Baring Asset Management, Russell Investments, TOBAM, American Century Investments, ESMABaring Asset Management – Duncan Goodwin has been appointed head of global resources at Baring Asset Management. He will be based in London, reporting to Tim Scholefield, head of equities, and be responsible for managing the global resources team, as well as being lead manager on the Baring Global Resources Fund. Goodwin joins Barings from Martin Currie, where he worked for more than eight years, and was lead manager on the Martin Currie GF Global Resources Fund since its launch.Russell Investments – Mirko Cardinale has been appointed head of asset allocation for the EMEA at Russell Investments. He comes to the role from Aviva Investors, where he was head of strategic asset allocation for four years.TOBAM – Stephane Detobel and Francis Verpoucke have been appointed managing directors of TOBAM’s newly created subsidiary TOBAM North America. They will manage the Paris-based asset manager’s new office in New York. Stephane has previously worked at asset manager Amundi, setting up Amundi USA to start and run the firm’s activities in the US. Verpoucke joins TOBAM following 12 years with Amundi in Europe and North America. American Century Investments – Victor Zhang and David MacEwen have been named co-CIOs at American Century Investments. Zhang comes to the company from Wilshire Funds Management, where he was president and CIO, while MacEwen was CIO at American Century Investments’ fixed income strategies since 2001.ESMA – The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) announced the composition of its Securities Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG). The group’s members will begin a term of two and a half years on 1 January 2014, replacing the current group, whose mandate expires at the end of this year.
Denmark’s LD pension fund has stepped up its investment in corporate bonds by DKK1.8bn (€242m) to DKK9bn since December and is adding to this in the third quarter with a DKK1bn senior loan investment.In its interim report, the pension fund said it was gradually changing its investment strategy to meet changing payment needs while creating an attractive return at the same time. Dorrit Vanglo, chief executive of the pension fund, said: “Over the course of the last three quarters of a year, we have placed almost DKK2bn in the corporate bond market, and we are continuing in the third quarter with a further DKK1bn in a senior loan.”LD, which manages a non-contributory pension scheme based on cost-of-living allowances for workers granted in 1980, said its weighting to corporate bonds was now much heavier. The fund has invested DKK1.8bn in the asset class since December 2013, with DKK1bn of this invested in the first half of 2014 in European credit funds holding investment-grade bonds, which were relatively safe, financing loans to businesses with good creditworthiness.LD said that, in all, it had placed more than DKK9bn in corporate bonds with varying risk profiles.Vanglo said LD was not blind to the risk the hunt for returns could in itself drive the market higher.“But for us it is still attractive to invest in corporate bonds with good liquidity, which at the same time give us reasonable ongoing yield payments,” she said.A concrete example of LD’s changing strategy was its investment in global corporate bond funds, she said.“We are gradually changing to investing our assets more globally in securities that are easier to transform into liquid funds,” Vanglo said. “This is happening so we can meet members’ requests for payments at any time.”Meanwhile, the pension fund – which receives no current contributions – has continued to grow despite making DKK1.5bn in payouts to members in the six-month period.LD said it produced an investment return of DKK2.7bn between January and June, and total assets under management rose by DKK1.5bn to DKK54.5bn.It said almost half of its assets belonged to members who had chosen to leave the money in LD, even though they had the right to withdraw it.It reduced its exposure to gilt-edged bonds during the reporting period, and now held nearly DKK28bn in this type of bond, it said.LD said it had overweighted equities in the half year compared with its benchmark index, but had at the same time cut its exposure to shares by DKK1bn to take profits.It reduced quoted shares by more than DKK700m and lowered exposure to private equity by DKK300m.
