Industry veteran calls for merger of UK banking pension funds

first_imgThe UK’s banks could pool the assets of their pension funds to create a scheme with the ability to compete with large Canadian and Asian investors, the head of Santander’s £10bn (€13.7bn) UK fund has suggested.Antony Barker, chief pensions officer at the UK bank, said he could imagine a time would come when the industry would pursue a sector-wide arrangement, as there was no competitive advantage to be gained from the operational management of pension funds.He argued in favour of pooling, as it would allow for the sector’s pension assets to pursue a different investment strategy.“From a pension fund perspective, we [the Santander UK pension fund] are probably more transactional than most,” he told attendees at the recent joint IPE/IP Real Estate Real Assets & Infrastructure conference in London. Barker added that the pensions sector was often unable to trade, due largely to a lack of sufficient in-house staff.“I can envisage a time where it makes sense to have a national Bank Pension scheme,” he added, citing the Dutch market’s industry-wide funds as inspiration.“The operation of a pension scheme is not a competitive element,” he added, “and [a single scheme] would actually pool together a £100bn portfolio that could compete directly with the Canadian and Asian investors to get involved in these major projects.”Across the UK’s main retail banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which also owns NatWest – assets within their defined benefit funds approached £130bn at the end of 2014.Germany has long had a pension fund for the financial services sector.BVV, founded more than 100 years ago, is the largest Pensionskasse, with €25.1bn in assets, second only to the Bayerische Versorgungskammer, with €62bn in assets.Barker went on to outline the benefits of a more proactive approach to investment, arguing that the Santander UK Group Pension Scheme – itself a merger of six funds consolidated into a master trust structure in 2012 – had begun approaching investments more akin to the strategies pursued by endowments, lowering its equity exposure to around one-fifth of assets.He said the approach allowed for the acquisition of “material” stakes when investing.“We typically like to take 20-25% holdings, which gives us access to the board,” he said.“Therefore, we are able to direct management as a very interfering limited partner rather than simply trying to apply some rules of either tilting the portfolio or voting engagement.”last_img read more

Euro and equity rallies boost Belgian pension funds to 6% in 2017

first_imgBelgian pension funds generated an average investment return of 6% for 2017, up from 5.1% in 2016, according to the Belgian industry association PensioPlus.Investment returns averaged 6.8% a year since 1985, the association added.PensioPlus said: “Last year was characterised by strong economic growth, while central banks maintained their policy of quantitative easing [QE]. These two factors led to stock market climbs and consistently low interest rates. Equally notable in 2017 was the strong performance by the euro.”The return was calculated on a weighted average basis from a sample of 58 schemes with combined assets of €17.6bn, out of a total €29.8bn assets under management in the second pillar. At end-2017, Belgian pension funds had allocated 43% of their assets to fixed income, 38% to shares, with 11% in alternatives and 6% in real estate.While equity allocations remained roughly the same as the previous year, allocations to fixed income showed a slight fall. However, the percentage held in alternatives – such as insurance, infrastructure, private equity and convertible bonds – rose from 7% in 2016.PensioPlus said that, in 2018, it expected the European Central Bank’s QE policy to be phased out, leading to a risk of asset prices overheating and higher inflation in the long term. Meanwhile, stock market volatility could increase.The organisation warned: “Since pension funds have as much as 43% invested in debt, if their investment strategy remains unchanged, any increase in interest rates could have a negative effect on future returns.”However, it pointed out that stress tests carried out by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) showed that Belgium’s pension funds continued to be adequately funded.PensioPlus said: “EIOPA’s study shows that Belgian pension funds are resistant to stress, both in periods of crisis when stock markets are falling sharply, and when the long-term interest rate is falling.”Meanwhile, with 19 pan-European pension funds already based in Belgium, the country is forging ahead with its ambition to triple second pillar pension assets under management to €100bn by 2025, 30% of which would be linked to pension assets of multinational companies.last_img read more

