Asset management roundup: Nordea, Lyxor AM, Legg Mason, Clarion

first_imgIt will publish the final methodology in March.For the rest of the year, the CHRB will research, assess and rank 100 companies in the extractives, apparel and agricultural products industries, and publish its first pilot benchmark on these companies in November.Magdalena Kettis, head of thematic research at Nordea AM, will represent the manager on the committee.In other news, Lyxor Asset Management has been selected to manage the corporate pension liabilities of French utility company Engie, the former GDF Suez. The company has €2.5bn of pension liabilities via insurance policies.Lionel Paquin, chief executive at Lyxor AM, said the deal represented “the largest multi-management platform covering corporate pensions’ liabilities in Europe”.Elsewhere, US asset manager Legg Mason has agreed to buy an 83% ownership stake in real estate investment firm Clarion Partners for $585m (€542m), plus an estimated $16m for its portion of certain co-investments. Clarion manages some $40bn of real estate assets of varied risk/return profiles.Legg Mason, which had $671.5bn in AUM at the end of December, has also got its first foothold in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) market, having acquired a minority equity position in Precidian Investments.  The asset manager is also merging its hedge fund platform, Permal, with EnTrust Capital, a hedge fund investor and alternative asset manager with around $12bn in AUM. Nordea Asset Management has joined the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), an initiative launched in December 2014 by Aviva Investors, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) and Vigeo Eiris, among others.The Nordic manager, with €184bn in assets under management (AUM), will be a member of the CHRB steering committee for an initial period of three years.The founding partners, in addition to those mentioned above, included US SRI-specialised asset manager Calvert Investments, the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and the UK Institute for Human Rights and Business.The CHRB initiative completed a consultation on its methodology in October 2015 and is now revising the draft framework and indicators. last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: Learning from India’s Unique Identification Authority

first_imgWhat is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the project was that it has succeeded at all, given India’s reputation for appalling bureaucracy. Economist Ram Sewak Sharma, in a recent paper, argues that the UIDA has largely succeeded in a short time and within its budget because it took many innovative and bold decisions.Three key decisions were, firstly, the inclusion of iris images to the set of biometrics collected by it. Fingerprints, on their own, gave rise to a number of potential problems, while the technology behind iris scans was still developing. A major concern at the time was the maturity of the technology. While fingerprints had been in use for 150 years, the patent for using iris images for identification was granted as recently as 1994.  Secondly, the UIDAI instituted a policy of conducting on-field trials. The idea of using biometrics to ensure the unique identification and authentication of all the residents of India was an untested one. There were many assumptions behind it, and the data required to test the validity of these assumptions was unavailable. As Sharma explains, the UIDAI conducted several on-the-ground ‘proofs of concept’ trials. These experiments served two purposes: they enabled the UIDA to explore the solution space and learn what might work and what might not, and they allowed it to test its assumptions. Thirdly, the UIDA achieved its objectives through a well-thought-out mixture of promoting competition and standardisation.As Sharma points out, the success of the UIDAI offers lessons for other government projects – and not just within India. The bureaucracies of governments need not prevent them from taking innovative decisions. High-quality procurement and project-management skills can help them outsource many functions currently housed within them. Testing major hypotheses through field trials before launching projects at scale can also help ensure best use of public resources.Another critical catalyst for the UIDAi’s success, argues economist Praveen Chakravarty, was its decision to outsource much of the infrastructure to competing private sector players, to ‘smart-source’ identity-data collection. It decided to build an entire ecosystem of private vendors to do the data collection, with costs of machine, people and infrastructure borne by the vendor. This led to ubiquitous but authorised and approved UIDAI data-collection centres and camps that mushroomed all across the country in a short span of time, which made it easy for residents to register. Strict oversight and control mechanisms rested entirely with the UIDAI, protecting data security. It exercised stringent control of data encryption and validation, so, while biometric data of 1bn Indians were collected by thousands of independent government and private agencies, all of them collected the data through a standardised software provided by the UIDAI that encrypted the data, which was then sent back for validation.The creation of a database of 600m unique identities within four years is, as Chakravarty says, perhaps the fastest of any government or even private sector initiative in recent times anywhere in the world. Governments everywhere have much to learn from this. It will be fascinating to see what India manages to do with this system once it is in place.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE World governments would do well to learn from India’s ambitious identification programme, writes Joseph MariathasanOne fact that perhaps has not received enough attention worldwide is that India has managed to set up a system to uniquely identify 600m of its population within a space of four years. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was tasked with guaranteeing that every resident of the country has one Aadhaar number (of 12 digits). There is only one number for each resident, and every person can use it to validate his or her identity. The way India managed to do this has lessons for itself and other governments, in both developed and emerging economies.While the idea that everyone in a population can be easily identified by the state has negative connotations in many developed countries, the benefits for a country like India are profound. For example, one of the most difficult aspects of establishing a national pension scheme for hundreds of millions of the poorest segments of India’s society is identifying who they are – absolutely accurately – over a period of a lifetime. Many of the potential participants in the National Pension Scheme (NPS) are illiterate, and there may even be no reliable records of their existence.India has embarked on a project that will have the most profound impact on the nature of its society. The project will also be a cornerstone for the widespread dissemination of social services, including the NPS, to participants in the most remote areas of the country. The establishment and provision of a unique number for every single individual – more than 1bn identities, eventually, that will be able to be verified in real time – enables a host of activities to be undertaken more efficiently. And, of vital importance, it can help ensure that those truly in need of government help are the ones actually receiving it.last_img read more

