The €4.2bn pension fund PNO Media and its provider Media Pensioendiensten (MPD) are thinking to become exclusive partners. According to MPD’s annual report, both parties are weighing their options in anticipation to the extension of their contract, set to expire on 1 March 2015.Jeroen van der Put, director at MPD, said PNO Media wanted to increase MPD’s focus on the scheme, as a merger with PGB, the €15.3bn pension fund for the Dutch printing industry, was no longer on the cards.Following the strategic review, MPD said it was open to cooperating with other pension funds as long as their final aim was a merger with PNO Media. “Solely acting as a provider for other pension funds only offers marginal synergy benefits,” he said. “This would come at the expense of the focus on the board. A merger delivers real synergy.”Previously, MPD acted as a provider for the pension fund for the film and cinema industry (Film en Bioscoopbedrijf) for a three-month period before it merged with PNO Media.The pension fund’s wish to keep the costs of pensions provision low is another reason for an exclusive relationship.“MPD operating on a commercial basis would require PNO Media to set up an expensive pension competence bureau as a countervailing power,” Van der Put said.In its annual report, MPD said it wanted to target the fast-growing creative sector, rather than just the media industry.In the creative sector, it has identified a potential of 171,000 new participants, who are active in the areas of art, cultural heritage (museums and the preservation of historic buildings), the entertainment industry and creative business services.MPD is an independent cooperation, with PNO Media and PNO Care as its members – PNO Media has by far the largest say in the organisation.PNO Media has 59,765 participants, who are affiliated with 465 companies.
Month: September 2020
Although the potential fine could have been as high as €500,000, the AFM limited the penalty for the notaries scheme to less than €5,000.It said the SNPF had acted pro-actively and cited the scheme’s limited scale, adding that the fine would ultimately have been shouldered by its 6,390 participants.In a statement, the SNPF said it had reported the omission to the AFM and subsequently had done “everything possible to rectify the problem”. The Dutch Financial Markets Authority (AFM) has fined SNPF, the €1.2bn occupational pension fund for notaries, for failing to inform leaving participants about their options for value transfer.The communications watchdog found that the scheme, between 2010 and 2013, failed to provide legally required information in more than 420 instances.It said the information had been important to help departing members make a well-considered choice about the transfer of their pension rights, enabling them to ask their new pensions provider for a quote for value transfer.In the Netherlands, the previous provider must transfer the accrual rights, if the participant requests a quote and subsequently asks for such a transfer during his first six months in a new pension plan.
Arthur Cox – Adrian Mulryan has joined the law firm within its London-based asset management group. He previously worked for ETF provider Source as general counsel, and has been named partner at Arthur Cox.AXA Investment Managers – Henrik af Donner, David Andersson and Viktoria Orhamn have all joined Axa from UBS Global Asset Management, where they spent five years as a team. Donner and Andersson have been named co-head of the Nordics in charge of client relations, while Orham has been named client service manager.Capital Group – Miguel Salinero Barbolla has joined as client service associate, based in London. Salinero previously worked at BNY Mellon Investment Management, where he was most recently head of international client services.Kames Capital – Matt Harding joins the firm as investment analyst focusing on North American equities. Harding was previously part of Zolfo Cooper’s restructuring team, and has worked at the corporate recovery teams at Deloitte and Royal Bank of Scotland.Nikko Asset Management – Cameron Kuwahara has been named head of solutions marketing. Kuwahara, who will work from the firm’s Edinburgh, London and New York offices, was previously senior sales director at Citigroup Global Markets in Singapore and has worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Securities and Deutsche Securities in Tokyo.Sycomore Asset Management – Benjamin Tolub joins the company as senior analyst. He joins from Millenium Partners, where he worked for four years, and spent time at both Ohana & Co and Rothshild as an M&A specialist. Pension Protection Fund, Unigestion, Advent Capital Management, Arthur Cox, AXA IM, Capital Group, Kames Capital, Nikko AM, Sycomore AMPension Protection Fund – Hans den Boer has joined the UK lifeboat fund as chief risk officer. He replaces Martin Clarke, who last year was named government actuary, and in his new role will also be part of the executive committee. Den Boer previously worked at Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro in a number of risk management roles.Unigestion – Ken Harvie has been named head of client relations, reporting to managing director Tom Leavitt. Harvie previously worked at Ignis Asset Management but has also worked for Strathclyde Pension Fund and Aon.Advent Capital Management – Matthew Dundon has joined the company as portfolio manager, growing the firm’s alternatives presence. Dundon previously worked at Pine River Capital.
