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PhillyDeals: The downturn finally touches Vanguard

For just the second time in 25 years, Malvern-based Vanguard Group has reduced the annual "Partnership Plan" dividend used to calculate senior and veteran employees' compensation.

For just the second time in 25 years, Malvern-based Vanguard Group has reduced the annual "Partnership Plan" dividend used to calculate senior and veteran employees' compensation.

The 10 percent cut, to $91.52 from $101.60 per point (depending on status, employees are eligible for a certain number of points), is the biggest cut since Vanguard founder John Bogle started the plan, says Daniel P. Wiener, Brooklyn-based publisher of the Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors newsletter. There was a 5 percent cut in 2002.

Wiener said the points, based on Vanguard's performance-measurement formula, have in the past accounted for up to 30 percent of yearly

compensation for veteran "Vanguard crew," up to 10 percent for more recent hires, and most of the money for paid executives such as chairman John Brennan, who Wiener estimates made around $7 million last year.

Vanguard, which employs around 9,000 in its Chester County offices, doesn't report executive pay and wouldn't comment on it, said spokeswoman Linda Wolohan.

Vanguard has avoided the mass layoffs that cut thousands at Fidelity Investments and other rivals, as its bond and index funds won new business during last year's market collapse.

But in this spring's stock rally, actively managed mutual funds like Fidelity's outperformed low-cost, Vanguard-style index funds by more than at any time since the early 1980s, Bloomberg L.P. said yesterday, citing Morningstar Inc. data.

Stand in line

"It is fair to say the 'free enterprise system' is not the most popular term at the moment across the country or in Washington," Donald Correll, chief executive of American Water Works, of Voorhees, said yesterday.

He's picked this time of bailouts and layoffs to join the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the national business lobby that's challenging Obama's pro-labor agenda.

American Water, a private company in a largely government-owned, government-

regulated and often government-

subsidized industry, has stepped up lobbying since it was spun off by Germany's RWE Aktiengesellschaft and sold shares on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

"If you don't have a voice and you don't have a place in line, you're not likely to be included," Correll said.

"We've had an increasing outreach program with the local municipalities," and also "at the state level, where many of our environmental regulations are set and governed," he said. Joining the chamber gives American Water a share of "the largest voice there is in private enterprise."

Hello, Central

You know those old Bell Telephone call centers scattered around the country, relics from the copper-wire, operator-assisted past?

Developers Ken Weinstein and Stan Smith of Mount Airy-based are collecting them.

They just paid $1.1 million to SK Chestnut St. L.L.C. for the 84,000-square-foot former Verizon Corp. building at 7200 Chestnut St., across the street from the Upper Darby municipal building. And they're rehabbing the long-vacant, 42,000-square-foot former Bell Telephone Co. building in Norristown at 401 DeKalb St., behind the Montgomery County Courthouse.

"The most likely use for them is office and professional," said Weinstein, whose clients are mostly nonprofits. Norristown has offered "incentives" for bringing in a restaurant, he added. Cushman & Wakefield broker Brian Hilger represented PhillyOfficeRetail.

Ecumenical deal

Delaware County Christian School has bought Episcopal Academy's Devon campus, the schools said yesterday. The price: around $16 million, real estate sources say.

The 30-acre campus was given to Episcopal in 1974, 38 years after donor John C. Haas, a Rohm & Haas heir, graduated from Episcopal.

Delco Christian will move its elementary school from Newtown Square to the new campus, Delco Christian head Stephen Dill told me. Stratford Friends School will take over the old Delco Christian elementary site.

Episcopal has moved to a new, 123-acre campus north of Newtown Square that cost over $100 million. Brokers Robert Fahey and Pat Green of CB Richard Ellis and Bill Luff of Jones Lang LaSalle, all Episcopal parents, closed the sale.