Dutch airline KLM reaches settlement with pilots over pensions

first_imgKLM announced in August that it planned to cancel its contract with the €8bn Vliegend Personeel KLM pension fund over concerns that its obligation to guarantee full indexation for the pilots’ pension would require the airline to pay €600m by year-end.This figure was based on new national regulation concerning the coverage ratio that is required before pension funds can compensate fully for inflation.The sum of €600m was contested by the trade union from the outset.In a court hearing in September, the union argued that, employing a different interpretation of the regulation, only €115m would be require.KLM and the union, with help of the fund’s experts, have now agreed on a common method for interpreting the regulation and calculating the cost.In a newsletter to pilots, KLM estimated the cost for this year at €94m.KLM and the union have subsequently agreed to drop the ongoing court cases between them.The pension fund is also expected to drop its own lawsuit against KLM.With the agreement, KLM avoids a possible strike by its pilots.The VNV had warned in November that it might take such action if the company failed to change course on the pensions issue.From 2017 onwards, KLM and the union will discuss de-risking pension arrangements, with the union acknowledging that it understood the company’s desire to do so.KLM said it was aiming for a collective defined contribution arrangement. Dutch airline KLM and its pilots have settled a long-running dispute over pension arrangements.The airline agreed not to cancel a previous agreement on the guaranteed indexation of pilots’ pensions, as it had announced this summer.The decision came after new figures suggested the cost of the arrangement would be far less than KLM initially estimated.The arrangement will remain place for 2016, but, next year, KLM and the VNV, the trade union for pilots, will begin negotiations on the future de-risking of the pension arrangements.last_img read more

Analysis: Could the UK’s largest pension scheme close… and re-open?

