Governance ‘not enough’ for index providers to manage conflicts – EDHEC

first_imgEDHEC’s report said a governance-based approach would not only be ineffective in dealing with conflict-of-interest risks but also counterproductive.It said: “It would also strengthen the existing oligopoly in the index provision industry with adverse consequences for competition and innovation. Such an approach is recognised as ineffective by investors and as costly by asset managers.”The research highlighted that only a 4.6% were ‘very satisfied’ with the current level of transparency from index providers, with two-thirds of respondents suggesting the level was inadequate.The institute said this finding fell in line with its own observations, as all but one index provider fails to provide historical constituents of indices.The survey found that four-fifths of investors believed an adequate level of transparency would require historical or live replication.Further to this, an overwhelming 81% said the credibility of reported track records, especially newer forms of index, was undermined by providers’ opacity.Noël Amenc, director at the institute, said improving transparency was key in light of moves by the asset management industry to develop more sophisticated indices.He added the report published by the institute gave a voice to end investors of transparency, as index providers “too often express themselves on behalf of the investors”.“There can be no serious reason for authorising an index provider to publish the performances of an index,” he said, “without the market being able to guarantee their veracity, credibility and robustness due to a lack of sufficient information.”He added: “It is difficult to accept index providers conducting most of their marketing without giving markets the means to check and question the representativity or the outperformance.”The research found that investors agreed with EDHEC’s stance, with 77% suggesting the rise of newer index strategies made transparency more of an issue.Investors also threw their weight behind proposals from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) for more transparency for non-UCITS funds.Some 71% of the 109 investors surveyed said this step was necessity among index providers. Institutional investors have voiced concerns over opacity among index providers in a survey conducted by EDHEC-Risk Institute, which found the majority of respondents were dissatisfied with provider transparency.The report surveyed investors on their views of index providers, governance and transparency.Called ‘Index Transparency – A Survey of European Investors’ Perceptions, Needs and Expectations’, the report showed that a significant majority (82%) of investors believed transparency was the best method for index providers to manage conflicts of interest.Only 12% suggested good governance was enough for this to take place.last_img read more

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Danish roundup: PFA, PKA, Skandia Denmark

first_imgPFA, Denmark’s largest commercial pensions provider, has lost a legal battle with the financial regulator the Danish FSA (Finanstilsynet), which ordered the company to stop funding commercial discounts with collective reserves.The Ministry of Business and Industry’s Commercial Appeal Board (Erhvervsankenævnet) upheld the Danish FSA’s order against PFA Pension, re-affirming that the company could not use collective special bonus reserves to cover commercial discounts for new and existing customers.The FSA’s order had been made in June 2013.The regulator said at the time PFA had acted contrary to the requirement of fairness in section 21 of the Financial Business Act. PFA said last year in response to the FSA ruling that the judgment had been based on a misunderstanding of the factual and legal conditions.Its then chief executive Henrik Heideby said no customers had been deprived of any value and that PFA’s was a benefit to all customers, citing economies of scale.PFA said it took note of the appeal board’s decision.Jon Johnson, the company’s interim chief executive, said: “PFA has already arranged its future business from the 2013 annual accounts onwards in such a way that neither existing nor future customers will notice any difference.”He said PFA would continue to be able to offer existing and future customers conditions that were competitive in the market, and added that all existing agreements would be respected.In other news, Danish pensions administrator PKA has reported a provisional return on investments for 2014 of 10.9%, with fixed income returning 18.1%.PKA, which manages three labour-market pension funds in the health and social care sectors, said all asset classes contributed positively to the annual return.Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive, said: “2014 was in many ways an unusual year for PKA. We are therefore particularly pleased we managed to make a very high return for our members’ pensions and so ensure that PKA remains very robust.”In September, PKA said it had been forced to write down the value of its private equity investment in tyre-recycling company Genan by about DKK750m (€101m) in the first half of 2014.The company had got into serious financial difficulties, which surfaced earlier in the year.In absolute terms, PKA said its provisional return for 2014 was DKK19.6bn.The return of 18.1% for bonds and other interest-bearing investments was due in particular to falling interest rates and investments in Southern European countries, PKA said.Listed equities generated 11%.Alternative investments produced a return of 6.8%, it said, adding that, within that, absolute return strategies and the property portfolio returned 8.7% and 7.4%, respectively.Meanwhile, commercial pensions provider Skandia Denmark has tripled the withdrawal penalty rate that currently applies to its with-profits pension product.The imposition of a withdrawal penalty on a pension product usually suggests the market value of investments has fallen below customers’ stated level of savings.The penalty on withdrawals from or transfers out of the Skandia Bonuspension with-profits product – which includes an element of guaranteed return – has been hiked to 2.8% from the current level of 0.9%, with effect from January 14.However, Skandia said it would pay the withdrawal penalty itself on behalf of customers choosing to move their pension savings to a Skandia unit-link product.Skandia explained that it was obliged to put money aside to make sure there were enough funds available to administer customer savings in the product.“The latest calculations show there is a need to set more money aside than there was previously,” the company said.The increase in the withdrawal penalty was a consequence of the historically low level of interest rates, it added.It said it had nothing to do with investment return but was primarily a result of the company’s changed expectations about how much it would cost to administer the product in future.last_img read more

