Switzerland’s Profond creates CIO role for more in-house control

first_img“We are active in more areas and investing more ourselves,” he added.  “For all these reasons, we decided we need internal co-ordination, which we feel will give us more control.“We felt the progress and changes we want to make can be achieved more easily with our own CIO.”As of the end of December 2015, Profond had around CHF6bn (€5.4bn) in assets under management, compared with less than CHF1.5bn some 10 years ago. The scheme has around 1,800 companies as members.When asked what changes Profond had in mind, Meyer said “there is no master plan as such” but that part of the point of hiring a CIO was to have someone inside the foundation to develop the scheme’s thinking on investment strategy.“The CIO will be the main motor behind this,” he said, adding that a core responsibility would be to oversee the investment process and the related organisational structure.Whether there will be other personnel or organisational changes remains to be seen, Meyer said.“Our focus,” he added, “is to think about substance.” Swiss multi-employer pension scheme Profond has created the position of CIO, with Christina Böck of AXA Investment Managers appointed to the new role.Böck has been at AXA for more than 15 years, most recently as head of solution strategists for Central Europe, and CIO Switzerland at AXA in Zurich.She will join Profond in mid-August, reporting to the board of trustees.Olaf Meyer, head of the board of trustees at Profond, told IPE the decision to hire a CIO was a reflection of the scheme’s growth and its increasingly complex investments.last_img read more

Danica harvests 15% YTD return from direct investment strategy

first_imgOn top of this, it made further investment commitments to several private equity funds.“Direct investments yielded returns in excess of 15% for the first nine months,” it reported.Alternative investments such as these directly held assets, excluding properties, now account for 14% of the total portfolio underlying unit-linked products, Danica said.Including real estate, that percentage is 21%.Klitgård said Danica had taken a very dedicated approach to alternative investments and that he was pleased to see the strong performance of this sector. “It is a difficult market that requires a wide range of very specific competencies, which we possess at Danica Pension,” he said.Klitgård said the subsidiary’s continuing improvements in its product and the new online services it was devising had contributed to the increased premiums.In Denmark, total premiums for January to September were up by 15% year on year at DKK16.6bn, while total premiums for the Danica Group amounted to DKK24.6bn for the nine-month period, 12% higher year on year.Pre-tax profit was little changed from the previous year at DKK1.46bn, down from the DKK1.49bn profit in the corresponding period in 2015.Danica’s total assets grew to DKK436bn by the end of September from DKK355bn at the end of December 2015. Danske Bank subsidiary Danica Pension said business made good headway in the first nine months of this year, while investments in its new strategy of investment directly in companies generated more than 15% in returns in the period.Per Klitgård, Danica’s group chief executive, said: “We are presenting a satisfactory performance for the first nine months – despite the financial market turmoil experienced during the period.”Reporting interim financial figures, Danica Pension, Denmark’s second-biggest commercial pension provider after PFA, said it registered a 12% increase in its total premiums in the nine-month period compared with the same period last year.Danica said that, year to date, it had invested almost DKK2bn (€269m) directly in Nordic companies in the direct-investment strategy it first announced in the summer of 2014.last_img read more

