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Month: September 2020

​UK scheme invests £200m in Macquarie infrastructure debt fund

first_imgMacquarie, he said, had identified inflation-linked borrower demand of around £4bn in the three sectors, as well as more potential demand in student accommodation and social housing.The fund will concentrate on investment-grade opportunities on a smaller scale, starting from £10m – for which there is more demand, Wilson added.Macquarie managing director Andrew Robertson said the new fund should address the fact “borrowers don’t think finance exists, and investors don’t think assets exist”.The decision to enter inflation-linked debt provision was, he added, a result of inefficiencies on the part of banks to cut exposure to inflation.In yield terms, Macquarie estimates that, when passed through to pension schemes, inefficiencies of as much as 100 basis points are created.The new fund will target average returns of 250bps above index-linked Gilts.Investors in the fund will be paid semi-annually. Macquarie has been awarded a £200m (€240m) mandate by an unnamed UK pension scheme for a new inflation-linked debt fund.The indexed platform will look to match pension funds with infrastructure borrowers.A first close is set for later this year, said chief executive of Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions James Wilson, who estimates that “several hundred million” could be raised.Wilson said likely target areas would include the UK’s utility sectors, renewables and offshore transmission owners (OFTOs).last_img read more

Avon Pension Fund searches for hedge fund managers for £165m mandate

first_imgFive percent translates as approximately £165m at current levels, the fund said in the tender notice.The return target for the portfolio is three-month LIBOR plus 3%, or 6% – whichever is the higher – net of fees over rolling three-year periods.Volatility should be one-third to a half of equity markets, the pension fund stipulated.The contract is set to last for 60 months from the date of the award.The deadline for receipt of requests of documents or for accessing documents is midday on 22 December. The Avon Pension Fund is looking for managers to take on a £165m (€211m) mandate to run a portfolio of hedge funds.The UK local authority pension fund – run by Bath and North East Somerset Council – has put out an EU tender for companies to bid for the mandate to set up, implement and manage a diversified portfolio of hedge funds.The pension fund, which already has a 10% allocation to hedge funds, according to data from its website, says the proposed portfolio will equate to around 5% of its assets.No one at the pension fund was immediately available to comment on the tender.last_img read more

Life expectancy could break through 120-year ceiling, ABP warns

first_imgABP cited a growing need among Dutch workers for clear and tailor-made information, not only from pension funds but also employers, and pointed to an increasing focus on cost reduction – particularly by asset managers – facilitated by increasing transparency.As a consequence, pension funds are already divesting from high-cost asset classes, such as hedge funds and private equity, ABP said, adding that low-cost pension vehicles were emerging, and that pension arrangements were likely to be simplified and made more uniform.The Netherlands’ largest pension fund also warned that increasing “individualisation” in society, combined with an ageing population, was putting pressure on the much-touted principles of collectivity and solidarity, and that the call for freedom of choice for pension accrual was getting louder.However, it argued that a thorough explanation of the material advantages of collectivity and solidarity could help reverse this trend, and that improved management of individuals’ data could help produce tailor-made pension products.ABP said it expected the government to decrease tax-facilitated pensions accrual further, resulting in participants looking for additional pension saving.This, in turn, will accelerate the development of defined contribution products, it said.The civil service scheme, which has 2.8m participants, underlined that pension funds must also prepare for increasing flexibility in the labour market, with more job changes and more self-employed workers.ABP said population ageing would require an increasingly defensive investment mix, with lower expected returns, and warned that the growing mobility of capital would weaken the benefits of diversification.Consolidation among Dutch pension funds is to continue apace, particularly among company schemes, while cost-cutting on pension arrangements and the increase in the official retirement age will increase the “uniformity” of pension plans, it said.“There could be no more than 100 pension funds left in 2020,” it said. Dutch pension funds must prepare themselves for ever-increasing longevity, possibly even through the “120-year ceiling”, following improved medical techniques, according to civil service scheme ABP.Commenting on a number of trends likely to affect the industry in the coming years, ABP said pension funds must look at ways of spreading the effects of longevity evenly across the generations.The €334bn pension fund also highlighted the growing importance of socially responsible  investment and said it was convinced that including ESG factors could help improve investment results.“Factoring in ESG,” it said, “will lead to improved transparency of investments from both pension funds and companies they invest in, possibly resulting in less complex investments or specific sustainable investments.”last_img read more

