The pensions commission set up last year in Denmark to take a holistic look at retirement provision in the Nordic country is now to be shut down, the incoming minority centre-right government has announced.The new government was formed less than a fortnight ago following the June general election as a minority government consisting only of the centre-right Venstre party.Led by new prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the government takes over from the Social-Democrat coalition government under outgoing prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, which has led the country since October 2011.Løkke Rasmussen’s government has set out plans for a pension reform in the spring of 2016 as part of the overall programme it unveiled a week ago. The main aim of the reform is to reduce the size of the group of people in Denmark who have no retirement savings of their own.Karsten Lauritzen, the incoming minister for taxation, said: “I have great respect for the commission members’ professionalism.“But the fact is the commission was established by the previous government, and we now have a new government with other objectives and a different timescale for its work.”The pensions commission was launched in May 2014 to find solutions for complex rules and high taxation of pensions, with the aim of making the system more transparent and attractive to savers.Lauritzen said he hoped the commission’s members would understand the decision to close it, and thanked them for their efforts.While under the original plan the pensions commission had been working towards presenting its recommendations and final report in the autumn of 2016, the new government wanted the commission to put together a report describing pension conditions among current and future pensioners.The ministry for taxation said it would not have required the commission to contribute any extra analysis or recommendations, and that the new task would have represented a big change in the organisation’s working conditions and tasks.After a discussion between Lauritzen and the commission’s chairman Torben Andersen, the ministry said the two men decided it was best to put an end the commission’s work.Andersen said the commission’s members fully recognised it was the government that set the framework for its future work.“It is our opinion the work that now needs doing with the written report can easily be done by the relevant ministries,” he said.“Now the commission no longer has the task of producing a proposal and looking at the pensions sector in its entirety, ending the commission’s work is a natural consequence.”Industry association Forsikring & Pension (F&P) said it was surprised by the closure of the commission.Carsten Andersen, deputy director at F&P, said the association still thought the statements on pensions contained in the new government’s programme were positive.“We support the view it should pay to save for your own pension,” he said.“For this reason, it is surprising the government obviously has not prioritised analysing the problems of the interplay between public benefits and private pensions.”It is these problems that present the greatest challenges for a large group within the labour market, Carsten Andersen said.“For many, it cannot really pay off to save for a pension in the last few years before retirement because their own savings are offset against public benefits,” he said.He added that the association had been looking forward to the pension commission’s proposal on how these problems could be solved.
Fondo Priamo, Italy’s second-pillar pension fund for public transport sector employees, is tendering an Italian private debt mandate.Priamo, which managed €1.2bn at the end of last year, intends to implement the allocation to private debt through a fund-of-funds structure.The size of the mandate will be €15m, around 1.2% of total assets.Managers have until 3 February to provide the required documentation. Throughout the manager search, Priamo is being assisted by Link Institutional Advisory, a consultant based in Lugano, Switzerland.If the allocation is successful, the fund will be among the first second-pillar trade union-backed pension funds in Italy to invest in private debt.Osvaldo Marinig, chairman at Priamo, told IPE the fund-of-fund structure was chosen to ensure appropriate diversification.He said implementing the allocation through a fund-of-funds structure would be a challenge, given the lack of similar investment by Italian schemes.The project will require intense dialogue with the pension regulator, COVIP, Marinig added.The fund is planning to add private debt to its evolving alternative assets portfolio, following a review of the strategic asset allocation that took place at the end of 2015.As part of the review, Priamo increased the strategic allocation target for alternatives from 5% to 7%.Marinig said the fund was evaluating other asset classes for the rest of the alternatives portfolio.Marinig explained that private debt was preferred to real estate, for reasons including the timing of the investment.The fund had foreseen an allocation to real estate around two years ago but never implemented the strategy.But Maring said the time to invest in real estate was now less than ideal.Other incentives for the investment were the potential risk-adjusted returns and cashflow profile of investments.During 2015, the fund moved from a benchmark approach to an absolute return one.Among the reasons for this change were fluctuating membership figures.Marinig noted the fund was maturing more quickly than others, with the members’ age profile getting older.However, 2016 will see a review of collective public transport sector agreements, and a wave of redundancies is expected.At the same time, Marinig expects the fund will receive a significant influx of members, as the sector’s trade unions agree to a form of automatic enrolment as part of the new contractual agreements.The model – whereby employees are automatically enrolled in the fund with a minimum employer contribution but no obligation to contribute themselves – has already been adopted by Prevedi, Italy’s construction sector scheme.As a result of the likely introduction of automatic enrolment at Priamo, Marinig foresees that membership could double, although assets will grow much more slowly.For more on Fondo Pensione Priamo’s investment strategy, see IPE’s recent interview with chairman Osvaldo Marinig
The UK government has appointed the new chair of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), selecting existing non-executive director Arnold Wagner for the role.Wagner, who joined the PPF in 2011, replaces Barbara Judge, who departs after six years chairing the UK lifeboat fund.In a statement released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), pensions minister Ros Altmann said it was “vitally important” the PPF continue its work providing security to those saving into defined benefit funds.“I look forward to working with Arnold Wagner, who has been with the PPF for five years and is already familiar with its operations in protecting defined benefit pension schemes,” she said. Altmann also thanked Judge for her “dedication” while in the role.For his part, Wagner said he was delighted by his appointment and also praised his predecessor.“I’d like to thank Lady Judge for her excellent leadership of the board and overall contribution to the PPF over the last six years and wish her well as she moves on to new roles,” he said. In common with Judge, Wagner previously sat on the board of the UK Atomic Energy Agency as a non-executive director and chaired public and private sector remuneration committees.He also spent seven years as HR director at Smiths Group and worked as director of personnel at Bunzl.
