Monthly Archive: September 2020

29
Sep
2020

NAPF bemoans IORP II lobbying after cross-border funding fiasco

first_imgThis went against the legislation set out in IORP I, which requires all schemes operating across borders to be fully funded, at all times.The proposal from the European Commission to relax this was widely welcomed by industry experts across Europe, who said it was a step towards enhancing cross-border pensions activity within the EU, one of the stated aims of the Directive.However, yesterday, it emerged that the IORP II Directive, which is due to published on Thursday, has once again changed, with the original wording from IORP I reinstated.Walsh said if the Commission did not amend the cross-border rules, it would be because the Directive in its current form did not include any other legislation on funding, and instead solely focused on governance and transparency.“It’s not an argument we endorse,” he said.The reason other solvency regulations for pension schemes were not currently included was due to significant political opposition, Walsh said.“On the other hand, the relaxation of cross-border scheme rules would be straightforward,” he said. “It would command a lot of support from stakeholders – they could easily get it through. It’s a very different matter.”However, Francesco Briganti, director of the European Association of Paritarian Institutions of Social Protection, jumped to the defence of the Commission.He warned of a race to the bottom should cross-border schemes be allowed to match national regulation.“If a particular jurisdiction allows lax funding, you could get schemes based on that situation,” he said.“In other words, an honest regime requiring high or full funding would be penalised. The Commission has no choice but to stick to the status quo seen from IORP I. There would be unfair competition, and countries with strict regimes would lose schemes to the more lax ones.”Views from Ireland, however, fell more in line with that of the NAPF.Chief executive of the Irish Association of Pension Funds Jerry Moriarty said it was a strange decision that went against the purported aim of IORP II.The UK and Ireland are home to a significant amount of the EU’s cross-border pension schemes, with 27 schemes domiciled in the UK operating in Ireland, and 16 the reverse. The UK’s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has criticised the lobbying faced by the European Commission, after it appeared to reverse its decision to allow cross-border pension schemes to be unfunded.James Walsh, the organisation’s lead on European Union policy, told IPE the NAPF would be very disappointed if the IORP II proposal did not include the relaxation of funding rules, as expected.He said he suspected stakeholders had lobbied the Commission “with different views from those held in the workplace pensions area”.In a leaked draft of the Directive, wording was included that allowed a defined benefit pension, spread across more than one EU member state, to be funded according to regulations in the home state.last_img read more

29
Sep
2020

ECB interest rate cut tantamount to ‘expropriation’, says German association

first_imgHe argued that the consequences of the “politically set” low-interest-rate environment that had been in place for several years now “would be disastrous”.“With its policy, the ECB is conveying that there is no added value in supplementary pension saving,” he said.Another problem he sees is the postponement of pressing reforms and adjustments while the low base rate is “mainly used to refinance unprofitable or even non-performing loans” and to avoid “valuation corrections at all costs”.He said this inertia regarding reforms would serve as a second blow for future pensioners.In recent months, Rainer Jakubowski, Aden’s colleague on the BVV board, has issued similar warnings that German pension funds would run into trouble achieving minimum guarantees if interest rates remained low for much longer. He argued that institutions were being “punished” by the ECB for investing in most asset classes returning 3-4%, which is roughly the guarantee level.  The VFPK currently represents more than 4,200 company pension funds in Germany. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) recent decision to lower its benchmark interest rate from 0.25% to 0.15% has been “tantamount to expropriation from private households and savers”, according to the VFPK, Germany’s association of company pension funds.Helmut Aden, chairman at the VFPK, lamented that people “did not have a chance to accrue assets for their pension provision” and claimed this had been by “political design”. He called on the ECB and politicians to “end the hunt for record low interest as soon as possible” and stop moving “in the wrong direction”.According to Aden – who is also a board member of Germany’s largest Pensionskasse, the BVV – the ECB’s low interest rate policy will have “dramatic consequences for millions of future German pensioners”.last_img read more

