UK regulator warns on transfers out of DB schemes

first_imgThe UK’s Pensions Regulator (TPR) has written to trustee boards of defined benefit (DB) schemes urging them to consider reducing the transfer values offered to members when considering exiting the scheme.In a letter sent to a number of large DB funds – obtained by financial services group Royal London under the UK’s Freedom of Information act – TPR advised trustees to consult their actuaries regarding the effects of transfers out of their schemes.DB scheme members in the UK are permitted to transfer their benefits to a defined contribution (DC) scheme. This option has increased in popularity in recent years following a relaxation of the UK’s rules regarding DC retirement options.TPR said in its letter: “In light of recent events concerning your scheme’s sponsor(s), we would expect you to take advice from your scheme actuary about whether the basis on which [transfers] are calculated remains appropriate. “We would also expect you to consider whether a new insufficiency report should be commissioned from the actuary. This would allow you to judge whether a reduction or further reduction should be applied to [transfers] in light of their assessment of covenant strength.”Royal London warned that a scheme granting generous transfer values to members while running a deficit could worsen its funding position, even though it would be reducing its liabilities. Sir Steve Webb, Royal LondonSir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London and a former UK pensions minister, said: “I would hope that well run pension schemes would be taking expert advice when deciding how much to offer to members wishing to transfer out.“But the regulator’s letter is a helpful reminder to all schemes that they need to be fair not only to those transferring out but also those left behind, especially where the scheme in question is in deficit.”The regulator said it had “sent letters on 12 occasions to trustees regarding transfer activity” in the year to 26 July.Other recommendationsTPR also recommended that schemes review their member communications, and outlined a number of issues for them to highlight to members.These included:An explanation of the risks of transferring out of a DB scheme, including an emphasis on the loss of a retirement income guarantee;The legal requirement for those transferring out more then £30,000 (€33,300) to seek professional advice from a qualified, authorised adviser;Information about the Pensions Advisory Service, a government-funded organisation that provides free guidance on pension issues; andThe risk of pension fraud.Trustees should also seek to improve their record-keeping to monitor transfer requests, and send the regulator monthly updates about transfer activity, TPR said.As DB to DC scheme transfers have increased, so has the number of reported pension scams – predominantly involving individuals being persuaded to transfer their savings into unauthorised investment funds. During the recent high-profile restructuring of the British Steel Pension Scheme, a number of people were targeted by unauthorised ‘advisers’ who directed them to expensive, inappropriate investments.UK regulators, including TPR and the Financial Conduct Authority, have reiterated that exiting a DB scheme – and forfeiting the guaranteed income stream it provides to retirees – is unlikely to be in the best interests of most members.The regulators have also joined forces to launch a multimedia advertising campaign to raise awareness of pension fraud.last_img read more

​KLP hunts for more women to manage pensions money

first_img“We are also afraid of becoming outdated if we do nothing,” Gulbrandsen said. “We must reflect society, and diversity in general.” KLP said one of the measures it would take to achieve its gender-diversity goal was to run a paid internship scheme with 10 available places, in which it aimed to include both male and female candidates. The goal of the scheme was to present investment management as an attractive career for women.“We want to encourage young women to think this is exciting,” Gulbrandsen explained. “This is how we will be showing our premises and that it is a good place to be. And when we do find good talents, we hope it will be contagious.”He added that KLP was an inclusive workplace adapted for people who have – and are starting – families.Further reading Norwegian pension fund Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) has pledged to increase the proportion of female employees in its investment arm to 40% by 2023.The NOK675.6bn (€69.6bn) provider’s investment management arm, KLP Kapitalforvaltning, has 70 employees. The percentage of female staff has “remained stable in the upper 20s” for many years the company said – but the company now plans to actively seek out the best female candidates.Håvard Gulbrandsen, chief executive of KLP Kapitalforvaltning, said: “We are doing this because it is good for the company in the long term. If we don’t do something, we will miss out on expertise and will not get an optimal working environment.”The company, which manages pensions for staff at most of Norway’s local authorities, said it would actively look for more female candidates. If none in the recruitment process were suitable, the chief executive would ask managers to find more. State Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was moved this month from Wall Street in New York to Paternoster Square in London, close to the London Stock ExchangeChart of the Week: A long way to go on representation Data from State Street Global Advisors indicates that there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve female representation on corporate boardsDutch pension funds ‘falling short’ on board diversity Dutch pension funds implementing the country’s code of conduct are falling short on improving diversity, according to the code’s dedicated monitoring committeelast_img read more

