Although he acknowledged that returns were not always reported clearly or uniformly, and that the two-year survey period was relatively short, he said he was comfortable in concluding that cost-efficient investment need not come at the expense of performance.LCP found that Dutch pension funds’ asset management costs had increased by 1 basis point to 0.54% last year, whereas transaction costs decreased by 1bps to 0.09% on average.In light of the survey’s results, Koopmans said pension funds’ boards should provide more detailed explanations of their charges, and that they could do more to lower investment charges, either individually or jointly with other pension funds.According to the consultant, administration costs have increase by €4 to €122 per participant on average in 2013, reversing a downward trend.“This is largely due to the implementation of many changes in pension regulations,” Koopmans added.“Because pension funds are facing further major changes this year and next, cost containment will remain high on the agenda for pension funds’ boards.”LCP’s survey also showed that administration costs at ABP and PFZW averaged at €84 per participant.Costs at the other schemes came to €145 on average, but ranged between less than €100 to almost €1,000 per participant.“The next step for pension funds,” Koopmans said, “is to explain why their costs were at an acceptable level, and how they contributed to their goals. It is important to demonstrate that they are cost-effective in relation to their objectives.”LCP claimed many Dutch schemes often ignored the guidelines issued by the Pensions Federation, which are to be enshrined into law through the new financial assessment framework (FTK) and new legislation for pensions communication.The consultancy said pension funds should report investment returns uniformly – preferably as gross investment return, including interest hedge returns – and report total investment costs separately, to improve clarity on their net return. Large Dutch industry-wide pension funds pay considerably more for asset management than smaller company schemes, without achieving a noticeable increase of returns, a survey by actuarial consultant Lane, Clark & Peacock (LCP) has suggested.In its annual survey of more than 230 Dutch schemes, covering 98% of the market, LCP found that the €334bn civil service scheme ABP and the €156bn healthcare scheme PFZW spent 0.69% on average on asset management, whereas the other schemes paid 0.39% on average.LCP partner Jeroen Koopmans said: “However, we haven’t observed a direct link between asset management costs and returns on investments.”Koopmans attributed the differing asset management costs in part to performance-related fees, with industry-wide schemes and company pension funds spending 0.21% and 0.05%, respectively.
He also suggested his participants would reject any “cold” defined contribution plan.Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair since 1 January, underlined the importance of preserving mandatory participation as a condition for collective risk-sharing for “affordable and stable” pensions.Borgdorff, referring to the Cabinet’s plan to replace the current average contribution and accrual with a so-called ‘degressive’ system – now considered fairer for all generations – also warned against a progressive premium.This, he said, would hinder pensions accrual for participants over the age of 45, making this demographic “expensive” for employers.He added that PFZW’s biggest concern was that the transition from average accrual to degressive accrual would be carried out in an “unbalanced” way.ABP’s Wortmann-Kool stressed that there would be only one opportunity to make the transition in the right way, “as it would be almost impossible to reverse changes”.She also argued that the pensions system needed to be modernised more quickly.“If we keep on discussing changes in technical terms and complicated panoramas, we risk that participants – as well as politicians – grow tired of pensions and give up,” she said. Also during the conference, Casper van Ewijk, director at Netspar, argued that the cost involved in the transition from one accrual system to another – estimated at €25bn-100bn – would not be lost but merely “transferred” from one generation to another.He said the costs could be defrayed using pension assets, which would largely affect older workers, or contributions, which would hit younger participants.A combination of the two would also be possible, he added. The €356bn civil service pension fund ABP and €166bn healthcare scheme PFZW have voiced their support for the concept of individual pensions accrual in the Dutch pensions system, but only as long as collective risk-sharing is preserved.Speaking at the recent IIR Pensioenforum, the Netherlands’ two largest pension funds were presenting their views on the prospective design of a more sustainable pensions system.The schemes effectively threw their weight behind a proposal being fleshed out by the Social Affairs Ministry, out of a total of four proposals issued by the Social and Economic Council (SER).Peter Borgdorff, director at PFZW, warned that the solidarity element of “collective buffers” must remain, “as participants won’t be able to carry all risks while accruing a pension individually”.
