Industry veteran Ambachtsheer criticises Dutch pensions system

first_imgDutch pension funds should split their portfolios into two separate segments and abandon the notion of intergenerational risk-sharing, Keith Ambachtsheer has argued.The director of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management told IPE the risk-sharing element of the Dutch system was problematic, as it would always end with “the people with the power deciding things in their own interest”.He echoed previous comments that the current system was akin to US Nobel laureate John Nash’s game theory.“You can’t enforce [risk-sharing] unless you have a very strong governmental-type oversight that’s multi-generational, which is a pretty tough assumption,” he said. “Where the Dutch need to go is – rather than have a collective thing – simply divide their asset pool into a compounding component and a payment-certainty component,” the Toronto-based academic continued, noting that the two asset pools should not be mixed, as is currently the case in the Dutch system.He said he would keep “hammering away” at the idea until the Dutch “finally get it”.Ambachtsheer has previously expressed concern that a new concept of solidarity, whereby money is taken from pensions in payment, is changing the Dutch approach to pensions saving.Speaking at an event organised by the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds last year, he referenced Nash’s theory.“If you want a win-win game between various parties, you have to figure out how to keep it win-win,” he said. “If there’s a chance the game becomes win-lose, it will. And then it breaks down.”He has also been critical of previous proposals to revise the Dutch financial assessment framework (FTK) by allowing for a ‘nominal’ and a ‘real’ system of pension payments, deeming it flawed.For more on the FTK, including alternative proposals, see the March issue of IPElast_img read more

Read More

Pension fund participants of Berne facing CHF1.7bn funding bill

first_imgThe Swiss canton of Berne has conceded it owes the BPK and the BLVK – its public pension funds – CHF1.1bn (€900m), although plan sponsors and members will need to account for the remaining CHF1.7bn funding shortfall.The canton estimated that, for the CHF10.5bn Bernische Pensionskasse (BPK), the remaining shortfall will be CHF923m, while the shortfall for the CHF5.9bn Bernische Lehrerversicherungskasse (BLVK) for teachers in the canton stands at CHF776m.According to Swiss law for cantonal pension funds passed in 2013, public authorities must decide whether to fund their pension plans fully or stick with a state guarantee.For the Berne pension funds, the target to achieve full funding was set for 20 years from now. To fill the funding gap, the BPK – which is 83.4% funded – has set additional recovery contributions of 2.3% on top of regular contributions to the fund.At the BLVK, 81% funded, the rate was set at 4.25%.The canton and various cantonal authorities will be responsible for 60% of the cost of the recovery measures, while employees will be responsible for the remainder.In 2013, the BPK managed to push its funding level up from 78.8% with a 9.3% return.At the BLVK, a 6.3% return also improved funding, which had stood at a similar level to that of the BPK at year-end 2012.Both funds will be switched from defined benefit to defined contribution plans.This decision had been postponed three years ago, as the canton was still undecided on how to run the fund in future.In May, the majority of the people of Berne agreed to the key changes set down in the new legal framework for these changes, which will take effect from 1 January 2015.last_img read more

Read More

UK pensions infrastructure fund marks milestone on solar investment

first_imgA collective programme for UK pension funds to invest in infrastructure has reached a milestone as its second investment proposition received £131m (€182m) in commitments after its first round of raising.The Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP), organised and hosted by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), has now raised more than £600m from pension schemes for UK infrastructure projects.The platform’s addition of a solar investment was announced in February, managed by Aviva Investors, which joins Dalmore Capital as the PIP’s external managers.Investors in the Aviva fund include the £15.5bn Strathclyde Pension Fund, which announced a commitment of £20m in a meeting last month, alongside other Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) and private sector defined benefit schemes. The fund is said to provide inflation-linked cashflows by investing in small-scale solar panel installations in the UK, and will provide a quarterly income to investors.Mike Weston, the PIP’s chief executive, said raising £131m in four months demonstrated the appetite for core infrastructure assets from UK pension funds.“It is also further evidence of the progress PIP is making in delivering a range of infrastructure investment opportunities tailored to the specific needs of UK pension schemes,” he added.The PIP was set up by the NAPF on a ‘for pension funds, by pension funds’ basis and began investing in public/private partnership (PPP) equity last year via Dalmore Capital.It operates on a not-for-profit basis and currently uses two external managers to invest pension fund capital into UK infrastructure projects.Dalmore has more than £500m in commitments in its PPP Equity PIP fund, from more than 10 UK pension funds brought in via the NAPF’s work.The new Aviva fund will soft close at the current level but continue raising up to £250m until the autumn.Matthew Graham, a business development director at Aviva Investors, said: “Since it was announced, this fund has attracted strong investor interest. “The proposition in infrastructure has been designed to respond to client needs, offering long-term, secure, inflation-linked income that can provide attractive risk-adjusted returns.”The PIP, which retains its capital target of £2bn, is currently working towards being authorised the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to build up an internal asset management team.The PIP is also set to launch a multi-strategy infrastructure investment fund, which has been already developed by the organisation and will be launched once FCA authorisation is given.Speaking in February, Weston said he expected the PIP to hold a mixture of direct and indirect investments over the long term – using the two external funds as a starting point.last_img read more

