Month: September 2020

Home / Month: September 2020

first_imgIn addition, the pension fund’s 55% hedge of the interest risk of its liabilities delivered a return of 1.33%, also due to the fall in rates.The pension fund of the institute for applied technical research reported a 1.03% return on its 26.5% equity allocation, adding that its 3.8% property holdings – mainly retail and residential property through non-listed funds – produced a positive result of 1.33% over the first quarter.In contrast, private equity – making up 7.3% of the scheme’s investment mix – generated a loss of 0.54%, chiefly due to a re-valuation at 2013-end, the scheme said.Its full hedge of liquid investments in the main currencies contributed -0.08% to the quarterly result. The €2.6bn pension fund of TNO has said it benefitted from falling interest rates over the first quarter, resulting in an overall return of 3.86%.As a consequence, assets under management increased by €86m, while funding improved by 1.6 percentage points to 111.7%. The scheme’s 55.5% fixed income allocation generated a return of 3.74%, which directly affected its assets, it said.At the same time, the falling interest rate only resulted in a limited decrease of the discount rate, following the three-month average mechanism.last_img read more

first_imgFinland’s Financial Supervisory Authority is investigating whether the managing director and board members of Local Tapiola Pension failed to abide by the local law on mutual pension insurance companies in 2013, according to a report by local news daily Helsingin Sanomat. Local Tapiola Pension was the predecessor of €19.4bn Elo Mutual Pension Insurance, launched together with Pension Fennia on 1 January.The draft resolution prepared by the Financial Supervisory Authority reportedly lists seven accounts of misconduct by Local Tapiola Pension’s management and board in 2013.The supervisory authority is still working on the confidential draft, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The news daily quoted the draft as saying: “The initial understanding of the Financial Supervisory Authority is that the board and managing director [of Local Tapiola Pension] did not run the mutual pension insurance company professionally, following the principles of sound and prudential corporate conduct and reliable corporate governance, as stipulated in the ninth article of the law on pension insurance companies.”One of the allegations is that Local Tapiola Pension used the funds of the company in a way that did not abide by pension insurance company law, which stipulates that companies must invest their assets in a “profitable and prudential manner”, and forbids them from using their funds for purposes unrelated to work pensions.The authority is investigating whether Local Tapiola Pension’s retirement funds were transferred to Local Tapiola’s non-life insurance company using overpriced service contracts. The mutual pension insurance company allegedly bought technical and personnel services with tens of millions of euros from the other companies of Local Tapiola Group over 2013, as it did not have the necessary networks and technology of its own.The purchases focused on acquiring new customers as well as maintaining customer relations, human resources and financial administration.The authority is also investigating whether Local Tapiola Pension provided the watchdog with all relevant information regarding these liabilities, before merging with Pension Fennia, as the data could have affected the authority’s take on the merger, as well as the conditions on which the merger was agreed.Local Tapiola Pension’s managing director in 2013, Satu Huber, who is currently the deputy managing director at Elo, denied the allegations in a statement.“The view of the previous management of Local Tapiola Pension is that there exist misunderstandings, and no malpractices have taken place,” Huber said.She also noted that Elo’s board and the previous management of Local Tapiola Pension have given a thorough and detailed response to the authority’s inquiry.“We are sorry the issue became public before the inquiry was completed,” she added.The spotlight fell on pension fund governance in Finland in late 2013 after a management scandal at the country’s largest pension fund, Keva.Merja Ailus, then the managing director, resigned following media accusations that, among other things, she had charged the institution for some personal expenses.Keva’s investigation concluded that its guidelines for fringe benefits were insufficient and that good corporate governance had not always been followed.New rules on transparency for private sector providers in Finland’s earnings-related pension system moved a step closer after the government submitted a bill to Parliament in August.The Ministry of Social Affairs and Heath said that, when passed, the new law would require pension insurance companies to hold an insider register of board members and their substitutes, chief executives and their deputies, auditors and employees able to influence the company’s investment decisions.The new governance law is set to come into force by 1 January 2015.last_img read more

first_imgEU member states must ensure the boards of pensions institutions are balanced in terms of gender, an MEP has argued in a report for the European Parliament’s select committee for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality.Sirpa Pietikäinen, Finnish MEP for the Christian Democrats EVP, board members and people in key positions must not only be professional and reliable but also have a sense of gender issues.Risk management and audit functions must be implemented with equal treatment of both sexes in mind, according to amendments proposed by Pietikäinen.The same should go for remuneration policy and financial provisions. The report said women in the EU received, on average, 39% less of a pension than men did, due to part-time jobs and career interruptions for familial reasons.It added that women also tend to work in different sectors, which can often lead to lower pensions.The report concluded that a disproportionate number of women were poor at old age, as they accrued less and lived longer.It warned that, the greater the emphasis on the second pillar, the greater the pensions gap between the sexes will be (difference is smaller within the first pillar).The report also suggested that a closer link between contributions and benefits would put women at a disadvantage because they often earn less or leave the labour process temporarily.Pietikäinen therefore proposed that the European Commission conduct a survey into the effects of the various pillars and systems on both men and women.Based on the outcome, it should take action and formulate proposals for structural reforms to guarantee equal pensions, she said.Pietikäinen also stressed that improved communication was extra important, “as women have less financial knowledge on average”.She said communications should focus on the effects a part-time job or temporary absence from the work force could have on their pensions.The European Parliament’s select committee is to discuss Pietikäinen’s report next week.last_img read more