Unlike several other of the AP funds, AP1 has to date largely limited investments to the traditional asset classes of real estate, equity and fixed income, with small stakes in private equity and hedge funds. In comparison.The pension fund generated an investment return after expenses of 14.6% last year, up from 11.3% in 2013, which compared favourably to the returns of fellow buffer fund AP3, which saw returns of 13.7% after expenses.In absolute terms, AP1’s net investment income after expenses was SEK36.4bn (€3.8bn) compared with SEK25.7bn the year before.Net assets rose by SEK31bn to SEK284bn – behind both AP2, at SEK293.9bn, and AP3, with assets of SEK288.3bn.Magnusson said all asset classes had given a “healthy” return.Administrative expenses rose to 0.17% last year from 0.14% the year before.The fund paid a net SEK5.1bn to the Swedish pension system in 2014, down from SEK6.9bn, according to the published data.AP3 chief executive Kerstin Hessius praised the support the AP funds were able to offer Sweden’s pension system, having paid out SEK100bn across the four funds.”At the same time, the AP funds have made a growing contribution to the pension system’s long-term financing. Our combined fund capital now exceeds 13% of total pension system assets, compared to 10% at inception.”AP1’s exposure to both equities and bonds decreased over the year, while the amount of assets in hedge funds and private equity funds increased, figures showed.Shares dipped to 48.9% of total assets from 49.2%, and fixed income securities fell to 30.9% from 31.2%.Meanwhile hedge fund exposure rose to 5.9% from 4.9%, and private equities accounted for 4.4% of overall assets at the end of the year after taking up 3.3% a year before.The property allocation remained unchanged year-on-year at 8.8%.For more on the investment strategy of Sweden’s AP funds, see IPE’s coverage of the Nordic pensions market Sweden’s buffer fund AP1 said it was now preparing to make its first investments in infrastructure as part of a shift in its long-term investment strategy.Releasing its annual report for 2014, the pension fund said it was continuing to develop its long-term strategy, through its focus on unlisted, illiquid assets such as private equity funds and infrastructure.Johan Magnusson, chief executive of AP1, said: “Our investments in private equity funds have proven successful, and the organisation is now getting set for investments in different types of infrastructure.”Last September, Magnusson said the fund had taken a decision to increase investment risk as part of its strategic approach to create a portfolio that was robust to major changes in value.
Chairman of the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) Edi Truell is to advise the mayor of London on collaboration between local government pension schemes (LGPS) and infrastructure investment.He will resign as chairman of the London public sector scheme and will set up an advisory board for the newly established partnership between LPFA and the Lancashire County Pension Fund.The joint venture, called the London Lancashire Pensions Partnership (LLPP), was approved last month and Truell was instrumental in pushing forward the collaboration.Truell, who also co-founded bulk annuity provider Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), will now work as an unpaid adviser to mayor Boris Johnson on pensions and investments. The idea is to push forward Johnson’s ambition to create a London infrastructure investment fund using assets from the capital’s LGPS.Truell will also advise of LGPS consolidation, a long-term ambition of his and the LPFA as demonstrated by its involvement in LLPP.Johnson firmly backs the merging of LGPS schemes in order to save on costs and create a combined fund that could invest in large scale infrastructure projects.However, a previous attempt to push for this by proposing the idea in a national newspaper, Johnson came under fire for confusing funded and unfunded public sector schemes and inappropriately labelling large Dutch pension funds as sovereign wealth funds.Johnson said Truell’s work leading the LPFA and moving it towards its partnership with Lancashire was a service to public finance.“If we now use this new partnership as a blueprint for further pooling of pension funds, we could have a war chest worth hundreds of billions of pounds and access to the kind of investment opportunities which have until now been the preserve of foreign sovereign wealth funds,” he added.The LPFA/Lancashire, which has combined assets of £10.5bn (€14.3bn), is aiming to commence operation in April 2016.Both schemes will maintain separate governance structures, with oversight boards in both London and Preston, but merge investments, liability management and administration.
