Payments infrastructure must support member choice

first_imgby: Bethan CowperThe payments landscape is in a state of flux and has been for the last ten years. However, we finally have the technological agility available to deal with change and meet consumer expectation. It is this synergetic meeting of ability and technology that can really drive change. What does this mean for payments? Well they are already attracting a lot of press as industry giants and disruptive start-ups alike pour investment into creating the latest innovations that solve X, Y and Z. With all these new payment types from wearables to crypto-currencies, have we lost sight of what payments mean to the member?Payments aren’t broken; they aren’t a problem that needs solving. Cash is apparently dying, yet according to MasterCard, globally 85 percent of retail banking payments are made in cash. It’s quite difficult to dispute its relevance and importance when it has the longest product lifecycle of all payment types, give or take a millennia.What about cards? Cards serve us so well; from the humble debit to the virtual prepaid, cards solve a multitude of problems and offer the consumer a choice of solutions. Dare I mention contactless? From contactless we can jump to NFC and mobile. We can pay by phone on the move, anywhere we go: the mobile device delivers undeniable convenience. But is it really the future for everyone? Please don’t get me wrong here, I really do think that contactless and mobile have a place, and that they are going mainstream. I’m not arguing that new technology isn’t useful or relevant; it’s that it isn’t a replacement.Innovation offers more freedom and more choice. For example a consumer can receive a check from their mother on their birthday; their partner might transfer them money via the Internet for bills; they can tap their card to pay in store; pay for a cab with cash; and use their mobile app to split the bill for dinner out with friends.To be successful in this option-led environment, credit unions must invest in the technology to support their activities: gone are the days of siloed product strategies and the “one channel” consumer; as are the days of technology “plasters” or wraps and short-term solutions. According to Ovum, more than two-thirds of financial institutions are looking to modernize their payments infrastructure in 2015 and this is undoubtedly motivated by the need to keep up with consumer requirements and to safeguard against any high-profile system glitches or crashes. continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Birmingham Alliance tots up 85% pre-let

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Obama endorses Biden for president to ‘heal’ America

first_img“I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”The cherished endorsement comes at a time of deep national anxiety, with the vast majority of Americans under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 25,000 people in the United States.With President Donald Trump’s handling of the outbreak under the spotlight, Obama signaled he believed Biden — with four decades of government experience — would be a far more capable manager of the US response.”Joe helped me manage H1N1 [influenza] and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now,” Obama said. Topics : Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden’s White House bid on Tuesday, saying his longtime vice president can unify and “heal” a nation struggling through some of its darkest moments.The formal backing by perhaps the most popular politician in America is the latest boost for Biden’s surging candidacy, and a further sign that Democratic leaders are rallying around the party flagbearer more than six months before November’s election.”Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said in a 12-minute video. Biden, 77, promptly expressed his thanks in a tweet.”Barack — This endorsement means the world to Jill and me,” the Democratic stalwart said.”We’re going to build on the progress we made together, and there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side.”Biden is the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee to challenge Trump, after his lone remaining opponent Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race last week.The leftist US senator from Vermont endorsed his ex-rival Monday, saying it was time for Americans to “come together” behind Biden.Two-term president Obama also praised Sanders as a progressive champion whose energy and enthusiasm inspired young voters by the millions.And he said it was time for those progressive supporters to help defeat the Republican incumbent.”Right now, we need Americans of goodwill to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness,” Obama said.”To change that, we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before.” Special bond Obama’s endorsement comes as the coronavirus has frozen traditional campaigning.Typically, such high-profile support would be followed by Obama’s appearance at a major Biden rally, generating substantial national coverage and prompting a deluge of campaign donations.But it remains unclear when, if at all, on-the-ground campaigning will resume.Obama forged a special bond with Biden during the eight years the former Delaware senator served as his wingman, awarding him the presidential medal of freedom in January 2017.But thus far in the 2020 race the nation’s first African-American leader had largely flown under the political radar.Despite his silence he was given a starring role in campaign advertisements by Biden, Sanders and other candidates as they scrambled for advantage ahead of key primaries, such as those on Super Tuesday on March 3.At campaign events and debates Biden made sure to show he is running as Obama’s heir, routinely highlighting the partnership with his former boss. But Biden, after sitting out 2016 to mourn the loss of his son Beau to cancer, had made clear from the start he would run on his terms.”I asked president Obama not to endorse,” Biden said last April 25, the day he launched his candidacy. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”Obama’s endorsement comes relatively early in the race compared to 2016.That year he waited until June 8 to endorse Hillary Clinton, who had clinched the Democratic nomination against Sanders two days earlier.David Axelrod, chief strategist of Obama’s 2008 campaign, said Obama had committed to all 2020 Democratic candidates to not put his finger on the scale until the nomination was decided.”He wanted to be a unifying figure for the Democratic Party, and he didn’t feel he could do that if he intervened too soon,” Axelrod told CNN Tuesday.”Now that the outcome is determined, he is clearly going to plunge into this.”last_img read more