Swiss schemes pushed to adopt riskier strategies amid crisis uncertainty

first_imgAndreas Dänzer, Asga’s CIOThe federal pensions regulator Oberaufsichtskommission (OAK BV) had previously warned that Swiss pension funds should expect to encounter phases of high volatility in equity markets in the short-medium term, while for the long-term risks would relate to low interest rates.“Due to uncertainties, we continue to expect volatility above the historical average,” said Dänzer.UBS expects the global and Swiss economy to display a U-shaped recovery, with lockdown measures not to be imposed again in case of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, but with further precautionary measures in place until a vaccine is available.“Recovery should be slow in the second half and only take off next year. That means pension funds will probably have the worst behind them from an investment perspective, and be able to keep the coverage ratio above 100%, but won’t be able to make significant gains this year,” Bauer said.He added that volatility is likely to remain high in financial markets as geopolitical tensions could flare up and with the US elections approaching.According to a recent OAK BV update, funding ratios for Swiss pension funds improved at the end of June to 107.9% from 105.4% in April.Asga said that a forecast for the second half of 2020 is still dependent on many uncertain factors, with different countries that find themselves in different stages of the pandemic, for example.“The economic risks remain very high, although measures have been taken and implemented by countries and central banks,” Dänzer said.OAK BV said underfunding would likely rise by the end of this year as losses are expected for the main asset classes.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. To achieve higher returns, a diversified portfolio comprising alternative assets and commodities “is even more important,” Bauer said, adding that “it would also help if pension funds could focus more on the long term instead of keeping the coverage ratio above 100% in the short term.”Asga Pensionskasse has tried to “optimise” its investment strategy before events such as the coronavirus crisis, to achieve an optimal risk-return ratio and to reduce risk through broad diversification, chief investment officer Andreas Dänzer told IPE.The pension fund tends to consistently align its investment portfolio with its strategy even in difficult market periods – it has “pre-analysed” current market scenarios and defined rules to adjust its portfolio to its investment strategy, it said.“We have implemented this aspect and will continue to follow it, thus we avoid pro-cyclical actions and we focus on the investment strategy as the most important driver for returns,” the CIO added.Asga’s investment approach takes into account the on-going low interest rate scenario. A review of long-term returns and risk expectations is also carried out regularly, Dänzer said. Swiss pension funds will need to pursue riskier investment strategies in a hunt for higher returns in a prolonged period of low interest rates and amid the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Hunting for yield is costlier and harder to do for pension funds, as for other investors,” Jackie Bauer, head of retirement and public policy research at UBS, told IPE.The occupational pension scheme Stiftung Auffangeinrichtung BVG said in a statement that negative interest rates cause long-term damage to savings – placing pension funds at a crossroads that may lead to making choices with uncertain outcomes, it said.“A specific savings target can only be achieved by taking higher risks, otherwise the savings target must be reduced or financed through higher savings contributions,” the institution added.last_img read more

