Month: September 2020

Wednesday people roundup

first_imgJLT Employee Benefits – Ian Burns has been appointed in the newly created role of director in the investment consulting business. He joins from KPMG, where he was principal investment consultant.Source – Marco Mautone has joined the exchange-traded product provider as managing director with responsibility for Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was head of European and US equity sales trading in Switzerland.Schroders – Henrik Nyblom and Roger Doig have joined the Schroders UK and European equity team as senior research analysts. Nyblom joins from Nomura, while Doig joined Schroders in 2007 from JP Morgan, where he was an equity analyst. Separately, James Sym will be taking on the management of the Schroder European Alpha Plus fund with effect from 1 June, while Leon Howard-Spink will focus solely on managing pan-European portfolios.bfinance – Chris Jones, managing director and head of alternatives and public markets, will take on the role of head of the London office, while Pal Sarai, senior director of UK markets, will assume additional responsibility for leading the UK and Ireland client coverage team. Derek Williams, managing director of private markets, has also been promoted to head of private markets.Artemis – Another five members of Threadneedle’s North American equities team have joined Artemis: fund manager William Warren and analysts Olivia Miller, Chris Kent, Nafis Chowdhury and Paul Gannon. Cormac Weldon and Stephen Moore joined Artemis from the same team in January.Aviva Investors – Katherine Wade has joined the equity investment team from Citigroup, where she was an equity sales generalist. Before then, she held sales and research roles at NatWest Securities and Bankers Trust.Baring Asset Management – Jean-Louis Scandella has been appointed head of equities. He joins from French equity boutique Comgest, where he was part of their leadership team. Rotman International Centre for Pensions Management, State Street Corporation, Towers Watson, JLT Employee Benefits, Source, Schroders, bfinance, Artemis, Aviva Investors, Baring Asset ManagementRotman International Centre for Pensions Management (ICPM) – Rob Bauer has been named executive director, replacing industry veteran Keith Ambachtsheer, who becomes director emeritus. Bauer has been at ICPM since the organisation was founded by the University of Toronto in 2005 and is known for his research on pension and mutual funds, behavioural finance and socially responsible investing. The Dutch national is also a professor at Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics with a focus on institutional investments.State Street Corporation – Andrew Wilson has been appointed head of asset manager sector solutions for the UK and Nordic region, while Jane Mancini has been appointed to a similar position for the Americas. Prior to joining State Street, Wilson spent 14 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, most recently as managing director of asset manager advisory in the global markets group. Before then, he was head of securities sales for Asia Pacific at SWIFT.Towers Watson – Keith Goodby has been appointed a senior investment consultant in the Insurance Investment Advisory Group. He joins Towers Watson following six years at Legal & General, where he has held various senior positions, including director of investments and capital savings and most recently portfolio director for the Legal & General With Profits Fund. Before then, he was an actuarial consultant at Tillinghast Towers Perrin.last_img read more

Norway’s KLP names 27 coal company exclusions

first_imgThe list covers companies across the globe, including those based in the US, China, India and Japan.Among the names are Peabody Energy Corporation – the world’s largest private-sector coal company – and electric utilities company American Electric Power.The list also includes coal mining company China Coal Energy Company, and China Resources Power Holdings Company, which develops and operates coal-burning power plants.Other names are Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, and Exxaro Resources, the South Africa-based diversified resources group.Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investment at KLP, said: “This is the first step in an effort to purge our investments of coal.“We have attempted to establish a sensible balance between investments in new renewable energy production, divestment of coal companies and the exertion of shareholder influence.”Bergan added: “The next step now is to press companies to move in a more climate-friendly direction and reduce their carbon emissions.“Companies with substantial coal-based operations that prove unwilling or unable to change will run the risk of being excluded.” Norway’s largest pension fund manager KLP has excluded 27 coal companies from its investment portfolio.The local authority pension provider announced on 19 November that it would divest from companies that derive a substantial proportion of their revenues from coal, while investing an extra NOK500m in the development of new renewable energy capacity.KLP’s first evaluation of coal holdings has now resulted in divestment of equities and bonds in 27 companies for a total amount of NOK386m (€44m).The KLP Group has total assets of NOK470bn.last_img read more