Unique Group Adds Regional VP for Europe & UK

first_imgUnique Group has appointed Matthew Gordon as the new regional vice president for the Europe & UK region to oversee the company’s strategic expansion plans.Under Matthew’s leadership, the company aims to see further growth and expansion across Europe. He will be based in Aberdeen, UK.Matthew has over 22 years of experience in the subsea oil and gas industry, with previous senior management roles held in Fugro Survey, Subsea 7 and Viking Seatech.His last role before joining Unique Group was as managing director – UK at Atlantic Offshore, an emergency response and rescue vessel provider.Harry Gandhi, CEO of Unique Group, said, “We are pleased to welcome Matthew to our team. His operational and commercial experience in the subsea and offshore industry, along with his successful track record, will prove to be of great advantage to Unique Group’s strategic goals.”Matthew Gordon added, “Unique Group has a well-deserved reputation in the industry as a reliable solutions provider with its broad range of offerings worldwide. I am excited to join the company as it is moving on this growth curve, and I look forward to playing an active role in Unique Group’s future successes.”Matthew is heading the region with immediate effect.last_img read more

New York to raise cigarette sale age

first_imgHealthInternationalLifestylePrint New York to raise cigarette sale age by: – October 31, 2013 Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Sharecenter_img 44 Views   no discussions Share The bill’s supporters say a higher age limit stops young people developing smoking habitsNew York City Council has voted to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21.New York will now become by far the most populous place in the US to impose such a high age limit, the Associated Press reports.The new age limit includes electronic vapour cigarettes.Across the US there is a minimum age for smoking of 18. Some states have raised the limit to 19 and at least two other towns have raised it to 21.The bill’s sponsor, City Councilman James Gennaro, said it would “literally save many, many lives”.Mr Gennaro, whose mother and father died from tobacco-related illnesses, said: “I’ve lived with it, I’ve seen it… but I feel good today.”Critics of the measure have argued that young people may turn to the black market for cigarettes.New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supported the bill, has 30 days to sign it into law. The measure would then come into effect after 180 days.“We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start,” Mr Bloomberg said in a statement.A plan by Mr Bloomberg to make shops keep cigarettes out of public view was shelved earlier this year.BBC Newslast_img read more

Art in Nature Show in Versailles State Park

first_imgVERSAILLES, Ind. — Area residents are invited to the Art in Nature Art Show Saturday, April 8, 6-8pm at the Recreation Hall in the Group Camp at Versailles State Park.This is a display of the artwork created during the week of Art in Nature Classes April 3-8.In addition, there will be live music by Sandy and Chopper and refreshments by Rumps provided by the Ripley County Tourism Bureau.The classes are sponsored again this year, thanks to a second grant received by the Ripley County Tourism Bureau from the Indiana Arts Commission.Art from the classes that will be on display will be stepping stones, garden art posts, recycled art, water colors, wood turned items, and jewelry.Signs will be set up to direct the public to the Art Show.Because of the expected increase in those attending the art show, Versailles State Park has arranged to have a shuttle running throughout the show from the swimming pool parking lot to the Recreation Hall in the group camp.last_img read more

A one year comparison of state and local unemployment numbers

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — A report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development says October unemployment in the Hoosier state inched up one-tenth of a percent from September to 3.9 percent, still two-tenths of a percent lower than the national rate of 4.1 percent.In comparison to one year ago unemployment has dropped significantly. Ohio and Jennings Counties had the largest decreases from October of 2016. Each dropped six-tenths of a percent from 4.2 to 3.6 percent. Decatur County decreased four-tenths of a percent from 3.1 to 2.7 percent. Dearborn County dropped three-tenths of a percent to 3.8 percent over the period and both Franklin and Ripley Counties had slight decreases to 3.6 percent each. The Indiana unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent from 4.2 to 3.9 percent.The Indiana labor force totals 3.33 million, the participation rate is 64.2 percent.last_img read more

‘Icon of the sky’ spotted during cross country trek

first_imgBy Stuart Grout from Manchester, UK (GoodYear) [CC BY 2.0 ( or CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsIndianapolis, In. — Some motorists may have seen an icon in the sky over the weekend. The Goodyear Blimp landed at the Greenfield Airport Sunday and is expected to liftoff from the Indianapolis Airport this morning around 9 a.m., weather permitting. The blimp is en route from Ohio to Kansas as part of the “2018 Summer Tour.”The airship has a crew of about 20 people.In 2011 Goodyear launched three semi-rigid airships built by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. The new airships are 246 feet long, 52 feet longer than Goodyear’s old model, the GZ-20. The Zeppelin NT model is also slimmer, has a top speed of 70 miles per hour (versus 50 for the blimp), and has a passenger gondola that seats 12 (compared to seven in the blimp). The gondola also contains a restroom.Both craft are outfitted with LED sign technology Goodyear calls “Eaglevision.” This allows the aircraft to display bright, multi-colored, animated words and images. Goodyear also has blimps operating in other parts of the world. These airships are built and operated by Van Wagner of Orlando, Floridalast_img read more