Friday people roundup

first_imgAegon Asset Management, TKP Investments, Tikehau IM, Kames CapitalAegon Asset Management – The €240bn asset manager has appointed Eric van der Maarel as head of European operations as of 1 January 2015. In addition, he will be responsible for Aegon’s €21bn subsidiary TKP Investments, led by Roelie van Wijk. Under the leadership of board member Martin Davis, Kames Capital will continue to expand its activities in the UK, according to Aegon. Van der Maarel has 25 years of experience in financial services at Rotterdam-based asset manager Robeco, most recently as head of institutional sales and account management. Prior to this, he was general manager at Robeco for Japan and Korea. Van der Maarel’s appointment is still subject to regulatory approval.Tikehau IM – Emmanuelle Hsu has joined the sales team in Paris, covering asset managers, banks and multi-managers. She joins from Cedrus AM, where she spent one year as head of sales and marketing for France. Before then, she was at Global Financial Services in charge of the development of multi-managers and institutional clients.Kames Capital – Luc Simoncini has been appointed as a product specialist to work with the equity teams. He joins from Dublin-based Mediolanum International Funds, where he led its marketing efforts. He has also held positions at Schroders and Pioneer Investments.last_img read more

IPE Views: Talk-talk-talking in Brussels

first_imgAs experts themselves, they would have learned little. Few could not have known that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) legislative proposal is planned to tune up €21bn into a €315bn investment fund, much to come from institutional investors.What the CoR Junker evening did give its audience was access to a palatial building, a state-of-the-art conference room and enticing food and drink to round off the evening. Also, items on the menu were, sadly, not atypical. There was an abundance of lecturing, some of it verging on pontification, and a plethora of generalisations.How’s this for a verbal jewel from someone who should know better? He would be “pleased to engage constructively with MEPs and civil society through this new structure about the Investment Plan for Europe and how it can help give the EU economy a boost”. Perhaps not drivel in itself, but relatively meaningless.Well, some sensible voices at the meeting did state one obvious truth. Potential investors in European infrastructure developments could not be forced to participate, they said. Investors should be free to judge projects on merit!So what do we get from the Committee? In fact, an “opinion”, drafted by its official CoR coordinator, who apparently disdains market-based principles. Claude Gewerc warned against the “risk of territorial concentration”. And he called for “greater attention to be given to weaker regions”.Politically correct? In Brussels, it would sail through! So how about another verbal gem related to EFSI, as a “push forward [to] a new wind of positive change; thus we will boost smart growth and create sustainable jobs”. Good on you, Markku Markkula, Mr CoR President, done at his inauguration into office, in February.However, the CoR did one thing well, to have invited as a speaker Christian Thimann, member of the executive committee at AXA. Thimann suggested EFSI could benefit from setting up a list of viable projects, preferably including a prediction of cash flow for each.  With Solvency II in mind, he would like to see a more rational categorisation of the relevant finance bonds. No doubt, he believes a better a status for EFSI bonds would add considerably to their market attractiveness as compared with simple ‘corporate bonds’.  The Juncker plan conference is, regrettably, not alone. In Brussels, one conference on a subject can follow after another. This talk-talk ‘industry’ achieves little, apart from spinning time away.Furthermore, the actual delivery of speeches is commonly pathetic. And audiences are too polite – or are they too “wet” – to protest at experts delivering incomprehensibly. Some speak at more than 130 words a minute.Talk-talk, indeed. Jeremy Woolfe is less than impressed with level of discourse among Europe’s bureaucrats Progress in the Juncker investment plan to boost the European economy is advancing in Brussels. Is it? In the European Parliament, yes, things look good. The Parliament’s relevant committees have recently voted support, subject to provisos on robbing R&D and transport budgets. And the European Investment Bank is making a racing start.But a conference organised by one of the 45 or so less prominent EU institutions brings to light a woeful Brussels feature. This is to seize any new initiative to feed into an un-stoppable Brussels industry, the talking shop … talk-talk-talk, for its own sake. For the Juncker plan, the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR) called in an audience of 300-plus as the victims. The guest list included representatives from fund management, insurance, pensions, political bodies and infrastructure interests such as from railways and other sectors.last_img read more

