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Complexity of pension fund strategies increases legal risk – consultants

first_imgThe increasing complexity of pension fund strategies and the merging of advisory and implementation roles is introducing greater risk of disputes with clients and even legal liability, according to some of Europe’s leading pension consultants.At the same time, the need for more bespoke, scheme-specific solutions is improving the competitive landscape for consulting, especially in the UK, where the market is both highly important to the pensions industry and highly concentrated in the ‘big three’ of Mercer, Towers Watson and Aon Hewitt.The opinions come from the latest annual survey of consultants conducted for the regular special report that appears in the March 2015 issue of IPE.The report looks into these questions in greater depth, and contains further comment from the survey on regulation of the industry across Europe. Not all consultants perceive there to have been an increase in disputes and misunderstandings as a result of the growing complexity of pension fund management, but even those who do not see a problem, such as Lukas Riesen, a partner at PPCmetrics, Martijn Euverman, a partner at Sprenkels & Verschuren, and Stephen McCourt, managing principal at Meketa Investment Group, recognise the importance of a “clear understanding of expectations, obligations, guidelines, goals and visions” to maintaining a “cohesive relationship”.As Euverman put it: “It is our philosophy to reduce complexity, keep it simple and be to-the-point. This also helps us in preventing misunderstandings.”Others strike a much more cautious note.“The risk of misunderstanding increases with complexity and tight timelines for decisions,” said Tim Giles, partner at Aon Hewitt.Alex Koriath, head of UK pensions practice at Cambridge Associates, agreed that “risks have increased” as pension funds have adopted more complex strategies such as LDI or investing in private markets.“Successful outcomes from these strategies require closer and clearly defined working relationships between investment consultants, lawyers, other advisers and the scheme’s trustees,” he said.“Without a clear implementation plan that is fully understood by all parties, complex strategies that look good on paper can become a nightmare in terms of additional costs and implementation errors.”Great complexity of solutions has often led to the recommendation of more delegated governance approaches such as implemented consulting and fiduciary management, and some respondents pointed to this as a potential source of dispute risk.“I do think the risks have increased, in that lots of consultants are also managing clients’ money,” said Patrick McCoy, a partner at KPMG.“This is a completely different task, and, if clients go down this route, they should be very careful how the contract is negotiated.”Pascal Duval, chief executive of EMEA at Russell Investments, said that, as the lines between advice and execution had “blurred”, investors’ expectations for how responsive their advisers could be to changeable markets increased unrealistically, not least because the change in governance approach had often been adopted precisely to cut back decision-making time.“It’s been a frustration for many that advice has not been rapidly executed, and that advisers have not taken full accountability for that,” he said.“In fact, the dominant driver of poor returns, poor outcomes and increased pension deficits has become ‘implementation leakage’. It starts from inadequate governance at investors’ level first, and goes down the food chain from advisers to managers.”The trend for fiduciary management and other delegated governance structures also came up when consultants operating in the UK were asked to comment on the state of competition in their market.Trustees should re-evaluate their current investment consultant on a regular basis and consider third-party overseers, said McCourt at Meketa, especially in the light of the “shift in focus by some large UK pension consultants to act as asset managers and develop investment products”. McCourt added that “specialisation” in advisory services would help to stimulate competition from smaller consultants – and these themes of the positive impact on competition of increasing scrutiny under fiduciary management arrangements, and the growing demand for bespoke solutions, was echoed by other respondents.“From what we see, the level of competition is healthy and growing,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, director in investment consulting at Redington.“As pension funds have moved from a generic ‘asset-only’ to a specific asset-liability context over the last decade, we have seen a greater demand for an approach that is more customised to the client’s individual situation – it’s funding objectives, its covenant, its capacity for risk. “This has led to clients seeking a consultant that is the best fit for them, rather than just one of the largest firms, leading to a level ground from a competitive perspective. The other factor is the innovation in technology, both ALM processing and the software and tools offered to clients that a number of consultancies now offer.”Nonetheless some, such as McCoy at KPMG, still think pension fund trustees “tolerate poor service and quality of advice for too long before undertaking a review”, and even some who see improvement in market competition, such as Koriath at Cambridge Associates, report trustees saying that “it is hard to get a good overview of the adviser market and the strengths and weaknesses of the different competitors”.More views from the survey, as well as in-depth analysis of both these contentious issues, can be found in the latest edition of IPElast_img read more