29
Sep
2020

IPE Views: Growth trumps regulation at the European Commission

first_imgMeanwhile, Jonathan Hill, Britain’s member of the Juncker Cabinet in charge of stability and regulation of financial markets, has used the aforementioned “quick” and “effective” to describe how he would react to proposals to streamline financial regulation.Answering questions from the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs ahead of his confirmation hearing with lawmakers tomorrow, Hill says the prior overhaul of financial regulation completed “while the flames of the crisis raged” is a remarkable feat, and praises the leadership of outgoing internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier. However, he distances himself from the legacy with his next breath, saying that his appointment would mark “a new phase” without a significant increase in financial regulation.“Although we must continue to be alert to the emergence of new risks in our system and stand ready to take appropriate action, we are unlikely, over the next five years, to need to pass the same amount of new legislation again,” he says. As Hill sees it, his focus will be on regulatory implementation, enforcement and, importantly, evaluation – the last potentially being code-speak for a relaxation of the current regulatory requirements.He adds that if regulation is not flawless, “quick and effective adjustments” are required, emphasising the need for jobs and growth above all else.The supremacy of growth, not regulation, is also clear in comments from Jyrki Katainen.A former Finnish finance minister and prime minister, Katainen says he wants “concrete proposals” that will do away with regulatory “bottlenecks” undermining growth in the energy, telecom and transport sectors.Nominated for the position of vice-president in charge of the growth agenda – a new position that sees commissioners divided into topical clusters – Katainen is also very keen on greater financing of the real economy.The development of a more diversified financial system will require the removal of barriers, again emphasising less regulation.The resulting development of the Capital Markets Union, one of Juncker’s stated aims delegated to Hill, is likely to strengthen the hand of the pensions industry in Europe.After all, despite the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s continued work on the holistic balance sheet for pension funds, the Commission is unlikely to push ahead with any changes that would cause institutions to be more averse to risk. The Finnish commissioner-designate sees a threat of a regulatory “bottleneck” stifling growth, while Jonathan Hill wants regulation tweaked and growth to prosper. Does the European Commission’s focus on growth above all else mean the pensions industry no longer faces an uphill battle against further regulation?The words “quick” and “effective” are not ones often associated with the European Commission – at least by its critics.Yet the language coming out of Brussels ahead of Jean-Claude Juncker assuming the presidency has been markedly different than that employed in the recent past, stressing the importance of a nimble executive that does not unduly burden the economy with red tape.Frans Timmermans, the Dutch nominee for the College of Commissioners, will specifically be tasked with the oversight of red tape, and granted the power to veto any decision that increase the regulatory burden unnecessarily.last_img read more

29
Sep
2020

Irish fund buys out pensioners, transfers €340m to DC fund

first_imgUS manufacturer Analog is to close its €190m Irish defined benefit (DB) scheme, buying out pensioners and transferring the remaining members to an existing defined contribution (DC) arrangement.The firm announced its plan despite the DB scheme reporting a funding level of 125% under Ireland’s minimum funding standard (MFS).Trustees have used €40m of the DB fund’s assets to complete a buyout for retired members using an unnamed Irish insurer. It is understood the individual annuities bought for members are regular annuities, rather than Irish sovereign annuities.The remaining assets will be transferred to a pre-existing DC fund currently used to accrue additional voluntary contributions. In addition to the transfer of the remaining €150m DB assets, the company has agreed to pay €190m into the DC pots of active and deferred members. The sum was calculated based on what Mercer’s Irish head of retirement consulting Roz Briggs said were “prudent” assumptions to ensure members did not suffer any loss of retirement income as a result of the shift to DC.Briggs said that the assumptions underlying the MFS were regarded as too optimistic by Analog, and it therefore calculated the €190m as the sum needed to reach replacement ratio targets based on lower return expectations.“It’s closer to market-related investment return assumptions,” she told IPE.As part of the transfer, the DC fund’s trustees have agreed to launch a new, lower-risk default fund, Briggs added, while maintaining a choice of investment options for members opting out of the default.Denis Doyle, vice president of manufacturing at Analog noted that the DB scheme’s funding was “secure” at 125% of the MFS.“We’ve designed this transaction so that all benefits accrued for past service and a substantial portion of prospective future service will be paid to members of the DB scheme now,” he said.“Reducing the volatility and uncertainty is important to everyone and we expect this will become a model of best practice.”The company explained that it hoped the agreement would help with staff retention. It currently employs around 1,100 staff across two factories in Limerick and Cork.Analog added that it hoped to have completed a staff consultation and transferred the DB fund’s assets to the DC scheme by the end of its financial year in October, boosting the DC fund’s assets under management by €340m.last_img read more

