Stefan Beiner, head of asset management at Publica, Switzerland’s largest pension fund, has said the European Central Bank’s (ECB) recent rate cut had been largely “expected by the markets” but was exactly what European pension funds did not need.He pointed out that the ECB had to date been “less active” than other central banks, and said it was “understandable” that it wanted to try and ensure that, in the real economy, the amount of loans for corporations and consumers would expand.“I do not know whether this measure will actually have a net positive effect on the real economy,” he added, “but we as pension funds are suffering from the low interest rates.”Beiner called the rate cuts a “tax”, which “we – as savers – have to pay via low interest”. He said a rate increase would “hurt pension funds over the short term with an accounting loss” and that, over the long term, higher interest rates would help the pension fund industry.Currently, 10-year Swiss government bonds yield 70 basis points, while a recently placed 50-year Swiss government bond yields just 1.6%.For Publica, which has CHF36bn (€29.5bn) in assets under management, the ECB’s decision to lower the benchmark interest rate from 0.25% to 0.15% means “risk-free(ish) assets have become even more unattractive in terms of return expectations”, and demand for riskier assets such as equities will “potentially increase”.But Beiner warned that equities from industrialised countries, for example, were already “priced quite ambitiously”, and that “many of the underlying structural problems remain unsolved”.At the Swiss Pension Conference, Beiner said Publica reduced its equity exposure at the beginning of the year, as he expects lower returns from the asset class in the coming years.Instead, the fund is considering to go into private debt such as infrastructure debt and direct lending.
The chairman said the merger of both pension funds would happen at the request of the employer.The Opf KPN is open to KPN staff who are not employed under a collective labour agreement (CAO).As of the end of 2013, it had 1,895 participants, of whom 510 were workers and 445 pensioners.It reported a 1.6% return over 2013, while its coverage ratio was 115% at November-end. The KPN Pensioenfonds had 57.712 participants in total at the end of 2013, when it returned 1.3% on investments.Its funding was 111.5% at November-end.The KPN Pensioenfonds said it granted its active participants an indexation of 0.38% for 2015.Its pensioners and deferred members were given a 0.55% inflation compensation.The scheme also said it doubled the number of age cohorts for life-cycle pensions saving to 10 to further fine-tune investment risk for age and the remaining period before retirement. The two Dutch pension funds of telecommunications giant KPN – the €6.6bn Pensioenfonds KPN and the €730m Ondernemingspensioenfonds KPN (Opf KPN) – have announced plans to merge.Rudi van Nieuwenhoven, chairman at the Opf KPN, said: “A steering committee has already concluded that a merger will chiefly produce benefits, such as risk-sharing, significantly lower implementation costs and improved quality of governance.”He said both pension funds and their pension plans already had a comparable set-up, and that their investment and risk policies were also quite similar.In addition, the schemes’ boards have already been cooperating in joint committees for asset management, communications and financial management for “quite a while”, according to Nieuwenhoven.
The Dutch government is looking to replace average pension contributions with ‘degressive’ premiums to make the system fairer for younger participants. In a memorandum to Parliament outlining the future of the Dutch pensions system, Social Affairs secretary Jetta Klijnsma said the “gradual dismantling” of the average contribution system would begin in 2020.In a degressive system, younger workers pay proportionally smaller contributions because their paid-in premiums are expected to generate greater returns over a longer period than those of older participants.In her memorandum, Klijnsma said she would work with the pensions industry, companies and workers on how best to bring about a “balanced transition”. She made clear that one of the conditions for the transition would be the removal of various legal barriers – European and international – including mandatory participation in a pension fund.The Actuarial Society has said the cost of such a transition would be approximately €25bn, whereas the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis’s estimate is closer to €100bn.Klijnsma’s memorandum also indicated that the government supported the “interesting yet unknown” variant of individual accounts with a degree of risk sharing, as recommended by the Social and Economic Council.However, the Cabinet stressed that such an approach must be “transparent and balanced and contribute to the pension outcome”.The Dutch government said further “elaboration” of current pensions contracts would be the next best option if its preferred proposal could not be achieved.Another major point of the memorandum was that every worker, including the self-employed, should be able to accrue a sufficient additional pension through “a kind of mandatory participation”.The government said it any new pensions system should pay more attention to the dynamics of the labour market and the changing roles of workers.
