UK local authority funds can divest tobacco shares, advisory board told

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first_imgLocal authority pension schemes in the UK could face successful demands for members for portfolios to drop tobacco company holdings, according to a legal opinion from a respected barrister.The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Shadow Scheme Advisory Board asked Nigel Giffin, a specialist in public law, to establish if the funds owed a fiduciary duty to its members and if wider functions, aims or objectives of the administering authority should impact the discharge of its LGPS investment duties.The LGPS Shadow Scheme Advisory Board, the pilot body for the new LGPS Advisory Board, was set up to encourage best practice, increase transparency and coordinate technical and standards issues among local government schemes.Giffin said that the administering authority of an LGPS fund has both fiduciary and public law duties. The fiduciary duties are both to the scheme employers and to the scheme members. He added that the administering authority’s power of investment needed to be exercised for investment purposes, and not for any wider purposes. Investment decisions must therefore be directed towards achieving a wide variety of suitable investments, and to do what was best for the financial position of the fund, balancing risk and return in the normal way.“So long as that remains true,” the advice continued, “the precise choice of investment may be influenced by wider social, ethical or environmental considerations, so long as that does not risk material financial detriment to the fund.“In taking account of any such considerations, the administering authority may not prefer its own particular interests to those of other scheme employers, and should not seek to impose its particular views where those would not be widely shared by scheme employers and members.“Nor may other scheme employers impose their views upon the administering authority,” he added.The LGPS Advisory Board said this opinion could also apply to social housing, for example.It said: “An administering authority may take account of social housing needs but only if an investment in this kind of asset stands up as an investment in its own right and can demonstrate that it is not preferring its own interests over other scheme employers in making the investment.”Among local authorities, the Newham Pension Fund has already removed tobacco from its portfolio.Catherine Howarth, chief executive of lobby group ShareAction, said: “This will help members of the LGPS who have ethical objections to investing in tobacco stocks, in proposing that their funds look for alternatives to tobacco that deliver the same long-term investment returns.”She said ShareAction would be making contact with scheme members’ groups which have been campaigning for the pension funds to disinvest from tobacco.In particular, she expected the recent influx of health workers into the LGPS following a restructuring of the National Health Service to continue acting as a catalyst for change.The Local Government Association, which commissioned the opinion on behalf of the shadow board, added that it welcomed the advice. “It makes clear that, while the administering authority’s power of investment must be used to get the best returns, wider social, ethical or environmental considerations can be taken into account – providing any replacement assets achieve similar returns.“It has confirmed our view that these are decisions best taken locally,” it added. “No one stakeholder group can impose its view on another when it comes to deciding how assets are best invested in individual pension funds.”last_img read more

ABP breaks ranks with peers in accepting high private equity fees

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first_imgThe larger pension funds in the Netherlands have come under pressure from the public to rein in costs for investments in non-listed companies, while the high bonuses received by private equity managers have also drawn fire.PFZW, the €166bn pension fund for the healthcare sector, and its asset manager PGGM have made clear their aim to cut private equity fees at all costs.PGGM has even established a 15-strong private equity team for this purpose.Last year, ABP paid more than €500m in bonuses to private equity managers.Erik van Houwelingen, a board member at ABP, conceded that the issue of bonuses was “difficult” for the pension fund as well.“But, as long the fees are linked to pension-enhancing performance, I can justify these costs,” he told the FD. Over the course of 2014, ABP’s 5.1% private equity allocation returned 23.3%.Over the last 10 years, the asset class has returned 14.9% on average for the scheme, while equity has returned 7.3% on average. Van Gelderen stressed that APG was not thinking to manage private equity investments on its own, “as this would require expertise we don’t have”.He added, however, that the asset manager took pains to reduce private equity costs through manager selection and co-investments.In other news, ABP has divested from Netherlands-based Mylan after engagement with the pharmaceutical company – over the use of Rocuronium Bromide for capital punishment in the US – proved “unsuccessful”. Van Houwelingen said Mylan refused to take steps to prevent its muscle relaxant from being used in executions.In a statement, Mylan said its products were meant to be used “in compliance with approved labelling and applicable care standards”.It said it did not directly supply the drug to prisons and that it had “no knowledge of its use for lethal injections”.The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, said it had shown Mylan pictures – obtained by UK human rights organisation Reprieve – from the Virginia Department of Corrections showing that the department was stocking the disputed drug.The US state still carries out the death penalty. ABP, the €356bn pension fund for Dutch civil servants, has broken ranks with other large pension funds in the Netherlands after suggesting it has accepted the relatively high fees associated with private equity. Eduard van Gelderen, CIO at ABP asset manager APG, said the pension fund had resigned itself to paying higher fees for exposure to the asset class.“A small number of successful private equity managers are in a position to demand high fees,” he told Dutch financial news daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD).“If we don’t pay those fees, they don’t invest our assets. So, either we must fully withdraw from the asset class – and miss out on the returns as a consequence – or we must accept the cost level.”last_img read more