Michael Nellemann Pedersen, investment director at PKA, said: “PKA is a robust pension fund, and that gives us the option of giving pensioners an extra boost.”Alternatives performed well last year, PKA said, returning 7%.It said it now had approximately DKK72bn invested in alternatives, a category that does not include emerging-markets debt or high-yield bonds.Within this category, investments in catastrophe bonds returned 15.7%, the pension fund reported.PKA has DKK10.2bn invested in catastrophe bonds, which are insurance-linked securities that transfer a specific set of risks from an insurer to investors.The first catastrophe bonds were issued in the 1990s in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in the US in 1992.PKA said its investments in offshore wind farms gave it a return of 7.2% last year, while property returned 7.5% and direct private equity generated 21.7%.Over the last few years, alternatives have produced an average annual return of 7%, it said.Nellemann Pedersen said PKA would continue its alternatives strategy in 2016 and gradually increase its allocation to this area.“We expect to have 25% of our investments in alternatives in a few years’ time compared with 22% today, corresponding to an increase of DKK10bn,” he said.He said the fund was taking the same stance with its real estate investment.“Alternatives ensure stability in the portfolio also in those years when the returns on traditional investments in equities and bonds are modest,” he said.The pension company’s global shares portfolio returned 4.8% in 2015, while the global bond portfolio produced a 1.2% return.PKA said its administration costs per member had fallen by DKK50 per member in 2016 to DKK400 per member.Over the last five years, these costs came down by 25%.Member contributions rose to DKK7.5bn in 2015 from DKK7.3bn the year before.Total assets rose to DKK235bn, up from around DKK215bn. Danish labour-market pensions administrator PKA reported a 1.7% overall return on investments for 2015, down from the 10.9% it produced the year before.But it said alternatives performed well, with catastrophe bonds generating 15.7%.PKA, which runs three pension funds for employees in the healthcare and social-care sectors, said the 1.7% return was higher than the benchmark return, meaning its investment activities had in fact produced DKK5.6bn (€751m) more than the market average.Members’ pension savings will be credited with 4.8% in account interest for 2016, in line with the 2015 level paid out.
Allianz’s €654.3m Austrian Pensionskasse was the best performing fund in almost every risk category in both three- and five-year periods to the end of 2016, according to Mercer.The consultancy presented the results of long-term research into performance reported by Austrian Pensionskassen on Wednesday.As each pension fund in Austria runs different portfolios for different clients – and different risk categories within those, according to a life cycle model – comparisons of overall returns are difficult.According to the statistics compiled by Mercer, the Pensionskasse offered by Allianz performed best in the defensive, conservative, balanced, and active risk categories over both three- and five-year periods. For the defensive category, for funds with equity exposure under 16%, Allianz returned 4.83% over three years, 100 basis points ahead of second-placed VBV.In the balanced category (equities between 24% and 32%), Allianz funds took first and second place over three years with returns of 6.25% 5.3%. Valida was in third place with 4.73%.In the dynamic category – for funds with 40% or more in equities – VBV claimed first place with a 5.8% gain.The statistics do not reveal the worst performer in each category, but the spread between first and third place in several categories was significant.Over a five-year-period Allianz remained the best performer in all categories with the exception of dynamic, which the €6.3bn VBV led.The spread in performance over the five-year time period was most pronounced in the balanced and active (32% to 39% equity share) categories. While Allianz returned 6.93% and 7.40% annualised in each category respectively, the market average was 4.98% and 5.89%.In an interview with IPE, Allianz Austria’s CIO Martin Bruckner said: “We were not too worried by the market downturn at the start of last year and were able to use it to buy some overweight in equities.”At the presentation of the results Michaela Plank, principal at Mercer Austria, commented: “The long-term performance of Austrian Pensionskassen is good in light of the volatile markets.”The major performance driver last year, when the overall market performance was 4.2%, was similar for most Pensionskassen. “We further increased emerging market bonds,” said Martin Sadelic, managing director at Valida, which manages €6.6bn in total both for