Trust bankers are licking their chops over a huge pool of assets that figures to be up grabs, thanks to Financial Accounting Standards Board rule No. 106, effective at yearend. Corporations must then begin charging post-retirement health care benefits against earnings.
Although companies are not required to prefund the liabilities, bankers estimate that between 20% and 40% will choose to do so, creating a pool of trust assets worth a whopping $500 million by conservatives estimates -- certainly the biggest source of new custodial and investment management business in years.
Leading trust banks such as State Street Boston Corp., Bankers Trust New York Corp., and the Boston Co., a unit of Shearson Lehman Brothers, are developing marketing programs and product lines geared toward FASB 106 funds.
To reach more potential customers, State Street plans to form a marketing alliance with a firm that creates on-line computer data bases that help companies calculate their liabilities related to retiree medical costs. Under such an arrangement, the firm would recommend State Street's investment management and custodial services to clients that decide to prefund the liabilities.
Frederic H. Morris, senior vice president, said the bank is in talks with a few firms, which he declined to name, and plans to announce a partnership next month.
Bankers Trust is also considering alliances with data base firms and benefits consultants.