ATP, Merchant Navy Officers Pensions Fund, ESMA, Unigestion, JPMAM, MN, LOIM, Kames CapitalDanica Pension – Anders Svennsen is leaving his position as co-CIO at Danish pensions giant ATP to take up a new role as CIO of Danica Pension on 1 December. Sevennesen will replace Peter Lindegaard, the Danske Bank subsidiary’s previous CIO, who left the company in August. Svennesen will be responsible for developing Danica’s investment department.Merchant Navy Officers Pensions Fund – Rory Murphy and Mike Jess have been appointed as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively. The scheme, an industry-wide pension arrangement for shipping companies, made the appointments after the recent retirement Peter McEwen and William Everard, who left their positions earlier this year. Murphy is a former chairman of the Unite trade union, one of the UK’s largest. He joins from a consultancy specialising in employer and trade union engagement. Jess is a member-nominated trustee of the pension scheme and also a trustee director of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) – Cyril Roux, Gérard Rameix and Marek Szuszkiewicz have been appointed to the board of the European supervisory authority. Roux, a new member, is employed by the Central Bank of Ireland. Rameix, who works at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in France, has been re-elected to the board. Szuszkiewicz is also a new member and works at Poland’s Komisja Nadzoru Finanswego (KNF). The two new members replace Jean Guille of Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and Julie Galbo of Denmark’s Finanstilsynet. Unigestion – Guilhem Savry and Oliver Blin have joined the French asset manager’s cross-asset solutions team as director and senior vice-president, respectively, both leaving rival manager Lombard Odier Investment Management (LOIM). Savry and Blin worked together at LOIM as senior portfolio manager and portfolio manager, respectively, but will now take up senior positions at Unigestion.JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) – David Stubbs has joined the firm as a global market strategist. He is expected to provide economic insight on the UK and Europe to financial advisers and institutional investors. He joins from MRB Partners, based in New York, and has also worked at Heitman Securities in London and the United Nations.MN – Nick Clapp has joined the Dutch fiduciary manager’s UK operations as a client director. Clapp will report to head of UK clients, Donny Hay. His role will be to communicate MN’s offering to the UK pensions market. He joins from consultancy Hymans Robertson, where he was an investment consultant.Lombard Odier Investment Managers – Andrea Argenti has been appointed as the firm’s head of Italian business, based in Milan. He joins the French asset manager from BlackRock, where he was head of its Italian retail business for eight years.Kames Capital – Nadia Bucci has been appointed as a business development manager, responsible for growing the business in Spain and developing its offering in Portugal. She joins from Osmosis Investment Management, where she also worked in business development. She will be based in London, reporting to Richard Dixon, head of European wholesale.
European supervisors have rejected attempts to relax clearing regulations for pension funds, arguing the European Commission failed to offer any evidence to support its requested changes.A joint statement by the three European Supervisory Authorities (ESA) dismissed attempts to remove concentration limits requiring no more than half of bonds posted as collateral to be from any one single issuer or sovereign.In its statement, the ESAs, which include the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, said the limits were “crucial for mitigating potential risks pension funds and their counterparties might be exposed to”.Under the rules proposed by the ESAs, pension funds based outside of the euro-zone posting collateral in excess of €1bn with a single counterparty would be required to diversify the bonds used as collateral. In a letter to the ESAs in August, the Commission insisted new evidence had come to light showing the rule was not required.In its response, the supervisors noted the supposed evidence had not been included alongside last month’s correspondence.“Subsequently,” the ESAs said, “following a specific request of such new evidence, the Commission did not provide any data or supporting material substantiating that the draft [regulatory technical standards] submitted by the ESAs were disproportionate.”The supervisors added that any pension funds concerned with the concentration limit could simply “diversify” derivatives contracts and use two counterparties when collateral posted exceeds €1bn, avoiding any costs that could be incurred by a fund needing to buy bonds issued in a foreign currency.“Moreover,” they add, “the ESAs are concerned the alternative requirement proposed by the Commission is rather unspecific when referring to ‘adequate’ diversification in case counterparties collect sovereign debt securities from a pension scheme arrangement, and this could result in a non-harmonised application of the rules within the Union.”The UK’s Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association is among those to have questioned the sovereign concentration rule.
