UK government holds out prospect of social impact investing clarity

first_imgA requirement should also be included that the statement of investment principles (SIP) produced by trustees state their policy on stewardship, the commission said.In its response, the government said it recognised the Law Commission’s advice that regulatory clarity would help remind trustees that they should take account of all relevant financially material factors, whether these were “traditionally” financial or related to broader risks or opportunities, such as environmental, social and governance issues.It said it was minded to require that the SIP must include trustees’ policy on evaluating long term rirsks, and any policy on consideration of members’ non-financial concerns.The government said it supported the commisson’s view that trustees should consider members’ ethical and other concerns, and may act on them on certain conditions, such as that this does not involve a risk of significant financial detriment.For contract-based pensions, the commission had recommended that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) require schemes’ Independent Governance Committees to report on a firm’s policies in relation to evaluating long-term risks of an investment, including relating to corporate governance or environmental or social impact; considering members’ ethical and other concerns; and stewardship.The commission said in June that there were “no substantive regulatory barriers” to making social impact investment by pension funds, and that most of the barriers were structural and behavioural. However, there was a need for clearer legislation and guidance.Of the other options for reform put forward by the commission, Opperman and Crouch said certain recommendations here were addressed by initiatives already underway.“Other recommendations involve or impact a number of government and external stakeholders and work is ongoing to determine the appropriate response,” they said in the response document.The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) welcomed the government’s response.“This is a welcome proposal that will make expectations of pension funds clear and align the investment regulations with other statements from the Law Commission and The Pensions Regulator,” said Luke Hildyard, the industry body’s policy lead for stewardship and corporate governance.He said it was an extremely important issue and there was compelling evidence that environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations had a big impact on investment returns.Simon Jones, head of responsible investment at Hymans Robertson, welcomed the prospect of clarity in the language used in engaging investors on responsible investment, as this was lacking. “Ethical considerations are often viewed as interchangeable with financially material ESG factors, something that is not helped by the wording of the current investment regulations,” he said. “This misunderstanding can mean that issues are not effectively debated.“It’s therefore welcome that the government is looking to consult on clarifying regulation in this area by separating the consideration of financial and non-financial factors in investment decision making.”Environmental law organisation ClientEarth also welcomed the government’s response and said it would require pension schemes to report on climate risk where it poses financially material risks to the fund.“Even though the law is already clear, those in charge of our savings are overlooking one of the biggest risks out there,” said Natalie Shippen, pensions lawyer at the firm.Catherine Howarth, chief executive of responsible investment campaign organisation ShareAction, said that as powerful investors, it was essential pension funds focussed on long-term risks and opportunities such as those connected with climate change and social inequality.She criticised the FCA for inaction on the issue.“The FCA, on the other hand, is still sitting on its hands,” she said.“We’re disappointed they haven’t yet chosen to follow the Department for Work and Pensions in adopting the recommendations made by the UK Law Commission,” Howarth said.The government said it liaised closely with the FCA in preparing its interim response as a number of the Law Commission’s proposals were addressed to the regulator. The government relayed that the FCA sees the Law Commission’s report as consistent with a number of pieces of work the regulator was undertaking, and is considering the commission’s proposals. The UK government has responded positively to recommendations made by the Law Commission for removing barriers in the way of pension funds considering social impact as part of their investing. In the government’s interim response to the commission’s report, Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, and Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, said:“Government welcomes the recommended changes to the investment regulations and is minded to make the proposed changes, subject to consultation with stakeholders on the most effective approach to delivering the desired outcome of the recommendations.”In its report published in June, the Law Commission — a non-political body advising on legal reform — recommended that investment regulations for trust-based pensions be amended to ensure that “social, environmental or ethical considerations” accurately reflected the distinction between financial factors and non-financial factors.last_img read more

