The pension fund, which divides assets strategically among various major asset classes and has a conservative investment profile, said investment managers tendering for the mandates should have assets under management of at least €5bn.The “Mario Negri” pension fund provides details of how managers should respond using its published questionnaires.It said that, on the basis of the replies it receives, it will then move on to pre-select managers to go through the next phase.A second phase of the process will then consist of possible direct meetings to gain further information and clarification on proposals.The pension fund had €2.3bn in total assets at the end of 2014. The Italian pension fund for executives of commercial, haulage and transport companies, Fondo di Previdenza “Mario Negri”, has announced a tender for three investment management mandates.The pension fund is offering mandates for three portfolios – global balanced (bonds and equities), US equities and European small and mid-cap equities – according to a notice from the fund.The fund did not state the value of the mandates.The deadline for tenders to be received is 8 March.
“During the year, we reduced fixed income investments and increased investments in real asset classes,” he said. “We continued to diversify our real estate investments abroad and invested in new properties in Frankfurt, Berlin and Amsterdam, among other places.”The market value of Ilmarinen’s portfolio rose to €37.2bn by the end of December, from €35.8bn a year earlier.Equities were the best performers among the main asset classes despite market volatility, Ilmarinen reported, returning 6.5%.Investments in listed Finnish equities returned more than 15% in 2016, Ritakallio said, adding that US and emerging economy equities had also performed well.“However, investments in other European equities and shares lowered the overall return on the equity portfolio,” he added.Solvency capital was 29.2% of the technical provisions in 2016 compared to 29.6% the year before, and the solvency position remained at two times the solvency limit.Ritakallio also said implementation of Finnish pension reform had got off to a smooth start at the company.“It will be interesting to see how the reform will impact retirement in the long run and how Finns will make use of the new pension types,” he said. Finland’s second largest pensions insurer Ilmarinen recovered from early losses to report 4.8% in overall investment returns for 2016.The return was lower than 2015’s 6% gain, with European equities a drag, according to Timo Ritakallio, president and chief executive of Ilmarinen.“The Brexit referendum and the US presidential election fuelled political uncertainty, causing stock price volatility,” Ritakallio said. “Against this challenging backdrop, we reached a reasonably good investment return.”Ritakallio said the “good” full-year result was attributable to Ilmarinen’s long-term investment strategy, as well as diversifying investments both geographically and across various asset classes.
Unilever closed its defined benefit (DB) scheme Progress to new entrants in 2015, when it placed pensions accrual in a new collective defined contribution pension fund, Forward.Earlier this year, both schemes joined the new APF, enabling them to operate with one asset manager and under a single board.In the opinon of the jury, this was a significant step towards a ‘future-proof’ plan.Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for social affairs, won the award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Sector, because of innovations introduced under her watch. These included the new financial assessment framework (nFTK), the introduction of the APF, and legislation to improve governance and communication.The jury also credited Klijnsma with the nationwide dialogue concerning the update of the pensions system.The Unilever APF was also awarded the Innovation prize, while the sector scheme for the hospitality industry (Horeca & Catering) was awarded for its customer service.The ESG Award went to the €45bn metal scheme PME. The small Calpam pension fund won the awards for Best Investment Policy and Best Long-term Investment, as well as the silver award for Best Small Pension Fund.The bronze awards for best strategies for equity, bonds, and property were bagged by BPL Pensioen (the former sector scheme for agriculture), Pensioenfonds TNT Express, and the occupational pension fund for general practitioners (SPH), respectively.The industry-wide pension fund for building materials (HiBiN) won the prize for best medium-sized scheme, while the Unilever APF was also awarded silver for Best Large Pension Fund.The sector pension fund for painters and decorators (Schilders) won the award for best funding improvement. Its coverage ratio increased from 94.2% in June last year to 109.8% at March-end. Unilever’s general pension fund (APF) has won the golden Pensioen Pro Award for the Best Dutch Pension Fund of 2017.A jury of pension selected the Unilever APF from a shortlist of three candidates, after 1,628 experts had cast their votes.Rob Kragten, the scheme’s chief executive, received the award last week from Hamadi Zaghdoudi of Willis Towers Watson, during the annual congress of IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro in Amsterdam last week.The event was attended by 330 representatives from the sector.