Two-thirds of Dutch pensions still at risk of cuts

first_imgUnderfunded schemes included the €396bn civil service scheme ABP and the €189bn healthcare pension fund PFZW, which reported a policy funding of 99.3% and 96.7%, respectively, at the end of the third quarter.At the time, the €68bn metal scheme PMT and its €46bn sister metal pension fund PME said their coverage ratios stood at 98.9% and 98.4%, respectively.Pension funds that have had a funding shortfall for five consecutive years can no longer postpone rights cuts. For most schemes with continued underfunding, discounts will be inevitable in 2020 or 2021.Since a significant drop in coverage ratios last year – largely due to falling interest rates – funding of Dutch pension funds has gradually increased, due to a combination of rising interest rates and improving stock markets.Earlier this week, pension consultants Mercer and Aon Hewitt said that pension funds’ policy funding had increased to 105% on average during the course of October.In other news, DNB said it would also start publishing pension funds’ allocations to equities, property, hedge funds and commodities, as well as how much interest rate risk they have hedged.It said it would also report the level of “contribution coverage” for each pension fund, which indicates whether the premiums are sufficient to cover new pensions accrual.DNB already publishes a range of data relating to pension funds, including: assets; costs of administration; asset management costs; transaction charges; nominal, real and required coverage; and quarterly returns. Two-thirds of Dutch workers and pensioners are still at risk of future rights cuts despite steadily improving coverage ratios, newly released figures from supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) show.The regulator said that during the last quarter the schemes’ “policy funding” ratio – the average coverage over the past 12 months, and the main criterion for rights discounts and indexation – had risen 2.6 percentage points to 104.5%.The legally required minimum funding is approximately 104.2% for most pension funds.However, the watchdog also noted that 63 pension funds – with 3.7m active participants and 2.1m pensioners – were still short of the required minimum. This amounted to 29% of all schemes, but 68% of active members and 65% of pensioners.last_img read more

Why it’s a good time to sell Gold Coast property

first_imgHe said house prices had likely risen further since October and stock levels were lower.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa8 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoRay White Broadbeach Waters principal Mitch Palmer said it was a good time for homeowners to consider selling while demand and prices were high.“The growth expectation we’re finding will still be positive over the next three to six months,” he said.“For those looking to sell, there’s a good opportunity for them.”CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said many homeowners in Sydney and Melbourne turning to some regional areas for holiday and investment properties were further bolstering growth.“Overall, our latest data points to an increase of value growth in regional markets, particularly those which are located adjacent to capital cities,” he said.“As people are priced out of certain capital cities, buyers now appear to be looking to these adjacent regions.”CoreLogic’s regional report analyses house and unit markets across 25 of Australia’s non-capital city regions. New data shows house prices are rising while sales numbers are dropping.HOMEOWNERS considering upgrading or downsizing are in a good position to sell their houses, with prices climbing steadily on the back of fierce competition for property.CoreLogic’s Regional Market Update report shows house values increased 0.3 per cent in the year ending October last year to a $637,614 median.The increase comes despite the number of house and units sales falling.The report shows there were 14,357 property sales during the period, which was a 14.2 per cent drop compared to the previous year. MORE NEWS: Why there are fewer properties on the market MORE NEWS: Jaw dropping asking price for vacant blocks Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:11Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:11 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenAutumn National Market Update02:12 House sales dropped 13 per cent while unit sales dipped further at 15.8 per cent.Real Estate Institute of Queensland Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said demand for the limited number of houses on the market was bumping prices up.“Sales are down because the number of available options to purchase are down,” he said.“Because of the limited opportunity, that’s why the prices have risen.“It’s reflective of where the market has been trending.”last_img read more