Delta Lloyd scheme splits matching holdings into LDI, spread portfolios

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first_imgThe Delta Lloyd Pensioenfonds said it will implement changes to its 25% return portfolio this year, including a reduction of its developed markets equity investments by one-third to 50% of its overall return portfolio.It will also raise its stake in emerging market equity as well as real estate to 16.7%, while introducing a portfolio for emerging market debt of a similar scale.Krekel explained that the portfolio changes followed the scheme abolishing its reinsured arrangements in 2017.It said that an asset-liability management (ALM) study – completed at year-end – had confirmed the portfolio changes underpinned a solid investment approach.The ALM also suggested the pension fund should reduce its investment risk at higher funding levels through increasing its liabilities portfolio at the expense of its return holdings.Last April, the pension fund’s coverage ratio stood at 125.2%, a decline of no more than 1.6 percentage points since year-end.Its funding level had enabled it to grant all its participants and pensioners a full inflation compensation of 1.73%, drawn on the consumer index. The €3.8bn pension fund of former Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd said it had split its matching portfolio into sub-portfolios for liability-driven investments (LDI) and “spreads”.In its annual report for 2019, it announced it had allocated two-fifths of its 75% matching portfolio to LDI holdings, including long-duration euro-denominated government bonds, interest swaps and cash.It said it had invested the remaining assets in Dutch residential mortgages, euro-denominated credit as well as corporate green bonds.According to Theo Krekel, the scheme’s chief executive officer, breaking up its liabilities portfolio would make management easier, as its spreads holdings could also be deployed to generate returns. Source: WikipediaThe former offices of Delta Lloyd in AmsterdamThe pension fund closed on 1 January 2020, following a new collective labour agreement (CAO) at NN Group.As part of the labour agreement, future pensions accrual of former Delta Lloyd staff will take place through NN’s CDC scheme.The board of the Delta Lloyd Pensioenfonds said it had concluded that keeping the scheme for now was the best of the currently available alternatives, which also included a buy-out and joining a consolidation vehicle or another scheme.The scheme said it will reassess its position in three-years time, but that it will keep monitoring its buy-out options in the meantime.It also said it is in discussions with its new pensions provider – NN subsidiary AZL – about switching its IT system Lifetime to a new platform.Whereas the scheme’s contract with AZL is to expire at the end of 2021, the provider wants to bring the change forward by one year, it said.The pension fund attributed its 19.8% return on investments largely to the performance of its equity holdings, which generated returns of 27.6%.The report disclosed that the scheme’s LDI portfolio, spread holdings and return portfolio had delivered 32.6%, 5.8% and 26.1%, respectively.The Delta Lloyd Pensioenfonds reported administration costs of €391 per participant.It spent 23bps on asset management and said a 5bps rise in transaction costs to 8bps was due to the reconstruction of its matching portfolio.The scheme has 2,365 active participants, 7,020 deferred members and 3,670 pensioners.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more

Ineos shuts Forties Pipeline System over crack in pipe. Serica cuts output guidance

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first_imgThe shutdown means that the offshore fields that use the pipeline will be unable to produce until the pipeline is back on.Serica Energy, a London-listed oil and gas company, has reduced its yearly output guidance as its only producing field, the Erskine, uses the FPS as the export route for Erskine condensate.The company has been informed by the operator of the Erskine field that the Forties Pipeline System (“FPS”) will be unavailable, potentially for some weeks, while the FPS owner plans and implements repairs to a hairline crack in the onshore section of the pipeline.“During this period the Erskine field, along with the other fields that use the pipeline, which include the BKR Assets1, will be unable to produce. This will impact Serica’s production guidance for the year to 31 December 2017, which has been revised to approximately 2,000 boe per day net to Serica from the Erskine field,” Serica, a partner in the field, said.The Erskine Field lies approximately 241 km east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in the Central North Sea, in water depths of about 90 meters. Discovered in 1981 in Block 23/26, Erskine is a gas condensate field. It was the first high-pressure, high-temperature field to be developed in the U.K. Continental Shelf. First production was achieved in November 1997.The field includes a normally unattended installation and is remotely controlled from Chrysaor’s Lomond platform. A 30 km pipeline links the two facilities.Commenting on the announcement that the Forties Pipeline System will be shut down to repair the crack, Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “We have been in touch with Ineos and are closely monitoring the situation and hope this can be resolved safely and as quickly as possible.” Forties Pipeline System that carries the UK North Sea oil to the shore for processing will be shut down for weeks after a crack was recently discovered in the onshore section.Ineos, which acquired the pipeline late in October, discovered the crack last week during a routine inspection Red Moss near Netherley, south of Aberdeen.“A repair and oil spill response team was mobilised on Wednesday, December 6, after a very small amount of oil seepage was reported.  Measures to contain the seepage were put in place, no oil has been detected entering the environment and the pipe has been continuously monitored. A 300 metre cordon was set-up and a small number of local residents were placed in temporary accommodation as precautionary measure,” Ineos said on Monday.The pipeline pressure was reduced while a full assessment of the situation was made.“Despite reducing the pressure the crack has extended, and as a consequence the Incident Management Team has now decided that a controlled shutdown of the pipeline is the safest way to proceed,” the pipeline operator said, adding the shutdown would allow for a suitable repair method to be worked up based on the latest inspection data, while reducing the risk of injury to staff and the environment.“As always, safety remains our top priority and local residents, FPS users and other stakeholders are all being kept fully informed of the situation as it develops,” Ineos said.Serica cuts output guidancelast_img read more

UPDATE: School employee arrested for public intox at school

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first_imgColumbus, IN—Update:Wednesday evening, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Mount Healthy Elementary School in reference to public intoxication.Upon Deputies arrival, they observed an adult female exiting the school. During their initial contact, deputies observed signs of intoxication. During the investigation, Deputy Grant Carlson spoke with the original complainant who stated an ICARE worker at Mount Healthy had allegedly been verbally aggressive toward her 12-year-old child who attends the school. When the parent confronted the woman, she immediately noticed the school employee was intoxicated. The parent immediately called 911 due to her concern.The school employee has been identified as Tiffany Cooksey, age 35 of Bartholomew County. During the investigation, Cooksey was verbally aggressive towards Deputies. As they were preparing to transport Cooksey to Columbus Regional Hospital, Sheriff’s Captain Dave Steinkoenig located a vehicle in the school parking lot that had Cooksey’s two stepdaughters, ages 7 and 10 inside. It is not clear how long the children had been left inside the vehicle unattended. The vehicle did belong to Cooksey and was not running when deputies noticed the children inside it. The children were picked up by a family member and Child Protective Services will be made aware of the incident. Prior to Cooksey’s arrest for Public Intoxication and Child Neglect deputies located an empty bottle of vodka with her belongings.Due to Cooksey’s high level of intoxication, and after being asked several times to take a PBT which would show a level of alcohol in her system, she was taken to the Columbus Regional Hospital for jail clearance before her incarceration.Cooksey is currently being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on the two local preliminary charges.Public IntoxicationChild NeglectShe remains in BCJ in lieu of $11,000 bond.All persons are considered not guilty unless/until proven guilty in a court of law.Sheriff Matthew A. Myers stated, “this investigation is ongoing and it is being turned over to our Resource Officer for further investigation”. Additional charges could be forthcoming following a meeting with Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash.“Through the school’s investigation, I am sure they will handle this serious incident in house.”“BCSO is working with BCSC and they are certainly taking this incident seriously and giving us information that we need”, said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers. “We will continue to work together”, added Sheriff Myers.“This is a case of when someone saw something, she did the right thing and reported it immediately”, said Captain Dave Steinkoenig.If anyone has information/concerns about this incident, please contact SRO Deputy Teancum Clark at: teancum.clark@bartholomew.in.gov Original Story:An employee in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation was arrested for public intoxication at an elementary school Wednesday according to BCSC Communications Coordinator Josh Burnett on Facebook Wednesday.  The employee was arrested for public intoxication and child neglect at Mt. Healthy Elementary School.Burnett, stated school officials are working with police to learn more about the details of the arrest. He also stated a second adult was also working at the school and “all children are okay.”The district’s website describes the i-CARE program as an optional before and after school program available to all students in the district.Burnett also stated on social media that the Sheriff’s Dept will be releasing the full information and details of the person arrestedlast_img read more

Louis van Gaal brushes off ‘sticks and stones’ criticism from Paul Scholes

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first_imgLouis van Gaal is unconcerned by Paul Scholes’ criticism of Manchester United for “lacking creativity”, citing the nursery rhyme: “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.” Scholes said following the Capital One Cup defeat to Middlesbrough that he would not want to play for the current side and that the team appeared unwilling to take any risks. United’s Dutch manager, speaking at his weekly news conference ahead of United’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, insisted he does have an attacking philosophy and brushed off Scholes’ remarks. Press Association He said: “It’s a process, it takes three years, that’s why I signed for three years. But when Mr Scholes says I have to go, then I must go, but that is not his responsibility, it is that of Mr Woodward and the Glazers. “I know that when I shall lose and lose and lose then I shall be finished, but I shall be doing everything with this club because these fans are unbelievable.” Van Gaal claimed there had been significant progress, with United achieving 20 points from their first 10 games compared to 13 last year and going a stage further in the Capital One Cup. He added: ‘ ‘We are improving a lot. We got played off the pitch by MK Dons last year and now we are almost in the quarter-finals. “Last year we had 13 points from 10 games and now we have 20 points from 10 games, and the next round of the Capital One Cup and we are in the Champions League. Last year it was not like that.” Van Gaal also revealed he has injury problems for the Crystal Palace match with Memphis Depay, Antonio Valencia and James Wilson all out of the trip to London. Depay and Wilson were both injured in the Middlesbrough game while Valencia hurt his foot in the Manchester derby last weekend. “I think Manchester United is always entertaining but when I read the papers I see that it is boring,” said Van Gaal. “You have a saying in England that sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me. “You play for the fans, therefore I say to you that the stadium is still full and that, in the Capital One Cup, is unbelievable. That is not normal, so they like the way we have played. “In spite of the defeat, when we were going to our dressing room, they were applauding. “When you go out of the cup, the next day is always like that. As manager of Manchester United you know you’re going to have a hard time. ” Asked if the next phase in United’s development under him was to start taking risks, Van Gaal replied: “Now you are agreeing with the opinion of Paul Scholes. I don’t agree with his opinion. I always take risks. “But I don’t want to defend myself as he is a legend and he has a lot of resonance, I hear.” Scholes had told BBC Manchester following United’s defeat to Middlesbrough on penalties : “There’s a lack of creativity and risk. It’s probably not a team I’d have enjoyed playing in.” United have scored the fewest goals among the top six in the Premier League but Van Gaal said it would take three years to complete his transformation of the club. last_img read more

My mind was on the Paris attacks, admits Sagna after Liverpool thrashing

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first_img The City defender was part of the France team playing Germany at the Stade de France on the night nine days’ ago the French capital was targeted by terrorists, who killed 130 people. He was then caught up in the emotion of the tributes paid to the victims at Wembley as England hosted France last Tuesday, while City team-mate Eliaquim Mangala was another member of the squad. Bacary Sagna admitted the Paris terror attacks were still playing on his mind as Manchester City were thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool on Saturday. Press Association Sagna and Mangala had a day to forget as they returned to Barclays Premier League action at the weekend, with title favourites City comprehensively outplayed by the Merseysiders. They were unfortunately involved in Liverpool’s first goal after just seven minutes as Sagna was dispossessed by Philippe Coutinho and Mangala turned a Roberto Firmino pass into his own net. Asked if he felt he was fouled by Coutinho in the build-up, Sagna said: “To me it is a foul because he clearly pushed me, but the game kept going and we conceded a goal. “It is never easy. I felt guilty, but I had to keep the head up. But I was too upset. I was thinking about what happened, but I shouldn’t.” Asked if he felt ready to play, the 32-year-old said: “Mentally I was. Physically I believed I was, but I wasn’t. I felt tired quite quickly. I didn’t have as much power as I am used to.” As at all Premier League games over the weekend, the French national anthem was played prior to kick-off in memory of the Paris victims. Asked about the emotion of the occasion, Sagna said: “It has not been my best week, but that is life. There is nothing you can do about it. This is part of the past. Just keep the head up. It was not easy to be part of that event, but that is life.” Sagna did not offer excuses after a performance in which few City players emerged with any credit. The City team as a whole failed to live with the unrelenting intensity of Liverpool, who raced 3-0 ahead inside 32 minutes, and slipped to third in the table. Sagna said: “It was one of those days. I think we played badly, myself first. We made a few mistakes against a good team and they scored. “We were 3-0 down and it was quite difficult to play. We had heads down a bit but we have to keep the heads up. We are still not far from the top of the table. Tomorrow is another day.” last_img read more

Port St. Lucie Police Search for Alleged Double Murderer

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first_imgA woman considered “armed and dangerous” is wanted by police in connection to a double murder in Port St. Lucie.Authorities found two people shot to death at the Waterleaf Townhomes apartment complex off SE Hillmoor Drive around 12:30 a.m. on Monday.Police say 28-year-old Alyssa Marie Torres is involved in the double shooting. She fled the area.Police say Torres is to be considered armed and dangerous.Investigators believe she is driving a 2005 Toyota Rav4 with a Florida license plate tag of KPDT14.Call 911 if you see her.Authorities have not said what led up to the shooting. The victims and their ages have not been released.last_img read more

Twelve countries expected for second edition of Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors boxing tourney

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first_imgTHE Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) is preparing to host 12 French and English-speaking Caribbean nations for the second edition of the Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors tournament, scheduled for May 12 to 14 at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue.According to GBA president Steve Ninvalle, already Suriname, Jamaica and St Lucia have confirmed their participation for the three-night tournament and he (Ninvalle) is confident that Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman Islands, Grenada and Bahamas will each send a team to Guyana.Ninvalle said the French-speaking nations of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana have signalled their intentions to also send teams.According to Ninvalle, it is expected that the programme will see approximately 100 boxers and officials of the various countries in Guyana for the tournament.Ninvalle said the GBA will encamp a squad of boxers after the conclusion of the Pepsi Under-16 championships scheduled for next month.The Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors tournament is the brainchild of Ninvalle and the tournament focuses on the nursery of the sport. It is the first to be held in the Caribbean.last_img read more

Mackeson 3X3 Basketball Classic top teams receive spoils

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first_imgPIITBULLS 3.0, Team Smooth and Plaisance Ballers last Friday received their ‘spoils’ for the November 9-10 Rawle Toney/Mackeson 3X3 Basketball Classic, at the Burnham Basketball Court. Playing undefeated throughout the tournament, Ryan Gullen, Ryan Stephney, Jermain Slater and Travis Belgrave went on to make ‘light work’ of Team Smooth in the final, winning 22-12 and picking up the event’s $300 000 first-place prize, compliments of Ansa McAl under their Mackeson brand.Ryan Stephney collects his MVP trophy from FireSide Grill representative.For their effort, Team Smooth pocketed $100 000, while Plaisance Ballers, who defeated Ion Know 22-20 in a thriller for third place, collected $50 000.Stephney was outstanding in the final and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and received $25 000, compliments of FireSide Grill and the Andrew Ifill Trophy. Gullen, the team’s captain, said the tournament provided the much-needed spark to help revive the game of basketball in Georgetown, and asked that it is held at least twice a year.Meanwhile, organiser Rawle Toney said that the players are the ones that made the tournament a major success, adding that the objective of the tournament has been met, since it brought fans back to the game and explored the possibilities of giving 3X3 basketball a prominent place among the other shorter formats of various sports in Guyana.This event was sponsored by Distribution giants Ansa McAl under their Mackeson brand, Chung’s Global Enterprise, FireSide Grill, Guyana Lottery Company’s Let’s Bet Sports, ‘STUFF’, National Sports Commission (NSC) and Trophy Stall.last_img read more