Read More

Pensions fraud doubles in UK in two years, poll shows

first_imgThe share of pension schemes in the UK saying they have experienced fraud has more than doubled in 2015 from the proportion seen two years before, according to a study.Audit firm RSM said in its ‘Pensions Fraud Risk Report’ published yesterday that 37% of pension schemes in its 2015 survey reported experience of fraud, compared with 17% in the 2013 study.The survey polled 142 scheme trustees, secretaries and pension managers, responsible collectively for more than £40bn (€55bn) of savings.The data was collected in September after the introduction of the pension “freedoms” by the UK government in April 2015, which allow people aged 55 and over to take their pension as a lump sum, rather than being forced to buy an annuity with most of it. Ian Bell, head of pensions at RSM, said: “The pension freedoms introduced in April 2015 have transformed the pensions landscape for savers but also created an environment in which fraudsters see an opportunity to prey on savers’ confusion by offering questionable investment opportunities.”He said there was a lot to do in terms of educating pensions savers, but that schemes also had to share the responsibility. “The reputation of the pensions industry has been tarnished by high-profile frauds in the past, and it is imperative that those responsible for safeguarding the lifetime savings of members must not allow this to happen again,” he said.David Kirk, chairman of independent body the Fraud Advisory Panel, said the survey results showed too many pension scheme trustees, managers and administrators were failing to recognise their responsibilities properly.“Fraud and cybercrime are now firmly part of everyday life, and we must all play our part to protect ourselves, our organisation and our members from the threat,” he said.The survey showed transfers and other member transactions were the areas most often targeted.RSM also said there were “worrying levels of ignorance and complacency” among some pension trustees.It found that just over one-quarter of trustee respondents did not know that they were responsible for fraud detection and prevention systems.Forty percent said they had not tested their internal controls within the past 12 months, RSM said, adding that this fell short of The Pensions Regulator’s recommendations.last_img read more