Pension funds, actuaries dismiss UK government concern over DB transfers

first_imgWith UK schemes being vast owners of government debt, as well as corporate bonds, any need for trustees to shift assets to maintain appropriate cash levels to match bulk outflows would hamper growth and liability-matching assets.“Given that the stock of defined benefit liabilities and assets exceeds £1.1trn (€1.3trn), even relatively small changes to this stock could have a significant impact on financial markets,” the government said.In response to consultation, the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) backed the continued transfer of assets between the two systems.It highlighted a survey among its own members, predominantly UK pension funds, which showed support for continued transfers at 80%, while 54% said they could manage cash transfers without affecting the scheme’s investment strategy.However, the lobby group stipulated that the right should not extend to pensioners.It also argued that any transferring member should be given regulated financial advice, and that trustees must retain the right to set transfer values that reflect the ongoing deficit and investment volatility.The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) backed the NAPF’s stance and said transfers should be allowed for all non-pensioner DB members.“We are not concerned about the potential impact on the corporate debt markets, and the ability of companies to raise capital,” it said.“This is because the demand for bulk annuities from DB schemes will provide ongoing demand for corporate bonds in the same way as for the Gilt markets.”The ACA also said it foresaw severe practical issues if the government imposed a ban and suggested there would be a “huge run” on DB schemes if any ban were not immediate.It also suggested transfers from DB to DC would not materially increase, not until the point of retirement, which would correspond with schemes’ exit from equity markets rather than bond investments.A survey among Mercer clients also strongly backed the continued transfer, as 65% suggested no change should be made to the system.Only 7% said their schemes would sell fixed income assets to fund transfers, while 40% would liquidate equally across all asset classes.Matthew Demwell, partner at Mercer, said: “DB to DC should continue to be permitted. They are a valuable tool to help trustees and sponsors manage DB risk by reducing liabilities and financial uncertainty.”However, while the NAPF called for trustees to continue to set transfer values accounting for scheme deficits, Demwell highlighted the incentive for schemes to be more generous.He said if transfer values were set higher than the minimum statutory requirement but lower than a buyout cost members would be more likely to the consider the option.“It is about finding the sweet spot that does not pay out more than a fair share of the fund, is good enough to make it worthwhile to transfer and does not prejudice the funding position of stayers,” he said. “You could get to a position where everyone wins.”Barnett Waddigham associate Tyron Potts said the firm also did not believe transfers between DB and DC scheme would impact demand for government bonds.“We do not believe demand for transfers will be high, but even so, there will always be demand for government Gilts and corporate bonds as DB schemes enter the de-risking phase,” he said. UK government concerns over the economic impact of allowing continued transfers between defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) funds have been dismissed by the pensions industry.Concerns were raised after the chancellor George Osborne proposed granting new freedoms to DC savers by allowing the full withdrawal of a pension scheme in cash, and removing the need to annuitise.In its consultation, the government said it feared new freedoms in DC pensions would entice DB savers to move savings across, causing an stir in investment strategies.It already moved to block any transfers from the pay-as-you-go system for public sector workers.last_img read more

