Tarek Saber, manager of a convertible bond portfolio at Avoca Capital, has joined ING Investment Management in London.Avoca was sold to KKR earlier this year.Saber was head of corporate opportunities strategies at Dutch pension fund manager APG until 2010, when he set up his own venture, Eight Investment Management.The business then transitioned into Avoca a year later, with Saber focusing on managing the convertible bond strategies. In the last month, Saber has since joined ING IM as a convertible bond strategist following on from Avoca’s sale to US private equity firm KKR.He spent seven years at APG and also headed up the convertibles business at HSBC across London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.Saber also headed up the convertible bonds desk at UK bank NatWest and was responsible for trading, sales research and proprietary trading at Schroders.
The Swiss Federal Council has proposed changes to the investment regulations governing pension schemes that could allow sponsors to establish pure defined contribution (DC) funds.The changes, proposed as part of a new law on vesting in pension funds, would provide investment choice to plan members. The proposals transfer, under certain conditions, the burden of investment risk in non-mandatory occupational pension schemes to plan members by waiving certain legal guarantees.At present, non-mandatory pension schemes may, under certain conditions, allow members earning above CHF 126,900 per year to choose from a selection of investment strategies.However, under the current rules (FZG/LFLP), members are assured of a minimum return, even if they opt for a risky strategy that delivers poor returns. The draft revision of the FZG/LFLP revokes these safeguards, provided certain conditions are met. This means all members would receive the actual value of their retirement savings capital when leaving the fund. Under the draft, there would still be a requirement for the pension fund to provide at least one low-risk strategy among the investment options offered to members, although the precise definition of a “low-risk strategy” has so far not been provided by the Federal Council. In addition, members must be provided with information about the costs and risks of each investment strategy.At present, under international financial reporting standards (IFRS), Swiss pension plans are considered to be defined benefit (DB) plans because of the in-built guarantees.Olivier Vaccaro, partner, Aon Hewitt Switzerland, said: “As long as the parliamentary bill is not modified, the changes would allow sponsors to introduce pension schemes that might qualify as defined contribution (DC) under IAS19, and thus to move some pension liabilities off their balance sheets.“So this would be worth considering for those companies reporting under these accounting standards and who wish to reduce risk on their balance sheet.” He concluded that the move would only affect around 5% of the Swiss working population.“But it is likely in particular to affect accompanies in the financial sector because salaries are higher there, and such companies are sensitive about their balance sheet because they are subject to solvency requirements.”The legislation is not considered contentious, but has yet to be approved by either parliamentary chambers. Any resulting law would be unlikely to take effect before 2017.Read more about the shift towards investment choice in Switzerland in the recent issue of IPE
The report says that, while a limited number of countries increased their exposure to alternatives over the past decade, those where an increase occurred are among the largest pension markets in the world – including the UK and Canada, where exposure grew by 12.8 and 8 percentage points, respectively.“It is interesting to note,” it adds, “that pension funds in the two countries that experienced among the highest returns in 2014, over the last five years and over the last 10 years, have also moved towards alternative asset classes over the last 10 years.”The report goes on to note the high annual, five-year and 10-year returns achieved by Danish and Dutch pension funds, which have seen alternatives increase by 11 and 4.6 percentage points, respectively.“The shift towards alternative investments seems, therefore, to have resulted in higher returns so far in these two countries,” it concludes.A survey by LCP Netherlands recently found that the sector’s drive for higher yield had all but wiped out cost savings achieved in other areas. The OECD also examined how the search for yield had been expressed through growing geographical diversification.However, it also found that the Danish defined contribution sector had seen a resurgent home bias, and at the end of 2014 only invested 25.2% of assets outside Denmark.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to Pensions Markets in Focus 2015 report Danish and Dutch pension funds have enjoyed some of the highest average returns over the last decade due to their growing exposure to alternatives, the OECD has suggested.The think tank noted the correlation between increased exposure to non-traditional assets – those falling outside bonds, equities, cash and deposits – and the 15% returns seen across Danish and Dutch pension funds in 2014.Both countries also reported annualised returns over the decade to 2014 of around 5%, which the OECD’s 2015 Pension Markets in Focus linked to the growing diversification of investments as pension funds sought out higher-yielding asset classes.The findings come after the OECD earlier this year warned about the risks of an “excessive” search for yield by pension funds, and marked its first attempt to show how asset allocation had changed in the years since low interest rates began causing problems for investors.