How much? This is Brisbane’s most expensive rental property

first_imgThis house at 10 Morgan Street, Ascot, has been leased for $5500 a week.A YOUNG Brisbane entrepreneur is forking out 13 times the average weekly rent to live a life of luxury in one of the city’s most lusted-after mega mansions. For the princely sum of $5500 a week, the house described as “the trophy home of the decade” is the most expensive rental ever achieved in the river city, according to the Residential Tenancies Authority.You could rent 13 houses for the price 10 Morgan Street, Ascot, has been leased for, based on the median weekly rent in Brisbane being $415, according to property researcher CoreLogic. The pool area of the house at 10 Morgan St, Ascot.It is also nearly three times the average monthly mortgage repayment.But Joy Crossingham, the owner of eyelash extension supplier, LashJoy, also operates part of the business from the house.The ultra-private, luxury residence is built into the side of Bartley’s Hill and spans four levels, with more than 1470 sqm of living space. The house spans four levels, with lots of glass panels to take advantage of the views.Eadan Hockings of LivingHere, who leased the property, said his research showed it was the highest rental price achieved for a residential home in Brisbane.The house that disgraced businessman Christopher Skase built in Hamilton was advertised for rent for an eyewatering $12,800 a week before it sold last year, making it Queensland’s most expensive advertised rental. The alfresco lounge, dining and back garden. Photo: Claudia Baxter.“It’s a market we weren’t aware existed in Brisbane — we had a lot of people laughing at us when we put that price out there.”But Mr Hockings said he was expecting to see several rentals secured in that price range in the first quarter of this year.“We’re dealing with a lot of people who, if they can’t find a place to buy, are often happy to put down up to $250,000 a year in rent,” he said. The master bedroom. Photo: Claudia Baxter. This house at 10 Morgan St, Ascot, has been leased for $5500 a week.It comes as rents in Brisbane are on the rise, with research by realestate.com.au showing house rents increased 2.4 per cent in 2018, while the cost of leasing a unit became 2.6 per cent more expensive.Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the only way was up for rents in the city from here on, as underlying demand in the Brisbane market began to absorb rental supply, putting upward pressure on rents. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoThe house comes with a fully equipped gym.The home has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, space for 10 cars and killer views.For $5500 a week, you also get a commercial grade marble kitchen, an infinity lap pool, oversized bar and entertaining area, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a private gym, shower and steam room, and an internal lift. The incredible city views from the dining area. A glimpse of the city views from the home.But Mr Hockings said the closest price for a secured rental in Brisbane, after 10 Morgan Street, was $3800.“We’ve seen an influx of tenants with $4000 plus per week to spend as a result of this landmark rental,” Mr Hockings said. last_img read more

Cashed-up buyers splashing millions on Gold Coast properties

first_img MORE NEWS: Coast’s most popular house sells The mansion at 1-3 Queen Guineveres Place had been on the market for years. It is believed to have fetched close to $5 million.Property records show it hit the market in November 2017 under an expressions of interest campaign before a $7.4 million price tag was attached in April 2018.Multiple agents have tried their hand at selling the five-bedroom residence over the years, some even reducing the asking price to push it over the line. Amir Prestige Property Agents’ Ivy Wu sealed the deal, selling it to an interstate couple who planned to live in it. “They appreciated the quality and scale of the property,” she said.She would not disclose the sale price but it is understood to be in the high $4 millions. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoCashed-up Brisbane buyers bought the four-bedroom penthouse in the One Palm Beach development. 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 Further south, cashed-up Brisbane buyers splashed $4 million on a trophy penthouse at Palm Beach. Harcourts Coastal’s Tolemy Stevens handled the sale of the four-bedroom residence topping the One Palm Beach development, which has 17 apartments including the penthouse.“The buyers were looking at Main Beach, Broadbeach and Mermaid Beach but ended up landing in Palm Beach,” he said.“They loved the penthouse’s size, the fact it occupied the entire level and that they were on the eighth floor and so felt connected to the beach still.”center_img The sale of a Sovereign Islands property is among a few big deals penned already in 2020.THE sale of a distinctive Sovereign Islands castle is one of the highest multimillion-dollar deals to be inked on the Gold Coast so far this year.The extravagant residence at 1-3 Queen Guineveres Place, known as Villa Verona, fetched almost $5 million after more than two years on the market.It was built by Russian couple Igor and Irina Farbitnik after they bought the block in 1997. The builder behind the Coast’s renowned Utopia mansion, Scott Widdicombe, then purchased the sprawling property in 2016 and spent millions refurbishing it. MORE NEWS: QLD leads housing growth turnaroundlast_img read more