Danish pension fund manager PKA is investing DKK250m (€34m) in a new “micro-loan” fund backing financial services for poor and middle-class customers in Latin America, Africa and Asia.Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive of the DKK250bn pensions manager, said: “From PKA’s perspective, we can combine a number of important goals by investing in micro-loans.”Micro-loans benefited the poor, he said, especially women, who typically had no other way of borrowing money and fighting their way out of the worst poverty. “In addition, we get a good return on our members’ pensions,” he said. The fund – Maj Invest Financial Inclusion Fund II – is run by Danish manager Maj Invest, which has secured a total commitment of DKK870m into the fund.It invests directly in financial institutions providing the loans and other financial services, and has already made three investments in Peru, India and Africa. The manager expects to make six investments in total, PKA said.The loans these banks grant to customers are used to start businesses or for investment and working capital to expand companies, and therefore contribute to growth and more jobs, the Danish investor said.Kasper Svarrer, managing partner for financial infrastructure at Maj Invest, said the market for this type of investment was growing partly because of digital development which made it easier and cheaper for banks to reach a large number of customers.PKA said it was the largest investor in the fund, which follows the same strategy as its predecessor Danish Microfinance Partners, also managed by Maj Invest.PKA was also the main investor in this prior fund, which granted loans to 5.5m people in countries including Peru, Bolivia, India, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, and produced an annual return of around 20%.PKA runs three Danish labour-market pension funds in the social and healthcare sectors.
Stuart O’Brien, partner at law firm Sackers, said the committee’s proposal was problematic.“Yet again we see proposals that fail to draw the distinction between defined benefit [DB] and defined contribution [DC] schemes,” he said. A group of UK parliamentarians has proposed a law change to require pension trustees to seek beneficiaries’ views when producing their statement of investment principles or investment strategy statements.The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should include this change in its forthcoming consultation on changes to the investment regulations for occupational pension schemes. The select committee issued the recommendation in a new report emanating from its green finance inquiry, which has been looking at how the UK could mobilise investment to meet its climate change targets and factor sustainability into financial decision-making.It follows a recommendation earlier this year from the High Level Expert Group to the European Commission that member states’ pension funds should be required to consult their beneficiaries about their sustainability preferences. However, this did not make its way into the European Commission’s legislative proposals on sustainable finance. UK MPs want new rules for climate-related risk disclosuresThe EAC also proposed that large asset owners – and all listed companies – should have to report on their exposure to climate-related risk and opportunities by 2022, or explain why they have not done so.This requirement would be introduced through the UK’s corporate governance and stewardship codes and company listing rules, and reporting would need to follow the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.If this approach failed, the government should introduce new sustainability reporting legislation similar to France’s Article 173, said the EAC.Article 173 refers to a legal provision that introduced disclosure requirements for French asset owners relating to the management of climate-related risks and the integration of environmental and social considerations more broadly.In its report, the EAC also accused the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of not doing enough on environmental risk as a financial factor, saying that “a worrying disparity” existed between the guidance issued to trust-based pension schemes by the Pensions Regulator and the guidance for providers of contract-based schemes, which are overseen by the FCA.The select committee said the FCA appeared reluctant to act on the Law Commission’s recommendation clarifying the duty of contract-based schemes in relation to ESG factors, and “should rectify this by the end of the year”. Rachel Haworth, senior policy officer at ShareAction, a responsible investment campaign organisation, welcomed the EAC’s report and hoped to see “robust action” from the DWP in its consultation on fiduciary duty this month.The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) praised the “excellent” report for its recommendation on fiduciary duty and boosting climate-related financial disclosures.Fergus Moffat, head of policy at UKSIF, said: “It’s time for the FCA to break its silence on this crucial issue and explicitly recognise the financial materiality of climate change risks.” The European Commission also considered forcing pension funds to consult members on investment policyIt may be relevant for DC schemes to seek their members’ views to ensure that an appropriate range of funds could be offered for them to invest their contributions, he said, but for DB schemes the situation was quite different.“For DB, I think this will be a huge distraction for trustees and will further muddy the waters between taking account of ESG factors as a financial risk issue, which trustees should always consider, and investing in a way which suits members’ ethical preferences,” said O’Brien.With DC schemes the investment risk lies with the individual, but in DB schemes the investment risk is ultimately borne by the sponsoring employer.2022 ultimatum for climate risk reportingAnother recommendation from the EAC was that the government “clarify in law that pension schemes and company directors have a duty to protect long-term value and should be considering environmental risks in light of this”.This month, the DWP is expected to launch a keenly anticipated consultation on the legal duties of trustees with regard to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks.Last month the EAC published its assessment of how the largest 25 UK pension funds were approaching climate change as an investment risk. It said a minority were “worryingly complacent”, but had to withdraw its assessment of Lloyds Banking Group’s pension schemes after realising it had not taken the trustees’ full response into account.