“Our potential for generating value over the long term is greater if we invest in other companies instead.”AP2 said the assessment had been based on a financial perspective and carried out because of the fund’s commitment to “address ethical and environmental concerns without compromising the overall target of a high return on invested assets.”The first climate risk assessment the pension fund did took place in 2014 and concerned fossil-fuel companies.That investigation led to the fund’s selling off holdings in 12 coal producers and eight oil and gas companies.AP2 said it would continue to assess the climate risks posed by its holdings over the next few years.In the next phase of this process, it aims to do an overall assessment of the portfolio involving several different climate scenarios, to understand more about how the pension fund’s investments are affected.AP2 declined to name the power utility stocks now being sold. Sweden’s AP2 is divesting its holdings in 28 power utility stocks with a combined market value of SEK670m (€72.2m) following its second climate-risk assessment.The SEK300bn pensions buffer fund said the profits of all of the companies whose shares it was now offloading came primarily from the carbon-based generation of electricity.These companies also lack any convincing strategy for diminishing their climate impact, it said.Eva Halvarsson, chief executive at AP2, said: “The decision involves disinvestment from approximately one-quarter of all electricity-generating companies, reducing the fund’s exposure to financial risk in the power sector.
A Brexit-fuelled fall in sterling that benefited UK equities helped boost pension funding levels at Swiss companies in the third quarter, according to Willis Towers Watson.The consultancy’s quarterly pension index for Swiss occupational pension schemes showed that funding levels rose from 88.4% as at the end of the first half of the year to 90.2% as at the end of September.Willis Towers Watson said the increase was predominately due to positive returns from equities during the third quarter, with bond yields and hence pension liabilities largely unchanged.Adam Casey, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said central banks’ low-interest-rate policies were continuing to stimulate equity markets, and that Swiss pension funds were able to benefit from this in the third quarter and get a bit of “breathing space” in the short term. He singled out UK equities, saying these were supported by the fall in sterling after the Bank of England cut interest rates given worries about Brexit.The Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.25% in early August, and also re-launched and expanded its quantitative easing programme to include corporate bonds.In the UK, this was met with concern given the impact of lower Gilt yields on scheme deficits. Casey’s colleague, Peter Zanella, head of retirement solutions, said Swiss Pensionskassen remained under pressure, however, given the persistent low-interest-rate environment, and that they needed to assess their asset allocation and benefit structure carefully to avoid breaking under that pressure.Asset-liability modelling is one way pension funds can test their resilience to stress situations, he added.The consultancy’s calculations are based on the returns of Pictet’s BVG-40 pension index with a 40% equity exposure.
Source: European ParliamentCelebrating the European Parliament signing the Paris Agreement“We are concerned that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is currently falling short of the agreed goal of ‘holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels’,” they added.Investors were continuing to make “significant” investments in the low carbon transition, incorporating climate change scenarios and climate risk management strategies into their investment processes, and engaging with the largest greenhouse gas emitters, but governments needed to act too, according to the statement.“It is vital for our long-term planning and asset allocation decisions that governments work closely with investors to incorporate Paris-aligned climate scenarios into their policy frameworks and energy transition pathways,” it read.Emma Herd, CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change, one of the campaign groups organising the statement, said: “Investors could do even more if governments delivered the policies required to effectively manage climate risk and accelerate investment in low carbon solutions.”Investors signing the statement asked world leaders to take 12 actions, grouped under the headings of “achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement”, “accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition”, and “commit to improve climate-related financial reporting”.The investors’ demands included that government leaders this year formulate and communicate long-term emission reduction strategies, put a meaningful price on carbon, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and thermal power worldwide by set deadlines, and request international standard-setting bodies to incorporate the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures into their standards. “The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” they wrote in the joint statement. Institutional investors active in the fight against climate change have turned the spotlight on governments, demanding world leaders to do their part “with the utmost urgency”.The call to action was issued ahead of the G7 summit in Canada later this week. By Friday, almost 300 investors with $26trn (€22trn) in assets under management had put their name to a statement delivered to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and G7 government leaders.It forms part of a new stage in investors’ involvement in the campaign to cap further greenhouse gas emissions, with emphasis increasingly being placed on the need for concrete action and targets to make the low carbon transition a reality, rather than just disclosure about financial implications.The focus has been on companies, with a shareholder resolution having recently focused attention on Royal Dutch Shell in particular, but with today’s statement investors have sought to put pressure on politicians.