Swiss pension funds cautious of ‘captive’ relationship with local banks

first_imgSwiss pension funds are increasingly aware they must not be seen as captive clients of the country’s largest banks, a locally active currency manager has argued.James Wood-Collins, chief executive at Record Currency Management, attributed some of his company’s growth in Swiss hedging mandates to an increasing awareness of the counterparty risk inherent in employing the custodian bank to safeguard against currency fluctuations.According to IPE’s annual survey of managers of Swiss institutional assets, the company has seen local institutional assets increase from €14bn to €25.4bn, while assets managed on behalf of pension clients more than doubled to €22bn in the nine months to the end of June.“One of the many changes that has taken place throughout the financial crisis is the standing of at least some of the Swiss banks in their local community has taken quite a hit,” said Wood-Collins, noting that the institutions were no longer as well regarded as they used to be.  “As a result of that, pension funds are increasingly aware they can no longer be seen to be captive clients of any one bank relationship – and that goes both to the prices they receive for the hedging and the concentration of counterparty risk that arises if they only have one bank relationship.”Despite such concerns, asset managers associated with two of Switzerland’s largest banks – UBS Global Asset Management and Credit Suisse Asset Management – have seen their assets under management increase in the nine months since September 2013.The IPE survey showed that UBS Global AM had seen its share of Swiss pension assets increase from €38.6bn to €52.7bn over the period.Assets disclosed by Credit Suisse AM were harder to compare across 2014 and 2013’s surveys, as the company did not disclose like-for-like data.However, it said corporate and institutional Swiss clients entrusted it with €215bn at the end of June 2014.Wood-Collins predicted his company would continue to see interest in hedging, but not only due to the requirement of Swiss funds to ensure they protected themselves against rate changes.He questioned how long Switzerland’s central bank (SNB) would be able to maintain its “loss-making” cap to the euro, which pension funds initially welcomed, despite concerns over inflation.“If the SNB were to change that policy, the market would immediately price it in, almost instantaneously – far more quickly, certainly, than anyone could react,” he said.“All our clients are maintaining their hedge on the euro.”For more on the Swiss pensions sector and the 2014 IPE survey of Swiss institutional managers, see the current issue of IPElast_img read more

Wednesday people roundup

first_imgBlackRock, SSgS, Eaton Vance, KAS Bank, First Investments, Mirae Asset, Xudoo, Research Affiliates, Focus OrangeBlackRock – Simona Paravani-Mellinghoff has joined the world’s largest asset manager to take over the EMEA fiduciary management business. She replaces Richard Urwin after the investment veteran announced his retirement from the firm. Paravani-Mellinghoff joins from HSBC, where she worked for 10 years in CIO and investment strategy roles. Urwin, who was with BlackRock for nine years, is set to take some time away from the investment industry and look for a new challenge.State Street Global Services (SSgS) – Pieter De Jong has joined as head of SSgS in the Netherlands. De Jong joined State Street in 2004 and has been in the firm’s Edinburgh office after a stint in South Africa. Prior to State Street, he worked for ABN AMRO in Amsterdam.Eaton Vance – Christopher Dyer and Aidan Farrell have joined the Boston-based outfit as a director of global equity and a global small-cap portfolio manager, respectively. Both will be based in the London office from mid-June. The pair leave Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), where Dyer was head of European equity and Farrell a lead portfolio manager. Dyer has been at GSAM for 14 years, while Farrell joined the firm in 2008 after leaving Insight Investment. KAS Bank – Kris Wulteputte is to leave the company as chief financial and risk officer. He will be responsible for risk management at a “European subsidiary of an international bank, and will operate from Munich”, KAS Bank said. The transfer of Wulteputte’s tasks and responsibilities is by mutual agreement.First Investments – Vincent van Meeuwen has been appointed finance and control manager as of 1 May. He will take charge of operational and financial processes, as well as reporting. Previously, Van Meeuwen was controller at pensions provider Syntrus Achmea.Mirae Asset Global Investments – Olivier Mampouya and Eldora Wong have joined the Asian emerging market equity house in the London and Hong Kong offices, respectively. Both join as sales directors with the aim of boosting business in both cities. Mampouya counts Wellington Management, State Street and Schroders as previous employers and will work along Nic Jones in the UK office. Wong joins from Robeco, where she worked on institutional business development.Xudoo – Martin Straatmeijer, co-founder of pension governance advice bureau Xudoo, has announced his departure from the firm. According to Xudoo, he has opted for a new challenge as the company refocuses on governance issues. He is to withdraw from strategy and product development, as well as interim management. Xudoo is now headed by Maas Simon and Peter Priester.Research Affiliates – Charles Aram has joined the smart-beta asset manager as head of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Aram joins from Henderson Rowe, a company he co-founded in 2002 and led as chief executive. He replaces Michael Larsen, who has been interim head of EMEA but will now return to the US headquarters.Focus Orange – Pieter Kiveron has been appointed associate partner at the HR consultancy. Kiveron has worked at Holland Financial Centre and pensions provider MN, as well as an independent adviser. At Focus Orange, he will be involved in pensions advice in close co-operation with Ronald Doornbos.last_img read more

