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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Van Straten streaks to national IMCA Stock Car championship

first_imgHORTONVILLE, Wis. ­– Travis Van Straten’s championship season is proof that hard work and patience pay off.So does a little luck.Thirty-four feature wins, including an incredible 11 straight checkers at Shawano Speedway, paved the way for Van Straten’s drive to the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car national crown.“A lot of times it seemed like someone upstairs wanted us to win this thing. There were definitely times when someone was watching over us,” said Van Straten, citing a main event won despite a loose wheel as one example. “There were nights when I had to ask myself ‘Is this really happen­ing?’ usually I’m the guy who should have won but then something went wrong at the last minute.”There were few last-minute disappointments to speak of in 2015. Van Straten completed a rare Friday, Saturday, Sunday sweep at OshKosh SpeedZone Raceway, Shawano and Seymour Speed­way in July, a month that saw him win eight of 11 outings.With the national points chase narrowed to a battle with five-time and defending champion Mike Nichols, the Hortonville, Wis., hotshoe won seven of his last nine starts.The Shawano, OshKosh and Seymour track titles accompanied EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Re­gion and Allstar Performance State crowns in Van Straten’s title quest.“There were a couple nights early in the season when I beat (two-time national champion) Bran­don Czarapata, who has helped me out a lot,” he said. “That gave me the confidence that I could be a national champion.”“We always focused on the race at hand and didn’t worry about national points. We knew track championships and bonus points were important and that we had to be fast every night,” Van Straten noted. “One flat tire can keep you from winning a track championship, especially here in Wisconsin.”He made it through 53 home state starts with just a single DNS. Van Straten’s only flat tire of the entire year came on the first night of the season-ending special at Marshalltown and he got right back on track with the second night checkers.“I learned from last year and didn’t push so much this season. I won 18 times last year but I put myself in a vulnerable position racing three-wide a lot of times,” he said. “This year I didn’t try to get out front right away. I’d wait a lap or two and see what happened. I didn’t put the car in places it didn’t need to be.”Van Straten and his wife Gina spent much of the summer driving to or from work, the race track and their sons’ baseball games. Oldest son and crew chief Trevor may be in the local street stock class at Seymour in 2016, so Van Straten may be paring back his own racing schedule.Starts-55 … Wins-34 … Additional Top Fives-16HIS CREW: Wife Gina, sons Trevor and Trey, Jerry and Konnor Wilinski and their crew, Justin Jacobsen, Brandon Czarapata, Joe White and A.J. Solem.HIS SPONSORS: Titletown Express and Arrow Auto Parts & Sales, both of Green Bay; Complete Radiator, Badger Race Warps and Matt’s Welding, all of Appleton; Ryan Schmidt Farms of Hortonville; Hartsworm Auto Salvage of Center Valley; Solem’s Swine Farm and number one fan Tiffy Henn, both of Black Creek; and Wolfe Racing Chassis by Czarapata of Rubicon.last_img read more

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Anthony Joshua: Will He Ever Emerge as the ‘Real Deal’