Michalik will oversee Germany and Austria. Sven Simonis leads the institutional business in this area, with Hagen Schremmer in charge of retail.Manuel Faccio, previously CEO of DWS in Switzerland, is now head of southern Europe, France and MENA. Reporting to him are: Olivier Dubost, responsible for France and MENA; Mauro Castiligioni, head of Italy; Mariano Arenillas, covering Spain; and Pascal Imhof for Switzerland.Elsewhere, Sandra Niethen has been appointed head of institutional and client strategy, including consultant relations and pension advisory services. She was previously chief of staff.Michalik told staff that the changes were part of DWS’ “strategic ambitions” and were aimed at “creating an efficient coverage model that has clearly-defined responsibilities”.Yesterday, DWS reported an 18% increase in profits before tax in the third quarter of 2018, compared with the previous three months. The group’s assets under management grew by €5bn, with market performance offsetting client withdrawals of €2.7bn.This week the group also announced an extension of its partnership with Italian insurance giant Generali to provide unit-linked insurance products via Generali’s networks in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.The deal followed a partnership announced last week between DWS and French investment house Tikehau specialising in alternatives. DWS has reshuffled senior staff roles in the wake of its IPO earlier this year, creating a number of regional leadership roles.The €692bn asset manager told staff this week of the changes, which involved grouping individual country heads into four regions: northern Europe, southern Europe with the Middle East and north Africa (MENA), Asia Pacific, and Germany and Austria.In a note to staff seen by IPE, Thorsten Michalik, head of coverage at DWS, said: “This streamlined structure is designed to provide a more consistent global operating model that will foster greater communication between our various teams.”Effective this week, Maria Ryan, head of UK, has taken on additional responsibility for the Nordic and Benelux regions, with head of Nordics Thomas Lindahl and head of Benelux Pieter Furnee reporting to her.
London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) – The £5.6bn (€6.3bn) pension scheme has appointed Tony Newman and Ruth Dombey to its trustee board. The pair are councillors for the London boroughs of Croydon and Sutton, respectively. Their appointments are effective immediately and will run until 31 December 2022.Newman was elected leader of Croydon Council in 2014, and LPFA highlighted his “extensive” experience local investment and regeneration. Dombey has led Sutton Council since 2012, and is also a vice chair of London Councils – which set up the London CIV asset pooling vehicle – as well as a deputy chair of the Local Government Association. LPFA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said the appointments “further enhance the breadth and depth of knowledge of our trustee board, particularly in the critical areas of local housing and regeneration, which are areas of investment interest for the LPFA board”.Kames Capital – Kames, part of Aegon Asset Management, has reshuffled its fixed income team after a number of its staff moved to rival investment house Artemis . Stephen Snowden , Kames’ co-head of fixed income, head of high yield David Ennett , and fund managers Stephen Baines and Juan Valenzuela are all to join UK-based Artemis in the new year.Adrian Hull , previously co-head of fixed income alongside Snowden, has taken sole responsibility for the fixed income team, Kames said in a statement. The company also named new co-managers to several of its bond funds, but said there would be no changes to investment processes or strategies.Artemis confirmed the moves but declined to provide more details of their future roles as the quartet were still under contract at Kames.Kames CIO Stephen Jones said: “We operate in a very competitive market, one where we have seen a good degree of change recently across the whole sector. We are not immune and while it is always disappointing to lose members of the team, it allows us to promote from within and refresh and recruit where appropriate and necessary.“I would underline that at Kames we operate a team based approach with a long-standing, tried-and-tested investment process across all asset classes with significant resource directed to fixed income where we remain committed to the market.”Janus Henderson Investors – Michael Ho is to join the €325.5bn asset manager as global head of multi-asset and alternatives. He is due to start work on 14 January, and will lead Janus Henderson’s asset allocation, multi-strategy and alternatives teams.He joins from UBS Asset Management where he was CIO of investment solutions. He previously worked at State Street Global Advisors as CIO for alternatives, global macro and active emerging market equities for five years. He is also a former CIO of Mellon Capital Management.compenswiss – Beat Schwaller has been elected to the board of directors as a representative of trade union travail.suisse . He replaces Adrian Wüthrich , who resigned from the board of directors after being elected a member of parliament.Unigestion – The Swiss asset manager has hired Dominik Kremer