first_imgFormer UK pensions minister Ros Altmann comments on the USS proposalNext stepsUSS itself is a bystander at this stage, only providing data and information on the current situation and the options available to the two negotiating parties.The union has threatened strike action and will ballot for such a move from 27 November. “If universities continue to pursue this action, they will face disruption on campus of a kind never seen before,” UCU’s Hunt said.UUK wants a more constructive approach, describing the strike threat as “premature and disappointing”. There are a series of talks planned between the two parties in the coming weeks. Reforms to USS’ structure implemented last year saw the scheme shift from a traditional DB scheme to a hybrid. Members can earn a guaranteed DB pension on any salary up to £55,550 (€62,000) in the scheme’s Retirement Income Builder section. Any benefits on top of this are invested in the Investment Builder section under non-guaranteed DC rules.The existence of the £55,550 threshold has given UUK a unique bargaining chip in its negotiations with the union.A spokesman for the organisation told IPE that UUK had essentially proposed lowering this threshold to zero with no changes to contribution rates (currently 18% of salary from the employer and 8% from the employee), meaning all pensionable earnings would go into the DC scheme.This would mean that the DB section is not legally closed – it is just accruing no new liabilities.“Our proposal has been constructed in order to offer a range of options (including the possible reintroduction of DB benefits) if scheme funding improves at future valuations,” the spokesman said.In addition, the proposal says employers would continue to provide death and incapacity benefits “so that employers continue to carry the risk in the most difficult of circumstances”, he added. In future, UUK argues, the threshold could be raised again to restore DB benefits in some form if the scheme’s funding level improves. Whether this happens, only time will tell.The union’s viewThe Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and other staff, has not taken kindly to the innovative approach.UCU general secretary Sally Hunt claimed the plans were “a bolt from the blue and would effectively destroy the USS scheme”. “It is categorically the worst proposal I have received from universities on any issue in 20 years of representing university staff,” she added.UCU also pointed to a section of USS’ actuarial valuation report, published earlier this year:“Any increase in contributions would be more manageable if implemented over a two-to-four year period. Most employers could afford an increase in contributions from the current 18% of pensionable salary to 21%, albeit not without changes to business plans and/or prioritisation of pension contributions. “Many would also be able to afford up to 25%; however, coming at a time when many employers are trying to increase investment and offset falling grant funding, this would impact investment opportunities to varying degrees and require significant strategic change. “It is important to emphasise that this affordability analysis reflects the assessment of the sponsoring employers’ ability to pay increased contributions, not the willingness to make the required trade-offs to do so.”However, USS also argued that increasing contributions now would reduce the universities’ ability to make emergency contributions in the future.The investment sideUSS has taken a conservative view on the future returns it is likely to generate. In addition, a poll of employers by UUK found very little appetite for the scheme to take more risk.The pension scheme is three years into an investment strategy that is set to de-risk the portfolio over the course of the next 20 years. Its investment track record is strong, but it has failed to keep pace with liabilities: The largest pension scheme in the UK could become the first defined benefit (DB) scheme in the country to re-open, if a proposal from its sponsoring employers is taken up.Late last week, Universities UK (UUK) – which represents 136 higher education establishments across the country – published its proposal to close the Universities Superannuation Scheme’s (USS) DB section to future accrual.Employees would instead accrue all their benefits through USS’ Investment Builder defined contribution (DC) scheme, with a combined contribution rate of 26% of salary – the same as the current level.However, the unique nature of USS’ benefit structure means that the closure of the DB scheme need only be temporary.last_img read more

Accounting roundup: EU advisers approve controversial DB changes

first_imgThe endorsement letter added that the changes also satisfied the requirement for prudence under EU law, provided a true and fair view of an entity’s financial position, and were “conducive to the European public good”.The changes have proven to be controversial and represent a potentially major departure from current practice.The IASB published an exposure draft of the amendments to IAS 19 in 2015.European Parliament flags concerns over IFRS 17The European Parliament’s economic affairs committee (ECON) has published a draft resolution expressing a number of concerns about the International Accounting Standards Board’s new insurance contracts standard, IFRS 17.The publication came as EFRAG was considering whether to request an extension of the deadline for it to provide endorsement advice to the European Commission on IFRS 17.According to its latest minutes, EFRAG’s board was concerned by the tight deadline and was keen to make sure that interested parties had plenty of time to comment on the group’s draft endorsement advice.Meanwhile, although the draft ECON resolution acknowledged that IFRS 17 would bring “the benefits of more consistency and transparency with the aim of increased comparability”, the committee also claimed that “significant efforts and costs are needed in order to implement IFRS 17 [while] also reflecting the complexity of the new standard”.It goes on to raises a number of regulatory issues, among them a call for the EU to analyse how the new standard would interact with Solvency II requirements and the long-running issue of its interaction with IFRS 9, for financial instruments.The European Banking Authority has already warned that the new standard treated similar transactions differently depending on the issuer’s industry.In addition, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has raised a red flag over the fact that the new standard allows companies to present a proportion of their discount rate changes in the “other comprehensive income” section of annual reports.ESMA has already included the endorsement of the new standard as a priority on its latest work plan.At the end of last year, IPE reported that insurers in the UK had flagged up major concerns about the new standard.In a statement, the Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) said it would welcome any extension to the EU’s review of IFRS 17 given the complexity of the new regime.The AAE pointed to concerns about fundamentals of the new measurement model for insurance contracts, such as the contractual service margin and the different treatment of similar insurance business activities.Trade body Insurance Europe has also raised concerns about the new standard .ECON is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its 18-19 June session.FRC plots new governance code for this year The chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will publish an updated version of the UK’s corporate governance code this summer.In a speech to an event in the City of London around the theme of trust in business, Sir Win Bischoff said the new code would “help business continue to deliver on the expectations of investors, the public and the economy”.The FRC launched a consultation on revisions to the corporate code in December last year.Sir Win also used his address to underscore the importance of culture in business, describing it as “a key ingredient in delivering long-term sustainable performance”. The body responsible for advising the EU on accounting issues has given the green light to proposed changes to defined benefit (DB) plans’ accounting rules.The changes to IAS 19 mean that, with effect from 1 January 2019, companies will have to account for the effect of changes to a defined benefit plan in the current year by using updated assumptions to remeasure current service cost and net interest to the year-end.Earlier this year, experts warned the changes could make income statements more volatile by increasing interest cost to the year end by as much as 10% on some estimates.In a letter addressed to the European Commission, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) said the changes met “the qualitative characteristics of relevance, reliability, comparability and understandability required to support economic decisions and the assessment of stewardship”.last_img read more