Ellsworth’s Merrill, Bucksport’s Ogden, Sumner’s Pinkham named Maine Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

first_img Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Posts ELLSWORTH — Three former Hancock County basketball players will be among those inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, the organization announced Tuesday.Delmont “Del” Merrill, Keith Ogden and Elwood “Bimbo” Pinkham will be honored at a formal induction ceremony Aug. 19 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The three will be among 22 former players, coaches and administrators to be inducted.Merrill, born in 1925, graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1943 after spending four yours with the school’s boys’ basketball team, but his biggest exploits came after his playing career. After returning from World II and coaching basketball at Sumner, Merrill served as the head men’s basketball and baseball coaches at Husson College (now Husson University) as well as serving as the athletic director and later president.As head coach of the Husson men’s team, Merrill had a record of 197-86 and won seven league championships. After spending time as state basketball commissioner, he received induction into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. Merrill died April 19, 2010. This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textOgden, a Bucksport native, led the Golden Bucks to back-to-back state Class B crowns in the late 1970s. The 1978 championship game win over Mexico and 1979 win over Medomak Valley remain Bucksport’s only state championships in the sport.Following his impressive high school years, Ogden continued his playing career at Husson, where he averaged 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game over three seasons. He later became a successful race car driver at Speedway 95 in Hermon.Pinkham etched his name into Sumner history in 1973 when he scored 38 points a 106-63 win over Yarmouth in the boys’ Class C championship game to give the Tigers their second state title win in four years. He will be one of six people to receive “Legends of the Hall” distinctions at the induction ceremony.Pinkham, who is now the head girls’ basketball coach at Sumner, previously held the same position at Narraguagus before returning to his alma mater for two separate coaching stints. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.Other inductees will include Clinton native Cindy Blodgett, the state’s all-time high school scoring leader with 2,596 points as a player at Lawrence, and Sandi Carver, who led Jonesport-Beals to a state championship in Class D in 1994. Following high school, Blodgett and Carver teamed up at the University of Maine and led the Black Bears four straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Bio Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all)center_img Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img read more

Boyce & Jefford Track and Field Classic

first_imgGeorge, Moore win 200m as Police take lead over GDFBy Tamica GarnettFRESH off his performance at the Rio Olympics, Guyana’s Winston George yesterday soared to an unquestionable win in the men’s 200m, while teammate, Alita Moore, took the women’s 200m, as a tight battle ensued between Police Progressive Athletics Club and the Guyana Defence Force team on the opening day of the Boyce and Jefford Track and Field Classic going down at the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground, Linden.Police's Alita Moore cruising to a win ahead of GDF Natrena Hooper in the women's 200 yesterday Police’s Alita Moore cruising to a win ahead of GDF Natrena Hooper in the women’s 200 yesterdayWith 147 points after 11 finals, Police ended the first day of competition with only 23 points ahead of their long time rival,the Guyana Defence Force team.Nonetheless, according to Police head coach Lyndon Wilson, the defending team remains unfazed by this,as a huge starting lead was not forecasted.“This is where I was expecting to be after the first day, and then take control on the final day, because what we ensure is that we have athletes in all of the finals so that we can gain maximum points in as many events as possible [today],” Wilson said.However, always optimistic about his team’s abilities, head coach for the GDF does not believe it’s over until the fat lady sings.“Yea, I feel we stand a chance because the events that leave to finish tomorrow I feel we have a very strong team for that.” Chisholm stated.Following behind GDF in the points standing is the Linden Combined team with 78 points, Mercury Fast Laners (MFL) with 28 points, Super Upcoming Runners with 15 points, and the overseas team with 6 points.Both Police and GDF amassed major wins as things progressed yesterday. George took the men’s 200m win in a time of 21.5 seconds.However the next two positions went to GDF, as Davin Fraser touched the line in 21.7 seconds and Perry followed with a time of 21.9 seconds.Moore ruled the women’s event in 25.7 seconds, but it was another second place for GDF after Natrena Hopper clocked 26 seconds.Police took the women’s 3000m after Joanna Archer championed the event in 12min:02.9s.GDF ruled in the men’s 5000m as Cleveland Forde continued to prove he is Guyana’s best distance athlete, taking the win in 16:30.6s.In the discus throw, Police’s Julio Sinclair prevailed after clearing 43.31m,while on the distaff end, GDF Tinecia Cort took the win (38.92m), while Bright got a gold for Linden in the women’s long jump after leaping across 5.27m.last_img read more