Property values in KLP’s main portfolio – the collective portfolio – increased by NOK62m (€6.4m) between January and June, and real estate was the biggest contributor to the firm’s overall return in the period.Collective portfolio assets expanded to NOK503bn by the end of June, from NOK476bn at the same point last year. It is the country’s biggest institutional fund after the NOK8.7trn Government Pension Fund Global.In the second quarter, real estate investments generated 4.3% for KLP, and amounted to 13% of the collective portfolio at the end of June.Bonds held to maturity produced a 1.8% return, but short-term bonds made a 1.2% loss. Equities, meanwhile, returned 1.1%.Commenting on its position in the Norwegian pensions market, KLP said in its interim report that the country’s ongoing municipal and regional reform was expected to have “a moderate impact” on the company’s customer base.Under the reform, several municipalities are merging with neighbours to form larger, potentially more efficient local authorities.If these municipalities include one authority that runs its own pension fund independent of KLP, the other merging municipalities may opt to join, taking their business away from KLP.KLP said 14 municipalities were affected by this. The New Asker municipality has decided to have its own pension fund from 1 January 2020, KLP said in the report, but it noted that none of the other new municipalities had yet decided how they would organise their pension schemes. Real estate holdings boosted investment returns for Norway’s Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) in the first half but, overall, the firm described its results as “moderate”.Between January and June, KLP, Norway’s main municipal pensions provider, posted a value-adjusted return on customer funds of 1.3% and a book return of 2.3%.Sverre Thornes, KLP’s chief executive said: “Reserves earned previously have secured a good result for customers in a half year of moderate returns.”He added: “We are very well equipped to meet just such weaker periods without our customers noticing this.”
Staff revealed during the meeting that they are focused on three main questions:how much of a difference the capped approach would make to the measurement of the defined benefit (DB) obligation;whether it would cause any difficulties in practice; andhow widespread are the types of plan that the approach is trying to address?The IASB’s work on hybrid pension plans is intended to address an inconsistency that arises from the use of a corporate bond rate to discount benefits that are based on a higher-than-risk-free asset rate of return under IAS 19.Staff think one solution might be to calculate the defined benefit obligation (DBO) with an asset rate of return that does not exceed the discount rate.The staff have already indicated that if the approach turns out to be unfeasible, they will recommend that the board calls time on the project.Meanwhile, during the same meeting session, the IASB also concluded discussion on a set of revamped disclosure objectives for IAS 19 that could see the volume of pensions disclosures shrink, while at the same time giving users of financial statements more focused and relevant information about pensions obligations.Speaking during the meeting, IASB member Ann Tarca said: “So long as [preparers] understand what we’re trying to achieve, they could be producing fewer disclosures that are more relevant.”Tarca noted that there was an overlap between the revamped disclosure proposals and the existing requirements for disclosure under IAS 19 Employee Benefits.In response, project manager Kathryn Donkersley said: “Applied properly, I would expect that the pages in financial statements devoted to this to be less.”She added, however, that she would be reluctant to say it was the same because the proposed approach is different. Members of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have given staff the green light to carry on with the process of consulting stakeholders on a possible accounting solution to the challenges posed by so-called hybrid pension plans under International Accounting Standard 19 (IAS 19) Employee Benefits.Speaking during the board’s January meeting, IASB member Jianqiao Lu said it was “a better practical approach to take forward” and that he agreed staff should develop an illustrative example to test how it might work in practice.The board is currently working on a model dubbed the “capped ultimate costs adjustment approach”.The board’s decision means staff will now bring illustrative examples to a future board meeting to demonstrate how accounting outcomes would differ under that model compared to existing IAS 19 