The UK will not clarify the fiduciary duties of pension trustees by amending the law, a decision that has been criticised as extremely disappointing by parts of the responsible investment community.In February, the government asked whether it should amend investment regulations for private sector funds, following suggestions from the Law Commission. The Commission said there was a case for changes to the regulation under which trustees have to explain in the Statement of Investment Principles whether environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns were taken into consideration when making investment decisions. Instead, it said new wording should clarify how trustees weigh up ‘financial’ and ‘non-financial’ factors – terminology preferred by the Commission in place of ‘ESG’ – when investing. In its response to the consultation, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) said amending the regulations to offer distinctions between the two areas “would not necessarily lead to greater clarity for trustees”.The DWP argued trustees were aware of their responsibility to consider such matters, citing surveys conducted by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).The PLSA’s newly appointed stewardship and corporate governance policy lead, Luke Hildyard, cited the same survey when arguing that trustees were aware of their duties.He backed the government’s decision not to amend the regulation, saying it “shares the view that more prescriptive regulation on fiduciary duty isn’t warranted at this time”.However, ShareAction noted that in the same PLSA survey more than one-third of respondents said their trustee boards were unaware of the Law Commission’s report. A review of equity markets led by John Kay, who recommended the launch of the Investor Forum, triggered the report, published in 2014.ShareAction chief executive Catherine Howarth insisted that the government needed “robust” reasons to ignore the commission’s recommendations.“Disagreement from respondents on the detail of changes to regulations falls well short of that standard,” she said.“Why has the government ignored the chance to bring interested stakeholders together to think this through, and instead taken six months to produce an old-school consultation response rejecting change?”The charity in 2014 drafted its own responsible investment bill, seeking to incorporate some of the Kay Review’s proposals into law.UKSIF, the responsible investment association, also voiced its displeasure.Its chief executive Simon Howard said he was “extremely disappointed”.“This represented a key opportunity to help put UK finance on a more sustainable footing, and it has been missed,” he said.UKSIF noted that the DWP’s decision to issue only guidance seemed at odds with the view of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which said in 2014 it would ensure trustees were “empowered”.Howard argued that trustees trying to do the “right thing” despite the current regulatory background deserved “explicit” regulatory support from government that would see those lagging behind required to protect member interests.“The government says guidance from regulators is enough – that is wrong,” he added.“The world’s governments are gathering in Paris to try to address climate change. If the threat is important enough for that, it’s important enough to change some regulations.”Read more about the upcoming climate conference in Paris and the pipeline for renewable infrastructure in the current issue of IPE,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to UK government’s response on fiduciary duty consultation
Northern Trust Asset Management – Julia Kochetygova has been appointed as an ESG research analyst. Based in London, she joins from S&P Dow Jones Indices, where she was head of sustainability indices.Vontobel Asset Management – Adrian Bender has been appointed as a portfolio adviser in Vontobel’s fixed income boutique, while Sergey Goncharov has been appointed as a credit analyst. Bender joins from Amundi in London, where he was head of product specialists. Goncharov joins from Sberbank CIB in Moscow, where he worked as a senior credit analyst.AXA Investment Managers – Jean-Christophe Ménioux has been appointed as general secretary and CFO. He joins from AXA Group, where he was most recently responsible for the Life & Savings business line. He is to replace Elie Harari, who joins AXA Partners as CFO.Capital Group – Emma Friend has been appointed as senior manager for institutional marketing. Based in London, she joins from Lombard Odier Investment Managers, where she was head of content marketing. Before then, she spent six years at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Loomis Sayles Investments – Alex Thompson has been appointed to the newly created role of product specialist. He joins from Mercer, where he led the European fixed income manager research team. Before then, he was a manager researcher at Aon Consulting. Russell Investments, Fidante Partners Europe, Eaton Vance Management International, Nuveen Investments, Northern Trust Asset Management, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Vontobel Asset Management, Amundi, Sberbank CIB, AXA Investment Managers, Capital Group, Lombard Odier Investment Managers, Loomis Sayles InvestmentsRussell Investments – Jim Leggate has been appointed head of UK institutional. He has more than 25 years’ experience working in a number of roles at sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and private banks. He joined Russell in the summer of 2011 and helped found its Dubai office later that year. Before joining Russell, he was executive director and head of asset owners and investment consulting at MSCI.Fidante Partners Europe – The alternatives investment manager has opened an office in Stockholm, and Christian Andersson has been appointed to lead Fidante’s growth in the region. Andersson has 17 years’ experience of providing strategic investment and risk solutions to Nordic pension funds and life insurance companies at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and SEB Merchant Banking in London.Eaton Vance Management International – Tjalling Halbertsma has been appointed managing director, overseeing existing and new business development across the EMEA, Asia including Japan, Latin America and Australia. He joins from Nuveen Investments in London, where he served most recently as head of EMEA. Before then, he worked at MAN Group, Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank.