The final model now being implemented by TPR splits the UK schemes it oversees into 30 groups.Jackson said: “There are groups where most pension schemes are expected to make a return on time, and other groups where a large proportion of schemes are expected to be late or never make a return. This is great as we can tailor our communication strategy differently for each group: light touch when we expect schemes to make returns on time, firmer where we expect a scheme to be more problematic.”The work can also help the regulator keep on top of other data that might not have been updated, Jackson added, such as contact details of the scheme and key people.“Approaching our existing data in a different way also helped us focus on data quality issues like missing and dirty data,” Jackson said. “By cleaning up these issues we hope to continue to find innovative ways of improving our engagement and enforcement.”TPR has come under pressure in the past 18 months to improve its operations, having been criticised by politicians and industry commentators for its response to the high-profile BHS pension scheme case.The Work and Pensions Committee, a group of politicians from the UK’s lower house, late last year called for TPR to be given a range of new powers and greater resources. The UK’s Pensions Regulator (TPR) has built a machine-learning tool to help it focus on pension schemes most at risk of breaching its guidelines.Peter Jackson, head of data at TPR, outlined on a government blog how the watchdog had worked with data scientists to make better use of the “scheme returns”, TPR’s main source of pension scheme data.Data scientists from the Government Digital Service (GDS) built the machine-learning model to “predict future pension scheme behaviour”, Jackson said.“As we have data about pension schemes going back several years, labelled with whether they complied with the requirement to submit a scheme return, we were able to build a supervised machine-learning model that learns from our existing data and can be used to make predictions about how a pension scheme will behave,” he said.
SSPF, the closed Dutch pension fund of oil giant Shell, has divided its €27bn investment portfolio into three sub-portfolios for matching assets, return-seeking investments, and liquidity.In its annual report for 2016, it said the liquidity portfolio’s holdings included collateral for other parts of its investment portfolio.It added that the benchmark for the new liquidity portfolio comprised euro-denominated government bonds and investment grade credit (excluding financials), and US government paper.The scheme’s board, which did not provide further details about its new portfolio structure, has also decided to allocate 4.5% of its entire assets to its liabilities portfolio, to be deployed for hedging against interest risk. The Shell Pensioenfonds posted a 6.9% result for the year, including 0.2 percentage points due to its interest rate hedge. It said almost all asset classes outperformed their respective benchmarks.With a return of 10.2%, equity was the best performing investment category, largely thanks to the scheme’s allocations in North America and emerging countries.It added that defensive strategies, aimed at low-volatility equities, had also performed and its sustainable growth strategy had delivered “solid absolute returns”.Fixed income generated 5.8%, primarily due to declining interest rates. However, short-term government bonds – held in a transitional portfolio, following a 10 percentage-point reduction of equity holdings in 2015 – had incurred a loss, SSPF said.Its board indicated that it intended to transform the transitional holdings into longer-term fixed income investments.The pension fund further said that it was no longer using a benchmark for private equity, which returned 7.5% last year.“There is no suitable standard, as the portfolio deviates significantly from the available tactical benchmarks because of its differing funds and year classes,” it pointed out.In its opinion, the Public Market Equivalent benchmark, used over longer periods, was a better way to estimate private equity’s added value.SSPF saw its asset management costs rise 0.2 percentage points to 0.61%, and cited higher performance fees for private equity in particular. However, it said that the relatively high costs were justified by the surplus returns of the past year.The scheme reported transaction costs of 0.09% and administration costs of €235 per participant.Last year, the pension fund completed a simplication of the pensions administration for its 35,000 participants and pensioners which, it said, was essential for a transfer to Syntrus Achmea Pensioenbeheer on 1 January 2018.SAP was already the external service provider for Shell’s individual defined contribution scheme SNPS, which became operational in 2013.Last year, the Shell Pensioenfonds also introduced a “future-proof” method for establishing contributions, based on salary developments and the average age of its employees, while also taking into account assumptions for future returns of 4.6%.SSPF’s funding ratio currently stands at 119.8%. The required coverage ratio for full indexation equates to a level of 123%.