CEE roundup: Third provider targets North Macedonia [updated]

first_imgNorth Macedonia’s supplementary pension market is set to add a third provider with Slovenian pension and insurance group Zavarovalnica Triglav filing documents with the country’s regulator.The Slovenian company said in a press release that it had “initiated procedure to establish a pension insurance company in [North] Macedonia”.Triglav said it aimed to manage both mandatory and voluntary pension funds.Approval has yet to be granted by North Macedonia’s Agency for the Supervision of Fully Funded Pension Insurance (MAPAS), but the regulator announced the filing of Triglav’s application on its website. Credit: Jacqueline Schmid The Archaeological Museum in Skopje, MacedoniaWhen the system was set up in 2005, all people employed after 2003 who had reached a certain age had to join one of the two pension funds that had been set up for the new mandatory system.People employed before that date and born before 1967 could opt into the system, and roughly 60,000 workers did.They can now choose to opt out of the second pillar or stay with one of the pension funds by writing to MAPAS by the end of September. If they do not make a selection their membership in the second pillar will be terminated and the accrued assets paid out.Since inception there were only ever two providers in the Macedonian pension fund market – both of which are co-owned by Slovenian providers.The larger provider, KB First, is co-owned by Slovenia’s Skupina Prva and North Macedonia’s largest bank Komercijalna Banka. KB First managed €529m in its pension subsidiary as of the end of January 2019.The second provider, NLB Nov Penziski Fond, has been owned by Slovenia’s Sava Re since last year. NLB managed MKD31bn (€500m) in pension assets both in its mandatory and voluntary fund as of the end of 2017.For last year, both mandatory pension funds achieved around 3.2% in net returns with similar levels reported for the previous 5 years.Triglav – Slovenia’s largest insurer – has offered life insurance services in North Macedonia since 2017, and has insurance and pension subsidiaries in various other central and eastern European countries.In April 2018, it bought a majority stake in the only pension insurance company in Croatia, the €12m Raiffeisen Mirovinsko osiguravajuče društvo, from its owner Raiffeisen Bank Austria.IMF says Croatian pension reform ‘an important step’ “This step confirms the stability and reliability of the pension system and is an opportunity for greater competitiveness and development of the pension system, as well as more possibilities for selection in the interest of the members of the pension funds,” MAPAS said.Triglav’s decision to enter the Macedonian pension market follows the introduction of a new law at the end of last year, which allows some people in the mandatory second pillar to change pension funds.center_img Zagreb, CroatiaThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised recent system reforms in Croatia designed to respond to rising life expectancy.The statutory retirement age for both men and women in Croatia is set to increase to 67 by 2033.In addition, the government has introduced tougher penalties for early retirement, and retirees are now allowed to work half-days without losing their pension benefit.In an assessment paper, the IMF described the reforms as “a significant step in the right direction” towards more sustainability in the pension system.However, public pension spending has been increased in order to compensate retirees whose second pillar pension did not generate expected returns. They now have the option to return to the first pillar once they retire, with a 27% increase to their pension.The country’s pension deficit was 4% of GDP and the IMF did not expect it to go down with these measures alone.“There is still room to eliminate group-specific pension provisions and strengthening the second pillar of the system,” the IMF said.According to the international body, Croatian authorities “agreed that the pension reform could have been more ambitious but highlighted that this was the best of the politically feasible options”.This article was updated on 19 February to amend the name of North Macedonialast_img read more