Read More

Asset managers see protracted uncertainty plaguing markets

first_imgIn early analyses of the UK’s shock vote to leave the European Union (EU), asset managers stress the uncharted nature of the political process Britain is about to embark on and the prolonged uncertainty this may mean for financial markets.While some firms point to the emergence of buying opportunities following initial market tumbles, others are revising down growth forecasts for the UK.In particular, the UK referendum result – which last night saw 52% of votes cast in favour of leaving the EU against 48% to remain in – heightens the risk of further disintegration of the union by fuelling exit pressure within other countries including Italy, Germany and France, to exit, they say.Strategists and portfolio teams at BlackRock said: “We expect the UK divorce to be messy, drawn out and costly.” It will involve unpacking UK and EU laws and striking trade deals with a spurned EU and the rest of the world, they said.“We expect potential losses in services exports and investment flows to overwhelm any benefits of lower payments to the EU,” BlackRock said.The vote to leave is likely to be a catalyst for a series of highly unpredictable political dynamics, according to Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM)’s Hetal Mehta, European economist, and strategist Christopher Jeffery.They pointed out that UK prime minister David Cameron has so far said that the decision on when to trigger that withdrawal process will be a matter for his successor. “The referendum result is only politically, not legally, binding on the UK government,” the pair said in a commentary. “It is unclear, at this stage, whether the UK’s decision to leave will require ratification by Parliament in the coming weeks.”Since more than two-thirds of members of Parliament supported the ‘remain’ campaign, this is unlikely to be a particularly harmonious process, and a fresh general election cannot be ruled out, Mehta and Jeffery said.Candriam said that, even though the Lisbon Treaty of 2007 clarified the process for a member state to exit the EU, what would actually happen now was far from clear.“The referendum is, indeed, only an advisory referendum,” it said, adding that it could be weeks or months before formal approval comes from Parliament.It pointed out that, when Greenland decided to leave the European Community in 1982, it took three years to reach a deal. “The UK has 65m inhabitants, it exports a myriad of goods and services to the EU – 40% of its exports – and is financially deeply integrated with the EU,” Candriam said.The negotiation process between the EU and the UK is bound to be long and complex, with numerous political and legal hurdles, and the effect of this on the economy will be difficult to assess, it said.At State Street Global Advisors, global CIO Rick Lacaille, said: “While the vote to leave has immediate market implications, over the longer term, observers will be wary of the impact the vote has on other nationalist and protectionist movements – both in Europe and elsewhere.”Nationalist parties will feature prominently in elections next year in Germany and France, he predicted.“There is the potential for knock-on consequences for market-moving issues like trade, labour mobility and foreign investment,” Lacaille said, adding that just how the EU balanced facilitating a swift UK exit to reduce risk as quickly as possible, and discouraging similar movements in other countries, was key.David Page, senior economist at AXA Investment Managers, said the referendum result had prompted it to revise down its UK GDP forecast for 2017 to 0.4% from 1.9%.The UK economic outlook is likely to be hit severely by the decision to leave, and the economy seems to have sagged under the uncertainty of the referendum itself, with deferral of activity, he said.“The decision to leave the EU looks likely to make much of this deferral permanent,” Page said. Rory Bateman, fund manager and head of UK and European equities at Schroders, said the sharp fall seen in the UK stock market was a de-rating and not a fundamental earnings decline.“Given that over 78% of FTSE 100 revenues are derived overseas, as well as the incremental effect from weaker sterling, it seems unlikely there will be a significant earnings hit, despite the expectations the UK economy will suffer post the Brexit result,” he said.Value opportunities could emerge, and firms with global exposure may outperform, Bateman said.“At some point, there will be a compelling value opportunity for European equities, induced by the market rapidly pricing in a worst-case scenario driven by Brexit,” he said.Bateman said that, even though there appeared to be no Brussels ‘Plan B’ for the Brexit outcome, EU authorities may quickly say that a Free Trade Arrangement is unacceptable without free movement of people.“However, the UK is unlikely to accept free movement of people given that immigration has been the central tenet of the Brexit campaign,” he said.On the manufacturing side, the UK could well adopt World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariff arrangements, which would at least be quantifiable across different sectors, he said – for example, 10% for the car industry.The market would quickly price the consequences of the tariff change in, he predicted.Neuberger Berman struck a calming note in its commentary, cautioning against reacting as if this were a second “Lehman moment”.“The likelihood of at least medium-term damage to the UK economy from a leave vote, as well as pronounced market volatility on the back of political uncertainty for the UK and the EU as a whole, did lead us to adopt a relatively neutral stance in portfolios coming into the vote,” it said.But it had also positioned neutrally, partly to make sure investors were in a position to take advantage — potentially by adding to riskier assets based on a longer-term view of fundamentals, the firm said.The European Central Bank (ECB) said it was closely monitoring financial markets in the wake of the referendum result and was in close contact with other central banks.“The ECB stands ready to provide additional liquidity, if needed, in euro and foreign currencies,” it said in a statement.The bank said it had prepared for this contingency in close contact with the banks it supervises and considered the euro area banking system to be resilient in terms of capital and liquidity.Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said this morning that, as a backstop, and to support market functioning, the UK central bank was ready to provide more than £250bn (€326bn) of additional funds through its normal facilities.“In the coming weeks, the Bank will assess economic conditions and will consider any additional policy responses,” he said.BlackRock said the magnitude and volatility of the British pound’s fall would probably trigger further responses from the Bank of England. “We expect the central bank to cut its 0.5% policy interest rate to zero soon, and see it returning to quantitative easing rather than pushing rates into negative territory,” it said.Credit rating agencies are expected to adopt negative outlooks for UK government bonds, with downgrades to follow quickly, according to BlackRock.last_img read more