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Norwegian oil fund sees losses following exclusion decisions

first_imgNorway’s sovereign wealth fund has seen its portfolio underperform the benchmark by 1 percentage point over the last decade, as a result of its decision to exclude more than 60 companies.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) said that, at the end of 2015, it excluded 65 companies from its investment universe, in line with the Ministry of Finance’s mandate for the NOK7.5trn (€796bn) Government Pension Fund Global.The decision to exclude companies for violations of international treaties, which should not be confused with NBIM’s risk-based divestment of firms, saw the fund underperform its benchmark by 1.17 percentage points, according to the manager’s inaugural performance and risk report for 2015.NBIM said that, of the 65 companies excluded, 54 would have been represented in its benchmark index, with a combined market value of NOK127bn. “When companies are excluded,” the report states, “this alters the risk and return characteristics of the index, as remaining companies are assigned a higher weight. Since 2006, these exclusions have had a cumulative performance impact of -1.17 percentage points.”Excluding tobacco firms – at NOK 61.8bn, accounting for nearly half of the excluded companies’ market value – caused NBIM to lose 0.68 percentage points in return from 2006 to 2015, followed by the aerospace and defence sectors.Notably, the exclusion of mining companies boosted returns by 0.04 percentage points, while the exclusion of companies within the industrial metals sector boosted returns by 0.01 percentage points.NBIM said the impact of excluding certain companies within the chemicals sector, and construction and materials sector, was flat.The fund, Europe’s largest asset owner, recently announced an annual return of 2.7%, outperforming its benchmark by 0.5%.last_img read more

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AP Pension chief Søren Dal Thomsen quits suddenly

first_imgSøren Dal Thomsen, the chief executive of Denmark’s third largest commercial pension fund, left the company yesterday after discussions with the leadership of the supervisory board about skills.Dal Thomsen, who has been in the top executive role of the DKK104bn (€14bn) pension fund for six years, said: “After a dialogue with the supervisory board leadership, and guidance to the supervisory board on which skills AP Pension would need in the future, I reached the decision to look for new challenges.”He described this as a “tough realisation”, but said he wished AP Pension all the best and added that the job had changed a lot since he first took it on.Dal Thomsen has been employed at AP Pension twice — first from 2001 to 2004 as CIO, returning to the firm in 2006 after a spell at Sampension as a member of the management board, taking over the role of chief executive in 2010. Quitting with immediate effect, Dal Thomsen is to be replaced by Bo Normann Rasmussen as new chief executive, who AP Pension said would now start work on analysing how the company’s top leadership should be composed in future.AP Pension’s supervisory board chairman Niels Dengsø Jensen said the company had greatly appreciated Dal Thomsen’s ability to see new commercial opportunities in an investment environment where years of low interest rates had made it extremely challenging to achieve satisfactory returns. “We wish Søren Dal Thomsen all the best of luck in the future,” said Dengsø Jensen, who is a farmer, and chairman of DLG, a Danish co-operative society owned by Danish farmers.Dal Thomsen told IPE he had no new job lined up yet, but was looking at his opportunities.During the last few years under Dal Thomsen’s leadership, AP Pension has been particularly active in making investments in farmland.In April, it proposed new deal to buy agricultural land in eastern Romania and lease it back to the Danish company FirstFarms that would be operating farms on the land.Back in 2014, the pension fund set up a new fund to invest DKK600m in Danish agricultural land and buildings, called Dansk Farmland.The fund aimed to buy farms and lease them back to the individual farmers running them.last_img read more

