first_imgProgress, the €4.6bn Dutch pension fund of Unilever, saw its net return for 2013 fall below 2%, following a considerable setback due to its interest and inflation hedges.As a result of both rising interest rates and falling inflation, the scheme saw a 6.8 percentage point decline in returns despite investments otherwise returning 8.7%.Over the course of 2013, the scheme managed to outperform its benchmark by 1.4 percentage points, citing returns of 24.1% from listed equity and 15% from private equity.According to Rob Kragten, the scheme’s director, the yield on its fixed income holdings was “slightly negative”. Despite the disappointment, Progress’s board said it was not dissatisfied, as the increased interest rates also caused its liabilities to drop by €174m.“As a result, the nominal funding improved from 133% to 139%,” it said.The scheme’s real funding increased to 106%, making Progress one of the most financially sound pension funds in the Netherlands.Kragten said that the fund had hedged around 60% of its interest rate and inflation risk during 2013.He pointed out that under the pension fund’s risk policy, the level of both hedges rose in line with the scheme’s coverage ratio.Progress said it had also covered 80% of the currency risk of its equity portfolio, but added that it had not yet measured the outcome over 2013. The scheme’s interest and inflation derivatives contributed 4.3 percentage points to its overall result of 18.1% for 2012.The Unilever scheme has 3,420 active participants, 6,940 deferred members and 12,435 pensioners.last_img read more

first_imgVervoer, the €15.8bn pension fund for private road transport in the Netherlands, has appointed Marjolein Sol as its new CIO, effective 1 August. Willem Brugman, the scheme’s chief executive, who confirmed the appointment to IPE sister publication FD-IPN, said: “We are pleased with her joining us.”At Vervoer, Sol is to succeed Patrick Groenendijk, who recently started as practice leader at Northern Trust’s Chicago-based fiduciary management team.From 2012 to 2013, Sol was a board member at Mercurius, the pension fund for financial services – including communications watchdog AFM and Euronext – which is currently in the process of liquidation.  Before then, she was CIO at Syntrus Achmea Asset Management and senior adviser at insurer Achmea.Vervoer’s new CIO has also been business leader for IC Benelux at consultant Mercer, director of fixed income and equities at the €158bn asset manager PGGM and head of credit derivatives at Rabobank.Pensioenfonds Vervoer reported a preliminary return of 1.6% in April, following a quarterly return of 6%.Its funding was 112.7% at March-end.Meanwhile, Vervoer and Goldman Sachs Asset Management recently announced that they reached a settlement in a claim from Vervoer for damages over GSAM’s performance as its fiduciary manager.Both declined to provide further details about the settlement.last_img read more

first_img“We do not see people – we see policies,” he said.Webb will relinquish his role as pensions minister in the coming months as the government gears up for a general election on 7 May, where the outcome of the current junior coalition party is unknown.“I do pensions, but I only do bits,” he said. “Do we have an integrated financial product for care and for pensions yet? No, this is partly because we ‘silo-ised’ the policies.”Webb said it would be more appropriate to put all these issues under a new body called the “Department for Pensions and Ageing Society” – which he said would transfer pensions policy from the DWP, sections from the Treasury and long-term care from appropriate departments.“Seeing the person and not the policy would lead us to think about what happens in retirement based on aspects that affect the outcome,” he said. “You could look holistically at labour market trends, and social change like divorce – an example where thinking about social change as part of wider pensions and ageing society allows us to see different bits of government in an integrated way.”Webb also said government had to get to the point where elderly care and pensions policy was linked together, and where the funding of social care was fixed.“It seems to me, if we can make auto-enrolment work and make sure people have products for retirement, it ought not to be beyond the wit of man to bring care funding into this,” he added.The minister, who is unlikely to remain in his current position after the UK election, said how long policy implementation took within government had come as a shock to him.Throughout Webb’s tenure, he unveiled a raft changes including governance requirements on insurance-based schemes, a charge cap on defined contribution (DC) default investment funds, automatic transfers, an overhaul of the state pension policy and collective DC (CDC).However, state pension reform will not occur until 2016, and many other policies will only come into force this year, or have yet to be finalised.“One of the things I have learnt in my current role is how long it takes to do things,” he said. “The new pensions minister needs to sit down right at the start of Parliament and get the forward agenda out and build a sense of focus.”He said the policy of using auto-escalation to increase employee contributions within auto-enrolment would need to be worked on almost immediately in order to come into action by 2018, as initial employer staging finishes.Read Taha Lokhandwala’s feature on how the changes to the UK pension system will develop in years to come UK pensions minister Steve Webb has admitted the current “silo” structure of government hampers pensions policy and called for a new department to incorporate pensions, long-term savings and care.Speaking at an event on retirement savings held by the Resolution Foundation, a think tank, the Liberal Democrat minister said the current and previous governments tended to form pensions policy in silos.Webb belongs to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which manages policy for trust-based pensions, whereas HM Treasury controls insurance-based pensions, with general savings split among the two.He also said there was no account for long-term care needs in retirement and the overlap between this and savings.last_img read more