Varma laments European growth ‘fraught with uncertainties’ as returns slow

first_imgHe said the markets had recovered from the post-Brexit slump surprisingly quickly, and were now focused once more on central bank easing moves. Noting that equity markets were indeed helped by central banks injecting more money after every setback, Rytsölä said: “The question is, how long can Europe’s other problems be swept under the rug with the help of ultra-light monetary policies?” In absolute terms, Varma’s investment result was narrowly positive in the second quarter at €21m alone, but this did little to mitigate the €754m first quarter loss within first-half results.Unlisted equities and private equities generated the highest returns for Varma between January and June, returning at 13.5% and 4.0% respectively, with the return for unlisted equities up from 6.4% in the same period last year and the private equities return down from 6.6%.Equity investments ended the January-to-June period with a 3.1% loss, compared with an 8.3% profit in the first half of 2015, but fixed-income investments made a profit of 2.2%, up from 0.3%.Real estate, meanwhile, produced a 2.6% return, compared to 3.4% in the same period last year.Solvency levels weakened to 28.3% of technical provisions or €9.1bn, from 31.4% or €10.0bn at the end of December.Risto Murto, Varma’s president and chief executive, said the company had recovered well from the financial crisis and that its solvency was at a high level despite equity market volatility.“For pension investors, the markets have been quite sluggish for more than a year now, in a zero interest rate and zero return environment,” he said.Rytsölä said one major difference between Europe’s and the US’s ability to emerge from the financial crisis was the state of their banks.“US banks were cleaned up faster, which helped get the nation’s economy back on its feet,” he said. Finnish pensions insurer Varma reported a 0.3% loss on investments in the first half as its CIO bemoaned the lack of sustainable economic growth in Europe, saying extreme monetary easing was only masking other problems in the continent.In its interim report, Varma said the first half loss compared with the 4.3% profit generated in the same period last year.The company’s total pension assets dipped to €41.3bn from €41.6bn at the end of December.Varma’s executive vice-president and CIO Reima Rytsölä said: “Sustainable economic growth has been highly anticipated in Europe, but the path to growth always seems to be fraught with new uncertainties.”last_img read more

Asset managers support labour standards campaign group

first_imgA survey asking the companies for improved data on issues such as diversity, workers’ rights, and health and safety in supply chains, was sent yesterday. Targeted companies include Apple, Alibaba, BAE, Tesla, and Louis Vuitton. The selection criteria were market capitalisation, companies’ significance within their sector, and workforce size.Vaidehee Sachdev, senior research officer at ShareAction, said: “From the pilot year of the WDI, we learned that, while there appears to be a promising step change in the way companies and investors are now approaching labour standards, there is a long road ahead to get to the level of transparency we need for decent work everywhere.“Based on the quality of data collected and currently being reported, companies need to move away from only reporting on their policy intentions and good news stories.”The WDI’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of jobs in the operations and supply chains of multinational companies. It said this would contribute towards poverty alleviation and achieving “decent work for all”, one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.Matt Christensen, global head of responsible investment at AXA Investment Managers, said companies had been reinforcing their reporting on environmental topics in recent years and “we wish to see a similar effort with social factors”.The survey can be found here and a list of investor signatories here. An investor coalition pushing companies for better data on labour standards has higher ambitions after a successful pilot year, according to an announcement this week.Since being launched in July last year, the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) has attracted more than 20 additional investor signatories, including Aviva, BMO Global Asset Management, and PGGM, which manages the €197bn Dutch healthcare pension scheme PFZW. More than $12trn (€10trn) in assets under management back the initiative.Encouraged by the response to a survey sent to 75 companies last year, the WDI has significantly increased the project’s targeted reach.“After a successful pilot year, the WDI is scaling up and approaching 500 companies headquartered in 30 countries, including Canada, India, Japan and the US,” said ShareAction, which co-ordinates the initiative.last_img read more