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UK government sets out scope for DB reform

first_imgThe paper and consultation come after the government became involved in several high-profile cases last year. It issued a report on the British Steel Pension Scheme early in the year as its sponsor, Tata Steel, was seeking to exit the business.In addition, the Work and Pensions Committee of the House of Commons (the lower house of Parliament) launched an inquiry into British Home Stores’ pension fund, which was left with a substantial deficit when the company collapsed.In the 103-page paper launching the consultation, the government dismissed concerns that there is an affordability crisis in the UK’s DB system, arguing that “most sponsors” can comfortably afford contributions.“The government is not persuaded that there is a case for across the board changes that would reduce members’ benefits in order to relieve the pressure on employers,” the paper said.“The government believes that DB pensions are hard promises – they are debts like any others, and debts should be honoured where sponsoring employers are able to do so. Measures to reduce pensions would be highly controversial, and would have significant legal implications, given that a pension is regarded as deferred pay, and is the property of the member.”Instead, the government is seeking feedback on valuation metrics, access to alternative asset classes, barriers to consolidation of small schemes, and how TPR can facilitate these aspects.The deadline for responses is 14 May. The full paper is available here.Minister for pensions Richard Harrington, who led the report, said: “People need to have confidence in their pension and it is vital that they feel that they are secure. With recent high profile cases highlighting the risks inherent in defined benefit pensions, we want to ensure that these important pension schemes remain sustainable for the future and that the right protections are in place for members.“Over the coming months we’ll be working closely with the pensions industry, employers and scheme members to see what more can be done to increase confidence in defined benefit pensions.”Industry reacts Raj Mody, global head of pensions at PwC“For many schemes, pension increases far outstrip modern inflation measures, due in part to the lottery of how they were set up and layer upon layer of subsequent legislation. Allowing these to be eased in cases of distress is sensible.“Other suggestions in the Green Paper, such as improving the efficiency of regular funding valuations, are also timely, particularly as the ability to use technology to manage pensions risk has evolved significantly since current legislation was written.” Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association“The green paper asks the questions necessary to move forward the increasingly pressing debate about the future of defined benefit pensions in the UK. The interim report published by our DB Taskforce last year identified how the challenges facing DB are posing a material risk to members’ benefits, to employers and the wider economy.“We firmly support the government’s desire to explore consolidation as a way to secure the defined benefit pensions of millions of savers. The DB Taskforce’s next report, to be published in March, will look at consolidation in more detail.”Hugh Nolan, president of the Society of Pension Professionals “Pensions are a long-term investment and we strongly agree that policy should be made calmly and carefully rather than as a knee-jerk reaction to individual problem cases, which are not always a fair reflection of the broader landscape. “We are concerned that some employers are really struggling to fund sizeable deficits. The fact that only 13% of DB schemes were still open to new members in 2016, suggests that there is a genuine problem with ‘affordability’, even if most schemes and employers are currently surviving. It is important to maintain regulatory flexibility to support stressed schemes and buy employers the time they need to fund these deficits.”Jon Hatchett, head of corporate consulting at Hymans Robertson“While it’s important to debate how much cash should flow into schemes in current market conditions, throwing more cash at deficits could make schemes less affordable and redirect funds from valuable business investment. A strong business means a strong covenant. And, as a strategy, simply pouring more money into schemes hasn’t worked for the last 15 years so it is not obvious it will work over the next 15.”Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress“It’s encouraging that the green paper concludes that defined benefit pension schemes are affordable. We now need to make sure that reforms deliver greater security in retirement for working people, and not just higher returns for shareholders.”Neil Carberry, director of people and skills at the Confederation of British Industry“The green paper is a sensible start to what is a complex conversation about how we both boost growth and honour pensions promises. What we need to avoid are any measures that risk damaging the health of the sponsoring employer, and therefore the security of the scheme, like mandatory clearance on certain corporate transactions. Actions like moving to the official measure of inflation for indexation and encouraging different ways to accurately and appropriately measure the funding position of schemes, could provide real support to businesses.” The UK government has launched a wide-ranging “green paper” exploring ways of strengthening the country’s defined benefit (DB) pension system and easing the burden on “stressed” scheme sponsors.The paper was designed to “begin a conversation” regarding new powers for the Pensions Regulator (TPR), flexibilities for sponsors tackling deficits, and potential consolidation.A key idea in the paper is a change to indexation rules which would allow underfunded schemes to stop linking benefits to inflation.“There could be a case to suspend indexation in cases where the employer is stressed and the scheme is underfunded,” the paper said. It also raised the possibility of allowing all schemes to use the consumer prices index (CPI) as the basis for inflation indexation rather than the alternative Retail Prices Index.last_img read more