DCA yet to identify definitive venue for Calypso Finals 2012

first_imgLocalNews DCA yet to identify definitive venue for Calypso Finals 2012 by: – January 6, 2012 16 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Tweet Sharecenter_img Share Share Kelly Williams President of the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Williams has indicted that the association has not yet arrived at a definitive venue for the Calypso Finals 2012 carded for 18th February, 2012.At the launching of the Real Mas on 15th December, 2011 at the Fort Young Hotel, Events Director of the Dominica Festivals Committee Mrs. Natalie Clarke-Meade announced that the show would be held on the outer court of the National Sports Stadium. However, Mr. Williams told the official launching of the Stardom Calypso Tent on Thursday that after a visit to the area by members of the DCA the outer court of the Stadium is not a suitable venue for the show. He suggests however that now is probably a good time for organizers to consider building a Carnival City where all Carnival activities including the Calypso Show will be held.“I think by now you should know that the Carnival City will be at the front of the stadium and we’ve gone there and we as Calypsonians, we as people who go to Calypso show it wasn’t a plus; it was a negative to us. Because we know what the patrons want we’re going to have to put a lot of energy into setting up somewhere else to hold the Calypso Show. So for now the most I can say is what we’re thinking about now is to having a very good show this year, in a very good venue so as to enhance the Calypso Show.”Mr. Williams explained that there are two options for a suitable venue; Pottersville Savannah being one of them, which are being considered.“There are two Pottersville being one of them, but the thing is in Pottersville, there are guys in Pottersville who have always asked to work, they’ve been disenchanted with a lot of things that is going on and they’ve always asked to work with us if we can do it and this year it’s not something that we’ve decided on, it’s more circumstance and we have to do it because the patrons that give us the feel I don’t think they want to go to the front of the stadium. There are a lot of obstacles that will not make for a good show. So for now we are looking at possibly the Pottersville Savannah or the Newtown Savannah, but the Pottersville Savannah has more space.” When asked whether the association was consulted before the announcement that the Calypso Finals would be hosted at the outer court of the stadium, Williams dodged the question citing his wish not to bring the show into controversy as his reason. Despite the fact that no definitive venue has been identified, Mr. Williams sought to reassure the public that the association will continue to accede to the patrons request as they have contributed to the success of the Calypso Show over the years.“We’ll ask for the support of the general public because all of us know Calypso is all of us own and we follow the patrons and what they want most of the times at least 80 percent of the time we follow the patrons to give them as long as we can and it is possible, to give them what they want and that’s the reason why Calypso has flourished because we’ve been working with what the people want most of the time.”Mr. Williams noted that the association will do all within its power to find a suitable venue regardless of the cost. He says the patrons are the ones who in fact pay for the staging of the show and that the onus is therefore on the association to provide the comfort that the patrons request.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

Report: Brother of VP could consider running in the 6th district

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Bartholomew CountyIndianapolis, Ind. — A report from the Indianapolis Star says brother of Vice President Mike Pence, Greg Pence could be considering a run for congress.Pence entered politics earlier this year when he became the statewide campaign chairman for incumbent congressman Luke Messer’s possible run for senate. Indisders say Greg Pence could capitalize on his brother’s name recognition in the 6th district, making him an almost certain winner for the Republicans.Pence worked for about 2 ½ months as a top executive for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in 2005, and briefly in the Mitch Daniels administration.last_img read more

Poyet fuming over fixture pile-up

first_img Poyet said: “The next five or six weeks is something I don’t understand – why the rest of the world are probably on holidays next week and we have to play 250,000 games in a month and a half. “Nobody will convince me – it’s not normal. I will even give you Boxing Day – I agree it is a special day in history and everybody wants to play that day – but then take the 27th off until the middle of January. “Then probably your national team players will get you to the World Cup in a better condition. But I’m not in charge. It doesn’t matter how many times I say it – the winter break is needed and we don’t take it.” Poyet was, however, far from disgruntled that his side added two more games to their already hectic list when they overcame Chelsea in extra-time in midweek to land a two-legged tie with Manchester United. And the Uruguayan believes the nature of the victory can only be good for confidence even if makes a mockery of his side’s position firmly rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table. Poyet added: “We knew it was going to be a Premier League team and we know if we are going to win it we need to go through a tough semi-final and maybe an even tougher final. “But that’s the good thing about the cup – if you do things right and you believe, you find yourselves in a great situation. “I think it’s possible. We are there because we deserve to be there. It’s strange that we’re in the semi-final and bottom of the league, which is contradictory. But we will enjoy it as much as we can.” The Black Cats’ march into the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup means they face the prospect of playing 11 games in 38 days assuming they also reach the fourth round of the FA Cup. Poyet insists the schedule is “not normal” but does not expect anything to change after years of similar protests from fellow top-flight and international managers have fallen on deaf ears. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has slammed his side’s festive fixture pile-up and warned that England’s World Cup chances will continue to be hit until Premier League chiefs vote to bring in a winter break.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

3-year-old dies after falling into a grease trap at Tim Hortons

first_imgAuthorities in Rochester, N.Y are reporting that a 3-year-old boy has died after he fell into a grease trap while playing at a Tim Hortons restaurant.The incident occurred just before 12:00 pm Monday in the area of University Avenue and Culver Road.Officials told reporters that they initially received a call about a missing child. As they headed to the location, they received another call about a child who was found in a grease trap at the same location.“I don’t know how long he was in there, but we do know that it was almost instantaneous: When the mother found the child missing, they called the police right away, and several minutes later he was discovered in the grease trap,” said Investigator Frank Camp of the Rochester Police Department during a press conference.When authorities arrived, the child had been pulled out of the wastewater disposal system and a witness was attempting CPR. Officials then relieved the witness and began CPR until the child was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.According to the report, the child reportedly climbed on top off the grease trap that was embedded in the ground and it’s plastic lid gave way. The child fell into the grease trap and was unable to get out.Authorities are continuing the question employees and witnesses at the scene. They will also review surveillance video to gather more details on the incident.last_img read more