requirements. The board is currently working on a model dubbed the “capped ultimate costs adjustment approach”The basis for the board’s work on DB disclosures is draft guidance it developed in 2018 to assist it with developing and drafting disclosure requirements.This guidance is based around using specific disclosure objectives to elicit relevant information supported by a catch-all or high-level disclosure.Disclosures under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) have tended to emerge in a standard-specific fashion over several decades.The board hopes that its new approach, however, will encourage preparers to take a broader view of their approach to disclosures.In overview, board members approved staff recommendations detailed in paragraphs 20, 23, 27, 31, 34 and 37 of Agenda Paper 11B either to confirm or amend the board’s earlier tentative decision in respect of DB disclosures.The board also decided to leave unchanged its tentative decisions on defined contribution (DC) plans (paragraph 41), short-term employee benefits, other long-term employee benefits and termination benefits (paragraph 58).IASB members also approved staff proposals to amend their earlier tentative decisions in respect of multi-employer (paragraph 47) and group plans (paragraph 53).An official summary of the IASB’s meeting decisions is available on the IASB website.
Swedish state pension buffer fund AP4 has announced a 2.5% investment loss in the first six months of this year, with the fund’s leader describing the dent to its portfolio value as a mark of success considering how turbulent global financial markets had been.As the first of Sweden’s big four buffer funds to report first half returns, the now SEK403bn (€38.7bn) fund also revealed it had recently stocked up on corporate bonds from firms likely to be winners, or at least robust, in the face of the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis.Niklas Ekvall, AP4 chief executive officer, said: “A negative result never feels satisfactory, but given the circumstances, our return for the first half of the year can still be regarded as a pass grade for how we have managed to deal with the spring’s market turbulence.”In absolute terms, the first half return was minus SEK10.6bn, with the Stockholm-based fund having underperformed its benchmark by 0.7 percentage points, according to AP4’s interim report. Global equities was the worst-performing asset class for AP4 between January and June, losing 6.4%. It is also makes up the largest slice of the fund’s overall portfolio with a 40% allocation. Swedish shares ended the period with a 2% loss, while global bonds produced a 2.7% return.Real assets, meanwhile, fell 4% in the period, the interim data showed.Ekvall said the scope of the impact on the real economy during the first half of 2020 had been “brutal”, and added: “The speed and depth of the economic slowdown far exceeds what we saw during the financial crisis.” Niklas Ekvall, AP4’s CEOThe fund, which has become the largest of the main four AP buffer funds over the last few years, said it had been an active long-term shareholder during the pandemic.“This has been done, among other ways, by engaging in proactive dialogues with companies and with owner groupings on companies’ need for capital, which has resulted in AP4’s participation in several new share issues to support companies with sound long-term business models,” Ekvall said.He also revealed AP4 as another investor behind the establishment of Sindre Invest, the new joint-venture investment firm announced last month by Swedish pension fund AMF.Its purpose is to support primarily unlisted, medium-sized Swedish companies in the current situation, by recapitalising them as a minority shareholder.Sindre Invest’s other creators are SEB, the holding company of the Wallenberg foundations FAM, and insurer AFA Försäkring, according to AP4’s report.For listed companies, the Swedish finance ministry is currently in the process of relaxing the rules limiting how large a stake the AP buffer funds may hold, temporarily allowing them more leeway to participate in new share issues.“AP4 also saw an opportunity as a long-term investor to increase our investments in corporate bonds issued by quality companies that structurally benefit – or at least are not put to a disadvantage – from the long-term impacts of the COVID19 crisis,” Ekvall said.AP4’s total assets fell to SEK403bn by the end of June, from SEK418bn at the end of 2019, the interim report showed. The negative return of 2.5% for the six month period comes after the 21.7% the fund generated after costs for the whole of 2019.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.