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Losses at top Dutch schemes ‘reflect brittle recovery’

first_imgThe five largest pension funds in the Netherlands all recorded losses in the first quarter of 2018.Both the €405bn civil service scheme ABP and the €197bn healthcare scheme PFZW attributed their quarterly losses – 1% and 0.6% respectively – to fear of inflation in the US as well as the trade barriers mooted by US president Donald Trump. The funds indicated that flat interest rates had also contributed to their slowing recovery in the first quarter.“This shows how brittle last year’s improvement is,” said Peter Borgdorff, director of PFZW, expressing the broad concern among the schemes. Metal industry schemes PME and PMT made losses in Q1 2018The €70bn sector scheme for metalworking and mechanical engineering said its funding stood at 101.5% at March-end, following a quarterly loss of 0.6%.It incurred losses on equity (down 2.1%), high yield (1.3% loss) as well as real estate (down 2.1%).The metal scheme indicated that it had reduced its 35% equity holdings by approximately 5 percentage points, explaining that the portfolio’s expansion on the back of last year’s rising markets had reached its upper limit.It said it had divested both North American equity as well as stock of emerging countries, adding that it had kept the proceeds as short-term fixed income investments in its matching portfolio.PMEThe €46bn pension fund for the metal and electro-technical engineering industry posted an overall quarterly loss of 0.9%. It said this was in particular due to “disappointing results” on equity, alternatives and high yield, which lost 3.1%, 2.1% and 0.7%, respectively.However, its coverage ratio improved by 1 percentage point to 101.1%.BpfBouwWith a funding level of 116.7% a quarter-end, the €56bn pension fund scheme for the building sector, was still in the best financial position of the five largest schemes.However, the 2.8% yield on its property investments could not fully compensate for losses on equity (down 2.7%) and fixed income (down 0.8%), resulting in an overall quarterly loss of 0.8%. For ABP, PFZW and the metal schemes PMT and PME, the slowing recovery meant that the chance of unconditional benefits discounts remained as long as their funding ratio was short of the required minimum 104.3% for the next two years.PFZWThe healthcare scheme closed the first three months with a funding of 99.8%, after losing 2.5% on equity and 1.2% on property.It credited bad performance from its real estate investment trust holdings to rising financing costs in the wake of an increase in long-term interest rates in the US.Infrastructure gained 0.5%, while PFZW’s holdings of government bonds returned 0.8%. In contrast, its inflation-linked bonds produced a 4.7% loss.The fund attributed the 5.4% quarterly return from its commodities allocation to rising oil prices as a consequence of decreasing oil stocks as well as signs that Saudi Arabia expected production caps in 2019.ABPThe funding ratio for the Netherlands’ largest pension scheme stood at 103% at March-end.Corien Wortmann-Kool, the scheme’s chair, said that, given the scheme’s current funding level, participants should expect little indexation during the next five years.Even partial indexation would only be possible if funding rose above 110%, said ABP.During the first quarter, the civil service scheme made a loss on its investments in equity (down 2.5%), property (down 3%) and its alternatives portfolio (down 0.4%). The same went for credit and emerging market debt, with losses of 1.9% and 0.7%, respectively.ABP reported positive results on government bonds (0.5%), commodities (1.3%), infrastructure (1.7%) and its currency hedge (0.5%).PMTlast_img read more

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People moves: New chief for Swedish government pension board