However, while the central bank will stop growing its balance sheet through asset purchases, it will not stop buying assets entirely. The European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday confirmed its decision to halt its asset purchasing programme – better known as quantitative easing (QE) – as of 19 December 2018.Starting in 2009 with covered bond purchases, the ECB has since bought trillions of euros worth of assets in an effort to maintain liquidity in financial markets, buying up public sector, corporate and asset-backed securities.The purchases totalled more than €2.5trn, according to Mirabaud Asset Management, more than doubling the ECB’s balance sheet to €4.7trn – equal to roughly 40% of euro-zone GDP.The policy was maintained through Europe’s sovereign debt crisis but has been scaled back gradually since 2016. At the start of this year the ECB’s monthly purchases halved from €60bn to €30bn. They were reduced again to €15bn a month from September. Source: ECBAt yesterday’s press conference, ECB president Mario Draghi said: “We intend to continue reinvesting, in full, the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under [QE] for an extended period of time past the date when we start raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.”In a note issued yesterday after Draghi’s press conference, Mirabaud’s strategy team said: “Both this stock and signalling effects will help keep sovereign yields in the euro-zone low during this normalisation phase.“Hence, the ECB follows the path drawn at the time by the Federal Reserve by strengthening its forward guidance and by guaranteeing a very accommodative monetary policy until at least 2020.”The ECB’s asset purchases since 2015 Source: ECBKey: PSPP – public sector purchase programme; CSPP – corporate sector purchase programme; CBPP3 – third covered bond purchase programme; ABSPP – asset-backed securities purchase programmeInterest rates remain at all-time lows. The rate on the bank’s main refinancing operations is zero and has been since March 2016, while the rate on its marginal lending facility has been 0.25% since then. The deposit facility rate turned negative in June 2014 and reached -0.4% in March 2016.ECB’s interest rate 2008-18(main refinancing operations)Chart MakerDraghi said yesterday: “We continue to expect [interest rates] to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.”
Michael ReinhardReinhard said the company aimed to reach €500bn in assets under management and administration by 2023 and become “the largest fund service platform for all asset classes in Europe”. It is hiring 150 support staff in Poland and investing in technology and automation.He became COO last year after joining from AXA Group where he spent 15 years, latterly as global head of operations for AXA Investment Managers.In addition, Katja Müller, currently head of sales and relationship management at Universal, is to become chief customer officer, a newly created position. She joined in 2014 after 12 years at Deutsche Bank, and also worked at DWS for 10 years.Daniel Fischer, director at Montagu Private Equity, which owns Universal, said the asset manager was “an unparalleled success story – with Bernd Vorbeck having played a decisive role here”.DNB – Kommer van Trigt is to start as chief investment officer at De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the Dutch financial services regulator, from 1 March. He will be tasked with the management of DNB’s investments as well as the financial reserves of the Dutch state, totalling approximately €23bn.He succeeds Edith Siermann, who moved to NN Investment Partners earlier this year after less than 18 months in the job. Van Trigt joins from the €171bn Dutch asset manager Robeco, where he has worked since 1997. He left as head of its fixed income team. Prior to his role at Robeco, he worked at DNB as an economist for two years.Neuberger Berman – The $304bn (€268.4bn) asset manager has hired multi-asset specialist Joe McDonnell from Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM). He joins as head of portfolio solutions for the EMEA region.McDonnell spent 10 years at MSIM, also as head of portfolio solutions, and has also held senior roles at corporate pension funds, including head of investments at Shell and head of fixed income at IBM.In his new role, he will be responsible for designing and overseeing multi-asset mandates, and implementing “customised quantitative solutions” for Neuberger’s institutional clients.Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance – SAREF has named Mascha Hendrickx as chief financial officer, effective from 1 July. She is to succeed Cindy Rombouts, who left on 1 January. Hendrickx joins from KMPG, where she has been an audit partner since 2012.In addition, George Dröge, director of mortgages, intends to step down from the executive board on 1 September. He will stay on at SAREF for an additional couple of months to aid a smooth handover of responsibilities, the company said. Swiss Life Asset Managers – Michael Hennig has been appointed as head of securities for Swiss Life Asset Managers’ operations in Germany. He joins on 1 March and will be responsible for distribution, as well as expanding the company’s services to occupational pension funds.Hennig was previously at Fidelity International where he spent more than 11 years, latterly as head of workplace investing in Germany. He has also worked at Nordwest Finanz Vermögensberatung and several Sparkassen institutes in Germany, mostly in the areas of pension solutions and real estate.Natixis Investment Managers – France’s second-biggest