The €2.7bn provident fund of the VBV Group returned nearly 2% over 2015, well above Austria’s market average of just over 1%.The VBV Vorsorgekasse is the largest provider of this kind of mandatory vehicle for severance payments, which have to be made by every company for every employer in Austria.With the closure of the deal between the Bonus group and the Victoria Volksbanken group on the purchase of the Pensionskasse and Vorsorgekasse, the race for second place among the providers will heat up. The Vorsorgekasse Bonus and the Victoria Volksbanken are at a combined €2.2bn, while the Valida Vorsorgekasse also has more than €2bn in assets. The VBV Vorsorgekasse has managed to grow its assets by 12% from €2.4bn to €2.7bn over the last year.The fund “slightly reduced” its strategic equity allocation over the period to just over 10%.As per year-end 2015, the fund was approximately 41% invested in bonds and 33% invested in loans and held-to-maturity fixed income.Alternatives account for 2.3% of the portfolio, real estate 3.2%.All of the scheme’s investments, as with almost all provident fund providers in Austria, are made employing sustainability criteria.For 2016, the fund said it would continue with its “defensive positioning in the current volatile market” and that it would focus on “stability and capital preservation”.The fund said its 2% return for 2015 had showed that investing sustainably was “paying off”. From April, Andreas Zakostelsky, formerly at Valida and chairman of the Austrian pension fund association FVPK, will take over at the VBV as group chief executive to replace retiring Karl Timmel.In his position as managing director of the Pensionskasse, Timmel is succeeded by Gernot Heschl, who joined VBV’s board in January.
Its fixed income holdings, accounting for more than one-third of all SEK310bn (€33.8bn) in assets, saw losses of 0.1%, one of two asset classes to see losses over the course of the year.Andersson took pains to emphasise that AP4’s portfolio had once again outperformed its benchmark.“AP4’s experienced managers have outperformed the index for the seventh consecutive year,” he said.“Over the past seven years, the contribution [from active management] has amounted to nearly SEK8bn, which can be set against an annual cost to pursue active management of approximately SEK100m.”During 2015, the percentage of actively managed assets rose to 70%, while externally managed assets were down from 31% to 29%. Its performance in 2015 was slightly behind fellow buffer fund AP3, and asserts under management remained stagnant compared with its 2015 half-yearly results. AP4 returned 6.8% over the course of 2015, boosted by strong results from its real estate and Swedish equity holdings.Chief executive Mats Andersson said it was “gratifying” the fund was delivering good long-term returns, noting its 10-year average performance of 6.7% before inflation.AP4’s direct property holdings, which accounted for 6.6% of its portfolio, saw by far the strongest results, returning 32%, followed by a 14% return from its Swedish equity holdings.However, due to weaker returns on its global equity holdings, the fund’s equity portfolio overall returned 5.5%, behind an 11.3% return from alternatives.
Pension Insurance Corporation has completed a £230m (€267m) insurance buy-in for the UK pension scheme of Pilkington Group, a glass manufacturing company owned by Japanese Nippon Sheet Glass group.The transaction was completed in the wake of the UK referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union, with the vote to leave triggering a rise in the value of Gilts.Gilt yields fell again after the Bank of England earlier this month announced that it was cutting its policy rate to 0.25%, and re-launched – and expanded – quantitative easing.The bid-yield on UK 10-year Gilts fell to a record low of 0.501% earlier in August, according to Bloomberg figures cited by Kames Capital. Uzma Nazir, an actuary at the Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), told IPE that the deal with the Pilkington scheme was concluded in early August.The buy-in was preceded by a market review exercise and the negotiation of a price lock mechanism.The latter is a common feature of the lead-up to a insurance deal being concluded, although Nazir said that in this case a further look was taken because of the market volatility following the referendum.“We had took a closer look at how the scheme was invested and what we could do on that mechanism to mean that the pricing that we were charging was similar to how the scheme’s assets were moving,” she said.Nazir said that there has been “a tangible increase in interest from trustees in buy-ins since the Brexit referendum”, with the Pilkington scheme benefitting from the higher Gilt prices and exchanging the Gilts for a buy-in policy.John Baines, partner in the risk settlement group of Aon Hewitt, which was the lead advisor to the trustee of the Pilkington Superannuation Scheme, said that the market review exercise and price lock mechanism “meant that we were able to ensure a predictable and positive outcome for the scheme and capitalise on the attractive pricing currently available in the bulk annuity market, driven by market conditions following the EU referendum”.Aon and fellow consultancy Mercer have said that market volatility in the wake of the Brexit vote could present good bulk annuity pricing opportunities for UK defined benefit (DB) schemes.Pilkington Group Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nippon Sheet Glass Co Ltd.Elsewhere, Just Retirement has completed a £65m bulk annuity deal with one of the DB schemes sponsored by engineering and public services firm Amey.The transaction, involving two separate buy-in policies, covers the pension benefits of 1,000 scheme members.PwC advised the trustee of the Amey OS Pension Scheme.It said that, after initial insurer quotations, the deal took five weeks to be completed with prices “fully protected against market activity during the EU referendum period”.Amey is owned by Ferrovial, a Spanish multinational civil engineering company.