first_imgIPD, Finance Denmark, SPV, L&G, Achmea, Eurizon, Northern Trust Asset Management, Aviva Investors, PensioenFederatie, CFA Institute, PMI, Alcentra, Dufas, EY, M&G, Groupama, Adams Street Partners, Vontobel, InsightNational Government Employee Pensions Board (SPV) – Maria Humla has been appointed by the Swedish government as the new director general and head of the country’s National Government Employee Pensions Board. She took up the role on 6 July. Previously, Humla was deputy director general of the government agency, having held various executive positions at the SPV from 2009 onwards. Before joining the agency – which carries out the administration of the government employee pension for around 800,000 employees and pensioners and 400 employers – Humla worked at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Forsakringskassan) and one of its predecessor organisations, the Swedish National Insurance Administration (Riksförsäkringsverket). Insurance & Pension Denmark/Finance Denmark – Jesper Rangvid, professor at Copenhagen Business School, has been appointed as the chair of a new panel of independent experts tasked with establishing assumptions for determining pension forecasts in Denmark. The commission was set up by industry associations Insurance & Pension Denmark and banking body Finance Denmark. Since 2005, assumptions for pension calculations have been laid down by the two associations with reference to the Danish financial regulator, Finanstilsynet. The new commission will determine the pension calculation assumptions from 2019. Torben Andersen , professor at Aarhus University and chairman of the board of ATP, and Peter Engberg Jensen, chairman of the board of state-owned company Finansiel Stabilitet and former chief executive of Nykredit, have been named as the other members of the panel. Legal & General Group – The company has created a new direct investment and real assets business within its retirement institutional arm. Eleanor Bucks will lead the new business as managing director. Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Retirement Institutional, said: “It’s clear to me that we can make a real difference in the way we source our direct investments and real assets, by working closely with Legal & General Investment Management and Legal & General Capital more, to increase investment opportunities along with the effective restructuring and re-profiling of our increasingly diverse range of assets.”Achmea – Roelof Konterman, vice-chairman of the executive board of Dutch pension insurer Achmea, has announced that he will leave at the end of this year after 36 years of service, of which more than five years was as a member of the executive board. He said he would step down to increase his focus on other supervisory positions. Achmea said the timing of his departure followed constructive talks with Achmea’s supervisory board as well as with the chief executive.Meanwhile, Erik van Houwelingen has stepped down as chairman of the supervisory board (RvC) of Achmea’s asset management subsidiary, Achmea IM, as of 1 July. It follows his appointment as European sales manager at the €476bn global asset manager Dimensional Fund Advisors. Van Houwelingen had chaired the RvC since January 2016.In the wake of his move, he will also step down as employer representative on the board of civil service scheme ABP. Van Houwelingen has previously been chairman of ABP’s investment committee and is a former chief executive of Aegon Asset Management.Eurizon – Eurizon has made hires to expand its presence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Jörg Ahlheid joined on 2 July as senior sales manager for Germany and Austria, based in Frankfurt. He was previously country manager for Germany and Austria at French fund manager La Financière de l’Echiquier.Manuel Dalla Corte has been hired as country head for Switzerland, where Eurizon has opened a new office. Dalla Corte has 14 years of experience in investment management distribution, most recently as business development director at Aviva Investors in Zurich.Marco Bus was appointed CEO of Eurizon Capital in Luxembourg on 2 July, and the group has begun the authorisation process for opening a distribution office in Spain.Northern Trust Asset Management – Marie Dzanis has been appointed to lead the $1.2trn asset manager’s business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).In this newly created role, Dzanis will be responsible for governance, business management, business development and talent management. She was previously head of intermediary distribution at Northern Trust Asset Management in Chicago. She has also worked at iShares, BlackRock, JP Morgan Asset Management and Smith Barney.Aviva Investors  – Aviva has expanded its global responsible investment team with several hires. Rick Stathers will join in August as a senior ESG analyst alongside Sora Utzinger, who joined recently in the same position. They were previously both at CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.In addition, Nathan Lerclerc is returning to Aviva Investors from proxy voting agency ISS. He will be a senior analyst, succeeding Anita Skipper, who recently retired. Leclerc’s role will focus on delivering the business’s responsible ownership obligations, including proxy voting, company engagement and integrating ESG into investment.Pensions Federation – The Dutch Pensions Federation has appointed Edith Maat as co-director, effective from 1 October in a dual role with current director Gerard Riemen. Maat has been deputy director and head of policy at the industry organisation since 2012. She joined from the Dutch ministry of social affairs, where she was department head.CFA Institute – Heather Brilliant and Diane Nordin have been elected chair and vice chair, respectively, of the board of governors of the CFA Institute. It is the first time the top two leadership positions at the global investment management organisation have been held by women.Brilliant will take up her role on 1 September and succeeds Robert Jenkins. She is currently managing director for the Americas at First State Investments, and was previously CEO of Morningstar Australia. Nordin is a director of US mortgage giant Fannie Mae, and has previously worked at Wellington Management.“Building a better world for investors involves challenging industry norms and closing the gender gap, as well as raising standards in our profession,” said Paul Smith, president and CEO of the institute. “That sounds like a tall order but with Heather at the helm of our board, supported by Diane Nordin as vice chair and the rest of the Board, I am confident that we will continue to make meaningful progress.”The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) – Lesley Carline has been elected as the organisation’s new president with effect from its annual general meeting on 11 July. She succeeds Robert Branagh, whose tenure began in August 2017.Carline was previously vice president of the PMI, serving on the advisory council and its board. She has been involved in numerous consultations with the Pensions Regulator, the Department for Work and Pensions and has recently worked with the regulator on trustee and scheme business plans. She is also currently a director at KGC Associates. Lesley Alexander is now a vice president alongside Lorraine Harper.  Dufas – Roelie van Wijk has been appointed as chair of Dufas, the lobbying organisation for asset managers and custodians operating in the Netherlands. She succeeds Toine van der Stee, chief executive of Blue Sky Group. Her appointment is for a two-year term.Until 2018, Van Wijk had been chief executive of Aegon subsidiary TKP Investments for the past 10 years. At the start of 2018 she became head of responsible business and public affairs at Aegon Asset Management.EY – Rob Ekkebus has joined the board of the €1.3bn Dutch pension fund of Ernst & Young, representing pensioners and deferred members. He succeeds Bert Koekkoek, who left after completing his maximum statutory term. The pension fund seeking a replacement for employer representative Lorenco van Wieringen, who stepped down in June.M&G – Asset manager M&G has appointed Sander van der Wel as senior institutional business development manager. He joins from Aegon Asset Management, where he worked in a similar role for a three-year period. Prior to this, he worked in London for Citigroup and Barclays where he was director of fixed income sales for EMEA for Dutch and Belgian institutional investors. Van der Wel succeeds Luuk Veenstra, who is to continue in a senior role elsewhere in M&G.Alcentra – The fixed income manager has hired Sarah Madore and Maria Garcia Diego as associates in its European direct lending team. Joanna Layton was hired internally and promoted to head of European direct lending portfolio monitoring. She is also deputy head of European credit. Madore joins from UniCredit in Milan and Garcia Diego previously worked in the financial sponsors team at Citi. Groupama Asset Management – The €103bn French asset manager has appointed Servane Duforest as head of multi-asset management, reporting to Gaëlle Malléjac, director of investments, active management. Duforest has worked at Groupama since 2008, when she joined as senior analyst and manager. She participated in the development of the multi-management expertise of Groupama Funds Pickers and Groupama AM. Since 2011, she has been in charge of directional multi-management.Adams Street Partners – The private equity specialist has appointed Steve Landau to the newly created role of head of product strategy. He was previously head of product development at alternatives manager FS Investments, and has also worked at New York Life Investment Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and UBS Global Asset Management. Insight Investment – The UK-based fund manager has appointed Marc Pautz as a client director. He was previously a defined benefits strategist within the investment business of Mercer, where he worked with a number of the consultancy’s largest pension clients on investment policy and implementation. At Insight, he will lead the firm’s relationships and engagements with a number of clients.Vontobel AM – The Swiss asset manager has hired Yann Lepape to its bond team, specialising in global flexible bonds. He joins from Oddo BHF AM, where he was a member of the group’s investment committee and was responsible for global macro analysis. He was previously an adviser to the French treasury department.last_img read more

