Greater Manchester Pension Fund – Paddy Dowdall has moved over to the £12.6bn (€15.1bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund from Merseyside Pension Fund, where he was senior investment manager, with particular responsibility for alternatives. In his new post, Dowdall will co-ordinate regional investments made by GMPF. Merseyside has just finished advertising for a replacement and will make an appointment in due course.Ancala Partners – Vincent Gerritsen has joined Ancala, an infrastructure investment firm, leaving his post as senior investment manager in the infrastructure team at PGGM. Gerritsen will start his new role at the start of June and becomes a partner at the firm. While at PGGM, Gerritsen worked on several infrastructure projects, including two where Ancala was involved.Neuberger Berman – Andrew Wilmont has joined the fund manager as lead for its European high yield portfolio, based from London. WIimont joins the firm from Alcentra, where he was head of European high yield investments. He will report to Ann Benjamin, CIO of non-investment grade strategies.BNP Paribas Investment Partners – Cynthia Sweeney Barnes has joined the French asset manager as head of global segments for the EMEA countries. She will also be responsible for corporate and endowment clients, insurance companies, pension funds and official institutions. She joins from HSBC Global Asset Management, where she led the sales for corporates and official institutions. She will begin her London-based role next month. Pioneer Investments – Isabelle Spitz has been appointed senior sales manager for Switzerland at the French asset manager. Spitz, from Zurich, will be responsible for wholesale clients such as banks, independent asset managers and family offices.Allfunds Bank – Chris Edge, former managing director of JP Morgan in Luxembourg, is to join the firm to head up its Grand Duchy business. He will be responsible for driving the firms international expansion after over 20 years with JP Morgan in a variety of roles.
The Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) has committed £85m (€106m) to a new long-term equity fund launched by Ownership Capital.The $750m (€578m) fund, still conducting its first round of capital raising, has attracted mandates from four pension investors, with the £6.5bn scheme for employees of Unilever and the UK’s Pensions Trust also named.Mark Mansley, CIO at the EAPF, said his fund was impressed by Ownership’s commitment to stewardship and responsible investment and noted that it was implementing the recommendation’s of the UK’s Kay Review by focusing its portfolio on 20-30 stocks.He told IPE the EAPF had committed £85m to the strategy, which would form part of the scheme’s 25% allocation to sustainable investments. Ownership was launched in 2012 after four of PGGM’s responsible equity team, including its head Alex van der Velden, left the pension manager.Van der Velden, now the company’s CIO, said much of the asset management industry was “overly short-termist”, an issue Ownership hoped to address“We are excited to have the backing of such highly rated investors as Unilever, the Pensions Trust and the EAPF, and look forward to investing on their behalf,” he said. The fund will target returns over a decade-long period, the company said.Dutch manager SPF Beheer has recently enjoyed some success with more concentrated equity portfolios, while both the EAPF and the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment have highlighted the opportunities stemming from a more long-term investment approach.
In the draft work programme’s preamble, the Commission noted that the European Fund for Strategic Investments would only form part of the €300bn investment programme, with the use of “innovative” financial instruments key.It also identified the completion of the “significant overhaul” of financial regulation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as a major area of its work.“The financial regulatory framework,” it added, “will be further strengthened by a proposal dealing with crisis management and resolution of non-bank systemic entities.”Jonathan Hill, commissioner for financial services, previously told a parliamentary hearing he would like to publish a proposal tackling the risk of clearing house bankruptcy early next year.The draft further identified 80 proposals that would either be withdrawn or modified, many of which are directives and regulation that have stalled due to lack of support from member states.Despite being listed as “under review” in a November letter from Juncker and Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, the IORP Directive was not among the 80 proposals to be abandoned or substantially modified.Hill told journalists in Brussels earlier this week it would be “odd” to withdraw the revised IORP Directive now, when the Council of the EU had, under the Italian presidency, agreed a number of changes over the course of four compromise drafts.The Council most recently finalised its negotiating mandate with the European Parliament, although no MEP has been appointed as rapporteur to oversee its passage through the chamber. Dave Roberts, senior consultant at Towers Watson in the UK, noted that the withdrawal of the revised IORP Directive so soon after Michel Barnier published it risked being perceived as “openly critical” of the former commissioner’s work.Roberts also noted the problems that could have arisen due to the commissioners currently involved.“Given that Mr Timmermans is Dutch and that the Commissioner now in charge of IORP II, Jonathan Hill, is from the UK, withdrawing the Directive could lead to accusations of national bias – with the Netherlands and UK leading antagonists of IORP II,” he said. The European Commission is set to push ahead with the revised IORP Directive, with the legislation not among the dozens of proposals earmarked for withdrawal in a draft of the executive’s work programme.The 2015 Work Programme, set to be published on 16 December, outlines president Jean-Claude Juncker’s priorities for the coming year and highlights the launch of the Commission’s €300bn investment plan, among other measures to stimulate growth.The undated draft of the work programme seen by IPE is likely to have been circulated at a meeting of Commission vice-presidents earlier this week.It listed the action plan on the Capital Markets Union and a framework to wind up systemically important financial institutions, such as clearing houses, as two of the new measures the Commission would prioritise in 2015.