first_imgNBIM’s policy document adds: “We expect companies to address sustainable water management in a manner meaningful to their business models and wish to support them in their efforts to manage the risks and pursue the opportunities.”It said all incentive structures should be designed in such a way as to integrate sustainability concerns into the running of businesses to best support its long-term profitability.The manager also called for the introduction of a shadow price on water to help companies monitor the financial risks associated with shortages, as well as systems to promote third-party expert advice on water management.Echoing recent calls by asset owners over company transparency on climate change lobbying, NBIM said companies should have policies on engaging with governments and regulators, and be “transparent about associated spending and activities”.Investors worth $2.6trn (€2.3trn) recently called on food companies to better assess the water risks associated with its own production and supply chains.NBIM also recently urged companies to pay greater attention to matters of energy efficiency, including the disclosure of renewable energy consumption quotas. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has urged companies to be transparent on lobbying surrounding water management and risks.Companies should also promote best practice of water usage and consider putting in place a mechanism that allows third parties to consult with them directly on matters of water management, according to a revised paper released by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM).The manager for Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, long active in the area of water management and a supporter of charity CDP on the matter, also urged companies to engage directly with local communities about water reclamation.It argued that companies seeking to tackle the challenges associated with water shortages could gain a strategic advantage.last_img read more

first_imgABP, the €389bn Dutch civil service scheme, has directly invested €327m in the construction of the largest wind farm in mainland Sweden.The Åskalen project – comprising 80 turbines – would generate sufficient energy to power the equivalent of 300,000 Dutch households, the pension fund said.Åskalen is the first wind farm in which ABP has taken a 100% stake, cutting out external managers and their fees, according to Harmen Geers, spokesman for APG, ABP’s asset manager.He said that direct investment would give ABP increased control of the 288-megawatt project, which was crucial for getting the project into the construction phase. The pension fund intended to follow this approach in future projects as well, he added. Åskalen will be built in co-operation with Vasa Wind as operational manager, its owner Hg Capital, and Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas.ABP – which already has stakes in more than 100 wind farms worldwide – said the investment in Åskalen contributed to its target of reaching €5bn worth of investments in clean energy by 2020. This is to be achieved through infrastructure, private and public equity, and green bonds.ABP has also invested €250m in Norwegian hydropower operator Småkraft through a joint venture with German asset manager Aquila Capital. With the additional financial firepower of another €250m from debt financing loans, the joint venture has acquired or built approximately 100 small hydropower plants in Norway, annually generating 1 terawatt of clean energy.APG’s Geers said that Småkraft intended to double this capacity by 2020.With the investment in wind farm Åskalen, the civil service scheme has increased its entire clean energy portfolio to more than €3.1bn.Commenting on the investment, Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair, emphasised that it was important to the fund to contribute to clean energy transition and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, as one of the largest pension funds in the world.“ABP wants to provide its 2.9m participants with a decent pension in a sustainable way,” Wortmann saidlast_img read more

first_imgAPG’s customers – which include the €414bn civil service scheme ABP, and BpfBOUW, the €58bn pension fund for the building sector – would manage interest rate and currency swaps directly with banks as well as the cash management involved.The asset manager indicated that it would transfer existing contracts to its individual pension fund clients and aimed at completing the process later this year. The €480bn Dutch asset manager APG is disbanding its treasury centre, which acts as a central counterparty for derivatives transactions on behalf of its pension fund clients.The manager said the decision followed the introduction of new European legislation, including the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFM).The EU directive would have forced APG to significantly restructure its treasury centre, which has operated in the markets for interest rate and currency swaps since 2010.As a consequence, the asset manager decided to gradually disband the centre’s operations. David van As, BpfBouwSpeaking to IPE, David van As, co-director of BpfBouw, said that regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) had made clear that it wanted pension funds to take over the task from APG because of their responsibility based on their scale.He added that DNB also considered the treasury centre as an extra link in the chain of derivatives transactions.According to Van As, the transition was a “large and complicated” project, as BpfBouw had to conclude new contracts, draw up policy documents and adjust its organisation.He said that he expected costs for his scheme would not increase by very much, adding that having its own structure for derivatives transactions would reduce its dependence on APG’s treasury centre.The approximately 12 staff of the treasury centre have joined APG’s treasury and trading team, which comprises more than 25 members. They carry out the same tasks.This article was updated on 24 July to clarify that APG is disbanding the treasury centre but not its functionality.last_img read more

