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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 27, 2010 at 10:30 AM

State pensions are $11.7 m. richer; T-Mobile talk on the Web

Washington Treasurer James L. McIntire has announced that several public pension funds will get $11.7 million in a settlement between Boston’s State Street Bank and the Washington State Investment Board, the Attorney General Rob McKenna and the Treasurer’s office. The settlement comes from a contract dispute over the pricing of foreign exchange transactions executed between 1997 and 2007 while State Street was the custody bank for the state investment board.

According to the Treasurer’s office, proceeds of the settlement will go into the state’s $53 billion Commingled Trust Fund, managed by the WSIB, holding most of the pensions for public employees, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, school employees, and judges.

The trade publication Pensions & Investments reported that the Washington action came after a California lawsuit that claimed State Street overcharged the state pension funds for foreign exchange transactions.

Water-cooler talk: The popular blog 24/7Wall Street lists Bellevue-headuqartered T-Mobile as one of the “10 Brands That Will Disappear in 2011.” The argument: “T-Mobile not only faces three larger competitors, it also has to begin to offer 4G service to compete with Sprint’s new WiMax service and LTE-based products from AT&T and Verizon.” It goes on:

A merger with Sprint-Nextel has been mentioned several times. The combined company would have a customer base about the same size as AT&T or Verizon. And the transaction would probably make (T-Mobile owner) Deutsche Telekom a large owner of the combined operation. Another alternative would be a merger with Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobil is smaller than T-Mobile, but the Virgin brand is very highly regarded and already extends across a large number of successful businesses. Virgin Group is involved in 200 businesses around the world. Another potential buyer of T-Mobile’s customer base is Telcel, which has 60 million subscribers in Mexico, is owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, who has already began to expand his business interests of the US. T-Mobile has little brand equity in the US. Maybe Deutsche Telekom will just change the firm’s name.

Other endangered brands: Readers Digest, Merrill Lynch, Radio Shack, BP and Blockbuster. N.b.: The blog’s record is mixed. It nailed the demise of Newsweek and trouble ahead for Palm, but Eddie Bauer, identified on an earlier hit list, still survives. Outside of the world of speculation, the Times’ Brier Dudley recently reported on executive changes at T-Mobile.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Millionaires feel good

Their confidence is rising

Red? Blue? Green prevails

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