Vitol Anker shifts pension scheme from Netherlands to Luxembourg

first_imgThe €62m Dutch pension fund for commodities firm Vitol Anker (SPFVA) has liquidated and placed its pension plan with insurer Integrale Luxemburg.It is the first time a Dutch scheme has moved across the border to the Luxembourg-based insurer, and Integrale said there was growing interest in this option.SPFVA said the Dutch regulator, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), had concluded that the scheme was vulnerable and its board needed to spend a disproportionate amount of time running it. It had a funding level of 94% at the end of 2015, and 550 participants in total.SPFVA indicated that, by involving the insurer as of 1 January this year, it was able to prevent rights cuts. The new pension arrangements run by Integrale are purely defined contribution (DC), whereas the previous plan combined defined benefit and DC. The DB element applied to the first €35,000 of an employee’s salary, and DC applied to any remainder up to the national cap of €100,000.The scheme’s board emphasised that the new plan would produce the same pension result as the old scheme, and added that Vitol Anker would not financially benefit from the changes.On its website, the board said that the Luxembourg arrangements required an employer’s guarantee if agreed returns weren’t achieved. It declined to provide additional details about its choice.The board made clear that it would keep administration and communication in-house, provided by Anchor Insurance Rotterdam, one of the scheme’s affiliated employers.SPFVA implemented the pension plan for fuel trading firm Vitol, oil storage and transport company VTTI, DUPI Insurance Group, and Anchor Insurance.Integrale Luxemburg – a subsidiary of parent company Integrale Belgium – said that Vitol Anker was the first Dutch pension fund that had placed its pensions with the insurer.It cited Dutch pensions advisers indicating more interest for its proposition, but said that it was not in talks with other candidates.Integrale was also reluctant to provide more details of insured arrangements in Luxembourg.“We know how sensitive the issue is in the Netherlands,” a spokesperson said. “But of course we would be happy to point out the benefits to interested parties.”Integrale Luxemburg said it was particularly focused on smaller pension funds with assets of up to €200m. It also offers other services including fiduciary management, reporting, and compliance.French asset manager Amundi has recently set up a Luxembourg-based pan-European pensions vehicle for DC plans, aimed at European schemes of multinationals. Last December, it said it already had a dozen clients.Amundi offers both asset management and administration, and claimed that asset management costs in Luxemburg were 30% lower than elsewhere in Europe.It added that supervision in Luxembourg was no less strict but more flexible than in the Netherlands and Belgium.last_img read more

Pensioenfonds VNU shakes up fixed income allocation

first_imgDutch scheme Pensioenfonds VNU halved its stake in government bonds to 12.5% last year in favour of a range of alternative fixed income assets.In its 2016 annual report the fund said it had moved into mortgages, asset-backed securities (ABS), government-backed bonds and private loans.VNU raised its strategic stake in residential mortgages to 7.5% and increased its ABS holdings to a similar percentage.It said it expected the adjustments would generate better returns against an almost unchanged risk profile. For the same reason, the pension fund took a 7.5% stake in the Aegon Government-Related Investment Fund (GRIF), which invests in government-backed or government-related bonds as well as private loans.The changes applied to the €174m of pension assets managed by Aegon Investment Management for the Pensioenfonds VNU. The assets cover €57m of liabilities, chiefly for indexation for pensioners and deferred members.VNU said it would bear the longevity risk for the €57m of assets “as a hedge through longevity swaps would be too expensive and complicated”.In addition, the scheme has insured €438m of liabilities through a guarantee contract with Aegon, based on assets with a market value of €277m.The board said it had persuaded Aegon to also invest 15% of the insured liabilities in the insurer’s Government Related Investment Fund, at the expense of investments in Aegon’s Core Government Bond Fund and European Credit Fund.The pension fund – which reported an overall annual return of 6.7% and had a funding of 123.8% at May-end – said it wanted to remain independent, rather than merge with another scheme.It argued that a feasibility check had shown that, with its current coverage and investment policy, it would be able to keep on granting inflation-linked increases for a long period.It also pointed out that, because its pensions were largely insured, supervisor DNB had agreed that it could grant full indexation based on a funding ratio of 113.4%, rather than the usual regulatory minimum of 125%.The scheme’s US sponsor, marketing research firm The Nielsen Company, showed a preference for defined contribution pension schemes, VNU said. This meant the Dutch defined benefit fund could ultimately face closure to new entrants.Pensioenfonds VNU has more than 3,000 pensioners and 2,150 deferred members but just 230 workers.Last year, its administration costs were €323 per participant. It spent 0.3% and 0.03% on asset management and transactions, respectively.last_img read more