While the Speddings had the foresight to ensure the design was one they could “age in place”, they’ve enjoyed the process so much that they want to do it again.“We’ve enjoyed the legacy we’ve created here so much that we’d like to go and do another one of these, my wife is currently looking out for another Queenslander.”The home at 6 Harris St, Hawthorne is listed for sale with Cathy Richards at Place Bulimba, The kitchen before. Model, rapper return to Brisbane RELATED: Mr Spedding said it only had one neighbour on Harris St and on the other side was a hairdresser, which was really private to the house. The home at 6 Harris St, Hamilton before the amazing Hamptons’ style renovation. MORE: The living zones after.In total, Mr Spedding said the ballpark figure spent was about $1.3 million. “There was a lot of work that had to be done to the original house, so basically the shell of the original house was already there,” he said.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“All the flooring was replaced, a lot of the walls had to be relined, a lot of the roof structure had to be replaced and strengthened. “Pretty much everything you see is new, there’s still a lot of the old weather boards on the outside but not many.”He said it took about a year from the time they purchased the home in 2016 to have all the plans done and approvals back from council. Restrictions from council meant the house had to stay in its original orientation. 10 Months Total spend RENO FACT CHECK $1.3 million >>FOLLOW EMILY BLACK ON FACEBOOK<< Ace a block in golfer’s paradise The only similarity in the kitchen space is that it still has gas cooking.The key thing for the Speddings in their original brief to their architect was to have all the living areas and master and second bedrooms on the ground floor.“It’s ideal for a number of reasons, if our granddaughter comes to stay she can stay in the second bedroom close to us,” Mr Spedding said.“It’s a house with good separation for older kids or guests away from us and we don’t have to go up and down stairs.“It gives us an opportunity to age in place without having to deal with stairs.“The kitchen, dining and living area and there’s a powder room and an ensuite to the master bedroom is downstairs.” The home at 6 Harris St, Hawthorne after the renovation.“It’s got two street frontages and it’s almost a square block (561sq m) which is a reasonable size for this area,” he said.“You get about a 25m frontage up to both streets, it actually creates an amazing presence to the house from the street from anywhere you look.“It’s really noticeable the house, it really has a presence from the street.”While CoreLogic reports the home as being built in 1925, Mr Spedding said it was probably closer to 1934.“When the demolishers were in there removing the floors from the kitchen they uncovered some newspaper articles from 1934,” he said.“It was actually on the sports pages there were some photographs and commentary from the Ashes Test in Adelaide.”The Speddings enlisted the help of John Cameron Architects Pty Ltd to transform this once rather average Queenslander home into something far more spectacular.“I’ve worked with John on a number of projects over the past 15 years,” he said.“He’s not one of these precious architects, he’s very practical, his design and detail is really thorough, which the builders really appreciate.“It actually really helped our builder understand what was required and price it really accurately because he could see the design intent.” Time taken “You couldn’t turn it, without going through an even more expensive approval process,” he said.“We had to keep from the ridge line in the middle of the house forward and original — what that means is if we had to replace anything we had to replace it with like for like, original design and material.”As the windows had an unusual detail and had to be replicated, they decided to follow the design throughout the home.James Anthony Construction was commissioned with the build and sourced a specialist window manufacturer with the task.“We replaced all the original windows with new windows, so they’re all nice and square and straight, but using the exact same window details.“It’s quite an unusual window detail because it’s got three small panes at the top of each of the windows.“All of the new windows downstairs, we’ve actually replicated all of the same details through the house.” Million dollar Queenslander rescue a labour of love The 17m long outdoor area beside the pool is Mark Spedding’s favourite part of the renovated Hawthorne home. IMAGE: Peter WallisWhen owners Vanessa and Mark Spedding purchased this Hawthorne home in 2016, it was the corner block and locale that attracted them to buy it as a renovation project. The living zones before the renovation.