The leaked draft of the IORP II Directive has received generally positive reactions from experts in the European pensions industry.Hans van Meerten, an associate at law firm Clifford Chance, said the draft version was very welcome, particularly with respect to cross-border and prudential regulations.He said the removal of the full funding requirement was a “big step forward”, given previous criticisms on the definition of cross-border activity, and that the added detail on prudential regulations was a positive move by the Commission.“It means, if IORPs do not comply with the Commission’s interpretation of prudential regulation, they might have a problem,” he said. “But, by regulating prudential regulation, you also regulate social and labour laws [in member states].” Van Meerten said it was a huge step in enhancing cross-border activity, and introduced mutual recognition between member states.Even when looking at the added detail on member communications and trustee board governance – pillars two and three – van Meerten said little came as a shock.“There is a sort of ‘copy and paste’ from the Solvency II Directive with regards to pillars two and three,” he said. “It is new that the way of thinking is in line with the Solvency II and UCITS way of thinking, and there is clear harmonisation in this field, which is welcome.”Dave Roberts, senior consultant at global consultancy Towers Watson, said that, despite rumours and counter-rumours, the leaked draft was evidence of commissioner Michel Barnier’s determination to press ahead with IORP II.“Barnier is due to publish a follow-up paper on long-term investments, and he may try to tie IORP II to this, as it could ease certain current investment restrictions on pensions – particularly for cross-border plans,” he said.On cross-border and prudential regulations, Mark Dowsy, senior consultant at Towers Watson, said the added detail over prudential regulations created uncertainty for anything currently considered under that banner but not included in the Commission’s draft.He also expressed doubts as to whether it would reach the final draft in its current form.“It will not be straightforward to push this one through,” he said.“There are certain elements that some member states may argue are social and labour law, which is a member state competence. This could potentially frustrate cross-border provisions.“Because the Commission is looking to iron out inconsistencies, it should mean it is easier to operate across borders, as it limits what member states can say is social and labour law.”Aon Hewitt said that if the final version of the directive followed the content of the leaked draft, it would provide a “significant boost” to cross-border pension provision in Europe.Paul Bonser, partner and head of Aon Hewitt EU Cross-Border Pensions Consulting, said the legislation could be a “real breakthrough”.“Aon Hewitt’s large global cross-border clients have met the Commission to explain how and why they are setting up cross-border plans, and how things can be made easier,” he said. “If the Commission has listened – and this leaked draft would indicate that they have – then there could be a golden opportunity for multinational companies.”But not everyone is convinced. Bernhard Wiesner – senior vice-president of pensions at the Bosch pension fund and a board member of the German pension fund association – spoke of urgency of cross-border pensions for European worker.“Occupational pensions are the most efficient form of funded retirement provision because they rest on employers as well as social partners,” he said.“It currently only exists in very few member states – and even then, often insufficiently so. Occupation pensions are urgently needed for workers on a large-scale across the whole of the EU.”However, on the merits of the draft IORP II Directive, he was less than optimistic. “So far, it is unapparent how this draft is to encourage employers and social partners to strengthen and expand occupational pensions and IORPs within the EU.”
Wiggins Teape pension scheme has competed a £400m (€565m) buy-in, the first transaction completed by new market entrant Scottish Widows.Jeff Sayers, director of bulk annuities and investment strategy, said he was delighted to be entering the market, adding that the £400m deal showed the “strength” of the company’s de-risking offering.Keith Taylor, head of pensions at the scheme, praised the work of KPMG, with the company acting as adviser to the Wiggins Teape Pension Scheme.“The buy-in of the pensioner liabilities is a key de-risking step for the scheme, with a large proportion of the [its] liabilities now insured,” Taylor added. Emma Watkins, who joined SWIP earlier this year as director of bulk annuities to launch the business, said the deal marked a “significant milestone” for the company.“Through the provision of an innovative mechanism, we have been able to ensure premium certainty for the scheme over an extended execution period,” Watkins said.“Furthermore, our pricing approach and use of up-to-date scheme member information in the run-up to the transaction date extends pricing certainty post-transaction and ensures efficient implementation of the policy.”The UK’s Philips Pension Fund recently announced a full buyout, transferring £2.4bn worth of risk to the Pensions Insurance Corporation.The Wiggings Teape and Philips deal significantly boosts the volume of bulk annuity transactions for 2015, which, according to Aon Hewitt, stood at £4.4bn as of the end of June.However, the current volume of deals remains short of 2014’s £12bn in transactions.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in the UK is warning schemes to stay focused on the longer term and avoid knee-jerk reactions as market volatility following the country’s EU referendum sparks fears about funding plans and investments.Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director for regulatory policy at TPR, said: “Pension schemes plan and invest for the longer term, and our message to trustees is not to over-react to the current volatility.“We will provide support and clear direction to trustees and other parties to help them through the uncertainty ahead.”This week, data from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) showed the average funding ratio of UK defined benefit (DB) schemes had deteriorated to 78% – only just above May 2012’s lowest recorded level of 76.5%. Funding ratios have been hit after the Brexit vote on 23 June, followed by heightened market volatility and falling bond yields.In its guidance statement issued yesterday, the regulator set out to trustees of DB and defined contribution (DC) schemes a series of messages and key areas for action in light of the vote.