first_imgKPA Pension, ShareAction, Valida, AXA Investment Managers, Standard Life InvestmentsKPA Pension – Lars-Åke Vikberg, who has been chief executive of the Swedish pension provider since 2009, has announced his decision to step down. Vikberg will remain with until a successor is appointed. He will also step down as head collective pensions at KPA’s parent company Folksam.ShareAction – Emma Howard Boyd has been named chair-elect of the UK responsible investment charity. Boyd was formerly director of stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management and is currently a board member at the Environment Agency and 30% Club steering committee, the organisation pushing for increased female board representation at FTSE 100 companies. She is a past chair of UKSIF.Valida – Stefan Eberhartinger has been named chairman of Valida Vorsorge Management, succeeding Andreas Zakostelsky. Eberhartinger joined Valida after Siemens Pensionskasse was taken over by the firm in 2012. Zakistelsky has stepped down to focus on political matters, following his election to the Austrian lower house in 2013. AXA Investment Managers – Monique Diaz has been named global head of compliance. Diaz will be based in Paris and report to Christian Gissler, global head of risks and controls.Standard Life Investments – Alex Campbell and Marianne Froude have joined SLI’s infrastructure debt team as investment director and investment analyst, respectively. Campell joined in January from Assured Guaranty, where he spent six years as director, infrastructure. He has also worked at CIBC World Markets and ING Barings. For her part, Froude began her career at baking group ANZ, working in both its Sydney and London offices.last_img read more

first_imgHowever, the Swedish buffer fund struck a note of caution that the rate of improvement seen in recent years would bring about parity on boards any time soon.It estimated that parity between male and female candidates would take a further 27 years for board members, and 44 years for members of executive management.The financial and consumer sector boasted the highest number of women on boards, while media and financial services reported the largest number of executive management.The survey covered 268 companies listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. AP2 has praised the increase in board diversity at Swedish companies after a nearly 20% rise in the number of women at listed firms.Eva Halvarsson, chief executive of AP2, said the changes to its annual Female Representation Index were the steepest increases since 2004, and noted that nomination committees were now being ever more responsible in selecting candidates.“There is still much to do, but I am convinced that this issue has now attracted the attention necessary for accelerating future development in this area and to ensure better utilization of the competence available.”The index, compiled since 2003 with Nordic Investor Services, found that 29% of board directors at firms listed primarily on the Swedish Stock Exchange were women.last_img read more

first_imgIPE reported last year that the appointment of a chief executive was being delayed by the lack of a permanent head of private pensions at the Department for Work & Pensions, a position filled in July last year by Charlotte Clark, a former UK Treasury civil servant. Soper said he was “very excited” to be joining PwC, where he will be senior pensions adviser, leading its work with DB sponsors and scheme trustees.“Companies and trustees have a great opportunity right now to fundamentally reshape the way retirement provision operates, for the benefit of all concerned,” he said.TPR’s chairman Mark Boyle praised Soper’s work at the regulator, saying he had achieved “an immense amount” since 2009.Boyle noted the “landmark” court rulings that had occurred under Soper’s tenure, including the £184m (€230m) settlement over the deficit in the Lehman Brothers Pension Scheme.The settlement allowed the fund to complete a £675m bulk annuity deal with Rothesay Life, securing the full level of benefits for members that would have not been guaranteed on entry into the Pension Protection Fund.Boyle added: “The regulator’s voice is now heard with much greater clarity as a result of Stephen’s championing transparent casework reports and publication of an annual guidance statement on the funding of DB schemes.” Stephen Soper, the UK pension regulator’s head of defined benefit (DB) regulation, is to join consultancy PwC.Soper joined The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in 2009 as head of risk and funding, being named executive director of DB regulation in 2011.He will leave TPR at the end of July, moving to his new role in SeptemberHis departure comes only a few months after Lesley Titcomb took over as the regulator’s new chief executive, bringing to an end Soper’s 20-month spell as interim chief executive in the wake of Bill Galvin’s move to the Universities Superannuation Scheme.last_img read more