Wednesday people roundup

first_imgNewton Investment Management – Matt Pumo has been appointed as head of UK consultant relations as a new addition to the international business development team. Pumo will work alongside Ross Byron-Scott and report to Julian Lyne, recently appointed global head of distribution. He joins Newton from Neuberger Berman and has previously worked at Gartmore Investment Management and Liontrust Asset Management.PGIM Fixed Income – Bas NieuweWeme has joined PGIM Fixed Income as managing director, leading the global client service, consultant relations, distribution, liability-driven investing and marketing teams. He will report to Michael Lillard, head of PGIM Fixed Income. Meanwhile, Peter Cordrey, global head of product management and distribution, will retire in the fourth quarter after 20 years with the company. Veritas – Samuel von Martens has been voted in as a member of the supervisory board of Finnish pension insurance company Veritas, replacing Tony Karlström, who has resigned. Von Martens will continue in the role until the end of 2017, as Karlström resigned in the middle of the term. Franklin Templeton Investments – Charukie Dharmaratne has taken on a new role at Franklin Templeton Investments as senior PR executive, responsible for communications in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She previously worked at CNC Communications & Network Consulting. BMO Global Asset Management – Otto Donner has been hired by BMO Global Asset Management as sales director for the Nordic Region. Donner joins from East Capital Asset Management, where he was head of sales for the Nordics, and responsible for institutional, wholesale and retail clients across the Nordic countries, Baltics and the UK. In his new job, he reports to Robert Elfström. Columbia Threadneedle Investments – Kath Cates has joined the board of Threadneedle Asset Management Holdings, from 10 May, as well as the board of Threadneedle Investment Services, from 29 March – in both cases becoming a non-executive director. Her most recent executive role was global COO at Standard Chartered Bank, based in Singapore. Cates is also a non-executive director of RSA Insurance Group, where she chairs the board’s risk committee, and a member of the group audit and remuneration committees. In addition to this, she is a non-executive director of Brewin Dolphin. Univest Company (Unilever) – Rogier van Aart has joined Rotterdam-based Univest Company – part of Unilever – where he will advise the Unilever pension funds on strategic and tactical asset allocation. He was previously employed by Aegon Asset Management in The Hague for nearly 11 years, where he had the same role as he is now taking on at Univest.  Martin Currie – Mark Whitehead, head of income at Martin Currie, has joined Alan Porter as co-manager of the Legg Mason IF Martin Currie Global Equity Income Fund. He has also been appointed lead manager of the global equity income investment trust, Securities Trust of Scotland. Whitehead joined Martin Currie last November from Sarasin and Partners, where he was head of the equity income team and lead portfolio manager for the global equity income range.UNEP FI – Eric Usher has been appointed head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative (FI), which he has been leading in an interim capacity since 2015. Before becoming head of the UNEP FI Secretariat, Usher was responsible for a programme portfolio advancing new public/private instruments for financing cleaner energy infrastructure and improving energy access. He was seconded to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for development of the Green Climate Fund. Before joining UNEP, Usher was general manager of a solar rural-electrification company based in Marrakesh. SPF Beheer, Manulife Asset Management, AXA Investment Management, Lyxor, Unigestion, Newton Investment Management, Neuberger Berman, PGIM Fixed Income, Veritas, Franklin Templeton Investments, BMO Global Asset Management, East Capital Asset Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Univest Company (Unilever), Aegon Asset Management, Duet Group, Martin Currie, UNEP FISPF Beheer – Garry Meulendijks has started as head of actuarial management at SPF Beheer, the €18bn asset manager and pensions provider for railways pension fund SPF and public transport scheme SPOV. He had been working at the actuarial department of SPF Beheer for the past 12 years, most recently as senior actuary. Meulendijks has succeeded Ben de Groot, who has taken early retirement after almost 11 years in the job.Manulife Asset Management – Martin Powis and Alan Burnett have been appointed to distribution roles at Manulife Asset Management for the UK and Ireland, based in the London office. Powis has become head of institutional sales and relationship management, while Burnett is now head of wholesale sales and relationship management. Powis was most recently director of UK institutional sales at AXA Investment Management, covering corporate pension plans and third-party insurance relationships. He has also worked at DB Advisors, Ignis Asset Management and Gartmore Investment. Burnett, meanwhile, previously worked at Lyxor, developing its alternatives and absolute return multi-asset business in the UK wholesale market. Before that, he worked at Martin Currie Investment, Liontrust Asset Management, AXA Asset Management and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Unit Trust Management.Unigestion – David Chesner has been appointed as a director on the institutional clients alternatives team at Unigestion and will lead the sales strategy for the asset manager’s alternative investment products and services. He joins from international alternative asset manager Duet Group, where was was responsible for client relationships and business development across Europe and Asia. Carlos Stelin is also joining the alternatives team as a director, and he, too, worked at Duet Group previously, having been part of its investor relations team, liaising with European institutional clients. Leila Haddioui has been hired as senior vice-president in the alternatives team, joining the company from Abbeville Partners, where she was responsible for business development. Janice Cheung is another new hire on the alternatives team, becoming sales assistant joining from AXA Investment Managers, where she was part of the UK wholesale sales team. The new alternatives staff will join Caroline Bradshaw, director, who has been with the institutional sales team since 2014.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

Restorative justice goes to schools

first_imgDominion Post 18 Feb 2012Detention could soon be a relic of the past, with schools increasingly dropping the punishment in favour of “restorative chats” and other rehabilitative measures. St Patrick’s College Silverstream is the latest Wellington high school to adopt the restorative justice principles, with a no-detention approach for even the worst troublemakers. The practice is becoming widespread in schools nationwide, with restorative measures – including encouraging naughty pupils to evaluate their behaviour – replacing traditional behaviour management methods. While detentions, expulsions and suspensions have been typically used as forms of punishment to control pupil behaviour, restorative principles are based on the idea that a pupil needs to take responsibility for his or her actions. St Patrick’s Silverstream rector Gerard Tully said that fitted in with the school’s focus on encouraging positive, respectful relationships between pupils and teachers. Instead of being punished, a misbehaving pupil would discuss the impact of their actions with a teacher. That could range from a two-minute chat to a formal, sit-down conference. While it would require a shift in thinking, it made more sense to prepare young people to be adults by tackling their problems, Mr Tully said. read more