Flashy home sells — minus the green Lambo and free wine

first_img MORE PROPERTY STORIES The home has a modern, open-plan kitchen and dining area. Photo: SuppliedUpon its completion, Zephyr Industries director Brayden Larkin said the original 1920s Queenslander home had being given a new life with no expense spared.Features include a 3000-bottle temperature controlled wine cellar with wine tasting room, anelevator, cinema, two pools, and a roof top terrace with private six-seater spa. The impressive 3000-bottle wine cellar. Photo: Supplied This house at 15 Towers St, Ascot, has sold without the free Lamborghini. Photo: Supplied.A luxury house that won a national “Best Renovation” award last year has sold for $5.2 million – minus the flashy green Lamborghini and free wine.Called Belvedere, the Zephyr Industries-built 900sq m residence at 15 Towers Street in Ascot is believed to have sold to a local buyer, with the price only recently revealed in land titles data. Grand renovation for 100-year-old Queenslander $2 billion development for the Bundaberg region Climber sells home, honours memory of ‘soulmate’ lost in tragedy This property at 15 Towers St, Ascot, has sold. Photo: SuppliedWhen it was first offered to the market, it was listed for a whopping $8.8 million and was being offered for sale with a new bright green Lamborghini Huracan LP 580 and free vino. The home was initially offered to the market for a whopping $8.8m. Photo: SuppliedBut property data shows the glitzy residence was on the market for 423 days, having being listed with three different agencies before finally being sold by Ray White New Farm agent Matt Lancashire in about four months. The view from the home at 15 Towers St, Ascot. Photo: SuppliedMr Lancashire refused to comment on the sale in any capacity.As for the four-storey masterpiece house, it comes with five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a seven-car garage.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus8 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market8 hours agoVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:09Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:09 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenIconic riverfront estate in Brisbane02:10last_img read more

Swansea tidal lagoon scores double at Planning Awards

first_imgThe design for the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project has been declared a winner in two separate categories of the Planning Awards.Tidal Lagoon Power, the developer behind the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme, won the award in the Infrastructure planning category.The Swansea tidal lagoon project also took home an award for sustainability, with both Tidal Lagoon Power and London-based consultancy LDA Design, carrying the nomination in this category.Alex Herbert, Tidal Lagoon Power’s Head of Consents, said: “These awards are testament to the outstanding professional planning work undertaken by our own team in partnership with LDA Design as our master planners.“They reinforce what we have always said: this iconic infrastructure project will transform the way in which we meet the UK’s future electricity demand and the relationship between power stations and the communities that host them.”The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has a design life of 120 years, with an annual net power output of 400GWh.The lagoon will not only provide carbon-free energy, but will also include national sailing center, a new visitor center, maritime park, beach and saltwater marsh.The Planning Awards, organized by Planning magazine in conjunction with PlanningResource and PlacemakingResource, were held in London on June 21, 2017.last_img read more

Solstad Farstad Gets New CFO

first_imgAnders Hall Jomaas has been appointed the position as chief financial officer (CFO) of Solstad Farstad ASA (SOFF). He comes from the position as CFO in Deep Sea Supply, a position he has held since 2010.Anders holds a MsC within Industrial Economics and Technology Management from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).Solstad Farstad has been created following Solstad, Farstad and Deep Sea Supply (DESSC) completion of the transactions related to the announced merger to create a new OSV company.The completion of the mergers was registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises after close of trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange on June 21, 2017.last_img read more

Volstad Maritime sets up refinancing plan

first_imgVolstad Maritime, a Norwegian operator of seismic exploration, diving, offshore IRM and construction vessels, has established a fully funded refinancing plan for the company and certain of its subsidiaries that in principle is supported by its secured bank lenders. The company and its key stakeholders have for some time been working on refinancing of the group’s financial debt, including the redemption of Volstad Subsea bond issue falling due July 5, 2017, with the purpose of improving the group’s financial situation, the company explained in an Oslo Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday.Volstad added it has now established a fully funded plan for the refinancing together with inter alia the group’s secured bank lenders, and it is expected that a binding agreement for the refinancing will be in place shortly.On this basis, it is the issuer’s current expectation that the bonds nevertheless will be redeemed in full, within applicable deadlines of the financial documents of the bonds by mid-August 2017.The company noted that the refinancing and redemption are subject to the agreement of definitive documentation, credit committee and certain other approvals and other customary conditions.last_img read more

Teledyne RD Instruments’ DVL for Riptide’s Micro UUV

first_imgTeledyne RD Instruments (TRDI) will supply 600 kHz Pathfinder Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) to provide precision navigation capability for Riptide’s Micro UUV for a recent order for the US Navy.Riptide’s Micro UUV provides users with an affordable platform suited for new autonomy, power system, subsea sensor, and payload development.Bill Key, sales director for Riptide said, “Our team selected Teledyne RDI’s Pathfinder DVL because it’s the smallest DVL, delivering the highest performance. This unit, coupled with our iXblue INS, will deliver a 200% increase in navigation performance with a minimal impact on vehicle endurance. Teledyne RDI’s vast experience with DVL technology played a key role in selecting the Pathfinder. It’s great to have a vendor that’s also a true partner in ensuring that our customers receive an optimal solution.”last_img read more