Maryland Venture makes 4th investmentThe Maryland Venture...

BANKING & FINANCE

April 29, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Maryland Venture makes 4th investment

The Maryland Venture Capital Trust has made another investment, its fourth since setting up shop more than a year ago. The trust last week agreed to invest $1 million in Calvert Social Venture Partners, part of a Bethesda investment firm.

Calvert met the trust's first three criteria, according to director John C. Weiss III: potential for a good return, focused in Maryland and in the process of raising money.

Calvert also offered a bonus in that "they add a social screen to their review process," he noted, namely limiting investments to human services, education, environment and energy concerns.

With the latest selection, the venture trust will have placed $9 million in venture capital firms with a geographic emphasis on Maryland; it still has $10 million raised from the state and various public pension funds. Mr. Weiss said the rest of the money "has been conditionally committed to four additional partnerships."

Signet again raises its stock dividend

There are few stronger signs of confidence a company can send than raising its stock dividend. Signet Banking Corp. has now done it twice in the last six months.

The Richmond, Va.-based company, with $11.5 billion in assets, yesterday raised its quarterly dividend from 30 cents a share to 40 cents. That's a cent higher than in March 1991, just before the rate was cut to 20 cents. Last October the company raised it to 30 cents.

"The dividend increase is a strong signal that we are making significant strides toward achieving our principal corporate goal of enhancing shareholder value," said Chairman and Chief Executive Robert M. Freeman.

The dividend is payable May 26, to stockholders of record at the close of business on May 10.

Fidelity to offer new Md. bond mutual fund

Tax Freedom Day in Maryland is Saturday. That means the average Marylander will work until May 1, or 120 days this year, to pay all taxes for 1993.

Though the hoopla is unlikely to match that of Built by Bonds Week, Fidelity Investments of Devonshire, Mass., is celebrating in its own way by launching a "triple-tax-free" Maryland bond mutual fund this week.

Fidelity's 29th state tax-free fund, the Spartan Maryland Municipal Income Fund, will buy primarily investment-grade long-term state municipal securities, according to portfolio manager Steve Harvey. The fund is the 14th Spartan fund, which offers low fees and allows investors to pay extra only for services they need, such as check-writing.

Although the fund will start with no management fees, they ultimately could reach 55 basis points, or 0.55 percent of assets. Also, there's a 0.5 percent penalty for exiting the fund within the first six months. The minimum investment is $10,000.

T. Rowe Price offers updated retirement kit

If you liked the original, you'll love the sequel. This month T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. goes back to the future with updated 1993 versions of its acclaimed Retirement Planning Kit and Retirees Financial Guide.

Since the free planning kit was introduced in 1989, more than 445,000 people have requested a copy. The free guide, meanwhile, has generated 315,000 requests since its launch in 1991. And a $15 retirement planning program for personal computers has sold more than 65,000 copies in the last year. Call (800) 541-6127 for the kits, or (800) 541-5350 for the computer program.

Price and other mutual fund companies are seeing rapid growth in investments from defined contribution pension plans, under which an employee decides how and how much to invest for retirement. More than 20 percent of the $42 billion under Price's management comes from such plans.

Fee madness reigns at some U.S. banks

It's no secret the banking industry has fallen in love with fee income; anyone who has paid their safe deposit fee or bounced a check lately knows that.

Here, then, are some of the most "egregious nickel-and-dime charges" levied by banks, thrifts and credit unions, as noted in the May issue of Money magazine.

"Charging for change" -- Home Fed Bank in Encinitas, Calif., charges 10 cents for every roll of coins deposited, after the first five.

"Paying to give them money" -- First Fidelity Bank in New Jersey, among others, charges $2.50 for a book of deposit slips.

"Paying for stuff you don't use" -- Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City charges 50 cents a month to customers who don't use their ATM cards enough.

Feel free to send us examples of your own worst offenders.

Brown Advisory names Whilden vice president

From the executive suite:

Brown Advisory & Trust, the joint venture of Alex. Brown Inc. and the Philadelphia-based Glenmede Corp., has hired Walther B. Whilden, a 16-year veteran of Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., as a vice president and senior portfolio manager.

John E. Hess, who founded the Hess Apparel company, has become an independent consultant to Executive Sounding Board Ltd., a Baltimore mergers and acquisitions consulting firm.

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