Nordic roundup: Solvency levels, Skandia Liv, Storebrand, SPP, Folksam Liv, KPA

first_imgThe rise in long-term interest rates over the year has been generally positive for the Swedish life and pensions industry, according to a study by Söderberg & Partners, the investment consultants.While the value of bonds has decreased, so have liabilities, resulting in higher solvency levels, the study found.Söderberg & Partners pointed out that financially weaker companies such as SPP, Nordea and Handelsebanken had matched their interest-rate risk and therefore did not see much of the solvency-level increase.At the same time, AMF – financially, the strongest pensions provider in Sweden – has a very short duration on its assets, which will have an effect on future performance, according to the report. Söderberg & Partners also points out that total return depends on overall asset allocation and cost levels, which generally means those in a stronger financial position will have a higher allocation to equities and therefore continue to deliver good performance.In the study, the consultancy ranks companies on a scale from 0 to 10, where 10 is best.SEB Trygg Liv Gamla was ranked first with a score of 8, narrowly ahead of AMF, Folksam and Skandia Liv, all at 7.The consultancy predicts that, provided markets remain stable, companies with a score above 6 will perform better over a 10-20 year period than funds with an asset split of 40% equities and 60% bonds.Meanwhile, funds registered in Sweden have the lowest average fees in Europe, according to a study by Morningstar.Funds registered in Sweden have an annual fee of 1.09% compared with the European average of 1.42%.Balanced funds have a fee of 1.14% in Sweden and bond funds 0.52%, compared with 1.55% for balanced funds and 0.89% in Europe.The only exception in Sweden is money market funds, where the fee in Sweden is 0.37% compared with 0.23% in Europe.In other news, Skandia Liv returned 4% for the three quarters to the end of September, down from 5.6% during the same period last year.The return for third quarter was 1.8%, driven by holdings in Swedish equities, infrastructure and the credit portfolio.Skandia Liv has continued increasing its equity allocation over the period, and equities now make up 63% of all assets, an all-time high.Assets under management came to SEK316bn (€36bn), up from SEK309bn at year-end.The solvency ratio was also up to 167% from 147% for the same period last year.Simultaneously, Storebrand boosted operational results to NOK685m (€85m) compared with NOK282m for the same period last year, as all business segments saw a boost during the third quarter.In addition, the company has cut costs by some 20%.Premium payments into its guaranteed pension product came to NOK2.3bn over the period.The result was bolstered by the sale of SPP Pensionstjänst, the Swedish local authority services company, to KPA Pension.The sale generated a one-time sum of NOK55m, less than the predicted NOK100m, previously stated by Storebrand.Separately, SPP, the Swedish life and pensions provider still owned by Storebrand, saw income from premium payments increase to more than SEK7.4bn in the first nine months of the year, compared with SEK5.8bn for the same period last year.Fund products made up 73% of the numbers, an area on which SPP is increasingly focusing its efforts.Performance for the defined contribution portfolio was 2.1%, with assets under management up by SEK5bn to SEK13bn.Competitor Folksam Liv increased its income from premium payments by 3% to just over SEK5.9bn.Returns in the first three quarters came to 3.5%, with alternatives and equities performing particularly well, whereas fixed income investment had a negative effect on performance.Folksam’s solvency ratio increased to 162% over the period from 141% last year.Meanwhile, KPA Pension, owned by Folksam, increased its income from premium payments by 14.7% during the first three quarters to almost SEK8.4bn.Performance was 4.2%, while the solvency ratio increased to 180%, up from 144% for the same period last year.last_img read more