the Valida Pensionskasse as well as the Valida Industriepensionskasse, the former Siemens corporate pension plan.Results for “Vorsorgekassen” were also presented, covering the provident funds managing assets for the mandatory severance pay provision each employer has to build up for their staff.The NÖ Vorsorgekasse was the best performer last year with 3.59%, while the market returned 2.25% on average. Over three years it gained 3.07%, beating the market’s 2.46%.As contributions to Vorsorgekassen are mandatory since 2003 assets in this segment have grown to almost €9.5bn as per year-end 2016 with over €1.3bn in contributions for last year.For the full chart of returns by Austrian retirement providers as well as further information on the country’s pension debate see IPE’s April issue.
Asset management consultancy MJ Hudson has set up shop in new offices in central Luxembourg, targeting fund management clients seeking to set up operations in the country post-Brexit.MJ Hudson Management S.A. of Luxembourg, as the new entity is called, received its management license from the Luxembourg regulator and will operate as a stand-alone independent entity within the MJ Hudson group, according to the company. It said the Luxembourg office would provide its clients with “increased options post-Brexit and guarantees EU operating capacity”.Matthew Hudson, chief executive officer at MJ Hudson, said: “A launch in Luxembourg was already on our radar before the Brexit events of 2016. It is a significant funds market in its own right with extremely strong and stable laws, structures, regulations and complementary service providers.“However, our plans were accelerated by the UK’s vote to leave the EU last year. We have been actively building this platform for more than twelve months and I am delighted at the high calibre of the team we have been able to attract.” MJ Hudson launched its fund management solutions team for continental Europe from the Luxembourg offices this week. The team of six is is led by Olivia Tournier-Demal, ex-lawyer and Lombard Odier senior vice-president, and Thomas Meyer, previously at the European Investment Fund (EIF). In addition to the starting team of six, there is a three-person board: Francis Carpenter, previously CEO of the EIF and secretary-general of the European Investment Bank, Matthew Hudson, and Aldric Grosjean, formerly at Loyens & Loeff and partner at law firm Lexfield in Luxembourg.The team in Luxembourg with work alongside that of the London-based sister company as a European fund management solutions team.MJ Hudson said that research it conducted recently found that two-thirds of UK-based fund managers and three-quarters of their continental Europe-based peers did not believe that Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations would deliver an outcome that is ideal to the UK asset management industry. More than 70% of fund investors based outside the UK predicted that, by the end of 2020, the UK would have lost its position as the second-largest fund management centre globally, although data at the asset class level suggested any drop in assets under managment would not be this severe.New LGPS transparency code backers UBS and Stone Harbor Investment Partners have signed up to the £217bn (€181bn) Local Government Pension Scheme’s (LGPS) Code of Transparency.The voluntary code was launched by the LGPS Advisory Board in June to help the local authority funds get detailed information about costs and fees so they can report costs transparently.Michael Casagranda, client relationship manager at Stone Harbor, said that although the code was specifically designed for LGPS funds, the firm expected its impact would be felt “across the entire pensions industry”. Sixteen managers have signed up to the code so far, according to a list compiled by the LGPS Advisory Board.HSBC Global Asset Management goes with the trendHSBC Global Asset Management will absorb external investment research costs under the incoming MiFID II regulation, a spokesperson told IPE. HSBC is the 23rd largest European institutional client manager, according to IPE’s Top 400 survey.It joins other managers to have declared their intentions this week, including Barings and Northern Trust Asset Management.Record Currency Management goes to Switzerland Record Currency Management has opened its first office in Switzerland, in Zürich. The office will be led by Jan Witte, who has re-located from the currency specialist’s head office in the UK.James Wood-Collins, chief executive at Record Currency Management, said: “Switzerland has long been a core market for Record’s currency management services. We are delighted to be strengthening further our commitment to the market by establishing a local office.”Witte joined Record in 2012 and has been leading its quantitative research efforts since August 2013.