“Our key message to trustees and sponsors of occupational schemes is to remain vigilant and review their circumstances but continue to take a considered approach to action with a focus on the longer term,” the statement says.“It is too early to understand or assess the full consequences of the outcome of the EU referendum in detail.“However, we expect trustees to have an open and collaborative discussion with their sponsor about the possible effects to their business.”Warwick-Thompson said contingency planning was an integral part of the effective stewardship of pension schemes.“We expect trustees to review their plans and how they interact with current circumstances on a regular basis,” he said.At this point, the regulator expects trustees of DB schemes to review their employer covenant to understand how Brexit could affect it, he said, adding that they should also consider how market volatility has affected scheme funding.“Trustees should carry out the review as part of their ongoing risk management approach, as set out in our integrated risk management guidance and DB code of practice,” Warwick-Thompson said.They should consider issues relating to liquidity and cash flow management, he added, and if they conclude that the scheme faces an inappropriate level of risk, TPR expects them to think long term and review investment strategy in that context.“In time, as implications become clearer, trustees of schemes with money purchase benefits may also consider it appropriate to make changes to the investments included in the scheme’s default arrangement or the investments offered to members,” he said.Stephen Soper, senior pensions adviser at PwC, said the guidance highlighted the growing importance of trustees and sponsors understanding future cash flows and their ability to absorb and respond to risks as their pension schemes matured.“Understanding the strength of employer covenant, the factors that may cause support to falter and developing credible mitigation plans are now an imperative feature of scheme governance,” he said.Soper was head of DB regulation at TPR until last summer, and spent 20 months as its interim chief executive.Meanwhile, Aon Hewitt cautioned against inaction by trustees.Partner Matthew Arends said the firm completely agreed with the regulator that trustees should consider their circumstances carefully before acting and keep a long-term view. “However, that does not translate into doing nothing,” he said.“A decision to stop previously agreed actions – or not to start new ones – could, in time, prove to be detrimental.” The key is instead to re-assess pension schemes situations actively and develop an appropriate action plan, he said. “Trustees – and employers – should be asking actuaries for an updated funding level if this is not available online, and understanding whether they remain on course with their funding plans,” he said.Investment consultants should be asked to advise on the suitability of the scheme assets, Arends said, and particularly the degree of hedging in place.
“It is an advantage of the system that pension funds can have a high equity quota of around 30% on average, even if their risk tolerance is limited by a lowered funding level,” said Jürgen Rothmund, author of the report. “Swiss Pensionskassen profited from this significantly in the first quarter of this year.”However, he advised pension funds and the public “not to be blinded by the vast improvement in the funding level in the first quarter” as underlying systemic problems remained.The analysed funds continued to lower their exposure to bonds to increase investments in real estate, equities and alternatives.According to Rothmund, it was mainly the “newer forms of alternatives” that were gaining new investors: in particular infrastructure, private debt and insurance-linked securities.Traditional alternative categories – hedge funds, private equity and commodities – were “relatively stable regarding the investment volume”, he added.Pension funds were “not only adding alternative investments for higher returns but also for diversification purposes”, Rothmund said.In total, the Complementa analysis showed that the current average investment mix could yield around 2.3% annually over the next few years.“This should be just enough to finance the target return over the next years,” Rothmund said – but only if adjustments continued to be made on the passive side.Conversion ratesMore and more Swiss Pensionskassen with contribution rates above the mandatory level have been cutting the conversion rate to well below the current 6.8% legal threshold for the mandatory part of pension payouts.Rothmund said: “To finance the current conversion rate Swiss pension funds would need to take more investment risks and that would not be sensible.”However, he added that many Pensionskassen had “already taken steps” to lower the Umwandlungssatz (UWS), the conversion rate used to calculate pension payouts from accrued assets upon retirement.Complementa found that the “speed at which the UWS was lowered was higher than expected” in the previous year.According to experts, 4.86% would be the actuarially correct conversion rate given the current market and demographic environments.In the sample analysed by Complementa, the conversion rate was set to fall to 5.28% in stages by 2024.“To compensate for the lower conversion rate for the younger generation, they either will have to start saving earlier in the second pillar, pay higher contributions, or retire later,” Rothmund said.Overall, Complementa said it had a “positive outlook” for the second pillar. Rothmund stated: “Cross-financing from active members’ assets to retirees will continue for a few more years but the adjustments have already been put in place.” The equity market downturn in the last quarter of 2018 left many Swiss pension funds with major dents to their funding levels.On average the funding ratio of Swiss schemes fell to 102.7%, from 108% at year-end 2017, according to sample calculations by consultancy Complementa.In its annual “risk check-up” analysis of the market, the company highlighted that returns in the first few months of 2019 “more than made up” for the previous quarter’s losses.A return of 6.5% between January and the end of April brought the average funding level back up to 108.5%.