Sweden’s largest pension fund Alecta saw its investment returns on both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) products dip in 2016, with solvency levels also contracting.The return on DB pensions was 5.1% in 2016, according to full-year figures just released, down from 5.8% in 2015. DC pensions ended last year with a 5.8% return, down from the 7.9% produced the year before.Alecta pointed out that the five-year average for the two pension types was 8.9% and 12.5% as of last year, .Magnus Billing, the current chief executive of Alecta, said: “I am proud of [DC fund] Alecta Optimal Pension’s long-term return over the five-year period.” The slight fall in returns followed a warning from Alecta’s then-chief executive Staffan Grefbäck a year ago that the good return seen over many years and the low level of interest rates suggested future expectations should be kept low.Speaking about 2016 results, Billing said the company had now completed its recent property transactions in the US and could focus on drawing efficiency benefits from its ongoing property management.Earlier this month, Alecta offloaded the last of its directly-held US real estate assets, selling its portfolio of 22 assets, worth around $1.8bn (€1.7bn).Following the US property sales, Alecta has now exited all its directly-held international real estate investments, in accordance with its new strategy.“We also recently reached a milestone of having SEK10bn [€1.1bn] invested in green bonds,” Billing said, adding that it was “excellent and quite natural” that Alecta put part of its managed assets into this type of sustainable investment.The portfolio of DC product Alecta Optimal Pension now had SEK70bn in assets, of which 63% is invested in equities, Alecta said.Meanwhile, the DB pension scheme had assets of SEK697bn at the end of December 2016.The group solvency level fell to 166% at the end of 2016, from 171% a year before, but Alecta still described this as strong.Administrative costs fell to 0.09% from 0.1%.
Gwynne pointed out that the pressure on fees was in part due to clients and supervisors becoming increasingly cost-aware, “as costs have become an important selection criterion”.In his opinion, another explanation for declining costs was that many clients had opted for low-cost alternatives, such as ETFs and factor investment. He estimated that 40% of the reduction could be explained by this phenomenon.The survey suggested that asset managers dealt with the development by accepting a drop in their profits margin, but also cut costs through their back office. This meant that cost-saving came at the expense of investment in IT systems, which the survey said were necessary to remain competitive. In addition, declining income could lead to mergers and takeovers, the two companies said.The researchers said they expected clients would increasingly opt for extremely low-cost investments in combination with higher-cost active investments.“Through investing a large proportion of assets in ETFs with near-zero costs, they could free up assets for active funds which considerably deviate from the benchmark, or funds that invest in illiquid markets,” the report said.Recently, Saker Nusseibeh, chief executive of Hermes Investment Management, also predicted declining margins at asset managers.During a Morningstar conference, he said that asset managers’ margins of between 35% and 45% were “untenably high”. Asset management costs are to drop by approximately 10% in the next three years, a survey by management consultancy Oliver Wyman and asset manager Morgan Stanley has suggested.In their report, The World Upside Down, the two firms attributed the decline to reduced fees as well as a shift towards exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and factor investment.“The decrease of fees is a trend – last year they dropped 6%,” said Serge Gwynne, partner at Oliver Wyman’s corporate and institutional banking practice.He added that the fall was insufficiently compensated by a rise in assets under management, which had lead to an income drop of roughly 5% at asset managers.