29
Sep
2020

Dutch pensions insurer ASR to acquire BNG Asset Management

first_imgAccording to John Reichardt, CFO at BNG, asset management no longer fits within the bank’s core activities.Chris Figee, ASR’s CFO, said the services and staff at BNG AM were a welcome addition to the company’s existing product range.He described the acquisition as a “clear growth accelerator”.ASR recently announced that it would establish a general APF pension fund, the new pensions vehicle that can accommodate various pension plans under a single, independent board.Jack Julicher, CIO at ASR, said: “The combination of BNG Asset Management and ASR will make a strong asset manager for institutional clients, with a good balance between risk and return, as well as great attention to sustainability.”ASR and BNG said they expected to complete the deal during the second quarter, pending regulatory approval.As at the end of June, ASR had €42bn in assets under management. Pensions insurer ASR is to take over the €5bn asset management branch of BNG, the bank for Dutch local councils – including BNG’s 10-strong team – for an undisclosed sum.With the acquisition, ASR said it aimed to strengthen its position in the Dutch market for external asset management, focusing on the pensions industry, as well as the semi-public sector.BNG Asset Management, as a full subsidiary of BNG, offers its services to industry-wide pension funds, as well as lower government, care and educational institutions, care insurers, housing corporations, utility companies and charities.The asset manager offers tailor-made portfolios, investment funds and advice, with a focus on fixed income.last_img read more

29
Sep
2020

Morningstar buys 40% of ESG data firm Sustainalytics

first_imgThe deal followed a strategic collaboration between the two firms that resulted in the launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating in March 2016 for global mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor said the deal allowed Morningstar to build on the momentum from the launch of the Sustainability Rating. “We have the largest ESG fund coverage universe today, and we look forward to continuing to meet the increasingly sophisticated ESG needs and requirements of our clients through integrated solutions and innovative research that highlights good stewardship, lower costs, and transparency for investors,” Kapoor said. The Morningstar Sustainability Rating, which covers more than 35,000 mutual funds and ETFs, uses Sustainalytics’ company-level ESG research, allowing investors to gauge how well companies held in their funds are managing ESG issues.  In October 2016, Morningstar launched the Global Sustainability Index Family, a series of 27 global equity indexes designed to provide a standard for sustainability investing. It also released company-level ESG metrics for the holdings of 35,000 mutual funds and ETFs in April 2017. A tool enabling investors to screen portfolios for various ethical issues was launched in June 2017. Michael Jantzi, chief executive officer of Sustainalytics, said: “Close collaboration with Morningstar over the last two years has helped to broaden distribution of our ESG research, allowing Sustainalytics to work with more asset managers and owners to integrate ESG into their investment processes.” Investment research firm Morningstar has acquired a 40% stake in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and ratings firm Sustainalytics, in a sign of the growing consolidation in the field.The terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Steven Smit, head of sustainability at Morningstar, will join the Sustainalytics board of directors. The Sustainalytics executive team has also taken a minority equity stake in the company.It is the third major merger and acquisition deal involving investment data firms in less than year. In October 2016, S&P Dow Jones Indices picked up a controlling stake in carbon and environmental data company Trucost, while ISS acquired the investment climate data division of South Pole Group last month.Morningstar said the direct investment in Sustainalytics was “an important milestone in its long-term sustainability strategy and [would support] Sustainalytics’ ability to deliver high-quality, innovative ESG products and services to the global investment community”.  last_img read more