NZ’s first maximum three-strikes sentence handed down to Whanganui stabber

first_imgNZ Herald 21 August 2018Family First Comment: Working as it should, and keeping families safe.“I acknowledge that your sentence will be much harsher than I would otherwise have imposed, however, that will invariably be the case for a third-strike offence,” the judge said. “Parliament deliberately designed a harsh response to offenders who persistently commit serious offences despite clear warnings.New Zealand’s first offender, a Whanganui stabber, to be given the maximum sentence available under the controversial three-strikes rule is the law working as it was intended, says Act Party leader David Seymour.The sentence, imposed today by Justice David Collins in the High Court at Whanganui, comes as the Government holds its three-day criminal justice summit this week.Minister of Justice Andrew Little expressed his desire to repeal the three-strikes law, which came into effect on June 1, 2010 after a deal with the National-led Government and Act Party.The Labour-led Government, however, ditched its planned repeal of the law after objections by New Zealand First.The three-strikes law requires a person convicted of a third serious violent, sexual or drugs offence to be sentenced to the maximum available sentence without parole, unless it would be “manifestly unjust”.READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Local Communities Can Apply For Transportation Funding

first_imgINDOT will accept applications from cities, towns and counties for an estimated $86 million in federal transportation funding, beginning April 14.In early February, INDOT awarded $86 million in federal transportation funding for local projects that would be bid beginning July 2016. The latest round of funding is for projects that would be designed, developed and have purchased land according to federal standards prior to bid during the state fiscal year beginning July 2017.Rural communities may submit any local project eligible for $73 million in federal highway funds, including bridge, road and safety projects. In addition, all communities may seek $13 million in Transportation Alternatives funding for non-motorized projects such as trails and Safe Routes to School projects.INDOT sets aside 25 percent of the federal highway funds appropriated by Congress each year to fund larger local transportation projects. Metropolitan Planning Organizations distribute federal highway funds to local communities within the state’s larger urbanized areas while INDOT distributes funds outside MPO areas. To receive federal funding, typically communities must pay 20 percent in local matching funds.Local public agency employees certified as an “Employee in Responsible Charge” must submit applications electronically using INDOT’s website. Applications will be accepted and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 12. Project awards will be announced no later than June 16, 2014.last_img read more

Bulldogs Swept By Trojans On The Diamond

first_imgDespite a 4-run deficit in the fifth inning, Batesville almost came all the way back, eventually falling 5-4 to East Central on Thursday. The final play was a failed forced balk by the Bulldogs, resulting in a close play at the plate to end the game. Batesville scored three runs in the failed comeback on a double by Caleb Raab in the sixth, a walk by Quinn Werner in the seventh, and a fielder’s choice by Lane Oesterling in the seventh.The Buldogs opened up scoring in the first inning, as Werner drove in one when he tripled.East Central pulled away for good with four runs in the fourth inning. In the fourth Mitch Behrle singled on a 0-1 count, scoring one run, Zach Monhollen singled on a 1-1 count, scoring two runs, and Joe Bohman induced East Central to hit into a fielder’s choice, but one run scored.Simon Williams pitched East Central to victory. He allowed eight hits and four runs over six and two-thirds innings, striking out five.Bohman took the loss for the Bulldogs. He lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs while striking out three.The Bulldogs totaled eight hits in the game. Werner, Trey Peters, and Calvin Sherwood all managed two hits for Batesville.The loss takes Batesville’s overall record to 5-2 and 3-1 in the EIAC. The Bulldogs will compete in the Doc Morris Invitational on Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th in Erlanger.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Justin Tucker.The Batesville JV Baseball dropped their second game in a row to East Central JV by a score of 7-3.After threatening in the first inning and getting Sophomore Short Stop Seth Gausman, who led the game off with a hit into scoring position the Bulldogs failed to drive him in and that was the theme of the night. The Bulldog hitters couldn’t seem to get that timely hit to plate runners. The Bulldogs accumulated 10 hits in all with two hits a piece by Seth Gausman and Devin Scripture.The Bulldog defense rebounded nicely from their 6 error performance on monday only committing one error and Sophomore Catcher Clay Grunkemeyer threw out 2 baserunners. Nate Eckstein took the loss during his 3 innings of work, evening his record to 1-1 on the year. Freshman Riley Zink came in and pitched 4 solid innings only surrendering 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 2 Trojan batters.The Bulldogs look to get back in the win column Saturday when they travel to East Central to play the Trojans at 10:30 a.m.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Jason Meyer.last_img read more