Friday people roundup [updated]

first_imgLazard Asset Management – Léopold Arminjon has joined as a portfolio manager and analyst, responsible for running a European long/short equity strategy Lazard aims to launch later this year. Arminjon will be based in London and joins from Henderson Global Investors. Prior to this, Arminjon worked for Gartmore in its Continental European equities team.Capital Cranfield Trustees – Nicki Mortimer has been appointed client director for the UK independent trustee company. Mortimer joins from pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, where she was responsible for global pension and benefits provision. Prior to this, she worked at Balfour Beatty, an engineering firm. Mortimer also brings consulting experience from Mercer and is a fellow on UK pension consulting body the Pensions Management Institute. RobecoSAM, ABN AMRO Private Banking, UK Parliament, London Pension Fund Authority, Lazard Asset Management, Henderson Global Investors, Capital CranfieldRobecoSAM – Bas Knol has started as active ownership specialist at Robeco Sustainable Asset Management. In his new job, he has been tasked with engagement, focusing on sustainable investments, voting and reporting. Knol came from ABN AMRO Private Banking, where he has been interim sustainability manager of investments since August 2014. Previously, Knol worked seven years as communications manager at Aegon Global Pensions and has also acted as project manager for Aegon Group’s Retirement Readiness Survey.UK Work and Pensions Select Committee – Frank Field has been elected chair of the UK parliamentary committee charged with scrutinising pensions policy, replacing Dame Anne Begg. Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead since 1979, was a minister in former prime minister Tony Blair’s government in 1997, before resigning a year later over a lack of support for proposals to enforce mandatory pension savings. Field’s campaigns on pension reform included support for a PPF-style system before its introduction, and state pension reform.London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) – William Bourne will chair the LPFA’s Local Pension Board, set up to help the scheme comply with new regulations and governance requirements for local government pension schemes (LGPS). Joining Bourne on the Board will be Charles Angus, Frank Smith and Sean Brosnan from the LPFA, and Omolayo Sokoya, Peter Scales and Simon Steptoe from the scheme’s membership. Bernadette Jansen and Jamie Ratcliffe are substitute members for the LPFA and membership, respectively.last_img read more

Friday people roundup

first_imgInternational Accounting Standards Board, Royal London Asset Management, HSBC Global Asset Management, Willis Towers Watson, Stockholm School of Economics, AP7International Accounting Standards Board – Hans Hoogervorst has been reappointed chairman of the accounting body for a second five-year term, taking effect from July. The board also announced that Hoogervorst’s vice-chairman, Ian Mackintosh, has decided not to seek a second term and will step down at the end of June.Royal London Asset Management – Phil Reid has been named head of wholesale asset management. He joins from HSBC Global Asset Management, where he was head of UK wholesale. He will report to the asset manager’s head of distribution, Rob Williams.Willis Towers Watson – Bart den Hartog has been appointed head of activities for the Benelux. Previously, Den Hartog was head of retirement solutions, as well as managing consultant at Towers Watson. At the same time, the company named Jeroen Everling as head of corporate risk. Until recently, Everling was chief executive officer at Willis Group Nederland. Stockholm School of Economics – Peter Norman has been named chairman of the school’s new four-year research programme on how financial markets can contribute to sustainable developments. Norman was financial markets minister in the previous Swedish government and prior to that spent two years as chairman of AP7. He has also worked at Riksbanken, Sweden’s central bank.last_img read more

UK government accused of pension tax overhaul ‘via back door’