28
Sep
2020

Downsizing boomers prompt developer evolution

first_imgSandstone Lakes is popular with downsizers.IT’S a booming market right now – and it is being led by the Baby Boomers.And with many now looking to downsize from their large family homes to lower-maintenance houses in lifestyle locations, developers are having to come up with designs to suit this market.QM Properties, which is developing Sandstone Lakes at Ningi, the mainland gateway to Bribie Island, has announced new homes tailored specifically to the Baby Boomer market.This means smaller gardens, while maintaining floor space so residents can keep lifelong possessions.Sandstone Lakes is popular with downsizers.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoQM Properties general sales manager Damien Ross said the phenomenon was increasingly common with the developments he was overseeing at Sandstone Lakes.“As children move out or the maintenance of a property becomes overwhelming, downsizing offers a simple solution to those looking for their next step,” Mr Ross said.“Those building their homes want to be able to accommodate most of their former home’s contents without the added hassle of a large area of land to look after.“Communities such as Sandstone Lakes allow residents to choose from a whole host of home-and-land packages, tailored to suit a range of budgets and preferences.”With the recent over-65 superannuation changes allowing a once-off contribution of $300,000 from the sale of a home, Baby Boomers now stand to benefit from downsizing to a smaller property.Mr Ross said that while this was attractive for those looking to retire in the medium-to-short term, Baby Boomers weren’t keen on sacrificing their lifestyle.“A growing trend of retirees is to buy a property that is small enough to maintain, but large enough to entertain,” he said.Mr Ross said buyers were looking towards smaller gardens and larger homes, with some retiree residents in the Sandstone Lakes estate, in the Moreton Bay suburb of Ningi, opting to build four-bedroom houses.last_img read more

28
Sep
2020

Gold Coast real estate: From ‘ramshackle’ to modern mansion

first_img8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:54Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:54 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenAndrew Winter: To sell or to renovate?00:55 8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri.“You’re in the midst of it all but you’d never know it.”The house has four ensuited bedrooms, a cinema, library, kitchen with butler’s pantry.Concrete, timber, copper, stone and marble finishes are incorporated across the residence as well as many imported fixtures and fittings.“We introduced these features to give it soul,” she said.“But we also purposely chose neutral interiors for when new owners came in, so they could add their splashes of personality.”The property is on the market at $2.995 million through Kollosche Prestige Agents. 8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri. 8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri. “Or we can sit by the boardwalk and watch the pods of dolphins at play.”The real standout is the outdoor pavilion made from reclaimed railway bridge timber posts, a boardwalk constructed from original timber from Brisbane’s Bretts Wharf and a pool.“It’s a hidden gem on the Gold Coast,” she said. 8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri.It embraced their main wish to create a home where people gather and build happy memories.“Our biggest hope was having a space which brought people together,” Ms Domrow said.“Whatever the mood you are in, there is an area for you to enjoy. “If you fancy a drink, you might escape to the pavilion, or for a chat we’ll congregate on the deck or lounge.“If we want to take in the fireworks and enjoy the best of the Gold Coast skyline views, we’ll head up to the third-floor bar and terrace. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa14 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoMORE: Fisherman’s hut going under the hammer MORE: Why this house is the most viewed in Queensland 8 Maxime Court, Isle of Capri.BUY the worst house on the best street.It’s the age-old property saying that’s paid off for Karyn and Roger Domrow, who bought their Isle of Capri property with big plans in mind. “It was previously quite a ramshackle lot but had so much potential,” Ms Domrow said. “People would look at it and think this was a project which would be just too hard.”The pair worked with Stuart Osman Building Designs to rebuild the waterfront house and by April 2015, it resembled a modern mansion with an oriental flavour.last_img read more