from Columbia Threadneedle Investments as head of business development. At his previous employer he was head of institutional and co-head of distribution, and has also held senior roles at Fidelity and Pioneer Investments.Kremer is due to start his new role on 1 February and will be based in London and Geneva.BNP Paribas Asset Management – Franck Nicolas has been named senior client solution manager within its multi-asset, quantitative and solutions investment team, which provides multi-asset, fiduciary and liability-driven investment services.Nicolas joined last month from Natixis Asset Management where he was head of the investment and client solutions team, and he has also led Natixis’ global allocation and asset-liability matching department, and its economic research and strategy team. Ossiam – The smart beta specialist has appointed Aous Labbane , head of business development, and Alexandre Duriez , co-head of investment management and research, as partners in the company.Labbane, formerly of Credit Suisse, has led Ossiam’s business development since the start of 2018, while Duriez shares leadership of the investment and research team with Tristan Perret, having joined Ossiam in May from Barclays Investment Bank. Morgan Stanley – Ted Eliopoulos, the former chief investment officer of CalPERS, the largest US public pension fund, is to join Morgan Stanley as vice chairman of investment management and head of strategic partnerships, based in New York. He will report to Dan Simkowitz, head of investment management, and will also join the operating committee, co-chair Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s sustainable investing council and sit on investment committees across the business.Eliopoulos is also a member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s Investor Advisory Group and was previously chair of the Pension Real Estate Association. PFA Pension, Velliv, LPFA, Morgan Stanley, CalPERS, Kames Capital, Artemis, Janus Henderson, compenswiss, Unigestion, BNP Paribas AM, Ossiam PFA – Tine Choi Danielsen has been appointed as the new chief strategist at PFA, replacing Henrik Henriksen , who is about to start work at Velliv – formerly Nordea Liv & Pension Denmark – in a similar role.Danielsen comes to PFA from Danske Bank , where she was chief strategist, head of strategy and macro within the wealth management division. Before that, Danielsen, who lives in Malmö, worked in similar roles as senior strategist and head of analysis at both Nordea and Nykredit.
Crédit Agricole tenders 10 mandatesCrédit Agricole’s Italian pension fund – Fondo Pensione Gruppo Bancario Crédit Agricole Italia – has launched a search for 10 managers to take on a range of five-year mandates.The fund said it was looking for three firms to manage each of three investment compartments – Horizon 10, Horizon 20 and Horizon 30 – and a manager to run a fourth investment compartment, Ethical.The Horizon 10 line (Linea Orizzonte 10) is a balanced 90/10 bond/equity portfolio, which had €106m in assets at the end of April, and an annual inflow of around €9m.Horizon 20, meanwhile, has a 70/30 bond/equity split and €102m of assets, while Horizon 30 has a 50/50 bond/equity profile and €162m of assets.The Ethical line is to be a new compartment, with a bond/equity split of 40/60.The deadline for tenders is 1pm on 17 June.Banking fund hunts €6m asset managerMulti-employer bank sector pension fund Fondo Pensione Nazionale BCC/CRA has put out a search for a manager for assets of its newly-established “TFR tacito” compartment.The deadline for applications is noon on 10 June.The fund, which had total net assets of €2.3bn at the end of 2018, said the mandate would be for around five years and involve an estimated €6m of assets initially, with a recurring gross annual contribution flow currently equal to about €700,000.Fondo BCC/CRA said that, for this type of fund, candidates were required to draw up an appropriate proposal for how they would achieve the return according to the terms of the agreement, indicating a benchmark or a maximum volatility target level.Fondo Cometa wants risk managerItalian industry-wide pension fund Fondo Cometa has announced it is looking for a risk manager.The fund said its board had resolved to select a consultant to help the fund meet its risk management obligations under the domestic legislation implementing the EU’s IORP II directive.Interested candidates are to notify the fund via email by 6pm on 7 June. Italian telecoms sector pension fund Fondo Telemaco has awarded a €220m mandate for active fixed income to Allianz Global Investors, as part of the fund’s ‘prudent’ investment line.Allianz GI, which was awarded the mandate following a tender process originally launched in November 2018, said the mandate would be managed by its London-based global fixed income team.Irshaad Ahmad, Allianz GI’s managing director and head of institutional for Europe, and Anna Vigliotti, director and head of institutional business development for Italy, said: “We are honoured that Telemaco, one of the most well-known pension funds in Italy, has awarded us this important mandate.”The decision confirmed AllianzGI’s capacity to respond to client demands with distinctive and innovative investments and customised solutions, the pair said.