first_imgThe first-pillar pension scheme for veterinarians in the German regional authority of Westfalen-Lippe has entered into a co-operation agreement with its counterpart for doctors, an arrangement said to provide “cost-efficient” access to investments “beyond the mainstream”. The agreement between the two Versorgungswerke – institutions that fund first-pillar pensions for the so-called liberal professions in Germany – covers investment, risk management and risk controlling.The agreement is effective 1 July.From then on, according to a statement, the €10.3bn* doctors pension fund (Ärtzeversorgung Westfalen-Lippe, ÄVWL) will invest on behalf of the veterinarians fund as it would for its own assets, to the extent that this fits with the investment policy of the pension funds for vets. The new arrangement will give the latter “cost-efficient access to more complex investment opportunities beyond the ‘mainstream’”, such as financing of ships and aeroplanes in the logistics transport industry or direct investment in infrastructure and renewable energy.The veterinarians’ pension fund (Versorgungswerk Tierärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe, VW TKWL) has some €300m in assets under management.It had since 2005 used the traditional industry bank for doctors and pharmacists in Germany, Apo-Bank (Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärtzebank) for investment and risk-controlling services, according to a 2013 annual report.The Versorgungswerk for dentists in Westfalen-Lippe had been carrying out risk management, according to the same report.The new co-operation agreement with the doctors’ pension fund is a response to the challenges posed by the continued low-interest-rate environment, with “standard investments” unable to deliver yields in line with discount rates.   Co-investing alongside the doctors’ pension fund will reduce the administrative burden, the Versorgungswerke said in the statement.Responsibility for all aspects of the co-operation lies with the veterinarians’ pension fund, it added.Westfalen-Lippe is one of the two regional authorities in the western German federal state of North Rhine Westphalia.*As at 31 December 2014last_img read more

first_imgGerard Riemen, director, PensioenfederatieOf the remaining pension funds, 50 are large mandatory sector schemes, representing the majority of participants and pension assets.According to Riemen, many industry-wide schemes want to further consolidate in order to achieve benefits of scale.However, under the current rules, mergers are only allowed if the schemes’ funding levels are equal, which is seldom the case.For example, a merger between the €3.5bn pension fund for the furnishing sector (Wonen) and the €20.2bn scheme for the retail industry (Detailhandel) was rejected by the regulator in 2015 as their funding ratios were different.As a result, Wonen had to continue as a closed scheme, while Detailhandel is handling new accruals.In contrast, company pension funds with different funding are allowed to consolidate into a general pension fund (APF), where their assets can be ring-fenced.The new bill aimed to enable sector schemes with a funding difference to merge by allowing them to keep their assets separated for five years.However, in the opinion of the Pensions Federation, the legal proposals contained so many additional requirements that in practice mergers would be impossible or would not generate any benefits. Since 2000, the number of Dutch pension funds has decreased from more than 1,000 to 245. The consolidation of Dutch pension funds could come to a halt due to inadequate proposed legislation to allow mergers of large industry-wide schemes, the country’s pensions trade body has warned.Speaking to Dutch financial newspaper FD, Gerard Riemen, director of the Pensions Federation, said the proposed new rules would not make mergers easier.“The current bill has zero added value and only disadvantages,” argued Riemen. He said the Federation had urged social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees to withdraw the proposal.Koolmees will inform the Dutch parliament soon about how he intends to continue with the bill.center_img Wouter Koolmees“For example, the merger partner can’t have assets of more than €25bn,” Riemen told FD. “However, the building sector counts six smaller schemes which, under the proposals, are not allowed to join the €56bn BpfBouw, the main pension fund for the industry.”In addition, under the proposals the sectors of merging schemes must have an affiliation, the number of merging schemes can’t exceed five, and if pension funds can’t equalise their funding levels within five years, they must continue their separate ways.“This is impossible to explain,” said Riemen, who concluded that “the cabinet is frustrating consolidation”.The bill also contained a “poison pill” in allowing participants who voluntarily accrue a pension over the fiscal limit of €100,000 to shop around for benefits, Riemen argued.At the same time sector schemes, contrary to insurers, are not allowed to offer drawdown benefits.Read the original Dutch version of this article at Pensioen Pro.last_img read more

