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Japan overhauls its public pension fund

By Chikafumi Hodo and Takaya Yamaguchi TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan overhauled the world's biggest public pension fund on Tuesday, appointing new committee members, in a push toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal of a more aggressive investment strategy. The government announced a reshuffle of the Investment Committee of the $1.26 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), in line with Abe's drive to have the fund make riskier investments and rely less on low-yielding government bonds.

Students struggle when loan co-signers die, go bankrupt: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. consumer financial watchdog warned on Tuesday that some student loan borrowers could be thrown into default if relatives who co-signed their loans die or declare bankruptcy. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a new report published on its website that many private student lenders stipulate that the balance of a loan will come due if a parent, grandparent or other co-signer becomes unable to share responsibility for the loan.

Ackman, Valeant team up to bid for Allergan

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Rod Nickel and Olivia Oran BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Activist investor William Ackman teamed up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc to make a joint run at buying wrinkle-treatment maker Allergan Inc, according to security filings on Monday. The move to acquire Allergan, which is worth around $42 billion, is highly unusual as activist investors typically buy stakes and then agitate for strategic change, such as a sale of the company.

Italy's UniCredit, Intesa to set up bad loans vehicle with KKR: FT

(Reuters) - Italy's two largest banks, UniCredit <CRDI.MI> and Intesa Sanpaolo <ISP.MI>, are teaming up with U.S. private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts <KOHLB.UL> to pool some of their bad loans into a vehicle that will provide fresh capital for the struggling companies, the Financial Times reported. The preliminary agreement, which also involves restructuring adviser Alvarez & Marsal, will be announced on Tuesday, the paper said on its website on Monday.

IEX'S exchange plan stirs U.S. stocks queue jumping argument

By John McCrank NEW YORK (Reuters) - For more than a decade, queue jumping by traders has been a big no-no in U.S. stock market, prevented in the name of fairness. Now, an upstart trading platform has revived a debate on whether it may be just what markets need to become more transparent.

USDA establishes $150 million rural business investment fund to promote jobs, growth

DES MOINES, Iowa - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related business in rural areas with cash needed to expand. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in Cedar Rapids the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to increase business opportunities.

Pimco Global Multi-Asset, Foreign Bond funds hit with sharp outflows

(Reuters) - The Pimco Global Multi-Asset (PGAIX), Pimco Foreign Bond (PFUIX) and Pimco Investment Grade Corporate Bond (PIGIX) funds are suffering the heaviest net outflows over the trailing one-year period through March 31 among U.S.-domiciled Pimco funds rated by Morningstar Inc., data showed on Monday.

Seeking to reduce debt by $1.2B, Genco Shipping files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Drybulk shipper Genco Shipping filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday as it tries to reorganize its business and reduce debt. The New York company says it has about $1.3 billion in debt. Earlier this month it struck a deal with some of its lenders intended to help reduce its leverage and restructure its liabilities.

Merrill sets new $8 million bragging target for its top brokers

By Jed Horowitz NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch is dangling a new incentive in front of its brokers by creating a "recognition club" for those who bring in $8 million or more a year from clients, more than doubling the top goals set by its securities industry rivals.

Pro-risk assets experts tapped as key gov't pension fund officials

The government on Tuesday appointed seven people, including three experts who are in favor of high-risk asset investment, for two-year terms as members of the policy-setting committee of Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which oversees pension programs, has decided to tap the experts as members of the GPIF Investment Committee to promote a policy change at the fund, the investment portfolio of which has been dominated by domestic bonds, ministry sources said
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