A group of UK politicians has backed a move to re-examine the case for a secondary annuity market in the UK.Six MPs have backed an early day motion in the UK’s lower house of parliament, calling for a new debate on whether individuals who have already bought an annuity should be given more freedom to access their pension savings.The government proposed a secondary market for annuities in 2015, but abandoned it a year later, saying that “creating the conditions to allow a vibrant and competitive market to emerge, with multiple buyers and sellers of annuities, could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections”. It also estimated that the market would be small, with only 5% of annuity holders expected to take advantage of any new flexibilities.However, in the motion posted last month, MPs highlighted that some retirees “may need to access funds from their annuity in times of need” and called for legislation “to allow 5m retirees to safely partially sell their annuity”. The politicians included Ruth George, a Labour party member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, and Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrat party’s spokesman for work and pensions issues.Ros Altmann, who was pensions minister while the initial discussions about a secondary annuity market were taking place, has called for government to “reconsider” the idea. UK newspaper the Daily Mail has been calling for such freedoms for two years with its reader campaign dubbed ‘Unlock Our Pensions’. This week, US annuities trading company DRB Capital provided funding for a separate ‘Your Pension, Your Choice’ campaign.Since 2015, people approaching retirement have had more flexibility regarding how they can access their defined contribution (DC) retirement savings, including taking larger cash sums and accessing flexible drawdown products. The new campaigns want these flexibilities to be extended to those who have already retired.However, some have questioned the claims backing the campaigns. Ralph Frank, head of DC at Cardano, highlighted that retirees in the UK had not been forced to buy an annuity since 1995. He added: “Prior to the announcement of the freedom and choice reforms in 2014, 25% of DC retirees did not buy annuities – so were the 5m really ‘forced’ to do so?”Frank also warned against setting a precedent for other forms of pension.“The consequences, perhaps not unintended by those behind the campaign, are potentially massive,” he said. “Even Pandora would hesitate opening this box. We certainly shouldn’t be lifting the lid. At a time when the suitability of DB transfer advice is under scrutiny, is it necessary to add further case studies?”In a blog post yesterday, Tim Sharp, pensions policy officer at the Trades Union Council, also warned against the idea of a secondary annuity market.“Polling by Age UK found few annuity holders want to sell, but that those who do are likely to be poorer,” he said. “Would someone who sold their annuity payments be deemed to have deliberately deprived themselves of assets and therefore denied benefit payments? We simply don’t know.“It all adds up to a lot of risk and uncertainty for savers, which is one reason why this half-baked idea was shelved the first time round. Helping savers get a good deal in retirement is a laudable aim. But reheating these flawed plans is not the answer.”
While KLP posted a -0.5% first half investment return on a value-adjusted basis, in booked terms – the actual return passed on to customers – the return was a positive 1.9%.Total group assets rose to NOK786bn (€74bn) at the end of June, from NOK763bn at the end of 2019, according to the interim financial data.“Despite low returns in the financial markets, KLP is still very solid, and well equipped to face further unrest for a long time, without our customers having to worry,” Thornes said.Among individual asset classes, the pension fund’s equities holdings ended the first half with the weakest return, losing 7.0%, while short-term bonds produced a 4% return, long-term/hold-to-maturity bonds made 1.8%, and property generated 1.5%.KLP said the sale of its DC business was still awaiting approval from the Norwegian FSA (Finanstilsynet), but that it had met with a positive conclusion from the Norwegian Competition Authority. Final approval is expected during the third quarter of this year, the firm said.“With the framework for public sector pensions now resolved, given the limited DC market in the public sector – and bearing in mind the need for major investments in system upgrades to manage the revised framework conditions and give customers the best service – it is the right time to find an owner for the company who will be able to see to customers’ best interests in future,” Thornes said.KLP also reported that it repurchased €306m of its own subordinated debt in the six-month period, which resulted in NOK291m costs in its accounts, but said the move would give rise to large annual cost savings over the next five years.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. Norway’s largest municipal pension provider Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) revealed a 0.5% investment loss for the first half of this year, but sought to reassure local authority customers it was still solid enough to stand a long period of market turmoil.Reporting interim results, the pension fund also revealed it was taking a NOK152m (€14.3m) loss on the sale of the defined contribution (DC) corporate pensions subsidiary KLP Bedriftspensjon, which it announced in June it was selling to DNB Livsforsikring.Investment performance improved in the second quarter for KLP, with a value-adjusted return of 3.2% for the three-month period, following the 3.7% loss it reported for January to March.Sverre Thornes, KLP chief executive officer, said: “The world’s financial markets remain challenging, but we have built up our buffer capital over several years in order to ensure we are equipped for market unrest like this.”