People moves: Standard Life Aberdeen scraps co-CEO model [updated]

first_imgGilbert will move to become vice-chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen and chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments, while retaining his seat on the company’s board as an executive director.“In this role, Martin will be able to focus solely on our strategic relationships with key clients, winning new business and realising the potential from our global network and product capabilities,” the company said.Gilbert and Skeoch have shared the chief executive role since the 2017 merger of Aberdeen and Standard Life . Meanwhile, chief financial officer Bill Rattray is to retire from the board on 31 May. He was first appointed finance director at Aberdeen in 1991 and has worked at the group for 34 years. He will be replaced as CFO by Stephanie Bruce, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. She is currently a partner at PwC.Richard Mully is also to retire from the board after the next annual general meeting in May. He has worked for Aberdeen since 2012 as a director.ABP – The Netherlands’ biggest pension scheme has appointed industry veteran Loek Sibbing to its board with immediate effect, representing employers. He fills the vacancy left by Erik van Houwelingen, who left for Dimensional Fund Advisors in August.Between 2010 and 2014, Sibbing was chief executive of Univest Company, the asset manager for Unilever’s 80 international pension funds. Prior to this, he was CEO of Unilever’s Dutch defined benefit scheme Progress, and has also led the pension funds of construction company Volker Wessels and temporary employment firm Randstad.In 2014, he became chief executive of the Dutch Investment Institution (NLII), tasked with developing investment opportunities in the real economy on behalf of the 10 largest Dutch institutional investors. Sibbing has also been chairman of the Dutch industry organisation for company pension funds (OPF), which later merged into the Pensions Federation, and has served on the board of European lobbying organisation PensionsEurope.Separately, the €399bn civil service scheme has also appointed Krista Nauta to its board, also as an employer representative. She joins from the €215bn asset manager and pensions provider PGGM, where she was a senior policy adviser and strategic product manager since 2013. Nauta succeeds Joop van Lunteren who left on 1 March.Aviva Investors – The €388bn investment house has hired Paul LaCoursiere as global head of ESG research, a newly created role. He will be responsible for the group’s ESG research process as well as the integration and monitoring of ESG criteria within equities and credit. He will jointly lead the research team with Mirza Baig, global head of governance, who is responsible for ESG integration across Aviva Investors’ multi-asset and real assets units.LaCoursiere was previously Aviva Investors’ global head of corporate research, having rejoined the firm in 2014 following a year running fixed income at Chicago Equity Partners. He was a fixed income portfolio manager at Aviva Investors between 2010 and 2013.Meanwhile, Oliver Judd and Kevin Gaydos have been named co-heads of credit research. Judd is based in London and has worked for Aviva Investors since 2006, while Gaydos is based in Chicago and joined the company in 2008.BMO Global Asset Management – The $260bn (€230bn) investment house has made a trio of hires to its responsible investment team. Nina Roth joins from German development agency GIZ as a director, having previously worked at Deutsche Bank and UBS. Alan Fitzpatrick joins as a product specialist from Hermes EOS, while Derek Ip joins as an ESG analyst having previously worked at groups including Trucost, the Climate Bonds Initiative, and RESET Carbon. Nikko Asset Management – Takumi Shibata has decided to step down as president and CEO of the $201.8bn Japanese asset manager, effective 1 April. He has worked at the company since 2013 and was appointed CEO in 2014.Hideo Abe and Junichi Sayato will be appointed as co-CEOs, the company announced. Abe will also hold the title of president and Sayato the title of chairman.Cardano Group – Darren Redmayne has been appointed to the Anglo-Dutch investor’s management board. He is CEO of Lincoln Pensions, a covenant advisory specialist firm that he founded in 2008 and that was acquired by Cardano in 2016. Prior to founding Lincoln Pensions, Redmayne spent 10 years at Close