first_imgThe cost of using derivatives is set to climb by as much as 10 times current levels under new European rules, according to analysis firm OpenGamma – and pension funds should act soon.Under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), counterparties for a range of over-the-counter interest rate and credit default derivatives will be required to use clearing houses. Pension funds have so far been exempt, but European regulators have yet to agree whether this exemption will be extended, or for how long.OpenGamma said its research showed that new margin rules for uncleared over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives under EMIR could increase the cost of financing by up to 10 times. Pension funds, many of which could be drawn into scope of the new rules from September 2019, could save 50% in initial margin costs by choosing to clear voluntarily before the rules come in, the firm said.Peter Rippon, OpenGamma’s chief executive, said: “While a few market participants will be caught out this month, the real big bang for pension funds is still to come.”He said “a monumental headache” awaited because many investment managers would be carrying out huge amounts of work all at the same time.“Let’s face it, this is probably not what the rulemakers had in mind when they devised this phased-in approach,” he said.The margin requirements – which mean derivatives investors must hold capital behind the derivatives they buy – are being phased in this September for entities with group notional amount above €2.25trn, and then for entities with successively lower notional amounts next September and the following two Septembers.With no pension funds in scope in this month’s phase-in, OpenGamma said pension funds could save 0.7 basis points for a 10-year derivative trade, increasing to 1.8 basis points for a 30-year trade.last_img read more

first_imgDutch parliament buildings in the Hague, the NetherlandsDespite the unions’ reticence, social partners and pensions sector have been encouraged to embrace the Dutch government’s framework for pensions reform.Jacqueline Lommen, pension strategist at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), said a 10-point plan presented by social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees earlier this year contained the ingredients to satisfy pension fund participants and pensioners.At a symposium hosted by Dutch pensions magazine Pensioen, Bestuur & Management in Amsterdam last week, Lommen cited a State Street survey of 10,000 participants in six European countries – including the UK, Sweden and Italy – as well as Australia and the US.The study showed that early and sufficient pensions saving, clarity about its progress and future benefits were main contributors to people’s ‘pension happiness’, she said.Other important factors were a sense of individual responsibility through a personal pension account as well as options for tailor-made solutions, Lommen said.Dutch participants appeared to be almost the most pessimistic about their future financial position after retirement, and the least informed about their choice options for contributions, benefits and retirement age, SSGA found.Lommen said the outcome was “distressing, as the Netherlands does many things right”, explaining that the government’s framework had almost bridged the gap between increasingly unaffordable defined benefit plans and flexible forms of defined contribution.“There are already four different benefits arrangements possible under DC, easing implementation,” she said.In Lommen’s opinion, the core of the government’s proposals shouldn’t be dismissed as merely “individual pension pots”.“It is about the possibility to virtually divide a collective pension pot across individual assets for tailor-made implementation,” she argued.Dutch unions oppose the concept of individual pension pots, and want to stick to the traditional collective approach to saving and risk sharing.Lommen said the cabinet’s proposals for individual pension pots were aligned to the unions’ demands.Highlighting other advantages of the Dutch pensions system, Lommen said the Netherlands was the only country with mandatory lifelong benefits where the “mortality gain” benefited the remaining participants, rather than disappearing to the heirs.She also emphasised that all energy put into pension reform came at the expense of other promising innovations, such as the development of apps and pension planners as well as solutions for part-time retirement. The Netherlands’ largest trade union has threatened to stop co-operating with the government over pension system reform if it proceeds with a scheduled increase in the state pension age.FNV has said that, if the government proceeded with its plan raise the retirement age for the state pension (AOW) to 66 years and eight months, it would walk out of pensions reform negotiations.The union’s negotiator Tuur Elzinga said FNV had urged the government to take a decision in the coming weeks, according to financial newspaper FD. On the union’s website it said the government had until 1 July to respond.FNV wants the AOW age to be frozen at 66, whereas the government has already decided on a gradual rise from 65 years in 2013 to 67 years and three months in 2022. After then, any further increases will be linked to longevity improvements. The current retirement age for the AOW is 66 plus four months.center_img Tuur Elzinga, FNVIn the opinion of the unions, the planned rise is too fast, in particular for workers in physically demanding jobs. However, fixing the AOW age at 66 would be expensive and the government has not shown any willingness to set aside money for this purpose.During the past few weeks there have been exploratory discussions between the government, employers and unions about the resumption of negotiations for pensions reform, according to the FD. Negotiations collapsed in November, in part because of disagreements over the AOW age.Elzinga said the union would continue with its industrial action if the cabinet ignored its demand.Embrace government reforms, pension sector toldlast_img read more