28
Sep
2020

Pimpama project sells for almost $1 million thanks to town’s popularity

first_imgA 288sq m shed was included in the sale.Other features of the landholding included private bushland, a dam, two water tanks and a 288sq m shed. Pimpama’s median house price has jumped 14.4 per cent in the past five years to $460,000, almost half the price paid for the property. Mr Hempel said the sale was great for the region and represented the increasing popularity of the area.“Pimpama for a long time has been seen as a bit of backwater, but that’s changing,” Mr Hempel said. “A big driver of that is the Pimpama City Shopping Centre, King’s Christian College and new housing developments throughout the area.“The sale points to the future prosperity of the greater Pimpama area.” The property sold for $950,000. It’s a huge 4.06ha block. The property changed hands for $950,000. It last sold for a mere $120,000 in 2002, according to CoreLogic. MORE NEWS: North Bondi home of Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew for sale It’s a bit of an eyesore but someone is ready to transform 37 Old Wharf Rd, Pimpama.A RURAL dump has fetched almost $1 million in the Gold Coast’s north. The dilapidated three-bedroom house stands as an eyesore on a 4.06ha block in the township of Pimpama. The land grab will be a big project for the buyer who plans to flip the existing dwelling at 37 Old Wharf Rd. MORE NEWS: Luxury penthouse in Gold Coast’s Palazzo Versace sells for $5 million Ray White Industrial agent Gannon Hempel said the buyer had a lot of confidence in the area and dubbed the house a “renovator’s delight”. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa12 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“It doesn’t look much from the outside but with a bit of work it could come up really well and that’s what he plans to do,” Mr Hempel said. “He appreciated the fact you can have such a nice parcel of land with a decent size shed on it.“It’s half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast on a beautiful rural property with access to amenities.” 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 Pimpama is proving to be a popular place recently. Pimpama was Queensland’s fastest-growing region and also had the biggest population growth spurt of 3000 people in 2016-17, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Ray White Commercial director Greg Bell said Pimpama offered an excellent value for buyers looking for a great return on investment. “Pimpama has quickly become one of the fastest-growing suburbs in the state, so we are seeing property sell well and at very good value,” Mr Bell said.“This marks a great sale for the area of Pimpama, and on the back of the fantastic infrastructural and population growth Pimpama has had, we are seeing a steady rise of property values in the region.”last_img read more

28
Sep
2020

Baby Boomer generation has desire to ‘‘right-size’’

first_img n All master bedrooms comfortably fit a king-size bed and bedside tables n Larger walk-in robe in master bedroom n All secondary bedrooms can fit a queen-size bed and bedside tables n Larger indoor and outdoor living areas with seamless open-plan living n Bigger kitchens with more storage space and walk-in pantry n Design options to add (or remove) extra storage n Bluetooth technology for controlling lighting and keeping tabs on power usage(optional extra) Large-scale living will come as standard in Halcyon’s ‘2020’ home collection.Halcyon joint managing director Dr Bevan Geissmann said the changes reflected the Baby Boomer generation’s desire to ‘‘right-size’’ their home as they upsize their lifestyle.“These homes are designed to suit the modern senior who doesn’t want to sacrifice on space, luxury or comfort as they begin their unretiring lifestyle,” Dr Geissmann said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus12 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours ago“The 2020 homes have more living and bedroom space than ever before, so you can bring your furniture with you without worrying about it fitting into your new home.“Our designer kitchens are larger, have more storage space and created with entertaining and family dinners in mind.”Entertainment-oriented buyers also have the option of adding an outdoor kitchen to their rear patio that can comfortably fit a six-seater outdoor setting, perfect for Queensland’s subtropical lifestyle.KEY FEATURES Halcyon’s ‘2020’ home collection.An over-50s lifestyle developer is offering open-plan living, generous-sized bedrooms, designer kitchens and greater storage in all new home designs.Large-scale living will come as standard in Halcyon’s “2020’’ home collection.The 2020 home collection comes as Halcyon continues to lead the over-50s market by defying a slowdown in the property market recording 50 sales in less than two months.Aimed at supporting “rightsizing’’ rather than downsizing, the 10 architect-designed homes are based on feedback from Halcyon home owners and buyers.last_img read more