IAG said the new DC scheme would “offer market-competitive arrangements with a choice of contribution rates and the ability to opt for cash instead of a pension”. A spokesman for BA told IPE that the new scheme would grant members an automatic 5% employer contribution without the need for an employee contribution. BA’s contribution would escalate incrementally to 11% as employees upped their payments into the scheme, the spokesman said.IAG’s statement said: “Active NAPS members will also be offered a choice of transition arrangements including a cash lump sum, additional company pension contributions or additional pension benefits in NAPS prior to its closure.”NAPS closed to new joiners in 2003, having replaced the original Airways Pension Scheme. It represents roughly 47% of BA’s active employees, the company said.Earlier this year, the smaller Airways Pension Scheme hedged roughly £1.6bn of liabilities using a captive insurer structure. British Airways (BA) is to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme and roll out a new defined contribution (DC) arrangement.In a stock exchange announcement this morning, parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) said the £16bn (€18.3bn) New Airways Pension Scheme would close to future accrual on 31 March 2018, subject to agreement from the scheme’s trustees.In addition, BA plans to close its existing DC scheme, the BA Retirement Plan, on the same date and replace it with a new “flexible benefits” scheme from 1 April.BA launched a consultation about closing the scheme in September. The New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS), the larger of BA’s two DB funds, had a deficit of £3.7bn in March, according to its 2016-17 accounts. This was despite the company having paid £3.5bn into the fund since 2003.
The value of sterling relative to the dollar and euro has taken a hammering in recent weeks as the UK’s new prime minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take the country out of the EU on 31 October regardless of whether or not a withdrawal agreement has been passed by parliament.The currency was not helped today after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning reported that UK GDP fell by 0.2% in the second quarter of 2019. The provisional figures marked the first quarterly contraction in seven years.As of 11am UK time today, sterling was trading at $1.21, according to XE, down 18% compared with $1.48 on 23 June 2016, the day of the EU membership referendum. In the same period sterling fell by a similar degree against the euro, and is currently trading at €1.08.Andy Scott, associate director at advisory firm JCRA, said sterling would likely fall further if the UK was to slip into recession. Source: UK Foreign OfficeBoris JohnsonHowever, asset manager DWS has argued that the recent decline of sterling “has not been all that dramatic” when viewed in a longer-term context.“The sabre-rattling by Boris Johnson and his team about the UK leaving the EU without a deal has taken a toll, but a relatively modest one,” DWS said in an investment update published today.“Partly, that is because plenty of risk has already been priced in following the referendum. And of course, things could get quite a bit worse for the pound in the coming weeks.”#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# “With the EU so far refusing to reopen the withdrawal agreement and Boris Johnson’s government having committed to leaving at the end of October, a no-deal exit is looking increasingly more likely,” he added. “We continue to advise clients to prepare for the worst – sharp moves in both directions – while hoping that pragmatism prevails and avoids a disorderly exit that will hurt both sides.” The UK parliament is currently on its summer recess and will reconvene on 3 September, and until then “plenty of more or less plausible scenarios will no doubt be mooted” by Johnson and pro-Brexit politicians, DWS said.“In our own view, the risk of a disorderly, ‘no-deal’ Brexit probably peaked in spring,” the €662bn asset manager said.“Stopping ‘no deal’ won’t be easy, but it can certainly be done, if parliament is determined. And in sharp contrast to the situation in spring, there now is plenty of evidence parliament will have both the means and the will to do so.”