Dutch pension fund body sets out stall on CMU agenda

first_imgThe Dutch occupational pension funds association has set out its stall concerning the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) project, issuing  recommendations based on those from a group of experts created on the initiative of the finance ministers for France, Germany and the Netherlands.The Commission, which is responsible for planning and proposing new European legislation, has since set up its own group to develop the CMU agenda for the next five years, with a deadline of the end of May to deliver policy recommendations.Pensioen Federatie’s intervention came shortly before the EU Council, the body for all EU governments, today announced what could be seen as its response to the work of the Next CMU group, the body created by France, Germany and the Netherlands.“With the new European Commission kicking off this week, we call upon the EU to reinvigorate the project and set an ambitious new agenda for the next five years,” said the Dutch pension fund association. It highlighted three main recommendations for the EU “to harness the long-term investment potential of pension funds”.According to the association, although almost 90% of Dutch pension funds’ assets were invested outside the Netherlands, there were still barriers to investing cross-border in the EU.It called for a harmonised procedure for repayment of withholding tax, arguing that a “patchwork of procedures and outcomes” held back intra-EU investments, particularly for smaller pension schemes.The Commission should also seek to drive further improvements in the area of insolvency regimes.Pensioen Federatie also backed a multi-pillar adequacy test for pension systems whereby EU member states would set their own long-term improvement targets but get assistance from EU bodies.“While the design of pension systems should remain a national competence, the EU should urge member states to set the level of ambition for retirement income for their citizens,” it said.“This would shine a light into the pension saving deficit that exists in parts of Europe and create a strong drive for developing occupational and personal pensions.” Corporate non-financial reportingThe Dutch association also called for better non-financial corporate reporting, saying this was needed to allow institutional investors to incorporate sustainability risks and factors in investment decisions, make meaningful disclosures themselves, and be able to reliably apply the sustainability taxonomy.Institutional investors are facing sustainability-related disclosure requirements under the EU’s sustainable finance action plan, with many arguing these necessitate improvements in corporate reporting. The EU’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive sets out recommendations for large companies, not binding requirements. Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis has indicated the new Commission might revise the NFRD.The Council today said a measure to be explored and assessed would be “to consider the development of an European non-financial reporting standard taking into account international initiatives, with specific attention for climate-related disclosures”.Pensioen Federatie also said the Commission should ensure an adequate supply of suitable environmentally-friendly investment opportunities, for example by stepping up its InvestEU programme, while ensuring public support met strict additionality criteria.last_img read more