An unnamed Swiss pension fund has tendered a $150m (€134m) direct lending mandate via IPE Quest.According to search QN-2598, the pension fund is searching for a single manager solution “with the idea of building up a strong and long-term partnership”.Managers should have a track record of at least 13 years in US direct lending, with $500m in assets under management for the asset class and $3bn as a firm.Within direct lending, the focus should be on companies in the lower to middle market. The pension fund also said the focus should be on “corporates, senior debt, first lien, unlevered, US market, financial covenants”. It would not consider offerings such as syndicated loans, high yield bonds, infrastructure or real estate debt, among other segments.Applicants should already have at least one segregated account with a Swiss or other European client.Performance data should be supplied net of fees to 31 January. The deadline to apply is 5pm UK time on March 9.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest, Discovery, or Innovation tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 3465 9330 or email [email protected]
“As the global economic impact of COVID-19 unfolds, the board will continue to prioritise portfolio flexibility, ensuring the portfolio is robust to a range of possible scenarios, and has significant liquidity.”“This will open opportunities from the current market to position ourselves for long-term returns,” he said.The fund’s chief investment officer, Raphael Arndt, said the fund sold more than 31 illiquid assets, raising a total of A$10bn. It had also sold interests in private equity in the secondary market, raising a further A$4bn.Asked to break down performance of individual asset classes, Arndt said the fund did not normally report asset class returns in detail.“Having said that, obviously the equities and credit sectors performed poorly, and in line – or roughly in line – with the markets.“So it was defensive overlay positions – foreign currency positions, interest rates options and our defensive hedge fund strategy – that helped insulate our portfolio in the downturn.”Arndt said the fund had taken advantage of “several opportunities” created by the recent US market correction.Asked if the fund was now poised to enter the market, he said: “Firstly, we need to understand what the outlook is likely to be. We are still in lockdowns.”It would take time, he said, to see whether the large amount of government stimulus around the world would be sufficient to offset the earnings disruption in the wake of COVID-19.The fund would look at assets, including illiquid assets, on a case-by-case basis to assess the price and value of a particular investment.“It is definitely the case that risk remains elevated, and it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen in the world,” he said. Australia’s A$160bn Future Fund made a loss of A$5.7bn (€3.8bn) in the first quarter of the year – an annualised loss of 0.2% for the financial year to date (July 2019-March 2020).The negative return did not factor in adjusted valuations for the fund’s illiquid assets, which the fund said would be done after June 30, as in every other year.The fund has managed to avoid the worst of the COVID-19 market crash because it began shedding some of its illiquid private market assets five years ago.Future Fund chair Peter Costello said it had prioritised reducing its exposure to illiquid assets over recent years.