For safety reasons, experts caution against court-storming

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ There’s few greater thrills than having your college team knock down a Top 25 opponent at home, prompting an exciting frenzy of storming the court or field. Syracuse men’s basketball has beaten a Top 10 team every season since 2004-05, and SU can continue that streak Wednesday night with a win over No. 10 North Carolina.But if Syracuse pulls off the upset, several safety experts caution against the routine.Since Syracuse football upset then-No. 17 Virginia Tech on the gridiron in October 2016, there have been four additional instances in which fans, many of them students, stormed the playing surface. A year ago, Syracuse basketball fans stormed the Carrier Dome court three times. Last fall, fans rushed the football field after the Orange beat the defending national champion Clemson Tigers. Several fans were hospitalized, including Justin Heath, who broke both of his legs. After two surgeries, his GoFundMe said he would miss three to six months of work.The chaos that ensued included no life-threatening injuries, but safety experts advise against storming the court and field for fear that severe injuries are inevitable. Students may brush aside that notion, but this much is clear: Storming the court creates an unsafe environment, safety experts said.“Whenever you have tens of thousands of people, it is inherently an unsafe situation,” said Eric Oddo, a senior policy analyst at University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “At big games, the lines can get really backed up. Or if large crowds form on the playing surface, with field storming, that can be a big vulnerability for someone getting trampled.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the Carrier Dome, court-storming may be even more dangerous than other venues, experts said. The student section crowd surges forward from farther behind the basket than most other student sections. There is a walkway and several rows of seats between the court and student section, increasing the likelihood of a fall or trample, they said.Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerStorming the court has long been a tradition of college basketball. It may have begun in 1961, when fans entered a fray at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a game between North Carolina and Duke. Then, at Wisconsin in 1993, about 70 students were treated for injuries, including some who were not breathing when met by medical personnel. Two years ago, Arizona head coach Sean Miller demanded punitive action for a court-storming after his team lost at Colorado.The Southeastern Conference, which outlawed court-storming in 2004, fined Vanderbilt and Auburn $100,000 each in the 2015-16 season for not preventing fans from rushing their home courts after victories against Kentucky. It was a second offense for each school, and a third offense could result in a $250,000 tab.The ACC does not have a league-wide policy, so Syracuse has not been fined in any of its five recent field- or court-stormings. The NCAA prohibits court-storming at NCAA Tournament games to maintain a safe environment. The Pac-12, meanwhile, can fine programs $25,000 for the first offense, $50,000 for the second and up to $100,000 for the third offense.Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorSome of the scariest moments in event safety center on crowd management issues, said James Demeo, an event security consultant based in Raleigh, North Carolina. For this reason, students should think twice before rushing the court, he said. The greatest danger and potential liability is the push of the crowd rushing down stairs, over tables, and past posts to get to the court, Demeo said.Gil Fried, a professor at the University of New Haven who studies security best practices, said extra precautions are implemented for safety reasons.“(Security staff) are not trying to be jerks,” Fried said. “All it takes is one incident for people to say, ‘why don’t you do more?’”For fans who do not wish to storm the court, Fried advises leaving a minute or two early, before the buzzer sounds. If you want to watch the end of the game from your seat, Fried said fans should know who is sitting around them. He said it would be worthwhile for venues to educate fans on the safety risks of court-storming, perhaps by showing a video on the screen before the game ends. He suggests that students try working with friends to exit safely as a group during a court-storming.“It’s about being aware of your surroundings,” Fried said. “It’s so critical. The more you talk about that, the better it’s going to be.” Comments Published on February 20, 2018 at 9:42 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21last_img read more