A cross-party committee of MPs has launched an inquiry into the future of the UK’s financial services after the country has left the EU.The Treasury Select Committee – made up of members of the UK’s lower house of parliament – will examine what the government’s financial services priorities should be when it negotiates the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU and other countries.The inquiry will also consider whether the UK should maintain the current regulatory barriers that apply to third countries.Nicky Morgan, chair of the committee, said: “London is the world’s premier financial centre, and many of us want to keep it that way.” Headquarters of the CSSF, Luxembourg’s financial regulatorThe Luxembourg financial services regulator, the CSSF, has issued a reminder that fund management responsibilities could still be delegated to the UK in the event of the latter leaving the EU without a withdrawal deal, if companies fulfil certain conditions.The CSSF said it was working towards the required co-operation with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) being in place by 29 March in the event of such a “no deal” Brexit.The regulator also reminded Luxembourg firms and investment funds passporting activities into the UK that a temporary permissions regime had been operating since 7 January.Firms and investment funds notifying the FCA under this regime would be authorised to continue existing regulated business within the scope of their current permissions in the UK for a limited period after 29 March while seeking full FCA authorisation.The regime also allowed inbound marketing of EU funds in the UK to continue temporarily.According to Luxembourg for Finance, a public-private partnership established to develop the Duchy’s financial centre, the country’s regulators granted 80 new licences for banks, management companies, alternative asset managers, insurers and investment firms in 2018.This included several financial institutions that had publicly announced their decision to relocate some activities because of Brexit.The agency said 47 financial institutions had publicly disclosed Brexit relocation plans involving Luxembourg, half of which were asset managers.M&G and Columbia Threadneedle are among those who have announced plans to transfer assets to Luxembourg. Others have opted for Dublin. She added: “Brexit will have a significant and long-lasting impact on the financial services sector, including the insurance, retail banking and asset management sectors, in the UK, the EU, and potentially the rest of the world.”The inquiry will weigh up the pros and cons of different possible future relationships with the EU – convergence, equivalence, or divergence.“We’ll also seek to conclude whether it would be in the long-term interests of the UK to align closely with EU financial rules, or to forgo financial services trade with the EU and pursue trade with other third countries,” said Morgan.The committee would also consider “the opportunities outside Brexit”, such as fintech, she added.There is no set deadline for submitting written evidence to the inquiry. Luxembourg regulator issues Brexit delegation reminder
MP Pension had an equity stake of DKK26.2m in Vale and corporate bonds amounting to DKK5.7m linked to its subsidiary Samarco Mineracao. Source: TV NBR An aerial view of the Brumadinho dam collapseThe disaster at Vale’s dams in Brumadinho drew attention to the dangers of tailings, or waste, dams all over the world. In the immediate aftermath, a group of investors led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish AP Funds’ Council of Ethics came together to form the Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative .The group said it made a request for dam-by-dam disclosure, supported by 100 investors with $12.5trn (€11.2trn) in assets under management. It contacted 655 companies, gathering information about global tailings facilities and asking them to disclose whether they operated waste dams.Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement at the Church of England Pensions Board and co-lead of the initiative, said: “It is clear there has been insufficient attention paid by the investment community and tailings have in effect been treated as an externality. These disclosures begin to change that understanding. The Danish pension fund for academics is selling off its stake in Brazilian mining company Vale, after holding the stock in “quarantine” since the end of January.MP Pension said it had been in talks with the company since the collapse of a tailings dam in January caused the deaths of 169 people in Brumadinho, Brazil.The DKK114bn (€15.3bn) fund said it had sought to address issues related to Vale’s mining activities in the Moatize mine in Mozambique, but talks had since failed. As a result, the fund planned to sell its DKK31.9m worth of investments in the company.Anders Schelde, MP Pension’s CIO, said: “In recent months, MP Pension has strengthened its efforts to influence the company through dialogue, but it has not led to the desired improvements, so now they are coming onto our exclusion list.” “Not disclosing is unacceptable and poses a very real risk to our investment”John Howchin, AP Funds Council on Ethics“We now know who has a facility, where it is, and we are beginning to understand the risks associated with individual dams.”While 453 companies contacted did not respond to the disclosure request, 202 of the firms did respond, including 29 of the 50 largest mining companies in the world. This resulted in information being made public about thousands of facilities.John Howchin, secretary-general of the AP Funds’ Council on Ethics, said: “Not disclosing is unacceptable and poses a very real risk to our investment. We are now working with partners to develop a global tailings database that can standardise independent reporting and monitoring of tailings.”