first_imgThe UK government has shied away from a complete overhaul of pension taxation, but it stands accused of introducing reforms “via the back door”.The shift to a taxed-exempt-exempt (TEE) model over the current exempt-exempt-taxed (EET) model was widely feared after chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last year launched a review of taxation and signalled his interest in promoting individual savings accounts (ISAs).During his 2016 Budget speech, Osborne today nevertheless announced the introduction of a Lifetime ISA, which would allow those under 40 to save up to £4,000 (€5,120) annually and receive tax relief of 25%.Osborne sought to highlight the perceived benefits of the vehicle compared with existing occupational and third-pillar products by noting its use of TEE. “For the basic rate taxpayer, [the Lifetime ISA] is the equivalent of tax-free savings into a pension, and, unlike a pension, you won’t pay tax when you come to take your money out in retirement.”He added that the ISA would offer self-employed workers “the kind of support they simply cannot get from the pensions system today”.Additionally, those saving into a Lifetime ISA will be able to access their savings to buy a property costing up to £450,000.The Treasury said it would consider whether to allow access to the savings for other life events, similar to employer-provided 401k accounts used in the US.But the pensions industry was quick to note that the launch of the Lifetime ISA from 2017 was akin to introducing TEE “via the back door”.Simon Laight, pensions partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said Osborne had “cleverly sidestepped” the looming backlash of reforming taxation.“Rather than compulsorily making the change to a tax-exempt-exempt system, he has made it voluntary,” Laight said, adding that the target market of savers under 40 would now be likely to “shy away” from products still using the existing EET system.“Less money going into EET means lowering the chancellor’s yearly tax relief spend,” he said. “It brings forward tax receipts. He has brought in limited TEE via the back door.”Consultancy LCP similarly viewed the Lifetime ISA model as paving the way for a full reform of pension taxation “once the dust has settled”.For his part, Darren Philp, director of master trust policy at The People’s Pension, questioned what impact the change would have on auto-enrolment.“Auto-enrolment relies on inertia and has so far been popular,” he said, noting the current low levels of opt-outs.“We already know people are stretched financially, and the attraction of the flexibility offered by a lifetime ISA may make it an ‘either/or’ for savers.”Pensions Dashboard and LGPS reformThe Budget also endorsed proposals by the Financial Advice Market Review – a joint Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority project published earlier this week – to introduce a pensions dashboard by 2019.The initiative, which the Treasury said would be funded by the industry, will see the establishment of a web portal displaying an individual’s pension savings, mirroring the approach of similar projects in the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium.It also threw its support behind the reform of the local government pension schemes (LGPS), which have recently been discussing the creation of seven or eight asset pools formed through collaboration between the 89 funds within England and Wales.Notably, it backed the creation of an LGPS “infrastructure investment platform”, likely to be similar to the proposals for an infrastructure clearinghouse put forward by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and the London Pensions Fund Authority.last_img read more

Dutch occupational pension funds looking for change, survey shows

first_imgCB said 40% of respondents expected to change their pension arrangements, such as replacing their average salary plans with defined contribution (DC) or collective DC schemes.It said more than two-thirds of respondents were still weighing their options, and that 60% were considering switching to an APF, by establishing one themselves or joining one in the market.DNB, the Dutch regulator, is assessing six applications for APF licences, most of which have been submitted by insurers, including CB, a subsidiary of Achmea Group.CB also found that 58% of the companies surveyed supported measures to increase the sustainability of their pensions, and that 16% had an APF in mind as an alternative.It revealed that sponsors were concerned about “losing their say and identity”, as well as “distance” from their participants as a consequence of changing pension plans.The future Centraal Beheer APF is to operate as an independent foundation.It will employ CB for distribution and the €100bn Achmea IM for asset management, using Achmea’s new online platform for administration.According to DNB statistics, 236 of the remaining 320 pension funds at the end of last year were company schemes.Recently, the regulator indicated that the total number of pension funds was to fall to approximately 265, as dozens are now in the process of liquidation. Most company pension funds in the Netherlands have doubts about their sustainability and are considering changing providers or pension arrangements, according to a survey commissioned by insurer Centraal Beheer (CB).The survey of 30 board members and 36 sponsors found that 93% of the pension funds were thinking of switching to another provider, such as the new general pension fund (APF) or an insurer, or joining a low-cost defined contribution vehicle (PPI).Company schemes are also looking to join a sector scheme or merge with another company pension fund, according to CB.The chief reasons for the possible changes were concerns over board continuity due to increased expertise requirements for trustees, as well as lowering costs by increasing scale.last_img read more