Florida’s Emergency Operations Center Hit with COVID-19 Outbreak

first_imgAdditionally, the state is in the midst of the hurricane season, in a year in which there have already been six named Atlantic storms.Luckily for our state, no storms were active over the weekend.Employees who remained on the job at Emergency Management were told to either work in other areas of the division’s complex, or to work from home.None of the individuals who tested positive showed symptoms of the disease, says Mahon. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has had to temporarily close down part of its facilities, after 12 of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus.The areas where the employees work are undergoing a deep clean over the weekend and are expected to reopen Monday, according to agency spokesman Jason Mahon.He adds that the agency has been going through biweekly virus testing of all employees for the past several weeks.Last Thursday, four more staff members tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total to 12. That discovery prompted the closure, Mahon explains.The closing comes as the Division of Emergency Management is at its highest activation level in response to the pandemic.We’ve been conducting biweekly testing at the EOC for several weeks & mandated masks. The Division has had several positives throughout that period. Those individuals have been isolated while we continue to test. We also instituted teleworking at the EOC & remain at a level 1.— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) July 16, 2020last_img read more

ICC World Cup ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash: South Africa vs West Indies clash abandoned due to rain

first_img New Delhi: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 witnessed the second abandonment of the tournament. After Pakistan vs Sri Lanka clash in Bristol was abandoned due to rain, the clash between South Africa and West Indies was also abandoned due to persistent rain at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday. The Proteas, who had lost their first three games, finally got off the mark in the tournament but this was not the result they expected as they look to make a bid for the final four spots in the tournament. Both teams get one point each as the weather once again ruined what was shaping up to be a good contest.West Indies chose to field looking at the conditions and when the toss took place, there was drizzle in the air. Hashim Amla got going with a boundary but Sheldon Cottrell, who impressed in the game against Australia, got rid of Amla with a short ball that he flashed and the edge was taken by Shai Hope. Quinton de Kock looked good with a couple of good strokes and Aiden Markram got off the mark with a boundary. However, Cottrell struck again as Markram was stranded down the leg side. highlights Oshane Thomas bowled three good deliveries before the rain came and settled. There was a persistent drizzle for close to three hours. Although the rain stopped and there was an inspection scheduled, the drizzle returned. The rain stopped after one hour and only the hover-cover was there on the pitch. The light was also an issue. The covers were about to be removed when yet another rain delay forced the match to be abandoned.After the match, Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis highlighted his frustrations when he said, “Rain-affected matches are the worst. Both teams wanted a result, but you can’t control the weather.” West Indies skipper Jason Holder remarked, “A great start by the bowlers. Particularly by Sheldon – very important to have a good start with the ball in this kind of conditions. We have been getting new-ball wickets, and we don’t mind giving runs in the first ten overs if we get wickets up front.”South Africa take on Afghanistan in a crucial match in Cardiff on June 15 while West Indies square off against hosts and tournament favourites England in a crucial match on June 14 at the Rose Bowl. Pakistan vs Sri Lanka clash in Bristol was abandoned due to rain.Both West Indies and South Africa get one point.South Africa take on Afghanistan while West Indies take on England. For all the Latest Sports News News, ICC World Cup News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

At least 21 athletes suspected of blood doping – German prosecutor

first_imgBERLIN, Germany (Reuters) – At least 21 athletes from eight nations across five sports are suspected of blood-doping linked to a German doctor, who was arrested as part of an Austria-Germany doping raid last month, Munich’s state prosecutor Kai Graeber said yesterday.Five athletes, including two Austrians, were initially arrested on February 27 at the Nordic skiing world championships in the Austrian resort of Seefeld.The arrests were part of a joint operation with German police targetting a suspected international blood-doping ring believed to have been run out of Germany.A doctor in the German city of Erfurt was also arrested along with a total of five other suspected accomplices.Graeber said the doping of the 21 athletes from five sports – three winter and two summer – took place from 2011.“The timeframe (of doping) is from the end of 2011 to 2019 in Seefeld,” he told a news conference.“There are three-figure cases of blood being taken out and then being reintroduced worldwide in Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hawaii.”No details on the names of the athletes or their specific sports were made available. The investigation is ongoing.Since the arrests, other Austrian athletes have been implicated in blood doping. Earlier this month cyclist Georg Preidler told police he had attempted doping.Cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, whose interview with Germany’s ARD television in which he admitted doping triggered the investigation and subsequent raids, was arrested on March 5.last_img read more