People moves: Railpen hires head of investment risk, a new role

first_imgOAK BV – In January Vera Kupper Staub will succeed Pierre Triponez as head of Switzerland’s federal supervisory body for occupational pensions. Triponez has been president of the commission since its creation in 2012 and resigned after two terms in office. Kupper Staub, a former chief investment officer of the Pensionskasse for the Swiss city of Zurich (PKZH) and a former member of the board at ASIP, the Swiss pension fund association, has been vice president of the OAK for several years.In a statement, the Swiss government, which appoints the OAK members, said the occupational pension system had become more secure overall during Triponez’ time in office. “The much stricter requirements in terms of transparency, governance and conflicts of interest are showing their effect,” it said.A spokesman for ASIP said it welcomed Kupper Staub’s election as president and assumed good relations between the two bodies would continue.Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)  – Stephen Mann will be the professional’s body chief executive officer as of 6 January. He will be taking over from Des Hudson, who has been in a caretaker role as executive director since previous permanent CEO Derek Cribb went on garden leave at the end of June. Cribb officially leaves the IFoA at the end of this year.Mann originally qualified as a lawyer, but “has worked extensively with the actuarial community throughout a career in financial services,” according to the IFoA. He has been a board director of the Aviva Life business and more recently served as CEO at the Police Mutual Group.Grahame Stott, chair of the IFoA’s management board, said: “We are delighted to welcome Stephen Mann at a time when the IFoA is developing a new strategy with a clear focus on providing members with services and benefits appropriate to today’s business environment.”United Nations – Mark Carney will take on the role of UN special envoy for climate action and finance after stepping down as governor of the Bank of England, supporting the UN secretary general’s climate strategy by galvanising climate action and transforming climate finance for the COP 26 meetings in Glasgow in November 2020.A key focus of his role will be on shifting the financial system towards mobilising private finance to the levels needed to achieve the Paris Agreement ambition to keep global warming to at most 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.“This provides a platform to bring the risks from climate change and the opportunities from the transition to a net zero economy into the heart of financial decision-making,” said Carney. “To do so, the disclosures of climate risk must become comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed, and investing for a net-zero world must go mainstream.”Impax Asset Management – The specialist asset manager has created the role of head of policy and advocacy, which Chris Dodwell has taken up effective 2 December. He is a climate change and environmental policy expert with a specialisation in the financing and delivery of climate action in the UK and overseas.Dodwell joined Impax from Ricardo plc where he was director of climate change, clean growth and strategic partnerships. Before joining Ricardo, he worked for 10 years at the heart of the UK Government’s work on climate change, carrying out roles including leading the UK’s implementation of the EU Emissions Trading System and heading the UK delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).Sackers – The law firm has strengthened its finance and investment group with the appointment of James Geer, a structured finance lawyer, as a senior associate. He was previously at Clifford Chance for more than nine years where he focused on derivatives, structured finance and derisking transactions, acting primarily for financial institutions.At Sackers, he will be part of the finance and investment group which is the focus of the firm’s expertise for finance and investment-related legal advice required by pension schemes as institutional investors, advising both trustees and sponsors.Paul Phillips, head of Sackers’ finance and investment group, said: “We have seen an increasing demand from our clients for advice on complex derisking solutions. James’ arrival will enable us to continue to meet this demand and his experience of longevity swaps and all types of structured finance transactions will be invaluable.”JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) – Paul Kennedy will join the firm in early 2020 as head of strategy and portfolio manager, real estate Europe. He will be based in London and report to Peter Reilly, head of real estate Europe.Kennedy will lead the European real estate strategy team and contribute market views to JPMAM’s real estate investment process. This team sits within JP Morgan Global Alternatives, the alternative investment arm of JPMAM with more than 700 professionals globally and approximately 50 individuals dedicated to European real estate based in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.Alcentra – The private debt manager, which is part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, has made several senior promotions. To support the continued growth of Alcentra, Daniel Fabian has been promoted to president and chief operating officer. In this role, he will manage the firm’s growth strategy and oversee day-to-day operations in order to continue to drive value for clients and employees. He has spent the past 12 years at Alcentra, of which the last four years have been as COO and chief financial officer.Joining the senior