Fees make most hedge fund portfolios ‘bad investments’ – study

first_imgThe vast majority of institutional investors’ hedge fund portfolios underperform simple investable benchmarks, with fees responsible for making most hedge fund portfolios “bad investments”, according to a study.  The study, carried out by Canadian research company CEM Benchmarking, was commissioned by 27 large institutional investors from Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, among others.The study found that most hedge fund portfolios “look surprisingly like simple stock/bond portfolios”, according to Alexander Beath, senior research analyst and lead author of the study.“Worse,” he added, “what little alpha is generated goes to the hedge fund managers and then some.” According to CEM Benchmarking, the study found that institutional investors’ hedge fund portfolios have over 15 years outperformed simple stock/bond portfolios by 0.97% before fees but that “fees have made most hedge fund portfolios bad investments with net alpha of -1.88”.The company analysed the realised hedge fund portfolio returns of more than 300 large global investors.Half of these have invested with hedge funds for five years or more, with analysis of these return histories showing that, “for most funds, the performance can be replicated at much lower cost by simple equity/debt blends”.The average correlation to simple stock/bond portfolios was 84% and more than 90% for more than half of funds, according to CEM Benchmarking.“These results would not be disappointing except for the fact 70% of funds underperformed the simple benchmarks,” it said, “and the average fund underperformed by -1.88%.”Thirty percent of the surveyed institutional investors had hedge fund portfolio returns that beat the benchmark, and they had the following features in common, according to CEM Benchmarking:Funds with long histories investing in hedge funds tend to outperform those with short historiesFunds with lower correlation to equity/debt blends tend to outperform those with high correlationsFunds with low cost implementation tend to outperform those with high cost implementationCEM Benchmarking said most institutional investors benchmarked their hedge fund portfolios against speciality hedge fund indices or cash-based benchmarks, and that both styles were “flawed”.Speciality hedge fund indices suffer from survival biases, it said, while cash-based benchmarks show no correlation to hedge fund returns.Neither of these types of indices is investable or representative of a low-cost viable alternative, it noted.last_img read more

British Steel agrees restructuring deal ‘in principle’ with TPR, PPF

first_imgLesley Titcomb, TPR chief executive, emphasised that there were still “important details to be finalised” before giving the RAA the green light.In a statement, Titcomb said: “Good progress is being made in our discussions with Tata Steel UK and the trustees about the future of the British Steel Pension Scheme.“Pension restructurings which involve an RAA are rare, and we will only approve an RAA where stringent tests are met, so that they are not abused by employers seeking to inappropriately offload their pension liabilities.“We also continue to work with Tata Steel UK and the trustee in respect of the proposal to offer members an option to transfer to a new scheme sponsored by Tata Steel UK, which may occur should the approval to the RAA be granted, or stay in the BSPS and receive PPF compensation. The successor scheme would be subject to qualifying conditions.”Johnston said in a statement on the British Steel scheme’s website: “Although the PPF is an important safeguard for pension schemes generally, the trustee [board] believes that the BSPS has sufficient assets to offer members the potential for better outcomes by enabling them to transfer to another scheme offering modified benefits.“For most scheme members, these modified benefits are expected to be of greater value than those they would otherwise receive by transferring into the PPF.“Tata Steel UK’s willingness in principle to sponsor a new scheme post-RAA, subject to conditions agreed with the BSPS trustees, paves the way to allowing members to make a choice based on their personal circumstances. Discussions are progressing constructively and we expect to be in a position to communicate the final outcome to members soon.”Pensioner members transferring to the PPF would receive benefits in full, but annual increases are capped at 2.5%. Members yet to retire receive 90% of their annual pension income, capped at £34,655.05 a year.A spokesperson for the PPF said: “Members of the scheme can be reassured that we are there to protect them throughout this process and they will be able to receive at least PPF levels of compensation, should they remain in the scheme and BSPS enter the PPF assessment period.” Tata Steel is to pump £550m (€640.8m) into the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) as part of a major restructuring agreed in principle with trustees and the UK regulator.“Discussions are progressing constructively and we expect to be in a position to communicate the final outcome to members soon.”Allan Johnston, chair of trusteesThe deal will also see the pension fund take a 33% equity stake in Tata Steel UK.The restructuring will take the form of a regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA), an option the BSPS trustee board has been advocating since Tata Steel first sought to cut its pension costs. While far from finalised, the RAA signals a landmark moment for UK defined benefit pension schemes, given the high-profile nature of the case.Both the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) said the agreement met their published principles for allowing an RAA.Crucially, this included the two organisations agreeing that Tata Steel UK was facing insolvency if its pension costs were not addressed.However, the arrangement is still subject to a 28-day approval period as the regulator and the PPF analyse the details.As part of the deal, and subject to approvals from TPR, Tata Steel UK will sponsor a new scheme, to be set up using assets from the existing BSPS. No details have been agreed, but BSPS’s trustee board said the new scheme would offer “modified benefits”.BSPS members would be given the option of moving to the new scheme, or remaining with the original scheme, which will transfer to the PPF.This new scheme is subject to qualifying conditions set by TPR. If these are not met, the full £15bn scheme would transfer to the PPF. Allan Johnston, chair of trustees, maintained that “most” members would be better off in the new arrangement.“Pension restructurings which involve an RAA are rare, and we will only approve an RAA where stringent tests are met.”Lesley Titcomb, chief executive, TPRlast_img read more