Wayne Nicholson, REIQ Townsville zone Chairman. Picture: Shae Beplate.Happy new year! As we open our empty new calendars and ready ourselves for the year ahead, it’s timely to glance backwards. A review of the past helps us maintain some perspective and it reminds us that while it feels tough now, it’s definitely been tougher. As a rookie agent in 1980 I was taught that real estate values doubled every seven years and trebled every 10. I purchased my first block of land in 1975 for $4,250 and sold it four years later for $4,900, leading to my first home purchase that year — a near-new low-set home in Rasmussen for $36,000, instead of the highset home in Cranbrook that I could have bought for just $28,000! Roll forward to 1980 when I first started selling houses and the average sale price was around $45,000. I fondly remember selling 16 Burgess Street Village Haven for Reg and Shirley Ludbrooke for $87,500. It was a two-storey red-brick family home and it was a sale to be proud of in front of my peers in the office. It was a big sale and I remember my commission was $1,218.75. I thought I was the richest agent in the world!More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020From 1988 to 1993 house prices in Townsville doubled. We were selling homes in Kirwan for $55,000 and then selling the same home again five years later for around $110,000. Townsville’s market then took a breather and there was no capital growth until 2001. In fact, there was a very small correction of around 5 per cent between 1993 and 2001. GST was introduced in 2001 and it affected commission on real estate sales (and in my view it still does today). Shortly after this, the market took off and escalated quickly through to 2007. I can honestly remember in 2005/06 listing a property one day and selling it two days later for more than the listed price. Then in 2008 the GFC hit the world and no markets were spared. Share markets collapsed as did the Australian real estate market. A decade later, Townsville is still feeling the hangover to the tune of a 20 per cent to 30 per cent fall in residential real estate prices. The commercial sector is facing similar woes.We would like to think the worst is behind us and that the market has bottomed out. We use the term “green shoots” and both commercial and residential sectors are reporting a more positive market albeit with very cautious tones.What will 2019 hold? Nobody can be 100 per cent certain but everyone at the REIQ is cautiously optimistic that the market is going to see some positive growth. Here’s to a strong year ahead!
The 22 Railway Pde, Clayfield The home at 22 Railway Pde, Clayfield. Picture: Supplied.THIS character home is on a quiet street in Clayfield, walking distance to public transport, day cares and schools. Having owned the property at 22 Railway Pde for 14 years, Darryl Tebbutt and his wife Merita are selling to make a sea change. “The home is in a fairly peaceful setting and it’s elevated so you get the nice northerly breezes,” Mr Tebbutt said. “I like that the house is light, airy and cool.” The veranda at 22 Railway Pde, Clayfield. Picture: Supplied.Mr Tebbutt said he was unable to find any information about when the house was built but he believed it was constructed in the 1930s. The property has timber floors, VJ walls, decorative breezeways and high ceilings. There is a galley kitchen and an open-plan living and dining space, opening to the rear covered deck. The main bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, the second bedroom has veranda access and the third bedroom has a built-in wardrobe. The kitchen at 22 Railway Pde, Clayfield. Picture: Supplied.There is also a family bathroom, laundry and front veranda. The Tebbutts extended the home on one side to include a new media room with external access. Mr Tebbutt said the home had the potential to be raised and would suit a young family or a professional couple. The property is being marketed by Tim Hunt of Harcourts Clayfield. The Tebbutts originally purchased the home for its convenient location. “When we bought it, we were both working so we loved that it was close to the railway station,” Mr Tebbutt said. “We live on the Doomben line but we’re also only about 800m from Wooloowin Station.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours ago“We could wander down to the station and we’d never wait more than five minutes for a train.“We’re also close to Sandgate Rd and there are about three buses that head into the city from there, so if there’s ever a train strike, we’re not caught out.”