leadership team are two newly appointed co-chief investment officers: Graham Rainbow – previously head of European loans – and Leland Hart – previously head of US loans and high yield. Both Rainbow, based in London, and Hart, based in New York, will retain their current portfolio management responsibilities and together will oversee and manage Alcentra’s investment portfolios.The dual role has been created to accommodate the growth of Alcentra across its product strategies and allows the company to effectively deal with growing investor demand for debt capabilities globally. Following this reorganisation, Vijay Rajguru will leave the firm to pursue other opportunities.Ninety One – Investec Asset Management, which is on track to list as Ninety One in the first quarter of 2020, pending shareholder approval, has announced the composition of its board of directors.Gareth Penny will assume the role of independent non-executive chair. He brings a wealth of experience in chairing and serving on public and private company boards in both the UK and South Africa. For the last 12 years, Penny he as non-executive director (and remuneration committee cair) of Julius Bär Group, the Zurich-listed Swiss bank focused on wealth management. He is also chair of Norilsk Nickel, producer of nickel and palladium, and of the Edcon Group, a private company and Southern Africa’s largest non-food retailer. He spent 22 years with De Beers, where he went on to become group CEO.Commenting on Penny’s appointment, Hendrik du Toit, founder of Investec AM and joint CEO of Investec, said: “It is a privilege to welcome someone of Gareth’s calibre as Chairman of the soon to be listed Ninety One. We stand to benefit from his deep understanding of international business, particularly in emerging markets, and his substantial corporate governance experience.”The other independent non-executive directors joining Penny on the board are Colin Keogh, Busisiwe Mabuza, Idoya Basterrechea Aranda and Victoria Cochrane. Du Toit, who will assume the role of CEO of Ninety One upon listing, Kim McFarland, finance director of Ninety One, and Fani Titi, joint CEO of Investec, complete the Ninety One board.“We have assembled a board that is strong, independent, diverse and experienced. We are confident that they will help us chart a successful future for Ninety One as an independent, global investment manager,” said du Toit.Dimensional Fund Advisors – Lisa Dallmer is the firm’s new chief operating officer. She will serve on the executive committee and partner with senior leaders of the corporate, sales and marketing, and investment teams to develop and implement operational strategies that improve standards, drive efficiency, and enhance business capabilities.“As Dimensional continues to grow, innovate, and enhance the solutions we provide to clients, we are pleased to add a key new leader to our team,” co-CEO Gerard O’Reilly said.Dallmer brings to the role two decades of senior leadership experience in global financial operations. She has served as COO of global technology and operations for BlackRock in New York, COO of European markets for NYSE Euronext in Paris, and vice president of tech startup Archipelago, which was acquired by the New York Stock Exchange. Most recently, she has served as a strategic advisor to CEOs on fintech solutions.Emerging Markets Investment Management – The emerging markets focused asset manager owned by Duet Group, has recruited Michel Sindelar as chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the newly formed EMIM Emerging Markets Multi Strategy Fund. He will start his new role in January 2020 in the group’s headquarters in London,Sindelar’s expertise will complement the established team of EM specialist portfolio managers and research analysts. He as more than 25 years of experience both on the buyside and sellside across EM. He has a distinguished career in sales and trading at Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse in New York and London. He also worked at Credit Suisse Asset Management and Lombard Odier in Geneva.Prior to joining EMIM, Sindelar was a managing director and head of European distribution and a member of the European equity management at BofA.Sindelar’s hire follows the recent appointemnt of Erik Renander from Principia; Renander brings 20 years of investment experience and is the portfolio manager of HI EMIM Africa Fund, a multi asset UCITS strategy that focuses on Africa.Asset Management One International – The Japanese asset manager has hired Andrea Favaloro as head of business development for EMEA. His previous roles include head of sales and marketing and member of the management committee at Generali Investments, and member of the executive committee at BNP Paribas Asset Management. Asset Management One has also appointed Frederic de Merode to the newly created role of head of distribution for the region, reporting to Favaloro. RPMI Railpen, OAK BV, IFoA, Police Mutual Group, United Nations, Impax, Sackers, JP Morgan, Alcentra, Ninety One, Dimensional, Ricardo, Asset Management One InternationalRPMI Railpen – Richard Swart has been hired to the newly created role of head of investment risk at Railpen. In his new role, he is responsible for leading and developing Railpen’s investment risk function, building on its strong existing investment risk measurement and performance capabilities.He was previously principal risk manager at PGGM, the €238bn asset manager for the Dutch healthcare pension fund, and has also held investment roles at APG Asset Management and Deloitte. He joined on 2 December and will report to Railpen’s chief fiduciary officer.last_img read more