IASB urged to look again at DB surplus accounting rules

first_img“Finding a solution to the IFRIC 14 will require going right back to the roots of the interpretation, which goes right back to the basics of how pensions accounting works.“For that reason, I think a sticking-plaster approach is unlikely to be helpful.”Willis Towers Watson consultant Andrew Mandley added: “I didn’t expect the board to change course this late in the day, although the development is not unwelcome.“However, I think the staff are going to find it difficult to develop those principles and they might well conclude that it is not worth changing IFRIC 14.”The IASB and its interpretations committee launched the project in late 2014 to clarify the circumstances in which a DB scheme can recognise a surplus, when third parties, such as trustees, can take investment decisions.The proposals have proved controversial in the UK. In particular, critics have said they could lead to sponsors recognising huge additional liabilities. This is particularly true where a sponsor agrees to a major funding commitment.Tim Marklew also warned companies not to think that the issue was going to go away.“My advice would be to continue to take this IFRIC 14 project very seriously and to establish how changes to IFRIC14 may interact with their scheme rules,” he said. “Any changes to scheme rules take time to negotiate, so companies should review their position sooner rather than later.”He added: “I don’t think that these issues are going to go away, and it is unlikely that the IASB will drop the whole thing.”Other Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia could also be affected by the changes to IFRIC 14.Those fears were underlined in January 2016 when the Royal Bank of Scotland announced it would take an additional £4.3bn hit as a result of the proposals. The decision was driven by the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) saying that it wanted companies to apply the IASB’s November 2015 exposure draft proposals early.The FRC told IPE that its approach was consistent with the requirements of IAS 1.Willis Towers Watson’s Mandley said: “I don’t think many companies have made much disclosure about the IFRIC 14 impact so far. In a way, this is good news for companies because it buys them time. If they want to amend the scheme rules, they now have more time to make those changes and that puts them in a stronger negotiating position.”The staff also plan to ask the board to finalise a separate amendment to IAS 19 dealing with DB plan amendments, settlements and curtailments. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) should carry out further analysis of proposed amendments to rules governing defined benefit (DB) pension surpluses, the accounting regulator’s own staff have said.In a paper prepared for this week’s board meeting, staff said the IASB should “perform further work to assess whether it can establish a more principles-based approach” towards the rules, known as IFRIC 14.Two leading pensions advisers have told IPE they would welcome a pause in the project to carry out further research.Lane Clark Peacock partner Tim Marklew said: “I welcome the IASB’s staff recommendation but I think they will struggle to come up with a principles-based approach.last_img read more

People moves: Invesco boosts institutional sales team

first_imgLanglois joins along with Cyrus Azamgin, who has also worked on the strategy for seven years and is a senior analyst. The new fund will launch in the second quarter of this year with $100m in seed capital, Lombard Odier said.Amundi Asset Management – Cristina Matti has been named sole head of European small- and mid-cap equities and country strategies. It follows the departure of Caroline Gauthier, who was previously co-head of the team alongside Matti. Matti joined Amundi as part of its acquisition of Pioneer last year, while Gauthier had worked at Amundi since joining from ING in 2000.Separately, Amundi has appointed Stéphane Taillepied as corporate engagement manager. Most recently Taillepied was head of equity financial analysis for the company, and has also worked at Crédit Lyonnais Asset Management and Crédit Agricole.MJ Hudson – The asset management consultancy firm has hired Sean Scott as a partner in its hedge fund practice. He was previously a partner at international offshore law firm Harneys. In a press release, MJ Hudson said the appointment was part of its aim “to provide a single, comprehensive solution for clients operating within asset management”.DC Investment Forum (DCIF) – Annabel Tonry has been named chair of the DCIF, a UK body made up of asset managers working in the defined contribution (DC) sector. She is a client and consultant adviser in the UK DC team at JPMorgan Asset Management. Vivek Roy, who heads business development for pensions at AXA Investment Managers, has been appointed vice chair.Gresham House – The UK specialist asset manager has appointed Rachel Beagles to its board as a non-executive director, effective from today. She is on the board of several UK-listed investment companies and was elected chair of the Association of Investment Companies in October last year. She is also a former managing director at Deutsche Bank Securities. Invesco, Mirabaud Asset Management, Lombard Odier Investment Managers, Amundi, MJ Hudson, DCIF, Gresham HouseInvesco – The $973bn (€798bn) asset manager has appointed two people to senior institutional sales roles. Alex Millar is now head of UK institutional, having previously led the group’s sovereign, Middle East and Africa institutional business. He will retain responsibility for Invesco’s work with sovereign investors, the company said. Zainab Kufaishi has been promoted to head of institutional sales for the Middle East and Africa.Mirabaud Asset Management – The Swiss asset manager has hired Elena Villalba to lead business development in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. She joins from Merchbanc, a Spanish mutual fund provider, where she also led business development. She was previously a deputy general manager at Banco Madrid for five years. Villalba replaces Raimundo Martin who helped set up Mirabaud’s operations in the Iberian region.Lombard Odier Investment Managers – Arnaud Langlois has joined the French asset manager to launch a global equity long/short investment strategy with a sustainability focus. He has run the strategy for seven years, launching it while at UBS O’Connor before taking it first to Millennium Management and then to his own company, Terrenueve Capital. last_img read more