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German pension funding stable after challenging 2018

first_imgCovestro and Wirecard replaced Commerzbank and ProSiebenSat 1 Media in the DAX last year, although Wirecard and one other company had not reported up to date figures in time for WTW’s study.DAX companies made a loss of €4.4bn, or 1.7%, on invested pension plan assets last year, according to the consultancy.However, the funding ratio was almost unchanged year-on-year: in 2018 it fell by one percentage point to 67%. This was well above the long-term average, WTW said.The funding ratio varied considerably across the companies, however. Vonovia’s pension plan was just 4% funded, while Deutsche Bank’s was 98% funded. WTW has estimated that the average funding ratio for Fortune 1000 companies was 84% in 2018.On average, pension liabilities amounted to around 15% of the DAX companies’ balance sheets last year, with pension plan assets making up roughly 10%, WTW reported.The DAX index itself fell by 18.3% in euro terms in 2018, compared to a 3.6% fall recorded by the MSCI World index.Contributions and mortalityThe size of pension assets and liabilities, combined with the total of €11.8bn that employers contributed to their pension arrangements, demonstrated the high level of importance that companies attached to workplace pensions, according to the consultancy.From the top five companies by volume of pension promises, Deutsche Telekom topped up pension plan assets the most last year, according to WTW’s study. It paid €2.9bn, followed by Siemens with €2.8bn. Eon made contributions of €900m and Volkswagen and Daimler paid €700m each.Five DAX companies used company-specific mortality tables in 2018, according to WTW.“The general mortality tables form a robust basis for calculations,” said Hanne Borst, head of actuarial consulting at the consultancy in Germany. “However, larger companies in particular are taking a close look at their workforce and developing company-specific calculation principles to be able to better plan for payment flows.”Borst recently argued for a different approach to longevity data in Germany. Germany’s largest listed companies contributed €11.8bn to their pension plan assets in 2018 amid challenging conditions on the capital markets, according to Willis Towers Watson (WTW).In its latest annual DAX pensions study, the consultancy said the plans were under “stable management”, having maintained a steady aggregate funding ratio compared to 2017.In 2018 the companies’ pension obligations shrank by 4.7% to €364bn, the consultancy said, while pension plan assets fell by 5.4% to €244bn.The changes were due to large corporate finance transactions and a new composition of the DAX, as well as difficult capital market conditions.last_img read more