Brothers, and was seconded to help set up the UK’s Pensions Regulator.Last month Cardano announced it had agreed to acquire auto-enrolment master trust NOW: Pensions from Denmark’s ATP for an undisclosed sum.MJ Hudson Allenbridge – The UK consultancy group has appointed Norbert Fullerton as a senior adviser. He joins from Mercer where he was a partner in the company’s wealth consulting and solutions business. He also advised on strategy for defined benefit pension scheme clients. Fullerton also previously worked at Russell Investments and Willis Towers Watson.MSCI – Lee Phillips has joined the index provider as head of EMEA fixed income and country head for the UK and Ireland. He joins from FTSE Russell where he was a managing director in global strategic account management. He previously held senior index sales roles at Barclays and Lehman Brothers.Danica Pension – Heidi Verup has been appointed as the new director for private clients at the DKK566bn (€76bn) pensions provider and subsidiary of Danske Bank. She replaced Britta Bjerregaard who worked at the Danish pension fund for just over a year. Verup previously worked at the Danish financial group Alm Brand from April 2017 as a partner and director, where she managed a team of 10 people. In her new role with Danica she will be managing a team of 120.Invesco – Charles Moussier has joined the $945.7bn asset manager as head of insurance investment solutions for the EMEA region, tasked with developing Invesco’s insurance business.He was previously executive director for the investment banking division of Natixis, responsible for developing the company’s financial institutions advisory business. He has worked for AXA Group as deputy head of global investment solutions, and has held senior roles at Crédit Agricole and AXA RE.MUFG Investor Services – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s asset servicing arm has appointed Bruno Bagnouls as managing director and head of private equity and real assets in Luxembourg. He joins from TMF Group where he was group head of private equity and real estate. He has over 20 years of experience with fund and corporate services providers.Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) – Claire Aley has joined as head of product and investments business management. She was previously head of product strategy and development at Hermes Investment Management, and has held senior roles at Highclere International Investors, Next Financial and Mason Stevens.In her new role, Aley will be responsible for oversight of LGIM’s global product strategy, development and management functions as well as business management for the investment teams.Hymans Robertson – Catherine McFadyen has been promoted to head of actuarial, benefits and governance for UK local government pension schemes at the consultancy. She has been with Hymans Robertson since 2003, and is a partner in the firm.Nomura Asset Management – The UK arm of Nomura has hired Anne Dillé-Weibel as business development director and Leigh Fisher as business development manager as it looks to strenghten its EMEA distribution. Dillé-Weibel joins from BNP Paribas Asset Management where she was head of alternative sales, while Fisher joins from Investec Bank where she was a senior sales manager. Intervalor – Thomas Bolvig  has been taken on by Nordic asset management marketing company Intervalor as client executive. Bolvig will be based in Copenhagen as the company attempts to increase its presence in Denmark through senior-level recruitment. Bolvig comes to Intervalor from Danske Capital, where he was head of business development for Benelux. Prior to this, he worked for Danish financial services company Nykredit and Swedish banking group SEB. Standard Life Aberdeen, ABP, Aviva Investors, BMO GAM, Nikko AM, Cardano, MJ Hudson Allenbridge, MSCI, Danica, Invesco, MUFG, LGIM, Hymans Robertson, Nomura, Intervalor Standard Life Aberdeen – Martin Gilbert (right), co-founder of Aberdeen Asset Management, has stepped down from his position as co-CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen. Keith Skeoch is now the sole CEO of the £551bn (€643.6bn) investment services giant.The “dissolution” of the co-CEO structure was “designed to strengthen our client focus, simplify reporting lines and put in place a structure which will facilitate robust execution of the next stages of our transition and transformation programmes”, the company said in a statement.last_img read more