Former head of Berkshire Pension Fund dies

September 29, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_imgNick Greenwood (left) collects the IPE Award for Emerging Markets from Erste Asset Management’s Christian Schoen at the 2015 awards ceremony in BarcelonaGreenwood’s team won several IPE awards for aspects of Berkshire’s investment strategy, including Best Emerging Markets Strategy in 2010 , 2012 , 2015 , 2016 and 2017 .The team was also recognised for Best Alternatives Strategy in 2017.Aoifinn Devitt, independent adviser to the Berkshire scheme, described Greenwood as “an innovative thought leader, with an appetite to consider what other institutions might regard as esoteric and frontier investments”.She added: “Nick was known within the industry for his refreshingly pragmatic approach, his drive, enthusiasm and creativity and his willingness and courage to embrace new ideas.“When listening to a manager presentation he was crystal clear in what he expected from them: to state who they were, why they were there and what they could offer to the fund.“He pushed boundaries and forged bold partnerships with providers, memorably hosting over 100 managers at an open day in Windsor Town Hall in 2012 at which he paced the stage, expounding on his vision for the pension fund’s strategy.”Prior to joining Berkshire in 2007, Greenwood was investment manager at the Environment Agency Pension Fund, also part of the LGPS.After leaving Berkshire last year, Greenwood joined specialist sustainable asset manager Osmosis Investment Management as chair of its investment committee. Nick Greenwood, former manager of the £2.2bn (€2.5bn) Berkshire Pension Fund, died earlier this month.He ran the Berkshire fund – part of the UK’s Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) – for 11 years before leaving last year after it became part of the Local Pensions Partnership.During his tenure at Berkshire, he implemented an innovative investment strategy involving allocations to a range of alternative asset classes such as farmland and emerging market infrastructure.In 2017, the pension fund bought a 20% stake in specialist UK alternatives boutique Gresham House and became the cornerstone investor for the asset manager’s flagship British Strategic Investment Fund, which targets UK infrastructure and housing. In 2016, it invested £15m in a fund aimed at directing institutional capital into the commercialisation of UK university research, known as the British Innovation Fund . In 2009, the scheme became the first in the LGPS system to hedge its longevity risk, sealing a deal with Swiss Re covering 11,000 pensioners.last_img read more

first_imgAuthor, presenter and social media influencer, Lisa Cox, talks about her home. Photo: Claudia Baxter.LISA Cox is an author, freelance writer, speaker and disability advocate who lives in Hamilton, Brisbane, with her husband, Ren. Lisa is committed to promoting media diversity by fusing her professional background with acquired disabilities, which stem from having a brain haemorrhage at the age of 24. 1. Where do you live and why?I bought a two-bedroom apartment at Portside in Hamilton roughly seven years ago. It was never essential that I lived in Hamilton, but independent accessibility to nearby venues was key and Hamilton just happened to fit the bill perfectly. Because I don’t drive and require wheelchair accessible settings, being able to go to the gym/shops/meetings independently was paramount. Proximity to the city was also important. Firstly, because my husband works there and secondly, because I often require that people travel to me, so wanted to stay fairly central. 2. What is the best thing about your suburb?There are big changes happening around us over the next several years. New apartments and road upgrades can mean parts of Hamilton are a construction site, but I prefer to think of all the extra facilities that are on the way, such as a public swimming pool. Even though we’re so close to the city and in a bustling precinct, we never feel ‘çlosed-in’ and frequently enjoy getting out to nearby green spaces or walks by the river.Being close to the airport also helps when I have to travel for work.3. What do you love about your home?The location. I’m surrounded by lots of great locals and venues when I go outside each day, but it’s also a quiet and relaxing sanctuary for my husband and I once we close the front door.4. What would you change about your home? More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoAccess. Unfortunately, the apartment block was built before I moved in, so wheelchair access isn’t great in all areas (like the pool).5. Describe your dream home and location in Queensland?Family is in Brisbane so we’d stay here! Because there’s only two of us, my dream place would be another apartment in the same area, but with modifications for better wheelchair access throughout. A sprawling acreage in the middle of nowhere would be my worst nightmare because of the isolation — no matter how good the views were. 6. If money was no option, what would be your fantasy home anywhere in the world and where? A penthouse with a built-in pool and gym in Manhattan, New York.7. What was the best piece of property advice you were give? Or what was the biggest lesson you learned?The best piece of advice I was given was that when buying property as an investment, find somewhere near public transport. Consider what a tenant would love, not just what appeals to you. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to never assume that because a building meets ‘Australian Standards’ (for disability access) that it will work for every disabled person. We’re all different, as are our specific needs. Have more than a single inspection written into the contract before building is complete.last_img read more