first_imgIBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua last Saturday at the Wembley Stadium knocked out Alexander Povetkin in his 22nd fight- 21 by knockout, yet his claim to be the true champion is still in doubt in some sections and until he takes and defeat American Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC title he may not be regarded as the ‘Real Deal’, reports Kunle AdewaleMoments after Joshua defeated Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at the Wembley Stadium to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, he made it clear that his preferred next opponent would be WBC titleholder, Deontay Wilder.Wilder is first due to face Tyson Fury but Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn and his father Barry have sought meetings on a number of occasions to reopen negotiations, with a view to staging a Wembley Stadium showdown for the undisputed title on April 13. Joshua says that Wilder is his ‘No 1’ choice “I have sent three separate emails to Barry saying that I have no desire to meet with Barry unless I have a real offer for Wilder to meet Joshua,” the WBC champion’s representative Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports.“He and I have been in the business long enough to know what that offer would look like.”Hearn had previously told Sky Sports: “We have got a couple of months. We have made it quite clear we don’t want to wait until Wilder fights Fury on December 1 to see what happens.“We want to get a deal in place to know before then. The absolute sole focus for us right now is to fight Deontay Wilder for the undisputed title in April.”Former heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis hits out at Joshua’s attitude, telling the British boxing star to get out of Hearn’s shadow and control his own destiny around a unification fight with Wilder.Lewis, who has spent time with WBC champion Wilder, is adamant it is Joshua who is stalling on the fight to determine a true heavyweight champion.“Go order Eddie Hearn to make the fight with Deontay Wilder. Now is the moment when you must take charge of your own destiny,” Lewis told the Daily Mail.The former undisputed world champion isn’t impressed with the attitude of fellow British heavyweight, Joshua.The well-travelled Lewis also had some other advice for Joshua, who has claimed the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the comforts of Britain: “Be ready to fight in other people’s back yards. It is about fighting, not poli-tricks.”Lewis, who said his biggest learnings came from his losses, said Joshua shouldn’t fear defeat.Joshua didn’t take up a US$50m offer from Wilder for the highly anticipated showdown.“There is no question that it is Wilder who wants the fight and it is Wilder who wants to prove that he is the man in this new heavyweight era,” Lewis said.“He explained to me all the difficulties he is having with Anthony and Eddie, of how AJ is listening to Hearn. Deontay most definitely wants this fight more than any fight.“Joshua said he would take $50 million in a heart-beat but when that offer came he didn’t accept. I would have taken 50 million quicker than a heartbeat and gone through with any fight. But I never ducked anyone.“Bowe did everything he could to avoid fighting me but I forced the situation. I did so by ordering my manager Frank Maloney to go out and do whatever it took to make the fight. Yes or yes. No arguments. Then Riddick had to meet me or vacate.“It comes to the point where the boxer has to take over from the manager or promoter as ‘the boss’. Oscar De La Hoya and me were the first to take charge of our business. I took control of my destiny and opened up my chance for greatness. Anthony needs to do the same with Eddie.”Analysts are beginning to believe the world might not after all get to see Joshua-Wilder fight.“In boxing, as in life, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is – and that’s why the prospect of seeing an undisputed heavyweight world championship fight between three-belt titlist Joshua and one-belt man Wilder next is so unlikely,” Dan Rafael, ESPN senior writer said.He said the main reason is that “at least when it comes to actions instead of words, it seems like the Joshua camp is not actually serious about pursuing one of the biggest fights in the sport and easily the biggest fight in the heavyweight division in many years.“I 100 per cent believed that the Wilder camp wants this fight and wants it next. I also have no doubt Wilder would be willing to travel to Joshua’s home turf in the United Kingdom for the bout. Wilder has said so repeatedly and showed his road warrior spirit by previously signing to go to Moscow to defend his belt against AlexanderPovetkin, until Povetkin failed a drug test and the fight was cancelled(and Wilder later won a $4 million court judgment against him and his promoter).”If Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) wants the fight with Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) next, it sure doesn’t seem that way, regardless of what he says. It’s clear in the offer Joshua’s promoter, Hearn, recently made to the Wilder camp: a flat fee of $12.5 million, take it or leave it, for Wilder’s participation in the fight.Of course, $12.5 million large is giant money for most people, but for a fight of this magnitude, it is not a serious offer. If Wilder’s team — managers Al Haymon, Shelly Finkel and Jay Deas and promoter Lou DiBella – accepted the deal, they would be committing malpractice on behalf of their client.For Team Joshua to take Wilder as a $12.5 million expense without cutting him in for a large percentage of an event that could generate in the high eight figures is a joke. When Joshua faced Joseph Parker to unify their three belts last month, the Parker camp got one-third of the money in the event. Wilder is worth more than that, obviously; he brings the last piece of the undisputed title to the table, he brings a bigger fan base and, on his own, he generates more money than Parker does.If Parker is worth a third, Wilder is easily worth at least that much and probably even a few more points. His side has stated it knows it’s not getting 50-50 and hasn’t asked for it, but to be offered a flat fee is not a real offer. It’s an offer meant for the Joshua team to be able to run around and say, “Hey, we made an offer, and Team Wilder turned it down.” It’s called playing games, and it’s nothing new in boxing.“When we were bogged down in the will-they-or-won’t-they nonsense of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao saga, Mayweather at one point offered Pacquiao a flat fee of $40 million. That’s monster money, but not in the context of that event. Pacquiao rightfully said no. When the fight was finally made, Pacquiao got 40 per cent of the pie and earned well over $100 million.”Joshua-Wilder is the exact same situation but for less money. Wilder and his team would be foolish to accept such a laughable offer, and Joshua’s camp knows it – which is why, at this point, all talk of the Joshua-Wilder being next is nothing more than a game boxing fans are not interested in playing.“I have been trying to fight Joshua for two years, and Tyson Fury for five years,” says Wilder. “Is Joshua vulnerable to my style? Of course, he is. I have a very strange style you can’t prepare for. I’m unpredictable. I’m difficult to adjust against, to prepare for. And I’m a scary person. People criticise my style, say ‘he fights wild’ but look what happened to the 38 men who fought me.” Wilder, however, insists that Joshua spends too much time “looking the part”, obsessing with his pursuit of the body beautiful in an effort to obfuscate the weaknesses in which Wilder sees as a robotic style.“I’d rather be the part than look the part. I’m lean, mean – I don’t have the typical heavyweight physique. But I play the part. I’ve seen so many guys look the part but when it comes to the time, they can’t perform. And if Joshua comes through Joseph Parker I’m gonna knock Joshua out. “Eddie Hearn has the British fans brainwashed that Joshua is the new heavyweight Messiah. It’s hype! And I’ll burst his hype bubble. “I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about home advantage. In fact, I like fighting away. All the pressure is on the opponent. If I come over there and face Joshua, y’all going to leave with long faces. Doubt me? I’ll prove y’all wrong.”Wilder’s long-term ambitions stretch to further than derailing the Joshua juggernaut, however. He is determined to rekindle America’s love affair with the heavyweight crown, and return the country to the glory days when the likes of Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Holmes ruled the planet. It is why he feels it is incumbent on the five current leading heavyweights – all undefeated – to bring a resolution to the meaning of an undisputed king of the sport. “It’s time to return the heavyweight crown to America,” he says. “An American at the top of the heavyweight division again would bring great interest in the sport, and people are looking forward to me doing that in the division.” Until Joshua fights and beats Wilder to unify the World heavyweight titles, doubts would continue to trail his claim to be the true champion of the world.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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WNBA makes late Gianna Bryant, teammates honorary draft selections in touching tribute