FossielvrijNL, an environmental pressure group, has accused Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW of going back on its original plans to reduce its stake in fossil fuel investments.In 2015, the €238bn pension fund announced it would divest most of its holdings in coal, while reducing its fossil fuel portfolio by 30%, within five years.FossielvrijNL said that participants and pensioners of PFZW had found that the scheme’s combined investments in the fossil fuel sector had nevertheless increased 14%.It noted that the scheme still had €3.7bn worth of investments in fossil fuel companies, predominantly oil and gas firms. Four of them accounted for the highest carbon emissions worldwide, it claimed.The pressure group noted that, whereas the Dutch government closed coal-fired power plants, coal companies in PFZW’s portfolio intended to build new power plants worldwide.FossielvrijNL has asked the fund to exclude fossil fuels from its investment universe, cease investment in coal by 2021 and divest both from oil and gas holdings no later than 2024.It added that a petition with these demands had already been signed by 1,700 workers in the healthcare sector.In a response, PFZW stated that it wanted to encourage the transition to a sustainable energy system by being an active shareholder.It said it had committed to reducing carbon emissions by 50%, rather than halving its financial stake in fossil fuels, adding that it had already achieved a reduction of 40%.The healthcare scheme attributed the 14% rise of its holdings in fossil fuel firms to “high returns” of the investments.Explaining its approach, it said that it aimed to sell its stake in the biggest CO2 emitters in the sectors energy, utility companies and materials, “where we can achieve by far the largest gain”.It said that in the past five years, it had sold 250 of the most polluting fossil fuel companies in favour of investment in frontrunners on sustainable energy, in particular in the sectors materials and electricity firms.
E.On does not have a Pensionsfonds, which is a vehicle allowing sponsor companies to move pension liabilities off the balance sheet, for one or more payments. There are both company-specific and multi-employer Pensionsfonds, like Willis Towers Watson’s.The vehicle is particularly attractive for companies involved in mergers or spin-offs.In a statement Willis Towers Watson said it was absolutely necessary for Innogy to switch from a company-specific solution to a third party provider solution in the context of the acquisition by E.On.“In doing so, Innogy wanted to intervene as little as possible in the existing, proven workplace pension structures and to allow operating processes to continue largely unchanged,” it said. “The company also attaches great importance to the short-term and long-term cost-effectiveness and flexibility of the solution, which offers scope for joint solutions in the future.”Heinke Conrads, head of retirement for Germany and Austria at Willis Towers Watson, said the deal with Innogy involved a complex M&A situation and that the consultancy was pleased to have been able to support the companies involved in dealing with the sensitive matter of occupational pensions.Innogy finances pensions for around 10,000 pensioners via the Willis Towers Watson Pensionsfonds. Germany’s Willis Towers Watson’s Pensionsfonds has gained €2.6bn in assets as a result of energy provider Innogy switching to the pension financing vehicle following the company’s takeover by E.On from RWE.The European Commission gave the green light for the acquisition in September. The Willis Towers Watson Pensionsfonds now counts as one of the largest multi-employer Pensionsfonds in Germany, with €3.8bn in assets under management.According to Willis Towers Watson, multiple steps were achieved in a tight timeframe in time for the closing of the RWE/E.On transaction: preparing contractual documentation, obtaining authorisation from all the subsidiaries involved and getting the approval of BaFin, the regulator.The transaction involved the transfer of all Innogy pension assets from RWE Pensionsfonds and a corresponding change in the trust structure.
A research study by custody and asset servicer CACEIS has shown that more than two fifths (43%) of UK-based trustees and pension fund managers do not feel properly equipped to monitor and report on their pension schemes’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies to a high standard.The research follows the UK’s new legislation of 1 October 2019, that requires trustees to outline how they approach financially material factors, including ESG and climate change considerations, into the investment decision making within their Statement of Investment Principles.Pat Sharman, managing director at CACEIS, said: “While 2019 saw ESG, and with it the improved standards of governance, creep higher on the corporate agenda, now is the year ESG becomes front and centre for UK pension schemes.”The legislation is a step forward towards ensuring trustees have a plan of action when embedding ESG risks into trustee governance and strategic plans for schemes, the firm said, adding that good governance involves responsible investing. “However, it’s clear that implementing an ESG framework won’t always be easy to apply because of the numerous touchpoints involved. It can be very difficult, for example, to assess the ESG characteristics of a company – and sometimes analysts may disagree on their findings,” the study found.“This creates a governance challenge for trustees, especially as they balance the demands of pension scheme members with the new ESG and climate change requirements.”Sharman said that ”implementing climate change and good ESG principles will be important for pension schemes of all shapes and sizes to help manage longer term risks for the benefit of members”.She added: “As a trustee myself, I fully understand the complexities involved – as a result, we are working with the PLSA [Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association] for the second year running as an education partner and we’ll focus on helping trustees navigate this challenging landscape.”CACEIS said that ensuring the vital message around the long-term investment consequences of all ESG factors is communicated to all stakeholders is an area where improved resource and education is needed.