asset manager has hired Harald Walkate as its first head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ESG. He will have oversight of how CSR and ESG is implemented across Natixis and its affiliate managers.Walkate joins from Aegon Asset Management in the Netherlands, where he was global head of responsible investment. He is also an adviser to the Impact Management Project, which aims to set standards for measuring the impact of investments. He will continue this advisory role following his move, Natixis said.Detailhandel – Lieske van den Bosch has been appointed to the board of the €21bn Dutch industry-wide pension fund for the retail sector, Detailhandel. Van den Bosch, a former HR manager at retailer Leen Bakker, currently runs an HR consultancy. She is also a trustee at Wonen, the €3.5bn closed pension fund for the furnishing industry and a potential merger partner for Detailhandel.AZL – Pensions provider AZL has added Rob Dingemans to its executive board as director for business development. He has previously worked at insurer Interpolis and pensions provider Achmea. Intermediate Capital Group – The €35.2bn private assets specialist has appointed Jamie Rivers as a managing director for its UK equity and mezzanine debt team. He will specialise in sourcing UK investments for ICG’s European strategy. Rivers joins from BC Partners where he worked for 15 years, originating and executing private equity investments.Cambridge Associates – The consultancy group has hired Chris Powell as an investment director in its pensions practice. He joined last month from EY where he spent more than six years on its pensions advisory team. A qualified actuary, Powell will feed into Cambridge Associates’ work providing fiduciary management and investment advisory services to UK pension schemes. Vorbeck (pictured) is to move to Universal’s supervisory board, after spending 30 years in a variety of roles at the €406bn group. He joined in 1989 and was made a member of the management board 10 years later. He has been CEO since 2007, and also sits on the management board of BVI, the German asset management industry association. “I am proud that I was able to accompany Universal-Investment and the dedicated people who contributed to this success, and to have played an active role in shaping the company’s transformation into the top infrastructure platform for the fund industry,” Vorbeck said.“In the last two years, we have successfully laid the foundations for Universal-Investment’s future development, and this is now an opportune time to usher in a new generation in management.” Universal-Investment, DNB, Neuberger Berman, SAREF, Natixis, Detailhandel, AZL, ICG, Cambridge AssociatesUniversal-Investment – CEO Bernd Vorbeck is to hand over leadership of the Frankfurt-based asset manager and master-KVG provider to Michael Reinhard, currently chief operating officer, with effect from 1 May, as part of a leadership restructure.
The number of affiliated companies that take part in 1e pension schemes has risen by 298 this year compared to the prior year to a total of 2,229, covering 18,592 insured members.In its report, PwC noted that the market of 1e pension providers in Switzerland remains fragmented, with the largest by asset volume covering 40% of total assets, compared to 45% the previous year. The assets cover only 18% of total members.However, the market share of the three largest industry players is 74% for assets and 71% of total insured members covered.Last year, 1e pension scheme providers surprisingly reduced their exposure to equities to 29.1% compared to 33.6% the year before, despite a good year for equity returns, PwC said.Their bonds exposure fell slightly to 42.3% at the end of last year compared to 43.5% in 2018, while real estate allocations grew to 8.4% in 2019 from 4.8% the previous year. Cash and alternatives exposures stood at 13.3% and 4.1%, respectively.The amount of contributions for 1e plans was high particularly in the form of buy-ins, which topped regular contributions.PwC noted that 1e schemes continue to be attractive vehicles to accrue savings for retirements.The investment strategy of providers of 1e pension products in Switzerland will likely continue to change in the coming years to include new asset classes in portfolios.Investment strategies may steer towards ESG funds, higher share of equities, real estate and passive investments, according to PwC.COVID-19 pandemic may also drive changes on how providers interact with customers.According to the survey, 1e pension providers are increasingly using a digital approach, with nine out of 12 respondents allowing to access information on line, even though clients continue to demand physical meetings.Seven out of nine providers surveyed give clients the possibility to choose their individual investment strategy via online platforms.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. Assets under management of Swiss providers of second pillar 1e plans grew by 31% year-on-year to reach CHF5bn (€4.6bn) at the beginning of 2020, according to a survey conducted by PwC Switzerland.1e schemes give employees, whose salary is a minimum of CHF126,900 a year, the option to choose among a range of investment strategies for pension contributions.Looking ahead, providers of 1e products expect assets to grow 15% annually to CHF10.1bn in 2025, a smaller growth rate compared to the 20% that a previous PwC survey predicted, estimating assets to reach CHF12.7bn by 2024.This shows that providers are generally less optimistic for the future, but continue to foresee a high rate of growth in terms of assets, PwC said.