Trade union threatens universities over USS deficit plans

first_imgA trade union representing members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is set to ballot for industrial action over proposals from university employers to amend the scheme’s structure.The university employer representative, Universities UK (UUK), is currently consulting on four options to present to USS, a £41.6bn (€50.3bn) scheme, on how to reduce the “substantial” deficit expected to come out of the scheme’s triennial valuation results.UUK’s preferred option is to see the complete closure of the final salary section of the scheme, shifting all final salary members to the career-average scheme, which USS set up in 2011.This would include an upper-salary threshold of £40,000, with an additional defined contribution (DC) section for pay above this limit, while still receiving an employer contribution. However, financial modelling on the impact of UUK’s reforms found that the impact on members’ pensions was too high for the union to accept.Affected members would lose “tens of thousands of pounds” on their annual pension under the reforms, it said.According to modelling, undertaken by consultancy First Actuarial on behalf of the union, some of the members stand to lose between £98,000 and £230,000 on the total value of their pension.The union is now balloting members at 67 UK universities over boycotting examinations and coursework assessments.“Since 2011 [when the final salary section was closed to new members], the fund’s investments have grown by £8bn, the number of members has grown by 18%, and returns on investment have outperformed both average earnings and inflation,” the UCU said.Michael MacNeil, head of bargaining at the UCU, said the union had issues with the valuation method used at USS and argued that UUK’s plans were prompted by the expected deficit increase.Earlier this year, USS announced annual investment returns of 7.6%.However, the chairman warned that the scheme was set to see a dramatic increase in its deficit level once the triennial review was complete.This was despite the fund’s reporting a £4.3bn fall in its deficit, calculated on an annual basis.“The approach USS has adopted says the key risk to the scheme is instability over time, and this amount is determined by the valuations and scheme investment,” MacNeil said.He said the fund should scrap its UK Gilts-plus approach to determining investment returns and swap to an internal rate of return method.“We think this would give a more accurate picture of the scheme’s financial health and reduce volatility in the valuation result, with assets and liabilities moving more in line with one another,” he said. “It would mean the future would look less bleak for the pension scheme than the current picture.”He said the proposals were to the detriment of the majority of the union’s members, and that the £40,000 cap was something it would fight strongly.“There are a number of variables with pensions, so what we need is the employers to get in a serious discussion with us to try and reach an agreed position to put to the USS board,” he said.He added that the Union would be willing to discuss other variables such as the accrual rate and reevaluation rate.last_img read more

Pension funds should be subject to governance code, say MPs

first_imgUK politicians have called for corporate governance rules to be extended to cover large pension funds and private company boards.The Work and Pensions Committee – a group of 11 members of the UK’s lower house – published their recommendations yesterday in response to a government consultation on corporate governance standards.The committee has separately been conducting an enquiry into the British Homes Stores (BHS) pension scheme, which is being assessed for entry into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) following the sponsor’s bankruptcy last year. The scheme was significantly underfunded at its last valuation. The Pensions Regulator is attempting to secure contributions from Sir Philip Green, BHS’ former owner, who sold the business in 2015.Frank Field, chair of the committee, said that BHS’ collapse and its pension problems were the result of “gross failures of corporate governance”. “Would the story have played out the same way if its directors had to be open about the financial decisions they were making for its future?” he added. “The finances and leadership of a company with so many people depending on it should be open to scrutiny.”In October, business minister Margot James echoed the committee’s concerns that there were “apparent weaknesses in the corporate governance of the companies concerned”.In its response to the government corporate governance consultation, the committee called for pension scheme trustees to be subject to the Companies Act 2006, which currently only applies to company directors. It sets out directors’ duties and explains to whom they are responsible.The committee stated: “[Pension scheme members’] income in retirement is reliant on the sustained success of the sponsoring company but former employees in particular are at particular risk of being neglected in corporate decision making. Our recommended measure may increase the chances both that directors would take into account the interests of pensioners in carrying out their duties and that those who have failed to do so will be held accountable in the courts.”The MPs also want the UK’s existing corporate governance code for listed companies to be extended to “large private companies and those with over 5,000 defined benefit pension scheme members”.Arcadia, the unlisted business group ultimately owned by Sir Philip Green and the former parent company of BHS, also has a “substantial” deficit in its defined benefit (DB) pension fund, the committee said.“We have been pressing Arcadia’s directors and pension trustees for detailed information on their schemes but very little is published and neither the company nor the trustees will tell us,” it added. “It can’t be right that basic information like the schedule of employer contributions and the length of the recovery plan is not in the public domain.”If Arcadia, like BHS, was to go bankrupt, then other DB pension schemes – which all pay towards an industry-wide levy to fund the PPF – and pensioners would foot the bill, the MPs argued.Late last year the Work and Pensions Committee published a major report recommending a number of reforms to the DB rulebook. These were driven in part by the committee’s work on BHS and the British Steel Pension Scheme.last_img read more

Danish pension funds present plan for non-guaranteed pensions

first_imgThe Danish pensions and insurance association, Forsikring & Pension (F&P), has published a plan to increase transparency for a proposed new breed of non-guaranteed pensions.The industry body said it was bringing forward the unveiling of the four-point proposal in response to the regulator’s recent call for a debate on the increased pensions risk individuals were being asked to take on.F&P noted that Danes’ pension savings and contributions had gradually moved away from guaranteed average-rate pensions over a number of years to non-guaranteed market-rate pensions, or to pensions with lower guarantees.Per Bremer Rasmusen, F&P’s chief executive, said: “This means it has become more important than ever for the individual consumer to have the opportunity to see into the risks, for example, of the non-guaranteed products, so they can make the right decisions about their pensions.” The four new initiatives involve:the introduction of pension forecasts with more information and illustrations of uncertainty;the provision of clarity about where consumers’ pension savings are invested;the introduction of uniform and simple risk labelling;and guidelines for best practice.Bremer Rasmussen said the pensions industry was there to deliver the best possible pensions, and Denmark had previously won international praise for having the world’s best pension system and the best consumer tools.“We want to hold onto this in the future too, and that is the background to these four initiatives,” he said.F&P said its board already decided last year that it should work to carry out these four initiatives.Even though the work was not yet ready, the association said it had decided to publish the plans for the initiatives because the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finanstilsynet or FSA) had called for a debate on the subject.last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: Investors and the antibiotic crisis

first_imgResistance to commonly used antibiotics is rising to dangerously high levels. In September 2016, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, warned that antimicrobial resistance was a “fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development”. Bill Gates added that people across the world, particularly those in developing countries, face a decade at risk from pandemics spread by antibiotic-resistant bugs.A key cause of the rise of resistance to antibiotics is not their use by humans to treat disease, but their use in the farming industry where they are administered to livestock to prevent the spread of illness or to promote growth. This is especially true in intensive factory farms where animals may be kept in fundamentally unhealthy environments.This abuse of antibiotics has been often cited as a key factor in the emergence of superbugs. The Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) recently released a progress report on the issue.The issue is becoming more serious. The FAIRR report cites the example of scientists who, in January, found that a gene allowing resistant bacteria to move from animals to humans had spread to over 30 countries. Meanwhile, in the US, a superbug resistant to all 26 available antibiotics was reported to have killed a woman in Nevada.How can and should investors react to this issue? In March 2016, a $1trn (€0.9trn) group of investors formed to engage with 10 of the world’s largest restaurant and fast-food chains, coordinated by the FAIRR initiative and ShareAction. The group engaged with the companies to ask them to end the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics important to human health in their global meat and poultry supply chains. One year on, the investor group backing this engagement has grown to 71 institutions with over $2 trillion AUM. Clearly, this is an issue that investors are concerned about, and want to act on through engagement.As FAIRR argues – and few outside the farming industry are likely to disagree with – antibiotics should be reserved for the treatment of diagnosed disease or illness in livestock; they should not be used to support irresponsible practices such as growth promotion, or routine disease prevention for livestock kept in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.FAIRR says companies should work with their supplier base to phase out the use of antibiotics identified as medically important by the World Health Organisation, and to ban prophylactic use. Food companies are showing signs of acknowledging the risks of antibiotics in their food chains and, as the report notes, there have been improvements in awareness and action on this issue over the past year.As FAIRR argues strongly, the scale of the problem demands concerted, coordinated attention and engagement to encourage those who are showing signs of leadership and to hold laggards to account. For institutional investors everywhere, it is a problem that should not be ignored. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the biblical Book of Revelation – whose arrival heralds the end of the world – are commonly identified as Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.Clearly, mankind cannot avoid death, but it can and should be able to avoid the other three. War and famine are a function of political instabilities, and therefore the realm of politicians, but investors can play a part in controlling pestilence.Pandemics have been a feature of human history that have had devastating effects. The Black Death in the Middle Ages reduced the population of England by 50% by the 1370s. Cholera, typhus, tuberculosis, and leprosy are names that once struck fear across the globe because there was no way of curing them apart from the body’s own defences. Antibiotics changed that.The world now faces a new danger that may bring back the first horseman of the apocalypse – but investors can play their part in defence.last_img read more

AustralianSuper CEO defends news service funding in hearing

first_imgThe chief executive of Australia’s largest super fund, AustralianSuper, defended its investment in The New Daily, an online news publication, in a government hearing yesterday. Ian Silk, making his much anticipated appearance before the Royal Commission inquiring into Australia’s financial services sector, was also questioned about an industry advertising campaign known as ‘fox in the henhouse’.The focus on these issues comes as the Commission probes industry superannuation funds’ use of members’ fees, in response to concerns they are being inappropriately used for political activities.The New Daily was set up in 2013 with money from industry superannuation funds. AustralianSuper put in AUD2m (€1.3m), handing over its stake to Industry Super Holdings a few years later at no cost. Silk, who has been CEO of the AUD140bn super fund since 2006, said the investment in the service was part of a multi-pronged marketing strategy to retain members and attract new members.“In AustralianSuper’s case, more than 200,000 members leave the fund each year, which means that we need to replace those members,” he told the Commission.Silk described The New Daily service as a “voice for superannuation” and a tool to improve the numeracy and literacy of the average super fund member.He said it was not “a thoughtless cheerleader for industry funds” but that “where there are merits of those funds, and where people are best serviced by being members of those funds, we think it’s important to point those features out to people”.Foxes, hens, and default choicesAustralianSuper also contributed to the production and airing of the ‘fox in the henhouse’ campaign, which was created for the industry superannuation funds’ trade association and attacked big banks’ lobbying over superannuation rule changes.The ad was first aired in 2017.When asked by Michael Hodge, counsel assisting the Commission, about the target audience of the advertising series, Silk said the ultimate target was lawmakers – members of parliament.“The purpose of the advertisement was […] to prevent the lobbying effort that was being undertaken by retail wealth management companies, in particular the big banks, to change the default system,” he said.Retail super funds – owned by banks – have been losing ground due to poor performance and high fees, and have been lobbying to abolish the default system to completely open up the market.Silk told the Commission: “Some employers have a number of default funds to apply in relation to different cohorts of workers, and an employer will typically select the default fund or funds to apply at their work from a selection available to them or the only option available to them through an industrial instrument, in particular, an industrial award, or an enterprise agreement.”He said that most superannuation contributions turn out to be default contributions, making the choice of the default fund a very important one.AustralianSuper, created from the merger of three funds in 2006, has more than 2 million members.Hodge started the hearing with questions about AustralianSuper’s board composition and appointment of directors, including independent directors.Silk said the board’s priority was to have “the optimum composition of the board and the optimum structuring of the board”.The Royal Commission has summoned some 20 retail and industry funds to appear at what is round five of the hearing, which started on Monday. Earlier this week it quizzed AustralianSuper about its investment in Pacific Hydro, a renewable energy companylast_img read more

People moves: UK’s pension regulator director to leave auto-enrolment job

first_imgTPR, LGIM, Delancey, Law Debenture, Pensioenfederatie, Jupiter, Hymans, Morgan Stanley, Schroders, Elo, RPMI Railpen, ActiamThe Pensions Regulator (TPR) – Darren Ryder, the UK regulator’s director of automatic enrolment, will be leaving the organisation in early 2020 to work directly with other countries planning to implement their own automatic enrolment programmes.He joined TPR eight years ago to support the initial design and delivery of auto-enrolment in the UK following his involvement in the implementation of Kiwi-Saver in New Zealand. Initially joining on a six-month secondment, he decided to stay on at TPR and worked as head of compliance and enforcement before becoming director of the auto-enrolment programme in 2017.Charles Counsell, chief executive officer of TPR, said: “Darren has made a huge contribution to the successful delivery of automatic enrolment in the UK, with more than 10m people now saving into a pension. … I am hugely grateful to him for the difference he has made and I wish him every success in the future.” Ryder is president of D3P Global Pension Consulting, a consultancy that launched in November last year to help goverments deliver better pensions system outcomes.Legal & General Investment Management – The manager has appointed Kim Brown as pension scheme director for the L&G Mastertrust and the Independent Governance Committee (IGC). She joins from The Pensions Regulator, where she was head of master trust authorisation and supervision. Having stepped down from that role and following a period of leave, She will join LGIM in February 2020. She will be responsible for a dedicated team that supports the L&G Mastertrust Board as well as the IGC members.Delancey – The firm has recruited Lorna Brown as director of capital markets, taking a senior role in its investment advisory team. She will focus on devising and implementing real estate led strategies and will assist in boosting the growth of Delancey’s market leading portfolio, working closely with its global joint venture partners. Brown joins from Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets where she was head of real estate debt, EMEA. She has extensive experience investing, structuring and managing UK and European real estate investments in both debt and equity, and has held previous senior positions at Blackstone and the Royal Bank of Scotland.Law Debenture – Jane Beverley has joined the firm’s LawDeb pension trusteeship team from XPS Pensions Group, where she worked from 2004, most recently as principal and head of research. Law Decenture said Beverly was “recognised within the industry as one of the leading technical experts in pensions and has been shortlisted twice for ‘Pensions Woman of the Year’”.Pensioenfederatie – Marcel Lever is to leave the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) for the Pensions Federation as of 1 December, where he will become an adviser for the pensions agreement. At CPB he has been programme leader for pensions until the start of 2019. Lever has also been a member of working groups at the Pensions Federation, including a research group assessing two potential new pension contracts in 2016.Jupiter Asset Management – Nahid Iqbal and Antoine Hucher have joned the firm as equity analysts. The new hires, who joined in November, will provide significant support to the firm’s equity investment strategies with a specific focus on alternatives and technology, respectively.Iqbal joins from Mediobanca where he worked most recently in equity sales, covering a diversified group of European institutions and hedge funds. At Jupiter, he will work alongside fund manager Mike Buhl-Nielsen and fellow analyst Tommy Kristoffersen to generate ideas primarily for the £94m Jupiter Europa fund, but will also work collaboratively with Jupiter’s broader alternatives team as the firm continues to build on its capabilities in this space.Hucher joins from Exane BNP Paribas where he was a sell side equity research analyst, leading the analysis of large- and small-cap European software and IT services companies. With more than six years of experience researching technology companies, he will draw on his in-depth knowledge of the sector to support the full range of Jupiter’s equity funds, providing valuable analysis into global technology firms.Morgan Stanley Capital Partners – Jill Wight will be joining Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s middle market private equity investment team as a managing director and operating partner leading MSIM’s operational efforts for consumer and healthcare. She joins from The Carlyle Group where she was a principal and head of portfolio operations for Carlyle Equity Opportunity Funds. Before that she worked in the special situations group at Goldman Sachs. Hymans Robertson – The pensions