Read More

FSB adds ‘reach for yield’ to pension fund vulnerability list

first_imgThe Financial Stability Board (FSB) has added to its list of “potential vulnerabilities” of pension funds following feedback to a consultation on proposals for policy recommendations arising from concerns over the financial stability implications of asset management.The FSB yesterday published its final policy recommendations for tackling “structural vulnerabilities” from asset management activities.Like the consultation document that preceded it, yesterday’s report includes an annex setting out the FSB’s thinking about the vulnerabilities that pension funds could pose from a financial-stability perspective.This is relevant to its work on methodologies to decide whether financial institutions other than banks and insurers – such as asset managers, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds – should be deemed of global systemic importance; this would lead to a G-SIFI designation and come with rules. Pension funds could yet also still be deemed “systemically important” financial institutions, with the FSB having in its June 2016 consultation document said it may consider financial stability risks posed by pension funds when it resumes its work on these G-SIFI assessment methodologies.The same point is made in its final policy recommendations report, but its list of “potential vulnerabilities” of pension funds has been expanded.A new risk has been added to this list, to do with the “reach for yield and portfolio balancing”.The FSB said the low-interest-rate environments could cause pension funds, particularly defined benefit (DB) plans, to “reach for yield”, in particular as the funding status of some DB schemes has deteriorated.“Furthermore, recent moves into higher-risk credit securities and credit-intensive alternative assets could result in large, unexpected losses should market conditions deteriorate,” it said.A spokesman at the FSB told IPE the addition resulted from findings from comments received on the report, such as from BlackRock, the Investment Association and the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, as well as from internal analysis.last_img read more

Read More

EIOPA IORP stress test to consider financial stability ‘repercussions’

first_imgThe European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has launched its second stress test of EU occupational pension funds, geared towards analysing how pension funds could pass on shocks to the real economy and financial markets.The first stress test – which came in for strong criticism from the European pensions industry – was carried out in 2015, with the results published in early 2016.It found that pension funds had a limited ability to pass on financial shocks to other market participants, but EIOPA said further work was needed to understand the potential consequences on the real economy and financial stability in general. This is the focus of this year’s stress test.Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of EIOPA, said: “EIOPA’s second occupational pensions stress test analyses the effects of prolonged adverse market conditions on sponsoring companies, members and beneficiaries, and financial markets through pension funds’ investment behaviour, elaborating on the second-round effects on the real economy and financial stability. “It will provide up-to-date information on the vulnerabilities of the occupational pensions sector and the possible repercussions for the stability of the wider financial system and European economy.”However, aba, the German occupational pensions trade body, has rejected EIOPA’s approach to the 2017 stress test exercise on several grounds.Georg Thurnes, chief actuary for Germany at Aon Hewitt and deputy chief executive of aba, said that pension fund sponsoring companies do not come under EIOPA’s remit and that it was “unacceptable” for the stress test to incorporate an analysis of how they would be affected.In many cases the information being sought by EIOPA about sponsoring companies was either not publicly available or was not made available to the IORPs, he said.Thurnes also argued that EIOPA did not have the necessary expertise to conduct a reputable study on the financial strength of sponsoring companies in different sectors.The stress test covers IORPs providing defined benefit (DB), hybrid, and defined contribution (DC) plans.The 2017 exercise will examine how Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs) would cope in a “double-hit scenario”, consisting of a drop in risk-free interest rates and a fall in the price of assets held by the pension funds.The stress scenario was developed in cooperation with the European Systemic Risk Board.The DB/hybrid part of the exercise will analyse how the impact of these theoretical shocks on pensions funds would affect sponsor support and pension benefits over time, while the DC part will assess the impact on IORPs’ assets and on the retirement income of three representative plan members. This will be extrapolated to all DC plan members.The exercise also seeks to understand what IORPs’ investment behaviour would be like following the stress scenario.DB and hybrid schemes will have to apply the double-hit stresses to the “national balance sheet” – incorporating national-level rules and assumptions – and the “common, market-consistent balance sheet”. The latter corresponds to the common framework balance sheet that EIOPA has proposed, which aba and other industry associations oppose.EIOPA said using the common balance sheet was necessary to ensure comparability of the stress test results.A new aspect of the 2017 stress test is that DC pension funds have to assess the impact of the adverse market scenario on the market value of assets.EIOPA’s aim is to cover all the European Economic Area (EEA) countries with a material IORP sector. It said 20 countries from the EEA were set to participate in the stress test. The deadline for participating IORPs to complete the exercise is 13 July.last_img read more

Read More

Joseph Mariathasan: Venezuela – is the risk priced in?