​Norway’s sovereign fund records €50bn investment loss for 2018

first_imgNorway’s giant sovereign wealth fund reported a 6.1% loss on its investment portfolio overall for 2018 – equivalent to €50bn.Falling equity markets in the first and fourth quarters of last year dragged the fund’s value down, according to its annual report for 2018.The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) booked a loss of NOK485bn (€50bn) in absolute terms, shrinking to fund to NOK8.3trn at the end of 2018, down from NOK8.5trn a year before.However, the real-time figure on the homepage of the fund’s manager – Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) – shows that the fund has since recovered to NOK8.8bn. Øystein Olsen, chair of Norges Bank, said: “Although performance was weak in 2018, the long-term return has been good and higher than the return on the benchmark index.”However, last year’s investment loss was 0.3 percentage points lower than the return on the GPFG’s benchmark index, NBIM said.During 2018, the fund’s market value fluctuated widely in a year dominated by volatile markets.“There was a positive return in the second and third quarters, but a weak equity market in the first and fourth quarters reduced the fund’s overall results,” NBIM said.Of the fund’s three main investment classes, equities fared the worst, losing 9.5%. Its unlisted property allocation produced a gain of 7.5%, while fixed income investments made 0.6%.GPFG responds to equity fallsThe fund revealed it bought huge amounts of equities in the last three months of the year as global stock markets were tumbling. Yngve Slyngstad, CEO, NBIMYngve Slyngstad, NBIM’s chief executive, said: “The fund net bought equities for NOK185bn in fourth quarter 2018. Most of this was bought in November and December.”The share purchases corresponded to 2.2% of the fund’s market value at the end of the year, NBIM said.The buying spree seems to have prevented the oil fund drifting further away from its strategic allocation to equities in benchmark index by the end of the year, which was increased to 70% in 2017.At the end of December, the GPFG’s equities allocation was 66.3%, down from 66.6% 12 months before.Meanwhile, the fund had 3% in unlisted real estate and 30.7% in fixed income at the end of the year.NBIM said the Norwegian krone had weakened against several major currencies during the year, increasing the fund’s value by NOK224bn.For the first time since 2015, in June the fund had an inflow of capital from the Ministry of Finance, NBIM said, with the total inflow for the year amounting to NOK33.8bn.Further readingNorway’s oil fund to axe real estate arm and reduce target allocation Unlisted real estate is set to play a smaller role for GPFG after its manager decided to axe its separate property arm launched four and a half years agoNorway’s sovereign fund pulls plug on ESG managers to cut costs The GPFG’s dedicated ESG investments made an annualised return of 4.5% since inception just over eight years ago, compared to an annual return of 7.3% on the MSCI Global Environment indexlast_img read more

How negotiating rent could save Brisbane tenants nearly $2000 a year, but get in quick!