23 Boundary St, Currumbin Waters.“We’ve kept to that Queenslander theme, we really made the most of the original features.”More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa15 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe couple have owned the property since 2001, renting it out for most of that time.“We’ve always loved the house because it’s got those lovely front and back decks,” Mrs Tew said. NEW ERA FOR COAST PROPERTY “If we didn’t live in such a nice place ourselves, we would move there.”On the top floor, there is a combined kitchen, dining and living room, which opens onto the front and rear decks. 23 Boundary St, Currumbin Waters. THE FAST AND LUXURIOUS: V8 STAR’S MANSION 23 Boundary St, Currumbin Waters. 23 Boundary St, Currumbin Waters.A RENOVATION has restored this classic Queenslander to its former glory.Once tired and rundown, the three-bedroom house is now modern and fresh.It took owners Debra and John Tew about four months to flip the home.“The exterior was very old but it had good bones,” Mrs Tew said. 23 Boundary St, Currumbin Waters.There are also three bedrooms and a shared bathroom.Downstairs, there is a second kitchen and bathroom as well as two large living spaces.Mrs Tew said they were sad to sell it but it was the right time.“I just want someone to love it as much as we do,” she said.The couple have decided to sell it so they can renovate the house they were living in.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:57Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:57 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. 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 Rate1xFullscreenAndrew Winter: How to sell in a changing market 00:58
Stockland acting Queensland general manager for residential, David Laner, said eight sites at the Quay Precinct at Newport came as the construction of the first lakeside home started. Affordability key to region’s growth Mr Davey said they hoped to be in their five-bedroom home, which they had designed with an indoor-outdoor living aspect to take full advantage of the water views over the lake, by December. RELATED: New 22ha lake to form part of Newport community “Our latest release of eight premium home sites within the Quay Precinct has generated high interest among home buyers, with four of the lots sold,” Mr Laner said.“These premium lots are perfectly positioned on or near the water’s edge and cater to home buyers seeking to build their dream home in an exclusive neighbourhood that offers an exceptional lifestyle. “The Quay precinct offers a stunning streetscape for residents and all homes are required to be built to the highest standards, with a minimum of 250sq m of floor space. “The precinct will include some of the largest lots ever to be offered at Newport.”He said the 22ha lake, now well over halfway through construction, would be the centrepiece of the Newport community, providing residents with an idyllic outlook and an abundance of water-based recreational opportunities right on the doorstep including kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoMr Laner said the latest release was launched in response to demand, and within walking distance of the future town centre. Mathew and Tanya Davey with their sons Josh and Issac.Mathew and Tanya Davey are the first buyers to start construction on a lakeside block at Quay at Newport. MORE: Strong demand for new house and land near North Lakes Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:50Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:50 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. 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 Rate1xFullscreenDifferences between building in new or established estates01:50 Newport, Redcliffe, developed by Stockland.A handful of “premium” land sites at Stockland’s $590 million Newport community has been released to the market. >>FOLLOW EMILY BLACK ON FACEBOOK<<
The townhouse at 7/9 Eady Ave, Broadbeach Waters is all class.DREAMING of a European holiday but loving the Coast’s balmy weather of late?Enjoy the best of both worlds in this Broadbeach Waters townhouse, which offers a slice of Paris on the Gold Coast.Detailed wallpaper, extravagant chandeliers and intricate staircase railing add to the Eady Ave property’s quirky charm. MORE: Character homes back in vogue Enjoy some fine French wine or cheese in the courtyard.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 agoIt hit the market last week with a $479,000 asking price – a fraction of the cost for real estate in the European city.Marketing agent Tash Santos, of Ray White Mermaid Beach, said the townhouse’s classic French style was inspired by its owner’s travels around the world.MORE: Mega mansion sale tops $4 million Whoever said a kitchen couldn’t be pretty. “The lady that owns it, she spent a lot of time in France as a little girl … and that was the inspiration for this little project of hers,” she said.“She wanted it to look pretty.” Every feature of the property has been carefully thought out. The classic staircase has a regal style. It has detailed features throughout including a swan tap in the bathroom and intricate staircase railing. Detailed wallpaper and tiles are also featured throughout the property.She said the property had already attracted a few people at its first open inspection on the weekend.“It’s very eclectic so it’s not going to appeal to everybody,” Ms Santos said.“It’s more about looking for the right person (to buy it).”The property is in a block of 10 and has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a courtyard and access to a shared pool.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:01Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:01 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p270p270p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. 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 Rate1xFullscreenAndrew Winter: How to buy the right apartment01:01
With eight registered bidders, 23 Staghorn St, Enoggera was one of the most popular auctions on the weekend.Harcourts Solutions agent Kathy Lillecrapp said first home buyers and investors saw value in the house. The functional and tidy kitchen has lots of space for kitchen helpers.“Enoggera has always been the little sister to Ashgrove and Alderley and all of a sudden it’s growing up.” The master bedroom at 23 Staghorn St invites sleep-ins.She said its position in a quiet, community-minded suburb coupled with the size of the block at 607sq m gave it instant appeal. Open spaces outside are complemented by internal spaces like this dining/lounge combination at 23 Staghorn St.MORE than 30 people came to 23 Staghorn St, Enoggera on the weekend to see the post-war home sell under the hammer.Eight registered bidders took part in the auction with the house selling for $680,000 to an owner-occupier. FIND MORE HOUSES FOR SALE IN ENOGGERA More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019 “The price bracket here of $600,000 to $700,000 is really popular,’’ Ms Lillecrapp said. Plenty of green spaces and bike paths along Kedron Brook connect Enoggera to the neighbourhood.“It’s a typical post-war home so these people now have a big block and they can live in it or demolish it later.”Around 50 groups viewed the property in the time it was on the market and Ms Lillecrapp said demand is outstripping supply in Enoggera with people seeing value in their investment.“I wish we had a house like this every week. We have a list of people waiting to buy.”