and financial services consultancy has appointed Victoria Panormo to be senior DC investment consultant. She joins from Aon where she has worked as a senior DC investment consultant and client relationship manager across a variety of sectors advising on investment strategy, plan design and plan governance.Mark Jaffray, head of DC at Hymans Robertson, said: “DC schemes and master trusts are maturing and increasing their focus on investment strategies and responsible investment. Victoria’s addition to the DC team strengthens our ability to help our clients build better portfolios that engage with members and deliver those better outcomes in a sustainable and responsible way.”Panromo said that “in a post auto-enrolment era, where engagement and participation in DC schemes is increasing, it’s vital that we, as consultants, guide employers and schemes to ensure members actually engage in the right places at the right time.”Schroders – Frederik Eritsian-Hansen has joined Schroders as client director to help spearhead the firm’s growth strategy in Denmark. He starts his role in December and will be part of a five-strong team in Copenhagen, which is instrumental in building on the robust intermediary and institutional footprint Schroders has in the Danish market. Prior to joining Schroders, Eritsian-Hansen spent the past three years in a client executive role at Gudme Raaschou Asset Management. He also spent a decade working in the asset management and accounting teams at Deloitte.SH Pension – Stefan Eliasson, the chief executive officer of Swedish labour-market pension fund SH Pension, is stepping down. Lena Schelin, a member of the fund’s board of directors since the spring, is to take up the role of acting CEO until a permanent replacement is selected. SH Pension said it was facing strategic choices in adapting its business to new regulations, and it was in connection with this that it had decided to seek new leadership for the business. Eliasson is leaving after working for the fund for 13 years. Schelin was previously ceo of Swedish insurance firm Änke och Pupillkassan for nine years.AP Pension/PFA – Rasmus Bartholdy  has resigned from PFA Asset Management in Denmark, part of the PFA pensions group, where he has been senior portfolio manager, to take up a new job at PFA’s smaller rival AP Pension next year. Bartholdy will be senior portfolio manager within the AP Pension’s equity team, having worked at PFA for 16 years. A spokesperson for PFA said the company has started the recruitment process for a new senior portfolio manager to replace Bartholdy, who will leave the group on 31 January.Elo – Kati Paatela has been appointed portfolio manager for international real estate investments within private equity investments at Finnish pensions insurance company Elo. She took up her new job on 15 November, moving to the company from the real estate investment unit of Nordic financial group Sampo.RPMI Railpen – The investment manager for the £30bn railway pension scheme has made three appointments to expand its real assets team. Lewis Vanstone joins as deputy portfolio manager along with Julian Allport and Alena Antonava as investment managers. All three will report to Ted Jennings, the portfolio manager for Railpen’s long-term income fund. The fund targets income generating assets in infrastructure, real estate and other areas with a high degree of UK inflation protection and low levels of risk. These investments help support Railpen’s objective of consistently delivering long-term returns for its 107 clients and 350,000 scheme members.The trio will focus on investments in the infrastructure sectors. Vanstone joined from Foresight Group where he specialised in energy infrastructure projects, prior to which he was at PwC. Antonava draws on more than six years of experience working at Arcus Infrastructure Partners. Allport will initially focus on long income real estate related investments. He has more than 15 years of experience working in the long lease commercial real estate sector, joining from Aviva Investors. Actiam – The €60bn Dutch asset manager is planning to appoint Wim Borgdorff as interim chief executive officer. He is to succeed Hans van Houwelingen, who has opted to continue his career elsewhere, after having been at the helm at Actiam since 2016. Actiam said the appointment was subject to approval by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) as well as advice by the central works council of Vivat, the asset manager’s parent company. Borgdorff is co-founder of private equity house AlpInvest Partners, where he was responsible for fund investments, secondaries and investment solutions betwen 2000 and 2017. Prior to this, he worked at APG Investments, tasked with real estate and alternatives. Borgdorff started his career at ING Real Estate, where he was managing director between 1992 and 1995.last_img read more