Kyle and Kimberley Bate are selling their Labrador house to move further south with their son Lennox. Photo by Richard GoslingMr Bate said they liked the northern suburbs because they were closer to Brisbane and the Broadwater but wanted to be closer to the south’s surf.“The main thing for us is getting closer to the beach,” he said.REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said lifestyle was one of the biggest factors that determined where people lived, as well as affordability and proximity to amenities like public transport and schools.MORE: Top five apartments to watch the GC600 1. Coolangatta – 16.52. Tugun – 16.23. Gaven – 16.14. Bilinga – 15.95. Hollywell – 15.26. Miami – 14.77. Palm Beach 14.58. Currumbin Valley – 14.59. Mermaid Waters – 14.310. Currumbin Waters – 13.8 Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:44Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:44 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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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 Rate1xFullscreenHow to bid at auction for your dream home? 01:45 Gold Coast display home takes top awards Development in the northern suburbs, including the new Westfield Coomera, is attracting more residents. Picture Glenn HampsonLJ Hooker Pacific Pines/Helensvale principal Pascal Pierre said easy access to both the Glitter Strip and Brisbane made the north appealing to buyers.“We’ve got people who work in Brisbane so being on the northern end of the Coast makes it that much easier,” he said.“You tend to get newer homes here. There’s more new land development up north as well.”New infrastructure including the light rail and Westfield Coomera as well as more opportunities to build were also factors Mr Pierre said attracted residents. Rivalry aside, he said more people would move to the northern suburbs in the next few years because it had the most room to grow.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa14 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“I think because you’ve got limited supply in the south, that will increase prices,” he said“But I still think that while there are jobs here and people want to move to the Gold Coast, that northern corridor will see the vast amount of expansion.“The infrastructure seems to follow quite quickly too.” Where’s the best place to live on the Gold Coast?IT is the simple question every house hunter asks themselves before deciding where to live on the Gold Coast – north or south? And how long will they stay settled?Rivalry between the two regions isn’t as strong on the Coast as it is in other cities like Brisbane, but as the population and economy grows the division is becoming more prominent.Property experts say the areas differ in terms of what they have to offer but there are benefits to living in both.According to latest CoreLogic data, eight of the top 10 longest-held suburbs are in the south with Coolangatta claiming the top spot at 16.5 years. The Gold Coast’s southern suburbs are known for great surf.Ray White Mermaid Beach agent Troy Dowker said the data was no surprise.“Up north, it’s got more of a transient tourist feel. There’s a community feel in the southern suburbs,” he said.“Because it’s got such a good community vibe, people get in their comfort zone, they get a strong emotional attachment to the area.”He said there was a lot to love about the south, including the surfing beaches, low density living environment, national parks and estuaries.“Those spots are so popular on the weekend and they are pretty safe environments for families,” he said.Kyle and Kimberly Bate have listed their Labrador home on the market so they can move further south with their son, Lennox. Top 10 longest held suburbs (years):