Germany approves Pensionskassen insolvency protection reform

first_imgThe German parliament has approved a reform of the Betriebsrentengesetz, a law that protects Pensionskassen in case of an employer’s bankruptcy.The Bundesrat, the constitutional body representing the federal states, is likely to give the green light to the changes in June, before the publication in the Federal Law Gazette.The government has already reviewed the original proposal of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to amend the law.“It has been a long way to the reform, the first two drafts still needed considerable improvements,” Klaus Stiefermann, managing director at aba, the German occupational pensions association, told IPE. Klaus Stiefermann, managing director at abaThe timeframe would ensure employers would not become financially overburdened, according to the legislator.As per section 30, paragraph 5 (new), regulations relating to contribution will be assessed in 2026.“It is positive that a simple procedure has been found for calculating the contribution,” Stiefermann said, adding that it is also important that in five years it can be reviewed to and adjusted if necessary.The PSV is well equipped for the future because the equalisation fund, which serves to mitigate exceptionally high contributions, is well funded,  board members Marko Brambach and Hans Melchiors have told IPE in a previous interview.Implementing the law is a major challenge for PSV, but “it is well prepared”, Stiefermann said.Credit insurance company Euler Hermes forecasted at least 10% more bankruptcies in Germany compared to the previous year, with a contraction of a GDP of -8.9%, and the economy slipping into recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.The new PSV protection, which applies from 2022, meets the requirements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in December. The court rejected the argument that all defined benefit pension rights must be protected against employer insolvency.The ECJ instead ruled that a cut of the level of compensation is considered disproportionate if it puts individuals at risk of living below the poverty line, even though employees receive at least half of the benefits.Prior to 2022, claims could be made against the PSV according to the provisions of the ECJ.“The [new] law wants to prevent a liability of the state” in light of the ECJ ruling, and “it is well suited for this”, Stiefermann said.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. Under the new rules, the mutual insurance association for German occupational pension schemes, Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein VVaG (PSVaG), is to take over pension liabilities if an employer becomes insolvent, under certain conditions.The protection provided by PSV is extended to company pensions organised through Pensionskassen, which has not been the case so far.The protection does not apply to public sector schemes and to company pensions organised through funds that already fall under the Protektor Lebensversicherungs, the guarantee scheme for German life insurers.Stiefermann said that company pensions are increasingly safe through the reform, but at a price. “The employers who use these pension funds have to bear the costs,” he said, adding that this has had an impact on the appeal of the Pensionskassen as a way to operate occupational pension schemes.From the employees’ perspective, security in pension payments would increase because even if pension funds were to cut benefits and an employer becomes insolvent, they still receive their promised pensions, he added.The new regulation requires companies to contribute to the equalisation fund set up at the PSV of an amount calculated in 9‰ (promille), which takes into account the rate for 2021, set at 3‰ (promille), and an additional contribution of 1.5‰ (promille) for the years 2022-2025.last_img read more

Mansfield house sells for $50k above asking price despite passing in at auction

first_imgThe house passed in at auction.However, once the house went to market, interest exploded.“I priced it at $1,020,000,” Mr Comino said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours ago“We got six offers after auction (and) out of those, five were new buyers.” The house sold for $50,000 above asking price. The house at 16 Sandringham St, Mansfield, sold for $1,070,000.A MANSFIELD Tudor-style home sold above the seller’s expectations after passing in at auction.LJ Hooker Sunnybank Hills agent Kosma Comino said when the 16 Sandringham St house went to auction about a month ago, there was only one registered bidder, and the property passed in at $851,000. The price sparked a bidding war.This excitement created a bidding war, resulting in the house being sold for $1,070,000 — $50,000 more than the asking price.It was purchased by a young family who loved its Tudor style, and enjoyed the fact their children could walk to the nearby school. However, a price on the listing post-auction drew six written offers.Mr Comino said due to the grand presence of the house, buyers had assumed the house was out of their price bracket before auction.“It’s a really big house and it looks really special online,” Mr Comino said.“Everyone thought it would be $1.5 million, so when they saw it at $1,020,000, that created a lot of excitement in the market.”last_img read more