German pensions lifeboat preps for insolvencies burden amid reform

first_imgThe Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein VVaG (PSVaG), the mutual insurance association for German occupational pension schemes, expects a high number of insolvencies, despite the efforts of the government to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy, board members Marko Brambach and Hans Melchiors have told IPE.“This will also lead to a higher burden for PSV as the legal institution of insolvency protection for company pension schemes,” they said.PSV is the statutory insolvency insurer for occupational pensions in Germany, covering direct pension promises, support funds, Pensionsfonds and certain types of direct insurance. It insures around €345bn of liabilities in Germany and Luxembourg, covering some 11.1 million beneficiaries.In 2009, following the financial crisis, PSV modified its so-called smoothing process (Glättungsverfahren) in order to distribute part of the required contributions between 2010 and 2013. In December, the ECJ rejected the argument that all defined benefit pension rights must be protected on employer insolvencyThe ECJ instead ruled that a cut of the level of compensation is considered disproportionate if it puts individuals at risk of living below the poverty line, even though employees receive at least half of the benefits.In the view of the PSV, the reform is balanced and meets as much as possible the interests of those involved. “The inclusion of certain commitments for company pensions made through [Pensionskassen] is regulated in such a way that the PSV can implement the provisions for both contributions and benefits,” Brambach and Melchiors commented.For Hoppstädter, the reform is justified. “In our view it is correct that the insolvency protection obligation is limited to regulated pension funds,” he said, adding that deregulated pension funds are exempted because they have voluntarily provided additional protection through their membership of the fund for life insurance companies.Seeking protectionMembership of the fund is a voluntary act according to section 221 paragraph of the Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz (VAG), although all deregulated pension funds have opted to seek protection, he said.However, the legislator is still missing the opportunity to make a clear step towards a contribution to insolvency protection that is commensurate to the risk.“It is difficult to understand why a company with a direct promise that not only creates provisions (Rückstellungen) but has also built up so-called cover assets or plan assets has to pay the same PSV contribution of a company that does not build up any capital for earmarked financing of pension obligations,” Hoppstädter added.Another weak point of the reform is that a pauschaldotierte Unterstützungskasse (support fund) is considered by the PSV in exactly the same way as a rückgedeckte Unterstützungskasse (reinsured support fund).“We would have hoped that in this case the legislator and the PSV would take a clear step towards commensurate risk,” he added.For Hoppstädter, the reform is a sign of the reliability of the company pension scheme for those entitled to pension benefits who are now under a new protection against insolvencies.Regulated pension funds, in particular company or sector pension funds, did not have a possibility of protection against insolvency.Pension funds have used statutory rules to reduce pension benefits. In these cases, the employer must compensate for a reduction in the pension funds according to subsidiary liability rule in section 1 paragraph 1 of the Betriebsrentengesetz (BetrAVG).But the employees cannot claim the benefits in case of a bankruptcy. “This loophole has now been closed, which is positive,” he said. “We consider ourselves well equipped for the future, especially since our equalisation fund, which serves to mitigate exceptionally high contributions, is now well funded,” Brambach and Melchiors said.Michael Hoppstädter, managing director of the consultancy Longial, agrees that a large number companies may not survive the period of prolonged lockdown and will have to file for bankruptcy. The PSV will have to act for those that have made pension commitments.The PSV is a pay-as-you-go system. If performance obligations for the PSV increase with the number of insolvencies, the institution will have to increase contributions for all companies in the coming year.“In this respect, the funds of the PSV are sufficient, even if many companies with pension obligations have to file for bankruptcy,” Hoppstädter said. In 2009 the contribution rate rose to 14.2‰ (promille) from 1.8‰ the previous year.“The funds of the PSV are sufficient, even if many companies with pension obligations have to file for bankruptcy”Michael Hoppstädter, managing director at LongialMeanwhile, the German government has reviewed a proposal for the reform of the PSV by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs that expands the protection to employers organising pension provisions through Pensionskassen.Employers who organise company pensions through pension funds will have to contribute financially to PSV, although pension schemes that already rely on protection against a reduction of the benefits through the fund for life insurance companies – Sicherungsfonds der Lebensversicherer – are excluded from the PSV protection.“Given the period of low interest rate and the ECJ ruling last December, the reform is understandable,” Brambach and Melchiors said.In December, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected the argument that all defined benefit pension rights must be protected on employer insolvency in the judgement that saw the Pension-Sicherungs-Verein against Günther Bauer.last_img read more