first_imgThe analysis of CoreLogic data by finder.com.au found it is even cheaper to lease a house in Brisbane, with the average rent for a three-bedder dropping $37 a week — that’s a saving of $1924 a year. Rental vacancy rates are declining in Brisbane. Image: AAP/James Ross.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoSQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said that meant asking rents in Brisbane would also likely start to rise as the vacancy rate continued to tighten.“When we do get close to that 2 per cent mark, that will put upward pressure on rents,” Mr Christopher said.Independent property analyst Michael Matusik agreed inner Brisbane’s available apartment rental supply was contracting sharply, which would in turn put pressure on weekly rents.“Many of Queensland’s recent interstate migrants from Sydney are young couples trying to make a new start in Brisbane,” Mr Matusik said. “They are mostly renting new inner city apartments.”WHERE HOUSE RENTS HAVE DROPPED THE MOSTSuburb 2017 rent 2018 rent %age drop Weekly price dropAscot $850 $715 -15.9% $135Fairfield $515 $460 -10.7% $55West End $600 $550 -8.3% $50Cannon Hill $490 $450 -8.2% $40Shailer Park $478 $440 -7.9% $38Kangaroo Point $540 $500 -7.4% $40Nudgee $540 $500 -7.4% $40Hendra $645 $600 -7.0% $45Bulimba $698 $650 -6.8% $48Highgate Hill $530 $500 -5.7% $30(Source: Finder.com.au, CoreLogic, based on data for the 12 months to July 2018)WHERE UNIT RENTS HAVE DROPPED THE MOSTSuburb 2017 rent 2018 rent %age drop Weekly price dropRedland Bay $475 $410 -13.7% $65Red Hill $395 $365 -7.6% $30Highgate Hill $430 $400 -7.0% $30Kangaroo Point $480 $450 -6.3% $30Stafford $370 $350 -5.4% $20Milton $475 $450 -5.3% $25Alderley $385 $365 -5.2% $20Bowen Hills $443 $420 -5.1% $23Underwood $348 $330 -5.0% $18Fortitude Valley $440 $420 -4.5% $20(Source: Finder.com.au, CoreLogic, based on data for the 12 months to July 2018) Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan says softening rental prices could be the catalyst for renters becoming homeowners. Picture: iStock.Ms Hassan said there was more opportunity for renters to negotiate how much rent they paid.“An increasing number of rental properties are being advertised with a price range rather than a set price which means you have more bargaining power,” she said.“If you’re looking for a new rental property or re-signing a lease, it pays to check how much your neighbours are paying. “If you feel like you’re paying too much rent, don’t be shy to ask for a better deal, especially if you’re renting in one of the suburbs where there’s been a drop in rent.” BIG SPENDERS LOOK TO QUEENSLAND But make the most of the cooling rental environment while you can.Brisbane’s rental vacancy rate declined for a sixth straight month in August to 2.8 per cent — down from 3.4 per cent a year ago, according to SQM Research.Around 9500 residential rentals are sitting empty in the city, compared with more than 19,000 in Sydney. CoreLogic data reveals rents have fallen across Brisbane in the past year. Image: AAP/Lukas Coch.More than half (53 per cent) of all suburbs recorded a fall or no movement in house rents in the 12 month period.The findings come despite rental vacancy rates tightening in Brisbane, as demand from interstate migrants starts to eat into the city’s housing supply. INSIDE AUSTRALIA’S CHEAPEST HOMEcenter_img Rents for units and houses fell across more than half of Brisbane’s suburbs in the year to July. Picture: Thinkstock.BRISBANE tenants could be shouting themselves an extra smashed avocado breakfast each week, with new research showing rents are falling across the city.It is now on average $22 a week cheaper to lease an apartment in the Queensland capital, with unit rents falling or stagnating in almost three quarters (69 per cent) of suburbs in the year to July 2018. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan.Apartment rents in Redland Bay have dropped the most — falling 13.7 per cent in the year to July. “The rent for an apartment in the Redland Bay has dipped from $475 to around $410 per week, which works out to be a saving of $65 a week or around $3380 a year,” she said. “These savings are sizeable and could shave years off the time it takes renters to save to buy a property.” The biggest drop in house rents was in the affluent suburb of Ascot, where you can now get a three-bedroom house for an average of $715 a week, compared with $850 a year ago. STAGGERING PROFIT IN NINE MONTHS Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan said Brisbane’s softening rental prices could be the catalyst for renters becoming homeowners.“Rent is an expensive ongoing cost, so any saving is a cause for celebration,” Ms Hassan said.“Pocketing nearly $2000 a year will mean renters looking to buy will be able to save for a house deposit quicker.”last_img read more