first_imgView this post on Instagram The WNBA on Friday honored the late Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester by making them honorary selections prior to the first round of the 2020 WNBA Draft.WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the selections in alphabetical order in a televised tribute to the girls, who were killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26 in California. The three were AAU teammates. Engelbert also honored the late Kobe Bryant, Gianna’s father, who perished in the crash as well, along with Altobelli’s parents and Chester’s mother.  My #mambas @sabrina_i @megwalker3 and @alexbazzell24 #mambamentalityA post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Aug 10, 2019 at 10:32pm PDTIonescu spoke at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s celebration of life at Staples Center on Feb. 24.”The week after the accident, I was in Colorado, I had a game, and like I do before every game, I prayed. This time I was thinking about Kobe and Gigi,” Ionescu said. “His voice is still in my head, even if his body is not on this Earth. And all I wanted was a sign that in some way he still heard me, too. I looked off into the sky and there it was, a beautiful golden sunset. The boldest yellow. Lakers yellow. And further in the distance, a helicopter. There was my sign, that he will forever be with me. “I heard his voice in my head, the last line from one of his books: ‘Walk until the darkness is a memory, and you become the sun on the next traveler’s horizon.’”Ionescu became the first overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft when the New York Liberty selected her. The WNBA honors Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester and makes them honorary draft picks at WNBA draft pic.twitter.com/wqsntNNzDe— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 17, 2020Vanessa Bryant, Gianna’s mother and Kobe’s widow, thanked the league in a video message after the selections were made.Vanessa Bryant announces Gigi as one of this year’s WNBA honorary draft picks. Her teammates were also honored by the league tonight. pic.twitter.com/psFow7PRtk— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) April 17, 2020At the end of Friday’s draft, Engelbert announced that the league will introduce the Kobe and GiGi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, to recognize “an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception and advancement of women’s and girls basketball at all levels.” The inaugural recipient will be announced at next year’s NBA All-Star in Indianapolis, the WNBA said. Vanessa Bryant will present the award. Gianna Bryant, who would have turned 14 in May, was a huge Connecticut women’s basketball fan and had her sights on following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a professional basketball player.MORE: Live WNBA Draft trackerSabrina Ionescu, the Oregon superstar who became the first Division I player — men’s or women’s — to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career, had developed a close friendship with Kobe over the last year and was a big supporter of Gianna Bryant.”Gigi had so much of her dad’s skill set. You could tell the amount of hours they spent in the gym, practicing her moves,” Ionescu said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “She smiled all the time, but when it was game time, she was ready to kill. Her demeanor changed almost instantly when the whistle blew.”If I represented the present of the women’s game, Gigi was the future, and Kobe knew it.”MORE: Sabrina Ionescu and Kobe Bryant: A timeline of friendshiplast_img read more

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