UK roundup: Oxford University to divest from fossil fuels

first_imgSince 2007, OUem’s investment in the energy sector has fallen from around 8.5% to 2.6% of the OEF portfolio. This includes renewable energy, with only 0.6% of the fund now in fossil fuel extractors.There are also substantial investments in climate change solutions and in sustainability.The university’s investment approach is based on its own academic research on climate-conscious business practices, the Oxford Martin Principles for Climate-Conscious Investment.These provide a framework for engagement between climate-conscious investors and companies across the world, helping them assess whether investments are compatible with transition to a more stable climate and the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.Sandra Robertson, CEO and CIO of OUem, said: “OUem has been actively managing the OEF over the past decade to ensure that, as an investor, we are part of the solution to climate change and sustainability.”She added: “The fund is a globally diversified portfolio of investments, chosen to make returns over the long term in a sustainable manner. We will continue our deep engagement with the investment groups in the fund, and further encourage them to move to a net zero world across their portfolios of companies.”The university is also developing an ambitious environmental sustainability strategy, giving further impetus to its commitment to cut carbon emissions, to be published later this year.PPF unveils diversity & inclusion strategyThe Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has today announced the launch of its first Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy.It sets out the fund’s ambitions, challenges and future plans as well as how progress is to be measured over the next five years, reflecting also on the achievements made so far, the PPF said.The fund said its new strategy aims to encourage a more diverse and inclusive culture, valuing people’s differences and individuality across the organisation.“The PPF prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive employer and aims to become an employer of choice, having the right people working to ensure the diverse needs of a growing membership are met.”Katherine Easter, chief people officer, said: “We will continue to challenge and change mindsets internally and externally and are introducing a number of initiatives to achieve this including becoming a disability leader by the end of 2020/21.”Over the next few years emphasis will be on building the PPF’s diverse and inclusive culture at all levels of the organisation, with a target that 85% of staff will agree to the PPF being a diverse employer that supports inclusion, it noted.Barnett Waddingham survey finds 51% of DB funds are now closed to future accrualOver 50% of the UK’s largest schemes are now closed to the future accrual of benefits, up from 33% five years ago, according to new research from Barnett Waddingham.The new report from the consultancy analyses private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes in the UK with assets worth more than £1bn, based on data up to 30 September 2019.This increase in DB closures to future accrual comes as schemes have taken steps to manage the spiralling cost of DB pension provision, Barnett Waddingham has indicated.The proportion has increased by an average of around 5% every year, so this year’s 2.5% increase could signal a slowing in the rate of closures, it added.The firm said that only 3% of final salary schemes remain open to new members, with the vast majority of companies offering defined contribution (DC) benefits to their new employees.One of these schemes, John Lewis, announced in May last year that it would be closing to future accrual in April 2020.And as DB schemes reduce in ”usefulness as a tool to reward current employees”, the focus will naturally shift towards reaching the “endgame”, the firm added.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. Oxford University is planning to divest all fossil fuel holdings from its £3.4bn (€3.8bn) endowment fund.It has also asked Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem) – which runs the Oxford Endowment Fund (OEF) on behalf of the university and a number of colleges – to request evidence of net zero carbon business plans across their portfolios from fund managers.Furthermore, the fund’s investment committee will include a new member, with both experience of endowment management and a focus on climate-conscious investment.The resolution was passed by Congregation – the university’s governing body – and followed a lengthy campaign by student bodies, supported by 79 senior university figures.last_img read more

Gold Coast waterfront villa offers the very best of luxury living

first_img2/27 Verdichio Ave, Mermaid Waters.YOU can’t miss the views from this newly built Mermaid Waters villa, even if you are sitting in the bathtub.Large floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathroom allow you to soak up the Surfers Paradise skyline at the same time.But that’s not the only spot to capture the amazing scenery.A private rooftop area has stone and timber finishes and a north-facing aspect across Surfers Paradise. 2/27 Verdichio Ave, Mermaid Waters.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa15 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe three-level villa has 480sq m of space, including five bedrooms and three bathrooms.Inside the villa are three-metre high ceilings. The kitchen has a stone island bench and butler’s pantry. The dining room leads through sliding cavity doors to an outdoor dining area, which includes a built-in barbecue. There is an infinity edge swimming pool and the property has a private sandy beach. On the third level of the home, as well as the rooftop terrace, is a living room and powder room. 2/27 Verdichio Ave, Mermaid Waters. 2/27 Verdichio Ave, Mermaid Waters. 2/27 Verdichio Ave, Mermaid Waters.The main bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe with custom-built cabinetry and sensor lights. There is also an ensuite with a dual shower and freestanding bathtub. It also has a balcony. Three other bedrooms are serviced by a three-way bathroom, while a fifth bedroom is on the ground floor of the home and has an ensuite and built-in wardrobe.It is listed on the market with a price of $1.789 million.last_img read more