first_imgHe said Aon’s own Dutch pension fund would not be relocated to the international multi scheme either, despite the company’s long-standing plan to relocate it.According to Driessen, an important reason for pension funds’ reluctance to move to the cross-border fund was the required approval of at least two-thirds of a pension fund’s participants, a rule introduced at the start of this year.“The fact that this voting is the final step in the entire process had made things very complicated,” he added.“Not in line with IORP II”CBBA said the majority requirement for the approval of cross-border transfers was “not in line with the spirit of IORP II”.The industry organisation added that the same applied to the Dutch requirement of cross-border schemes to report on their funding position in both the Netherlands and where schemes are based.CBBA argued that Aon’s United Pensions was “the first real victim” of the new Dutch legal framework.It said that it expected the European Union authorities to take the necessary measures to have the Dutch legislation modified in order to prevent other member states from emulating the Netherlands.Aon’s Driessen said that a mistrust of cross-border pension arrangements, as well as uncertainty about the continuous changing rules of the Dutch pensions system, had added to the complexity of making a decision for the long term owith regard to Aon’s own Dutch pension fund. “I don’t want to run the risk that after a couple of years we find that we have taken the wrong decision”Frank Driessen at AonMarc van Nuland, director of Aon Netherlands, said taking the decision to move the Aon pension fund to Belgium would “not be responsible” at the moment, as a comparison would be impossible due to the continuing changing epnsions environment in the Netherlands.He added that the recent decision by social affairs’ minister Wouter Koolmees to postpone rights cuts had tipped the balance.“I don’t want to run the risk that after a couple of years we find that we have taken the wrong decision,” he argued.Van Nuland added that the ballot among the participants of Aon’s Dutch pension fund – scheduled for early 2020 – was off now.Driessen said nothing would change for United Pensions’s existing clients, which include Dutch affiliates of pharmaceutical AbbVie and chemical multinational Dow.He said that, with €300m of assets and 5,000 participants, the Belgian vehicle was viable, and that Aon would keep on supporting it.“The current issue is a local problem, whereas United Pensions is meant for the entire EU. We will continue our acquisition in, among others, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Ireland, while Dutch clients remain welcome.”René Mandos, chair of Aon’s Dutch pension fund – which closed to new entrants in 2014 – said the board regretted the employer’s decision to relocate pensions, “as we saw it as a good option”.He added that, following additional adjustments, the scheme’s accountability body (VO) also supported the plan.The cross-border move had been planned since 2013, and was based on expected earlier inflation compensation and lower contributions as well as on the employer’s guarantee that it would fill in funding gaps.ControversyRelocation to Belgium has always been controversial, both at Aon as in general in the Netherlands.Protests within Aon – largely fed by fear that pensions supervision in Belgium would be less strict and the discount rate for liabilities would be too high – had delayed the project several times.“The fact that the Netherlands has now granted a delay for rights cuts, has put the perception that supervision in the Netherlands is strict, in contrast with Belgium, in a new light,” said Driessen.“At United Pensions there are also pension fund compartments with a funding shortfall, with their sponsors having to fill in the gap or apply rights cuts. They can’t postpone measures.”The chair for Aon’s scheme said it would continue seeking an alternative for pensions provision, as continuing independently was no longer possible.In his opinion, joining the Dutch consolidation vehicle (APF) would be an option.The Pensioenfonds Aon Groep Nederland has €845m of assets and more than 3,000 participants. At October-end, its funding stood at 118%. Lobbying organisation Cross-border Benefits Alliance-Europe (CBBA) has rebuked the Dutch government for discouraging cross-border movements in its implementation of European pensions directive IORP II.It has even suggested that the way the European legislation had been implemented was meant to block cross-border activities from another EU member state in the Netherlands.Its criticism came in the wake of consultanty Aon Netherlands announcing that it would cease recommending its Belgium-based cross-border vehicle United Pensions to potential Dutch clients.Frank Driessen, Aon’s head of pensions, explained that the consultancy had struggled to convince Dutch pension funds of its added value.last_img read more

first_img97 The Peninsula, Helensvale.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 ago“We wanted a home for our family of five,” Mrs Prosper said.“We also wanted a luxury feel to the house which is was why we put in a lot of extras.”The two-storey home features a study, media room, and two living areas as well as several outdoor entertaining areas.It also offers plenty of space throughout with high ceilings on both levels.The kitchen, dining and kitchen opens up to the outdoor entertaining areas. 97 The Peninsula, Helensvale.This Helensvale house has been designed for luxury family living.Rochelle and Joel Prosper bought the block and had the home built.The four-bedroom three-bathroom home, now only three years old, is in a gated estate filled with mostly owner-occupiers. 97 The Peninsula, Helensvale. 97 The Peninsula, Helensvale. 97 The Peninsula, Helensvale.The pool and spa, alongside a stunning Bali Hut offer endless fun while coloured lighting, a firelit and tropical gardens complete the outdoor area.“We wanted plenty of space, and multiple living areas,” Mrs Prosper said. “We also built it with easy-maintenance in mind.”Other features include newly installed wooden spotted gum floor boards and Bradford Anticon installation in the roof — perfect for keeping the house cool in summer and warm in winter.last_img read more