first_imgThe late Hugo Chavez, elected President in 1998, undertook a radical nationalisation program and set up programmes to expand access to healthcare, food, housing, and education. That resulted in shifting masses out of poverty, but it relied on record-high oil prices and a quintupling of its external debt position between 2004 and 2013.The post-Chavez government, still referred to as Chavista, has proved to be a disaster in its economic mismanagement and in its attacks on the institutions that underpin democracy. Economic output has fallen by roughly 25% since 2013 and inflation in 2016 is estimated to have been around 400%. Society has become more violent, not only through protests and harsh reactions by the government but through criminality and an escalating murder rate.Oil production, critical for generating foreign exchange required for the imports that sustain its population, has fallen to 2m barrels a day due to lack of capital investment caused by the mismanagement of the state oil company, PDVSA. The depressed production, lower oil prices, and the proportion of the output that has been pledged to China have reduced the capability of the country to generate foreign exchange.As a result, the population is suffering from shortages of key essential goods including medicines. Venezuela suffered a 35%-40% contraction of its imports within the last couple of years, a situation that is unprecedented in the world. Venezuela is rapidly heading towards becoming a failed state.Venezuela’s total external debt is estimated at between $120bn and $160bn (€107bn-€142bn), of which $64.4bn is in US dollar-denominated international bonds. Around half of bonds are issued by the sovereign and half by PDVSA. The credit default swap markets are discounting a 95% or so probability of default within the next five years, and the 2038 sovereign bond trades around 45 cents to the dollar at the time of writing.Single most attractive opportunity?Venezuela is clearly a risky investment. For investors though, what matters is whether risk is priced in.Mohammed Hanif, CIO of Insparo Asset Management, argues that it is.Perhaps what is most surprising has been Venezuela’s almost perverse willingness to continue to pay its debt obligations. This is reflected in the price of its 2017 and 2018 bonds trading at over 75 cents to the dollar. If default is inevitable, that does not necessarily mean investors would lose out though. Insparo considers that the prices of sovereign and PDVSA bonds are already approaching expected recovery rates of 55%-65%.Aramco, the state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, is worth around $3trn. Valuations of PDVSA, Venezuela’s equivalent, should be comparable in magnitude, and any valuation of oil assets would suggest that there is significant asset coverage for the bonds.Whatever happens on the political front, with elections due in October 2018 and several thousand people engaging in daily and often violent demonstrations in Caracas, it is clear that the debt needs restructuring. There needs to be a credible government before a meaningful recovery can be made but the abundance of assets suggests that a strong recovery is possible.Hanif believes that, even after a default, investors should be able to receive sufficient assets to make Venezuela the single most attractive opportunity for the dedicated emerging market debt investor.Venezuela may be a mess, but the risks are clear and the issue is whether, and by how much, they have been discounted in asset prices. The same cannot be said for developed markets. The economist and entrepreneur Jerome Booth always says the distinction between emerging markets and developed is that in emerging markets the risks are fully priced in, while in developed markets they remain hidden.Political risk is clearly a case in point. It is political risk above all that characterises emerging markets and is the greatest challenge for potential investors. Argentina was one of the 15 richest countries in the world on a per capita basis for the first half of the 20th century. But a century of political instability with rule by populist politicians and military juntas eroded its relative wealth and its position to the extent that it was even downgraded to frontier market status by MSCI in 2009.Today, the Latin American tragedy that the world focuses on is Venezuela.Again, it is a rich country brought low by political mismanagement. Its oil reserves are comparable to – and larger than – those of Saudi Arabia. Its economy, like that of Saudi Arabia, is dominated by oil and Venezuela relies on imports for a major proportion of its industrial, construction, and household items.last_img read more