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Gold Coast real estate: why the Hinterland is so popular

first_img22-30 Eagles Retreat Place, Tamborine Mountain.A SPRAWLING Tamborine Mountain estate on the market for almost two years has finally sold for $2.25 million to a Brisbane-based family.Eagles Retreat, complete with a helicopter pad and giant chess set, first hit the market in November 2016 and was taken to auction twice through Ray White Prestige Gold Coast. The luxury four-bedroom house at 22-30 Eagles Retreat Place, was designed and built by Brett and Denise McMahon in 2008 after they were drawn to the panoramic view of the Coast.“They are comparable with those of the (Sydney) Harbour Bridge from our last home in Point Piper, Sydney” Mr McMahon told the Gold Coast Bulletin when it first hit the market.“It is a uniquely elegant, private getaway, yet a walk to terrific restaurants, shops and cafes.“It’s close to everything, designed for the owners, family and friends to enjoy a world-class entertainer’s home with stunning, panoramic views.”Property records reveal the pair paid $265,000 for the 1.04ha parcel of land in 2003.Inside the house, the ‘great room’ as it is affectionately called by the McMahons, is the heart of the house — it combines a dining, lounge, snooker table and games area that flows out to the terrace. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa14 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoEntertain in style. In the end, Josh Thomas of Ray White Prestige, managed to secure a buyer for property, dubbed Tamborine Mountain’s “most luxurious home”.“There had been consistent interest in the property since it hit the market,” Mr Thomas said.“It’s a very unique opportunity with a bespoke design so it was always going to attract a particular market.“There were multiple offers on it during the campaigns we have had on it.” 22-30 Eagles Retreat Place, Tamborine Mountain offers a panoramic view of the Gold Coast. Fancy a game of pool? A 13m lap pool, outdoor spa and underfloor heating are among the property’s luxury features.Mr Thomas said the sale was bittersweet for the ­owners. “I think they were very attached to the property because the design was personal to them,” he said.“Like any property you build and design from scratch, selling is going to be a bittersweet undertaking but at the end of the day their goal was to sell it.”He said the Hinterland property market was going from strength to strength.“People are waking up to the knowledge that you can have quite a lot of acreage at an affordable price and still be half an hour to the beach” he said. “It’s a fantastic lifestyle to have.”Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p360p360p216p216pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhy location is everything in real estate01:59 One of the bathrooms. No detail was spared in the design. What a view! Anyone for a game of chess?last_img read more

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Inside the homes of some of Qld’s biggest sports stars