Child labour was a critical concern, it said, but children were also impacted by weak maternity protection for working mothers, for example and by the absence of childcare and breastfeeding support in factories.The manager of the NOK10.3trn (€977bn) sovereign wealth fund said the new tool contained metrics companies could use to monitor and report on child rights in their own processes, and on the outcomes of their actions at the factory level.It said the guide was the product of a two-year partnership with UNICEF, during which time the two had been working to examine and raise awareness about the clothing sector’s impact on children’s rights and ways in which companies could address this.Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, deputy executive director at UNICEF, said: “As the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten the livelihoods of millions of workers in global supply chains, children’s rights must be at the heart of business action.”NBIM said the guidance tool outlines concrete steps firms could take to improve their impact on children, including integrating child rights into their policies and management systems; strengthening supplier capacity to address child rights and root causes; supporting governments; and advocating for children’s rights.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. The manager of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has co-authored a report on the rights of children in the garment and footwear industries, and a guide for companies on how to uphold them, in partnership with UN agency UNICEF.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), said the guidance was intended for use by garment companies who would like to integrate child rights into their sourcing policies and production practices.Carine Smith Ihenacho, chief corporate governance officer at NBIM, said: “Children must be at the heart of companies’ sustainability efforts as they are among the most vulnerable members of society and the basis for future prosperity.”UNICEF said it estimated that more than 100m children were affected in the garment and footwear supply chain globally, not only as workers but also as children of working parents, and community members near farms and factories.
Now might be the time to try and grab a bargain in the Brisbane property market. Picture: AAP/ Ric FrearsonIF YOU’RE hunting for property, now could be a good time to buy, with new figures revealing the number of owners selling for less than they paid is on the increase.While the latest CoreLogic Pain and Gain report revealed the majority of sales were still for a profit, worth $1.2 billion across Greater Brisbane in the first quarter of 2018, loss making sales had risen.Loss making sales accounted for 10 per cent of transactions during the quarter compared with 8.4 per cent in the previous quarter. The total value of resales at a loss was $29 million. The report found within Brisbane houses were more likely to sell for a profit than units, with units almost nine times as likely to resell for a loss than houses.Within Southeast Queensland the Sunshine Coast was the strongest performer with 94 per cent of all sales at a profit with an average profit of $131,000.In the Brisbane City Council region 88.1 per cent of sales were for a profit with an average profit to $175,000.Average profits were highest in the Scenic Rim at $239,999.CoreLogic analyst Cameron Kusher said the difference between the unit and house markets was what contributed to a higher level of loss making sales in Brisbane.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago It’s not hard to see why the Sunshine Coast lifestyle was so appealing to buyers during the quarter. Picture: Lachie MillardMr Kusher said nationally the figures reflected a slow down in price growth in the market with the level of loss making sales was the highest it had been since October 2013.While a higher number of property sales in capital cities were at a profit compared with regional areas, Mr Kusher said price growth was doing better in regional areas. Hobart had the highest number of profit making sales, 98.4 per cent, followed by Sydney 97.6 per cent, Melbourne, 96 per cent, Canberra 92.1 per cent, Adelaide 91. per cent, Brisbane 90 per cent, Perth 71.1 per cent, Darwin 64.4 per cent. Mr Kusher said there had been a big change in the level of loss making sales this quarter.“And largely that is because obviously we are starting to see values decline,’’ he said.“I think that’s largely because we are starting to see, particularly in the capital cities, dwelling values starting to fall. So in terms of resales at a loss nationally they have increased largely because of the performances of capital cities. “Brisbane new houses have been trending lower. In terms of the share of losses they are pretty flat over the quarter but we continue to see more and more units selling at a loss, so 30 per cent of units selling at a loss now, it was 25 per cent last quarter,’’ he said.