such agreements “strengthen the ability of boards of directors, in the exercise of their fiduciary duties, to maximize shareholder value and protect shareholders and employees from unfair and abusive takeover tactics”.

“The Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote AGAINST this shareholder proposal,” the bank’s proxy statement says.

“In short, I think the State Street directors need to walk the walk, or walk the plank,” Jorstad said.

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