Stay warm in the great outdoors

first_img30 ERIC RD HOLLAND PARKBut it is outside this property really shines. There is a huge resort-style pool with a 3m swim-out ledge that is surrounded by Palm Springs-inspired landscaping and timber decking. There is also a fire pit and barbecue areas plus a cubby house with swings and a slide. In Hamilton, Place Ascot agent Loretta Douris is marketing a near-new five bedroom house with views of the city and mountains. 87 AGNEW ST NORMAN PARKSpanning four levels, it has five bedrooms and three bathrooms and sits on a 405sq m block in the sought-after Poets’ Corner precinct.Other features include a Vergola louvre roofing system on the entertaining deck, a ceiling heater on the second floor balcony, an industrial built-in barbecue, a kitchen with an adjoining alfresco balcony, a vast butlers’ pantry and a media room.“It (the fire pit) has a wow factor and is exciting for buyers,” Ms Pearse said. “It is on the deck that overlooks the city so creates a lovely atmosphere.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours agoMs Pearce said they were seeing more and more fire pits included in high end, new build houses.In the suburbs, Ray White Holland Park agent Scott Hay has listed for sale 30 Eric Road at Holland Park — a six bedroom family home on a 759sq m block. 42 QUEENS RD HAMILTONAUTUMN may be missing in action but winter is just around the corner and fire pits are proving a hot commodity.While the chances of a winter cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey are slim, buyers are reportedly on the lookout for a fire feature to spark up for the three or four days that the mercury does plummet to below freezing — that’s about 10 degrees in the Sunshine State. Place Bulimba agent Paula Pearce is marketing a hillside house at Norman Park which has the best of both worlds — a pool for summer and a gas fire pit for winter.center_img 42 QUEENS RD HAMILTONIt has all of the luxury features, including a master bedroom with its own double ensuite and walk in robe with custom cabinetry and a Hamptons-inspired kitchen with a huge butlers pantry to store enough marshmallows to toast over the built-in fire pit to last a lifetime.This fire pit looks out over the pool.The property also has two large rear entertaining decks, a living room plus two huge family rooms, including one off the kids bedrooms and a child-friendly yard.It is listed for sale.last_img read more

Milton Dick, Federal member for Oxley, on why he loves living in Durack, Brisbane

first_imgMilton Dick, Federal Member for Oxley.Milton Dick, the Federal Member for Oxley, loves his Durack home, which is close to a fresh produce market. Where I live … Clive Berghofer, philanthropist and $1m QLD donor to coronavirus cure 2. What do you love about your home? 3. What would you change about your home? 5. If money was no option, what would be your fantasy home and where? 4. What is the best thing about your suburb? Where I live … Madeline Stuart, model My dad had a real eye for property and he always told my brother and sisters to never sell, unless of course the price was at least double what you had listed. 1. Where do you live and why? 6. What was the best piece of property advice you were given or the biggest lesson you learned? I live in Durack, a suburb in Brisbane’s southwest. I love living here as there’s a lot of open green space close by. RELATED Durack is close to the Inala Civic Centre, which has one of the best fresh produce markets in Brisbane. I love grabbing fresh veggies and herbs for dinner. If I could change one thing I would extend my front deck, I love having friends over and I’d like to make more of our Queensland weather.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market9 hours ago I would love to own a small farm, maybe in a spot such as Boonah, close enough to the city but with a large acreage. My home has a big backyard, filled with lots of greenery. Where I live … Dr Bevan Geissmann, a co-founder of Halcyon villageslast_img read more