More financial news
Baird adds small/mid cap value team
Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. announced it has added a new small/mid cap equity team to be led by Michelle Stevens, CFA.
Stevens has 17 years of experience managing small, mid and all cap value portfolios, most recently as a portfolio manager with Transamerica Small/MidCap Value Fund. Her team will also include Jonathan DeMoss and Richard Roesch, both CFAs, and Rob Zwiebel, marketing specialist.
The group will manage institutional and individual equity portfolios, and will be based in Cincinnati.
In addition, The Baird Funds plan to expand its offerings and expects to file a prospectus for the Baird Small Cap Value Fund in the first half of the year.
Fiserv files patent infringement suit against FIS
Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc. reported that its wholly owned subsidiaries, CheckFree Corp. and CashEdge Inc., have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS) and its Metavante Corp. subsidiary in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The lawsuit alleges that FIS infringes on Fiserv’s patents when it provides customers with certain financial and payment solutions, including FIS’s Payment Manager products, which process inter-bank account-to-account fund transfers, process payment instructions, and provide electronic biller notifications as an integral part of its electronic bill payment processes., "Fiserv is a leader in providing innovative and complex technology solutions and has devoted significant resources developing and maintaining an extensive intellectual property portfolio. These valuable assets, and the patent protection Fiserv has been granted, enable Fiserv to create and deliver cutting-edge technologies that meet evolving market needs. We have a responsibility to protect our intellectual property from further infringement and exploitation,” Fiserv said in a statement about the lawsuit.
Warm winter weather cools retail sales
U.S. retailers posted mixed December same-store sales on Thursday, as unseasonably warm weather put a damper on sales of cold weather gear.
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. reported that for the five-week month ended Dec. 31, 2011, comparable store sales decreased 0.1 percent from the five-week month ended Jan. 1, 2011.
Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "Our December sales results were short of our expectations although much improved over November’s results. Our e-commerce business increased 48 percent over last year, and we remain on track to hit $1 billion in e-commerce sales for fiscal 2011. Our results were adversely affected by sluggish sales in cold-weather categories. As a result, we have taken action to ensure our inventories are at an appropriate level entering next year."
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., announced December comparable store sales decreased 0.7 percent.
Other retailers reporting comparable stores sales for December included: Costco Wholesale Corp., up 7.0 percent; Limited Brands Inc., up 7.0 percent; Macy’s Inc., up 6.2 percent; Target Corp., up 1.6 percent; and Gap Inc., down 4.0 percent.
Frontier Airlines reports strong December
Frontier Airlines, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings, reported that its December traffic increased 7 percent to 1.0 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs), while capacity was flat, at 1.2 billion available seat miles (ASMs).
Frontier Airlines served 1.2 million passengers in December, a 4-percent increase from December 2010. December had a load factor of 85 percent compared with 80 percent in the same month of the previous year. It was Frontier’s sixth consecutive record monthly load factor.
"Frontier demonstrated exceptional performance in December," said Republic chief executive officer Bryan Bedford. "Despite an 11-percent decrease in block hours from last year, we scheduled our fleet efficiently to maintain stable capacity and achieve revenue gains. We anticipate solid fourth quarter results."
Frontier operates a hub in Milwaukee.
Baker Tilly ranked as top audit firm
A.M. Best’s monthly insurance news magazine, Best’s Review, has ranked London-based financial services firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP as one of its top 50 audit firms in the U.S. by market share of net premiums written.
Baker Tilly, which has five Wisconsin offices, earned the eighth spot in the rankings. It holds 25 percent of the actuarial firm market share, with $3.7 million in NPW in 2010, the publication said.
WaterStone introduces mobile banking
Wauwatosa-based WaterStone Bank, which has eight southeastern Wisconsin branches, now offers mobile banking. The free service allows customers to have 24-hour mobile account access, where subscribers can view account balances and transactions, pay bills, transfer funds and search for the closest no-fee ATMs.