15 Alexandra St, North Ward“People are coming in knowing it’s an opportunity to secure a home in a good location.”The home has pine flooring, kauri pine doors, crystal chandeliers, high ceilings and casement windows.The pool area has been designed on the principles of Feng Shui and features a huge timber deck and spa.There is an open plan living and dining area with a gourmet kitchen that has Miele stainless steel appliances and gas cooking.The master bedroom has a dressing room and oversized ensuite while the other two rooms have split system airconditioning and ceiling fans. 15 Alexandra St will be open for inspection on Sunday from 11.30am to 12pm. For more information call Julie Mahoney on 0428 242 817. 15 Alexandra St, North WardTHIS post-war home in North Ward blends old world charm with modern design to create an elegant abode.Situated at 15 Alexandra St, it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two car spaces and is on 685sq m of land.It will go to auction on August 8. 15 Alexandra St, North WardJulie Mahoney from Ray White Julie Mahoney said homes in such desirable locations don’t come up very often and it was a great chance for a buyer to secure a home on the desirable, elevated side of Alexandra St.“It’s absolutely beautiful and, obviously, being on Alexandra St, the position and location speak for themselves,” she said.“You also get glimpses of Magnetic Island, so if you wanted to raise it at a later date you would have very good views.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“It’s been done really well and it has a really beautiful feel to it.“You can walk in and do nothing but there is also the ability to extend it.”Ms Mahoney said the property had already generated plenty of interest.“There has been a bit of interest from people relocating as well as professional couples and upsizers,” she said.
The kitchen is the middle of the open-plan living spaces. Picture: supplied.Ms Stevenson said the home made for an amazing lifestyle.“You wake up in the morning and from the main bedroom you can see the canal looking out across the pool and deck,” she said.“The boat’s right there so if we want to get up on the weekend and go to Moreton, it’s very easy to do.More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019“We would regularly entertain friends here and we have a cellar so the wine is always taken care of. The main bedroom has access to the poolside entertaining area. Picture: supplied.“With lots of (entertaining) spaces to choose from, more often friends and neighbours would gather at our house.”The two-storey home has a formal lounge and dining space and an open-plan living, meals and kitchen area, all opening to the poolside entertaining areas. The main bedroom has an open ensuite, powder room, walk-in wardrobe and outdoor access.The two other bedrooms have built-in wardrobes and there is a family bathroom and laundry.Upstairs, there is a study and media room with balcony. The home at 33 Constance Ct, Newport. Picture: supplied.THIS home with stunning waterside location is going under the hammer in Newport.Owner Ada Stevenson said she and her family have loved living at 33 Constance Court for the past 20 years.“It’s a very open house, taking advantage of the beautiful views we have on the canal. The living areas all face the north and the big main bedroom has a bathroom you can look through,” she said.“The pontoon is big enough to accommodate large boats — we invested in the biggest pontoon we could have on the property.” A balcony has been added to the upstairs media room. Picture: supplied.Ms Stevenson said they had updated the property recently.“We got a brand new kitchen in November of last year. The bathrooms and laundry are all quite new and we recently added an outdoor balcony upstairs off the library and media room,” she said.“There is also an extension out towards the canal completely undercover.”The property is going to auction at 11am on July 20. It is being marketed by Andrew Campbell of Ray White Redcliffe.
MORE NEWS: Multimillion-dollar offer halts mansion’s auction The Mermaid Waters house at 35 Sundowner Court is one of the state’s most popular this week.An extensive renovation has proved worthwhile for a Gold Coast resident whose waterfront home has attracted attention from far and wide.The Mermaid Waters residence at 35 Sundowner Court was the most viewed property going to auction in Queensland this weekend on realestate.com.au.Ray White Broadbeach Waters principal Mitch Palmer, who is marketing the property with Gema Jackson, said its location and impressive renovation were behind its popularity.“It’s a big block and it’s a beautifully finished home,” he said.“The home is in good proximity to the beach but also lies on waterfront so you get the best of both worlds.” MORE NEWS: Charming hinterland home a rare find A renovation has breathed new life into the house. It looks much fresher following the reno.He said it was appealing to house hunters who wanted a property they could instantly call a home without having to do any extra work to it.“Most of the strong interest is coming from young families,” he said.It was good news for owner Kevin Fitzpatrick, who transformed the property from a 1990s brick house to a modern haven in 2016 after buying it eight years earlier.“I’ve got a young family so it was always going to be a family home,” Mr Fitzpatrick told the Bulletin during the marketing campaign.“It was to be our forever home but we ended up in Kingscliff.”Mr Fitzpatrick, a builder, changed the floorplan to make the ground level much more open with a feature staircase as its centrepiece.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa8 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago It has been transformed from a 1990s-built brick house to a modern haven. 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. 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 Rate1xFullscreenHow to bid at auction for your dream home? 01:45 “You’ve got the high ceilings in the living room with the staircase – it’s a two storey void in that area with VJ ceilings,” he said. “It’s one of my favourite features.”The four-bedroom house has a crisp white interior with splashes of colour throughout as well as louvre windows and multiple outdoor living spaces.A pool and 38m of water frontage outside are among its standout features.The property will go under the hammer at noon on February 1.
