NEW YORK LIFE APPOINTS MURDOCK: New York Life Investment Management LLC appointed Brian Murdock, 48, as president of the $183 billion investment concern, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J.

In his new post, Murdock succeeds Steve Roussin, who departed NYLIM to pursue other opportunities.

Murdock, 48, comes to NYLIM after a 25-year tenure at Merrill Lynch Investment Management, where he most recently served as chief operating officer of Merrill Lynch Investment Management Americas. He also held posts as chief investment officer for the Pacific Region and global CIO.

Murdock will also serve on the NYLIM board.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS BACK OPTIONS PROPOSAL: Despite staunch opposition from some lawmakers and pro-option lobby groups, the options-expensing proposal from the Financial Accounting Standards Board has garnered support from institutional investors.

By a four-to-one margin, some 302 buy-side portfolio managers and research professionals surveyed by Broadgate Consultants Inc., a corporate consultant, indicated that FASB’s proposal would improve transparency in financial reporting. More than 70 percent of those surveyed believed that the rule would improve corporate governance.

Nearly 85 percent said that they were interested in the options expensing issue because generally accepted accounting principles accounting is an important consideration in their decision to invest. And 77 percent said that the FASB options proposal should not be modified, Broadgate reported.

Ninety percent of respondents said that they would oppose any exemptions from expensing for start-up or technology companies. In addition, more than 80 percent shrugged off the implication that expensing would impair a company’s ability to attract top talent, harm its profitability or impede its ability to attract capital. Nearly 60 percent said that companies shouldn’t abandon option plans in favor of other forms of compensation.

TREASURY, IRS ISSUE NEW FUNDING RATES: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued a new interest rate for pension plan funding.

The new rate implements the Pension Funding Equity Act of 2004, signed by President Bush on April 10. Under prior law, the pension funding interest rate was based on the 30-year Treasury bond. The Pension Funding Equity Act replaces the 30-year Treasury bond rate with a new rate based on high-quality, long-term corporate bonds, as specified by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Treasury and the IRS will publish the new rate and the method used to determine the new rate in Notice 2004-34.

“The new interest rate provides a more appropriate measurement of pension liabilities, and we recognize that companies need the new rate to determine their quarterly plan contributions due on April 15,” said acting assistant secretary for tax policy Greg Jenner. “Still, we must continue to work toward comprehensive pension funding reform.”

The Pension Funding Equity Act also allows certain plan sponsors (including airlines and steel companies) to elect relief from a portion of their required pension plan contributions. Announcement 2004-38 provides guidance on how to make and file the election with the IRS.

NYSE NAMES FIORINA, GREENBERG TO EXEC BOARD: The Big Board has added Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina and Marsh & McLennan chief executive Jeffrey W. Greenberg to its Board of Executives.

The two join Altria Group chair and CEO Louis C. Camilleri and Viacom president and chief operating officer Mel Karmazin in representing the listed-company community on the advisory panel of NYSE constituents, which was created in December. Their appointment brings the number of members to 21.

The board meets at least six times a year to discuss exchange performance, membership issues, listed-company issues and public issues relating to market structure and performance. The board meets with the exchange’s Board of Directors in joint session several times annually, and provides the directors with reports of deliberations. BoE members also serve on some joint committees with directors.

Members are appointed annually by the exchange’s directors. The current terms of members of both boards expire in June. Elections and appointments will be annual thereafter.

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