He said owners moving out of town for work were usually very keen to sell, and many of those homes were in up-and-coming suburbs. “December is generally a dead month with little movement in the market, but we see an influx of buyers in January,” he said. “The three highest growth suburbs in 2018 were Trinity Beach, Redlynch and Brinsmead, but people are starting to move away from there and to the city fringe suburbs. >> SIGN UP NOW: CAIRNS POST DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION FOR $5 A MONTH Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:06Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:06 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p270p270p180p180pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenHouse prices: Australia’s property market facing longest downturn in decades01:07JANUARY is set to be a homebuyer’s delight, with the lowest prices of the financial year forecast for the month. But sellers will have to be prepared to bargain if they are determined to sell their home. First National sales consultant Chris Eustace said prices for family homes were extremely low in January. “From a buyer’s perspective, January is the most opportune time to buy a home,” he said. “You can pick up a house at a much better price than you could at auction in December, and you can privately negotiate the price.” Carpenter Josh Hiles out the front of his first home in Bungalow that he and his wife have recently purchased to renovate. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEANMore from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms2 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns2 days ago“So if you want to buy in a growth area, look at Bungalow, Westcourt and Parramatta Park.“But for a bargain, look towards the northern beaches.” He said there was a sure way for buyers to show sellers that their offers were serious. “Make sure your finance is ready, with a letter saying that you’re approved,” he said. “As an agent, I know that taking that letter to the vendor and telling them that the buyer is serious and has their finance approved will show that the buyer is serious.”
Guests can easily find their way from the main house to the replica pub for a pre-booked dinner or Devonshire tea. Daly Cherry-Evans’ second shot at selling “Well, firstly, I’m English and we’d been looking for somewhere to do a bed and breakfast for years, and I always wanted to do it with my parents in England. It was a day out and we just found it — (we were) astonished,” Mrs Franklin said. The substantially-sized replica pub is unlicensed, but the cosy snug, complete with fireplace and Chesterfiled lounges, is perfect for a spot of tea and a scone. The Mount Mee Country Inn and pub is owned by the Franklin’s, who bought it in 2015. The Mount Mee Country Inn Bed & Breakfast comes complete with a Tudor style manor and a replica Ye Olde World English pub.The four bedroom house comes with a fully certified kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a butler’s pantry, airconditioning, a 5kw solar system, pool and about 90,000 litres of water storage.The four bedroom house comes with a fully certified kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a butler’s pantry, airconditioning, a 5kw solar system, pool and about 90,000 litres of water storage.The property at 239 Robinson Rd, Mount Mee is listed for sale at offers above $685,000 with Kirst Hopkins of Craig Doyle Real Estate. A bed and breakfast that comes with its own replica British pub is up for grabs, and while it may have no beer, it has so much charm it could put a smile on Basil Fawlty. Inside the deserted city of Disney castles RELATED: More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoThe main bar is quite authentic — although there is no beer on tap as the venue is not licensed.She said the pub, which was built by the previous owners in about 2010, was a true replica, with everything from a bar, to a kitchen, snooker room and even a “snug” with fireplace and chesterfield lounges. Pool anyone? Guests can relax to play a game of snooker, or watch a movie on the projector screen.If it wasn’t for changes in the family’s circumstances, Mrs Franklin would not be selling, describing the home and Mount Mee as the perfect place to live.“The neighbours are perfect, the weather is perfect, we just love it, absolutely love it, and it’s only due to family circumstances that we are moving,” she said. >>FOLLOW EMILY BLACK ON FACEBOOK<< Film industry couple sell Wynnum home In the distance you can see the ‘snug’, more traditionally known as the ‘ladies room’.Although she said the snug was traditionally the “ladies room” — where the women used to drink separately to the men.Tiffany’s tea room, named after one of Mrs Franklin’s daughters, is where guests can enjoy breakfast as well as Devonshire and afternoon teas. MORE: