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


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

Marubeni, Partners Eye LNG Import Terminal in Australia


first_imgMarubeni Corporation and JERA have agreed with Squadron Energy to conduct a joint feasibility study in an effort to set up an LNG import terminal and gas supply project in New South Wales, Australia.The Japanese duo and Australia’s Minderoo Group subsidiary signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the project.The feasibility study is part of a potential project to develop an LNG import terminal at an existing port in NSW, which will include chartering a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), construction of associated onshore and offshore facilities, and provision of gas to local customers in NSW.The companies informed that the study will include initiation of gas marketing in NSW as well as making soundings regarding procurement of LNG through JERA’s global network.last_img read more

Three ways the 76ers can survive without Joel Embiid


first_imgAs if losing four of their past six games wasn’t bad enough, the 76ers will now be without their top player for what could be an extended period.Philadelphia announced that Joel Embiid will undergo surgery Friday after suffering a torn ligament in his left hand during Monday’s game against the Thunder. He will be re-evaluated in one to two weeks, but his post-op timeline could be much longer. MORE: When is the 2020 NBA trade deadline?That leaves the 76ers with a giant hole in their starting lineup. While some of Embiid’s numbers are down from last season, he is still playing like an All-Star (23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks per game), and Philadelphia’s net rating drops from plus-6.7 with Embiid on the floor to plus-1.2 with him on the bench.It’s impossible to replace Embiid’s raw production and impact, but Sixers coach Brett Brown won’t panic. He understands this group will be “different” and simply can’t operate the same way without its frontcourt anchor.”You have to recalibrate a little bit and find a way to get excited to coach the team that we have,” Brown said Thursday night before his team’s win over the Celtics. “All of a sudden, we’re different. We’re just different. I look at this as an opportunity. Nobody’s crying. This is not a ‘woe is me’ moment, not for me, at all. And not for my players.”We will take what we have, and what we have, I love. We’re just different than we used to be.”#Sixers coach Brett Brown addresses Joel Embiid being sidelined with a torn ligament in his left hand. The center is undergoing more tests. As a result, the team did not give a timetable for his return.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 9, 2020Here are three adjustments the Sixers can make to avoid losing ground in the Eastern Conference standings.Work the offense through Al HorfordHorford recently said he is “very limited” in his offensive role. Well, here’s your time to shine, big fella.With Embiid out, the Sixers should use Horford more often in their actions. He can be a terrific facilitator for the offense, whether working from the block or near the elbows. He dished out six assists against the Celtics on Thursday, finding cutters at the basket and open shooters along the perimeter.The threat of Horford’s shooting at center also opens up the floor and creates driving opportunities. If defenders stick to the ball, Horford can punish them from beyond the arc, as he is comfortable shooting 3-pointers above the break.Check out the lineup in the video below: Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris and Horford. Without Embiid in the post, the spacing seems much more natural. There is a pick-and-pop with shooters in the corners and Simmons available to cut to the basket and position himself for an offensive rebound. (It’s also worth noting that the duo of Horford and Simmons has been significantly better offensively than the trio of Horford, Simmons and Embiid.)Perhaps Embiid’s absence will be a blessing in disguise for Brown and allow him to find little-used combinations of players that work. Horford gives him that flexibility.Pick up the paceEmbiid is by far the most efficient high-volume post-up player in the NBA (1.12 points per possession, 91st percentile), but the 76ers don’t have the option of tossing the ball down to him and letting him work. That means they need to take advantage of their personnel and speed up the game.Philadelphia is currently in the middle of the pack in terms of pace. That should change over this Embiid-less stretch, especially with Simmons shouldering more of the offensive burden. He is one of the top transition threats in the NBA, a 6-10 runaway train capable of finishing with either hand.It doesn’t hurt that Simmons also happens to be one of the league’s best passers. That is on full display whenever he is charging down the lane with multiple options around him.Ben Simmons hustles back to make the steal and sets up Norvel Pelle for your Heads Up Play of the Day! 🔥— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 10, 2020When asked about increasing the pace of the game, Brown joked that the 76ers will actually call more Trey Burke post-ups. Yeah, you can bet these guys will be flying.Switch up the defensive strategyEmbiid can cover for a lot of mistakes on the backline. Horford isn’t the same kind of rim protector, so there should be some tweaks on the defensive end.The Sixers have been comfortable filtering everything toward Embiid in the paint because, well, good luck scoring on him. Look for Horford to be more aggressive at the point of attack with hard hedges, switches or even double-teams in certain situations. That could lead to turnovers and more transition opportunities. In the video below, Horford drops slightly on former teammate Marcus Smart but then closes the space to force him into a tough layup attempt. The Sixers may push Horford to be more aggressive on switches moving forward knowing he isn’t an Embiid-level deterrent in the paint.Philadelphia will likely have some quarters in which its opponents light up the scoreboard. It would be the same situation if the Jazz lost Rudy Gobert or the Lakers had to defend without Anthony Davis. The Sixers can mitigate the damage by using their speed and length and not asking Horford to be a perfect Embiid replacement.last_img read more