While there is a downturn in the oil and gas market, Boskalis – which serves the offshore energy sector – can count on its flexibility, as it can tap into offshore wind with its large range of vessels and skilled personnel, according to Pieter Wijnmaalen, Commercial Manager at VBMS, Boskalis’ daughter company working in the offshore wind market. Most recently, VBMS has been working on the Galloper offshore wind farm, where it has been in charge of the cable installation. Late last year, the company tested a new method for export cable shore landing at the 336MW UK offshore wind farm, lowering the cable onto the seabed by using a remotely controlled progressive buoyancy release system which eliminates the need for divers, wet riggers or support vessels.The company secured cable-laying work on some of the upcoming projects across Europe, including the Hohe See, East Anglia ONE, and Hornsea Project One.Also, earlier this year VBMS and High Voltage engineering company EDS teamed up and launched their Cable Integrity Solutions including the “Prepare to Repair” framework, which is said to allow cable repairs to be carried out up to 70% faster.Watch our Expertise Hub interview with Pieter Wijnmaalen to find out more.For more Expertise Hub interviews, visit Navingo’s Offshore WIND channel on Vimeo.
UK government has committed to maximizing economic opportunity in the North Sea at meetings between industry officials and politicians held on Wednesday. The UK new Energy Minister Richard Harrington has told oil and gas leaders they have the ‘full support’ of the UK government in maximising the economic opportunity in the North Sea during his first visit to the region in his new ministerial post.Harrington met and addressed oil and gas industry leaders at the Maximizing Economic Recovery (MER) Forum and the Oil and Gas Joint Council as well as attending meetings on the Industrial Strategy’s role for supporting the sector and the prospect of Remote Islands Wind.The Minister also listened to proposals from industry for an ambitious and deliverable oil and gas sector deal under the Industrial Strategy.Harrington said: “These are challenging but exciting times with new opportunities in North Sea oil and gas. We are working with the sector to build on the £2.3 billion worth of UK government support through our modern Industrial Strategy.“I want to make it clear that the industry has full support of the UK government, and that we are continuing to create the right environment though a stable and supportive package to allow business, enterprise and jobs to flourish.”Over the past 50 years the oil and gas industry has extracted more than 43 billion barrels and current production accounts for over 50% of UK gas demand and around 65% of UK oil demand.With 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered by 2035, an estimated £140 billion additional gross revenue from production, and an additional £150 billion turnover from exports could be achieved if the industry is able to make the most of maximising recovery and accessing the global market for oil and gas goods and services.In June, the first delivery of oil was delivered from one of the largest new drilling operations in the North Sea, following a £2 billion investment in the Kraken oilfield by oil and gas development and production company EnQuest. This was made possible by the UK government’s support for the sector.Last month, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) opened its 30th Offshore Licensing Round, making awards to companies that promise to maximize economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources. The number of applications shows continued support and belief in the UK oil industry.Earlier on Wednesday, Total announced that it has started-up production from the Edradour and Glenlivet fields off Shetland. Delivered ahead of schedule and under budget these projects will bring additional production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of oil and is further evidence of confidence in the industry.UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, said: “In my role as UK Government Minister for Scotland I will continue to fight to protect Scotland’s world class oil and gas industry. We’ve supported Aberdeen through £125m investment in the City and Region Deal, which was key to setting up the innovative Oil & Gas Technology center I saw today.The oil and gas industry can rest assured that the UK government will continue to do everything we can to support this critical sector of the Scottish and British economy.”Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority, said: “Today we held the MER UK Forum in Aberdeen and I very much value the continued close working with the oil and gas industry and strong support from the government. Together, this work is actively helping to maximize economic recovery and position the UK as an attractive basin to invest in, with significant remaining potential.”Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “I welcome the Minister’s assurances that the industry has the full support of the UK government. The oil and gas industry has a critical role to play, helping meet the UK’s energy needs, generating revenue for the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of UK jobs and other significant UK industries.“We look forward to working with the new energy minister to ensure that government policy like the Industrial Strategy and the UK Budget supports our own industry efforts to make the basin a competitive investment proposition.”While in Aberdeen, the energy minister also met oil and gas apprentices and ex industry training instructors at the ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of North East Scotland College, and the Dynamic Advanced Response Training (DART) Simulator at Robert Gordon University.Atholl Menzies, Chief Executive at ASET, said: “The ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy plays a critical role in supporting the UK oil and gas sector through the skills development of personnel. We provide highly specialized oil and gas technical based vocational training, from new entrant to senior professional level and we train with market-leading technology and equipment including a live and integrated, replicated offshore production platform.”All of this will be brought together under the modern Industrial Strategy, and to ensure energy is as affordable as possible for consumers and businesses later this year the government will be publishing a road map to help businesses reduce their energy costs.