first_imgStephen Moore’s house during the construction phase. Pic supplied by Graya Construction.The new house was designed by Tim Stewart Architects and includes five bedrooms over three levels, all boasting views of the city. Features include a wine cellar, PGH brickwork, concrete Caesarstone benchtops and Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances.Moore owns a number of other properties in Brisbane, including a house in Red Hill and units in South Brisbane and Alderley. Courtney and Stephen Moore. Photo: AAP/ Ric Frearson. The rooftop terrace on the home of Quade Cooper. Picture: realestate.com.au.The renovations included a full revamp to the front facade, an upgrade to the observation deck, a makeover for all the bathrooms and bedrooms and an overhaul of the pool and landscaping features.Property records show Cooper paid $1.845 million for the home in 2015.Earlier this year, Brisbane Broncos skipper Darius Boyd moved in to new digs in Hendra with his wife, Kayla. Former Wallabies’ skipper Stephen Moore and his wife Courtney at their new homein Paddington. Picture: NIGEL HALLETTSOME of Queensland’s biggest sports stars have gone on a home buying and building spree, splashing cash on fancy custom-made pads and ritzy renovations to get ahead in the property game.Cashed-up and looking to the future, many of the sunshine state’s most high-profile cricket, football and netball players are investing in bricks and mortar and even turning their hands to property development.Former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and his wife, Courtney, have just been given the keys to their brand new home in Paddington. The brothers behind Graya Construction have been busy constructing the modern masterpiece, in shades of black and white with timber trimmings, for the past year. The Moore’s house now. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT“I have lived in probably 10 houses in 10 years but really like this part of Brisbane,” Moore said. “But this is really the first time we have been able to design it the way we wanted – bedrooms on one level, living areas on another.”Moore said having a good relationship with the architect and builder was vital, as was ensuring good communication with neighbours during construction. “We were rarely onsite … a good relationship between architect and builder is important, and setting the ground rules, expectations and budget from the start,” he said.Rugby star Quade Cooper’s luxury Bulimba home also recently underwent a major renovation at the hands of Graya Construction.The two-storey riverfront home near popular Oxford Street was already huge and only built ten years ago, but the Queensland Reds’ player and his model/presenter girlfriend, Laura Dundovic, wanted a new and improved version.The four-bedroom, three-bathroom property has a 20 metre glass-framed swimming pool, an observation deck, enough parking for five vehicles and a 12m marina berth. Instagram pic of Laura Geitz, son Barney and husband Mark Gilbride.The circa 1885 Queenslander has five bedrooms and three bathrooms and is on just over 1ha of land.The house features sweeping verandas, bay windows, French doors, pressed metal ceilings and VJ walls.There’s also a resort-style pool, outdoor shower, tennis court and creek. At home with Broncos’ captain Darius Boyd and his wife Kayla. Photo: Mark Cranitch.The NRL star spared no expense creating a dream home in the suburb — a black on black residence with timber finishes and glass panelling.Property records show Boyd bought the original property, which is on a 650sq m block, for $810,000 in 2016.At the time, the house was a three-bedroom, post-war Queenslander in desperate need of a makeover.Graya Construction director Rob Gray, who also built the Boyds’ property, said his high-profile clients wanted a home customised to suit their lifestyles — often because they could not find what they wanted on the market.“You could say they know what they want and aren’t afraid of a bit of hard work to get it,” Mr Gray said.“That’s why they are successful people.” The original house that Wallabies’ veteran Stephen Moore bought in Brisbane before it was demolished to make way for his dream home. Pic supplied.Moore will have more time on his hands following his retirement from rugby late last year after playing in the Bledisloe Cup match between the Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium.The rebuild of the original, two-bedroom worker’s cottage on the site is understood to have cost upwards of $1 million.On the high side of Howard Street — next door to former Bronco Darren Lockyer’s old house — the property offers panoramic views of Brisbane city and surrounds.center_img Quade Cooper in action during Brisbane City vs the Vikings. Pic Peter WallisMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours ago Darius and Kayla Boyd’s new home in Hendra. Picture: Instagram.Hendra is also home to a swag of other local sports stars, including former Australian fast bowler Andy Bichel, Queensland Reds player Karmichael Hunt and retired Brisbane Lions player Simon Black.Even though he plans to have a few more years on the field, Australian cricket all-rounder Ben Cutting is already looking towards a future in property development. The 31-year-old owns four properties, including his home at Hawthorne, an investment property he bought at Morningside which he may redevelop in the future and a house he built at Aster St, Cannon Hill, which is also rented out. Netball star Laura Geitz bought this property in Brookfield earlier this year. The Bulimba home that Quade Cooper and Laura Dundovic recently renovated. Picture: realestate.com.au. The Brookfield property Laura Geitz and her husband bought earlier this year. Ben Cutting and girlfriend, Erin Holland, at the house they are selling in Cannon Hill. Picture: Tara Croser.He is also selling a Hamptons-style home he recently finished building at 28 Stanton Street in Cannon Hill.It failed to sell at auction and is now available by negotiation.“Playing cricket doesn’t last for ever, unfortunately,’’ he told The Courier-Mail.“Many finish up playing in their mid thirties.’’When he isn’t on the tools during a build, Cutting said he tried to be as involved as possible in his projects — between cricket commitments.Newly retired netballer Laura Geitz bought her dream home on acreage in Brookfield this year for $2.2 million.She and her husband, Mark Gilbride, have spent the past six months renovating it.last_img read more

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