Read More

People moves: Ilmarinen chief to become head of OP Group

first_imgIlmarinen, OP Group, WTW, Pensionsfonds Gasunie, PGGM, AGH, AGI, FMO, Generali, The People’s Trust, Unigestion, Aon, Franklin Templeton, Gravis Capital, MAN Group, Janus Henderson Investors, HSBC Global, JPMAMIlmarinen/OP Group – Timo Ritakallio is to become the new president and group executive chairman of Finnish financial services company OP Group. He will take up the role in March 2018, at which point he will leave his current job as president and chief executive of pensions insurance company Ilmarinen. He will be replacing OP Group’s current president and group executive chairman Reijo Karhinen who is to retire when he turns 63 in January 2018, according to his contract. Karhinen has been in the role since 2007. Ritakallio will also become chair of OP Corporate Bank’s board of directors alongside his new role at the group. He has been president and chief executive of Ilmarinen since 2015, and before that, was the company’s deputy chief executive from 2008. Before working at Ilmarinen, Ritakallio had a long career in various executive positions at OP Financial Group.PGGM – Marcel Jeucken, managing director for responsible investment, is leaving the Dutch pension fund service provider as of 1 November to establish himself as an independent adviser in the field of responsible investment. His position will be filled in the interim by Frank Roeters van Lennep, CIO for private markets. Jeucken joined PGGM in 2006 as head of the then-new responsible investment team. In 2011 he joined the management team and investment committee of PGGM Asset Management. He was also a delegate of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment advisory council. Before PGGM, Jeucken was a director of the Dutch branch of what became Sustainalytics, and an economist at Rabobank.Eloy Lindeijer, chief investment management at PGGM, said: “Marcel is an important driving force and thought leader for PGGM. In part because of this, PGGM has been able to develop as a leader in the field of responsible investment. In the upcoming period, we will continue to call on Marcel as an adviser for PGGM. In this capacity, he will also continue to hold administrative positions in networks that are important to us such as Eumedion and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.” Willis Towers Watson – Jacco Heemskerk is to lead Willis Towers Watson’s investment consulting team in the Netherlands. He was previously an executive board member of the Dutch pension fund of RBS, which recently liquidated and merged with the general pension fund Centraal Beheer APF. Heemskerk has also been chairman of the pension fund Cindu International, which is also set to join a general pension fund. He remains chair of CFA Society Netherlands, the occupational assocation of investment professionals.Pensioenfonds Gasunie – The €1.5bn pension fund of Dutch energy giant Gasunie has named Janneke Hermes as its chair. Hermes, who has been a board member since 2008, succeeds Cees Pisuisse. At Gasunie, she was treasurer since 2002, also managing the pension fund’s assets. Hermes was also secretary of the scheme’s investment committee.HSBC Global Asset Management – Michel Meert joins the asset manager as global head of client solutions and consultant relations, leaving PwC. At PwC he was global investment consulting leader for institutional investors, responsible for leading the firm’s focus on large asset owners. From 2008 to 2014, Meert was senior investment consultant with Towers Watson.Generali Investments – Francesco Martorana has been appointed head of investments, effective 2 October. Martorana has been at the Italian group since November 2013, where he held the position of head of group asset liability management and strategic asset allocation for the general account assets. Before Generali, he held several management positions at Allianz SE. Martorana is taking over from Anna Khazen, who, after more than two years with Generali Investments, is leaving the group to pursue other opportunities.Generali Investments has also created a new role, head of LDI solutions, which has been taken by Anna Maria Reforgiato Recupero. The asset manager has a new strategy for Europe, which is meant to increasingly focus on offering end-to-end asset management and advisory services for liability-driven investing clients such as insurance companies and pension funds.Man Group – Michael Turner is the new chief executive of Man FRM, the alternative investment firm’s hedge fund investment specialist. Turner has been the COO of MAN FRM since 2012. Rachel Waters, currently deputy COO, will succeed Turner as COO. AGH – John Spruijt has been named as head of board relations at pensions provider Administratie Groep Holland as of 1 November. In the new position, he will be responsible for communications with the board members and AGH’s pension fund clients. Spruijt will also head the provider’s department for board support and will become a member of the company’s management team. Since 2007, he has been the representative of union De Unie at the pension funds for the confectionary sector (Zoetwaren), MITT and PMT. Before this, he worked at pensions provider Syntrus Achmea.FMO – The €9bn Dutch development bank has appointed Koos Timmermans as new member of its supervisory board (RvT), also succeeding Bert Bruggink as chairman of its audit and risk committee. Pier Vellinga, who has been a member of the RvT since 2008, will take over from Jean Frijns as the RvT’s chair. Frijns will step down because he is retiring. The FMO also officially appointed Fatoumata Bouare as chief risk and finance officer and re-appointed Linda Broekhuizen as chief investment officer. Unigestion – The boutique asset manager has hired Paul Osborne as director, UK institutional clients. Osborne was previously head of UK business development at PineBridge Investments. At Unigestion he will have a particular focus on UK corporate pension schemes and insurers. Claire Harding joined Unigestion at the end of June as co-head of consultant relations, leaving Lombard Odier where she was head of global consultant relations. Aon – Six new UK-based partners have been promoted to the consultancy’s global business. They include: Kate Charsley, who is the lead investment consultant on several of Aon’s pension fund and endowment clients; Craig Jefford, head of pensions actuarial services; and Alison Murray, head of the company’s actuarial services proposition for local government pension scheme clients.Franklin Templeton Investments – David Whitehair has been appointed head of defined contribution (DC). He joins from Fidelity International, where he was senior DC business development manager. Jupiter Asset Management – The listed UK fund manager has hired Jill Barber from Franklin Templeton as global head of institutional. She will join Jupiter on 16 October 2017. Prior to her role as head of UK and Ireland institutional at Franklin Templeton, she had institutional roles at Hermes Investment Management, Fidelity International and Capital International.Gravis Capital Management – The specialist investment advisory firm has hired ex-Fidelity director Charles Payne as an investment consultant. Payne has been working as an independent consultant since leaving Fidelity in 2015 after 14 years at the firm. He regularly lectures at London Business School, the Imperial College Business School and elsewhere on equity research, stock analysis, financial marketing and business ethics. Before Fidelity, Payne was director of performance measurement and risk at Henderson Investors and COO of the investment division at Gartmore Investment Management. Allianz Global Investors – Sjoerd Angenent has been appointed director of business development for the institutional market in the Benelux region, where the manager wishes to expand. Angenent has previously worked as a sales director at Robeco and Janus Henderson Investors.JP Morgan Asset Management – John Adu and Tom Stephens have been named UK head of ETF distribution and head of JP Morgan ETF International Capital Markets, respectively. Adu joined from Deutsche Bank and Stephens was previously at Société Generale Corporate and Investment Banking. Janus Henderson Investors – Jim Cielinski will be the manager’s new global head of fixed income as of 1 November. He was most recently global head of fixed income for Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Before joining Columbia Threadneedle in 2010, Cielinski spent 12 years at Goldman Sachs Asset Management as managing director and head of credit. The People’s Trust – Catherine Howarth, chief executive of responsible investment campaign organisation ShareAction, is to chair the investment trust’s independent shareholders committee. The People’s Trust is being launched by Daniel Godfrey, former chief executive of the UK’s Investment Association. The shareholders’ committee’s purpose is “to provide additional and meaningful accountability of the chief executive and Board to shareholders”. The People’s Trust has appointed five other members of the committee.last_img read more