56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands.A FIVE-HOLE putting green, games room, gym and a state-of-the-art cinema are just some of the luxury features that come with this Sovereign Islands mansion. The property, on the market with Savills Gold Coast, offers resort-style living with a spectacular waterfront vista. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. It’s one that has to be seen to be believed with out-of-this-world architectural detail.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa16 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoBuilt on a 1399sq m block on Knightsbridge Pde East, the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom house has four distinctive and flexible living zones. There is a dedicated level to the master bedroom with its own lounge and mini bar while all of the other bedrooms come with walk-in wardrobes and ensuites. The kitchen has Asko appliances and also comes with a large butler’s pantry.Other standout features include a commercial-grade lift, study, modern electric fireplace and a multipurpose room.Sovereign Islands is a gated community and is one of the most expensive locales in the country.Connected to the mainland of Paradise Point by a single bridge, the community is guarded 24/7 by security.The exclusive group of islands offers deepwater access for luxury boats and yachts at all tides. ON THE MARKET Address: 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign IslandsAgent: Georgia Elson and Christopher Jones, Savills Gold CoastFeatures: Pool, lift, putting greenPrice: $6.95 million — $7.5 millionInspections: By appointment
The damage across the northwest Brisbane suburb was extensive, with a number of homes destroyed.That process took two years, and in that time their children had settled in to new schools so they began searching for a new home. They found it at 36 Gordon St, Hawthorne. Mrs West said the house was also close to the CityCat and other public transport options.“We love our house and we love living here. It is going to be hard to leave it but Mitch leaving was a milestone and we want to travel,” Mrs West said. “The timing is right.”The house is being marketed by Deb Maguire of Place Kangaroo Point and will go to auction on August 25 at 1pm. Mrs West said their two children were now adults, and her son, 22, had recently moved to Sydney.“We love this house but it feels empty without Mitch,” she said. “And we want something that we can just lock and leave knowing (daughter) Sally will be fine.” 36 Gordon Street, Hawthorne“As soon as we walked in, we fell in love with it,” Mrs West said. “We have lived in London, Biloela, The Gap, East Brisbane, but this is the most amazing house I have ever lived in. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago“There is always something happening on the river. You don’t need a TV.”But the couple are now moving on and are downsizing to an apartment. After their house was destroyed in the 2008 storms at The Gap, the West family ultimatelty settled at 36 Gordon Street, HawthorneWHEN Kim and Mark West’s house at The Gap was destroyed by a super storm in 2008, they moved to East Brisbane while it was being rebuilt. On the ground floor there is a garage, a kitchen and a living area with a balcony. The multi-level waterfront home sits on a 442sq m block overlooking the river.It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and space for two vehicles, and the living spaces have been designed to capture the view. The kitchen has stone benchtops, quality stainless-steel appliances and glass splashbacks. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms including the main with a walk-in wardrobe, ensuite and a private balcony with river and city views. The self-contained lower ground floor provides the potential for a teenager’s retreat, guest space or room for ageing parents.There’s a cinema, study, sauna, home office, wine cellar, guest bedroom, a separate living area and a deck leading out to the pool. The family had lived on Kimruska Place at The Gap, which was one of the areas hardest hit by the 2008 storm.
She said there was generally a correlation between demand and price growth, with house values in some of the suburbs climbing rapidly.“When we have a look at price growth, they do quite well,” she said.Demand for rental properties was also in high demand in many of these suburbs.“Tugun always comes up as one of the most in demand,” Mrs Conisbee said.The Gold Coast recorded the highest number of views per listing than any other Queensland regional LGA.The Sunshine Coast’s Mooloolaba came close with 3068 views per listing. Burleigh Heads topped the list of the Coast’s most in-demand suburbs.HOUSE hunters are turning to the Gold Coast’s southern suburbs to find their dream home.Latest realestate.com.au data shows the Coast suburbs in highest demand were all south of Burleigh Heads.The top 10 were determined based on the number of property views per listing.Burleigh Heads topped the list with 3943 views per listing followed closely by Tugun with 3825 and Tallebudgera Valley with 3671.Palm Beach claimed 4th place with 3472 views per listing, then Tallebudgera (3252) and Currumbin Waters (3016).Currumbin Valley, Elanora, Currumbin and Bilinga each had just under 3000 views per listing.Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au chief economist, said it wasn’t unusual for the top 10 to be made up of mostly southern suburbs. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p360p360p216p216pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenWhy location is everything in real estate01:59 MORE NEWS: The house you can build in three hours She said house hunters often kept on eye out for properties in these areas to hit the market as few were ever listed.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa13 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoLimited development also made it harder to get a foot in many of the suburbs, Mrs Conisbee said.“It’s a little bit more tightly held,” she said.MORE NEWS: Daly Cherry-Evans’ second shot at selling