Waterfront home’s skyline views among the best on the Gold Coast

first_imgThe main bedroom is surrounded by windows to take advantage of the views.“More or less, the property was inspired by where it was,” Mr Sullivan said.“We tried to frame everything into the glass.”He said the striking Jewel towers at Surfers Paradise acted as a focal point.The couple, who have listed the five-bedroom property with a $2.395 million price tag, bought it in 2015 following a quick inspection.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa11 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“As soon as we saw it we knew it was special and we bought it straight away,” Mr Sullivan said.“It was just an old house with a big apron around it and a flat roof.“But we totally rebuilt the place, we bought it back to bare bones.”They spared no expense decking it out, even travelling interstate to find the marble kitchen splashback tiles they wanted. MORE NEWS: Thousands of agents flock to the Coast The owners spared no expense decking the property out. The pool overlooks the canal.“We drove to Sydney to get them specially,” Mr Sullivan said.The Hamptons-inspired house’s white palette with black and grey accents add a touch of sophistication while soaring vaulted ceilings offer a sense of space.It has an open kitchen, dining and living room that flows seamlessly onto an alfresco area overlooking the pool and canal, as well as a media room and upstairs retreat.The main bedroom upstairs, which is flanked by windows and has a balcony, is a standout feature of the house.It is also frequented by swans and occasionally dolphins.Mr and Mrs Sullivan decided to sell the home, which is being marketed by John Reid Real Estate agents Rod and Cheryl Martin, so they can be closer to family interstate. The property at 17 San Michele Court, Broadbeach Waters has been built to make the most of its skyline views.CITY skyline views don’t get much better than those that form the backdrop of this Broadbeach Waters residence.Its walls of towering windows frame a picture-perfect panorama of the Glitter Strip’s glistening skyscrapers during the day and a sea of coloured lights at night.Owners John and Judy Sullivan loved the backdrop so much they redesigned the San Michele Court house to make the most of it. MORE NEWS: Christmas could come early for sellers There are plenty of spots to soak up the view. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:54Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:54 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenAndrew Winter: To sell or to renovate?00:55last_img read more

Brisbane’s lash angel reveals why she loves living in Redlands

first_imgMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus12 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours agoRubi De Araugo with daughters, Leyla and Lily. Picture: Annette Dew.What is the best thing about your suburb? I love the street we live in. The Fiteni Estates create an awesome community. We are blessed with the best neighbours, which are mostly retirees, so there are regular neighbourhood park barbecues and everyone looks out for each other, which makes it the best place to live.If money was no option, what would be your fantasy home and where? Ahh, this would be Hastings Point — across the road from the beach. A Hamptons style, open and airy home with views of the beach.What was the best piece of property advice you were given? Move to Queensland! Eighteen years ago, I moved and bought my first home in Queensland in Murarrie. A little sparrow shared that this was going to be a good area and it paid off. The biggest lesson I have learned is to never be afraid to commit. Sometimes a little work and elbow grease can really make a property have that wow factor and make the resale so much better. Take your time on landscaping and dressing your home to give it that wow factor. Brisbane Lash Angels founder Rubi De Araugo. Photo: Adella Lane Photography.BRISBANE businesswoman Rubi De Araugo is the founder of Brisbane Lash Angels. When she’s not sculpting the lashes of some of the city’s most high profile figures, Ms De Araugo is dreaming of installing a hot tub in her Redlands abode, or moving to Hastings Point in northern NSW.Where do you live and why?We moved to the Redlands about 18 months ago. We chose to head out a little further into the suburbs to gain a bit more land and also to have the choice to build the perfect family home.What do you love about your home?We built with Fiteni Homes. The home is built with a family in mind — parents at the front and kids at the back, so everyone gets their space. I love the finishes and that we finally have everything all on one level. Stairs are my enemy! I also love that my parents bought and built in the same street, so as an avid entrepreneur this is super handy and makes sure they are also well looked after in their older years. It’s super handy too when you run out of a key ingredient for dinner!What would you change about your home? I’d love a hot tub and plantation shutters throughout the home, which we are working on. I would also like decking blinds as the bay breezes can get nippy during winter.last_img read more