Read More

Dutch minister: ‘Pensions funds should ramp up local investment’

first_img“Local investment does not only benefit participants and pensioners, but also their children and grandchildren,” the minister said.Citing the energy transition as the most important investment option, he said that the implementation of Dutch climate goals would lead to annual investments of €12bn in, for example, thermal grids and facilities to harvest offshore wind power.He also described sewer renovation, care for the elderly as well as non-regulated rental property in large cities, as “very profitable investments”.In his opinion, investing in the US or the UK is not the best option. “Look how the US is currently managed. And the UK is soon to leave the EU,” he said.Kamp pointed at Invest NL, the government initiative which is to issue risk-bearing capital for “socially desirable” projects that have been too risky for private investors up to now.Invest NL – scheduled to become operational as of 2019 – will receive starting capital of €2.5bn, and will independently develop projects.During the event, Prince Constantijn – brother of King Willem-Alexander – advocated increased investment in startups, an investment category into which only a few pension funds have so far dared to invest.As the envoy for StartupDelta, the Dutch programme for startups, the prince recommended Dutch pension funds take an early stake “in order to be at the table when the companies start making decent profits”.He said that currently successful Dutch startups were usually fully financed by large investors from countries such as the US and Singapore, and urged pension funds to “leave their comfort zone and start through, for example, establishing a venture capital fund”.Prince Constantijn received the explicit support of Leen Meijaard, executive chairman of BlackRock Benelux, who confirmed that current investments in Dutch startups are “small and fragmented”.Earlier during the congress, approximately 80% of the representatives of pension funds and insurers had said they agreed that institutional investors should increase their stake in startups. Henk Kamp, the outgoing Dutch minister of Economic Affairs, has again urged pension funds to significantly increase their local investments.“The Dutch economy is stable, successful and is currently growing at a rate of 3.3% on an annual basis,” he argued during a congress of the NLII – the organisation tasked with boosting local investment – in Amsterdam.Currently, local investments of Dutch pension funds comprise 12.4% of their combined assets, a recent NLII survey revealed.In the opinion of Kamp, this percentage “could go a long way” towards the 40% insurers have invested in the Dutch economy.last_img read more

Read More