Beach house fetches $4.4 million in off-market sale Accused wife killer Chris Dawson home relisted for rent More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus12 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours agoThe couple sold their Broadbeach Waters mansion for $9 million before making the move to BrisbaneMrs Rice said that they knew they had to have the New Farm apartment within moments of exiting its private lift. James Rice and Elise Preo both from the CBD at the Gambaro Mud Crab Cup Lunch. Pic Annette DewThat mansion was bought by Mermaid Beach couple Glenn and Victoria Hargraves, part owners of directory and online search company Local Search. Perfection for tennis ace Ash Barty to come home to after Wimbledon They are now selling their New Farm apartment“When we went home we just couldn’t stop thinking about it. We were obsessed with it and how unique and beautiful it is,” she said.The luxury, two level apartment had four bedrooms, four bathrooms and space for six vehicles.Key features include the private lift, walls of glass to accentuate the views, a modern kitchen with designer appliances and finishes, a bar, wine cellar, media room and a dream master suite with a circular stone bath. It’s tiny, but could you live here? The view from the New Farm apartmentFORMER BRW rich-lister James Rice and his glamorous wife Elise are selling their spectacular skyhome in the Brisbane CBD.Designed by award-winning architect Justin O’Neill, the sprawling 670sq m luxury apartment spans two levels, and has some of the best views of the river city.It was purchased by the couple in 2017 after Rice, the boss of development firm Urban Construct, sold the family’s Gold Coast mansion for $9 million that same year. MORE REAL ESTATE NEWS Soak in the views from the tub!It is listed with Sarah Hackett of Place Bulimba and is being sold by tender, which closes at 4pm on June 21. MORE PROPERTY NEWS Ellen DeGeneres buys Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine’s $64.7 million Beverly Hills mansion To find out more about the luxury apartment, and why the couple are selling, pick up a copy of the Realestate magazine in Saturday’s Courier Mail. Land tax hike slammed as QLD now more expensive than NSW .
Bladt Industries has entered the Taiwanese offshore wind market by signing two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with CSBC Corporation and Century Wind Power (CWP), a subsidiary of Century Iron and Steel Industrial.According to Bladt Industries, all three companies have similar ambitions to join the local Taiwanese offshore wind market, and have therefore established the cooperation as the first step.The parties intend to cooperate on fabricating jacket foundations and outfitting transitions pieces for Taiwan’s offshore wind market. With its location in Taipei Harbour, Century Wind Power will establish fabrication facilities for the purpose, Bladt said, adding that as a fabricator of more than 1,500 offshore foundations, Bladt will bring its know-how and experience within the offshore wind market to the joint venture.“This is a very strong constellation of professional and market leading companies within the industry,” said Lars Kristensen, Senior Vice President at Bladt Industries. “I am certain that Century Wind Power Co and CSBC Corporation have the exact qualities we have been searching for as business partners. Moreover, we are very pleased to be able to generate local jobs as a result of this collaboration.”The Taiwanese government has ambitious goals for the implementation of large-scale offshore wind into the Taiwanese electricity generation market. The initial target is to install up to 5.5GW by 2025, with potential for more. Based on this, there is vast activity in the development of appropriate sites in the territorial waters of Taiwan, Bladt said.
Global Eagle Entertainment has signed a three-year agreement with Swire Seabed, a specialist subsea company based in Bergen, Norway. The agreement will allow Global Eagle to provide connectivity for the multi-purpose offshore vessel, Seabed Constructor.Seabed Constructor is currently on long term charter to Ocean Infinity who are trying to locate the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, which is believed to have crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean in 2014 with 239 people onboard.The installation for Seabed Constructor was completed in Durban, South Africa in January. Services as part of the agreement include C-band VSAT solution with high guaranteed BW and Iridium backup.As part of the services, crew welfare with personal log in, entertainment and live TV will also be offered.Global Eagle now provides connectivity to three out of the four Swire Seabed vessels, the company said.“Swire Seabed is one of the well-regarded industry leaders in the market. It is great to see that they go beyond providing basic necessities for the seafarers and is investing great effort to provide added amenities and increased connectivity to enhance the quality of life of their seafarers on board,” said Ole Sivertsen, Global Eagle’s senior VP Maritime.