Pension dashboard should be taken out of private sector, say MPs

first_imgSource: Pension Dashboard ProjectExample of state pension information displayed on the pension dashboardIt called for a single, public sector financial guidance body to provide the dashboard and for it to be funded by an industry levy.“Competition between pension providers over the presentation of the same information risks detracting from, or even acting counter to, competition over the quality of pension products,” the committee’s report said. “Rather than regulating the dashboards into consistency, it is far simpler just to have one dashboard.”The ABI hit back at the committee’s recommendation.Yvonne Braun, director of policy, long-term savings and protection at the association, said excluding industry participants would be a “huge missed opportunity”.“It is only thanks to the efforts and investment of the pensions industry that we have a prototype and are now able to talk about the practicalities of delivering a pensions dashboard for everyone to use,” Braun said.“It may be that an initial publicly hosted service is a pragmatic place to start given the stated aim to deliver a dashboard in 2019. But it would be a huge missed opportunity if we adopt a single dashboard as the final destination.“We know that people expect to be able to use sophisticated dashboards in the future, integrated with other services, that only the private sector will be able to provide.” “The case for a publicly-hosted pensions dashboard is clear cut,” the committee said in a report published today. “Consumers want simple, impartial, and trustworthy information.“Armed with such information, they will be more empowered to exercise choice in the decumulation product market, driving competition and consumer benefit.”Multiple dashboards from “self-interested” providers risked adding complexity to “a problem crying out for simplicity”, the committee added.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# The UK’s proposed pension dashboard should be provided by a public sector body and not be subject to private sector competition and conflicts, politicians have argued.The Work and Pensions Select Committee – made up of MPs from the UK’s lower house – said today that a “dashboard” to display all of an individual’s pension savings in one place would be a “vital tool” for consumers.The government aims to introduce such a tool to the UK market next year. Work on prototypes has been led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), with representatives from the pensions industry and support from a host of private sector groups.However, the committee said private sector suppliers should not be tasked with hosting the service.last_img read more

​Swedish insurer reveals €395 monthly pension gender pay gap

first_img“We also need to discuss the factors that today make women’s lifetime incomes less than men’s, such as why women are in professions with lower wages and why women work part-time to a greater extent. This is what has major consequences for women’s finances here and now, and in the future.”The company said that, according to figures from the Swedish National Mediation Office, women had nearly the same salary as men, but a real gap could be found in pensions that are based on an individual’s income.The study attributed the difference to womens’ absence from the labour market, which includes factors such as the increased number of women in part-time work, but largely the fact that women take parental leave more frequently than men.Women also use a greater amount of their available time off when they do take parental leave, using an average of 72%, according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.Data published last week by UK defined contribution provider NOW: Pensions reported that its male members had saved an average £559 (€651) as of last year, while female members had saved on average £433 – a difference of £126. This pension saving gap had increased by more than a third since 2017, the company said.“Women’s pension savings face a double whammy as women typically earn less and are more likely to work part time and take career breaks to care for children or elderly relatives,” said Amy Mankelow, director of communications at NOW: Pensions.“Auto enrolment does little to address this inequality as millions of women are prevented from saving altogether as they earn less than the £10,000 auto enrolment trigger. This means that a large proportion of part-time workers, who are much more likely to be women, don’t have the opportunity to save in the first place.”Additional reporting by Nick Reeve Women in Sweden receive an average SEK4,114 (€395) a month less in pensions than men, according to a new study from pensions and insurance company Länsförsäkringar.The study, which references new income data collected by the government agency Statistics Sweden, revealed differences in income and pensions in seven careers for men and women.The figure of SEK4,114 was based on an average of the seven occupational categories in the study.Emma Persson, private economist at Länsförsäkringar, said: “The fact that we are discussing pay differences between men and women is good and important, but we must not get stuck there.last_img read more

CEO of £30bn Brunel Pension Partnership resigns

first_imgShe and the non-executive directors were sad to have Turner leave but respected her decision, she added.“They wish to give Dawn appropriate thanks for her delivery as a strong change agent and strategist who has driven Brunel’s success and is on track to deliver a minimum £550m [€604m] in savings,” Le Gal’s statement added. Dawn Turner, chief executive officer of the Brunel Pension Partnership, one of the UK’s eight local authority pension asset pools, has resigned to make way for a different leadership approach as the company approaches a new phase of development. According to an announcement from Brunel, Turner plans to step down by the end of September to transition to a portfolio career.She is said to have indicated to the board that Brunel needed a different style of leadership for the next stage of its development.In a statement, Denise Le Gal, Brunel’s chair, said the board and Turner had been “developing the strategic needs of the company as it moves rapidly towards the post transition phase of its development”. Credit: Rebecca Faith PhotographyDawn Turner, Brunel Pension Partnership CEOTurner was instrumental in setting up Brunel, taking it from the early stages of the general pooling project in response to government regulations to setting up a regulated investment management company.Alongside Brunel’s CIO Mark Mansley and chief responsible investment officer Faith Ward, she moved to the pool from the Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF), one of the 10 funds in the local government pension scheme (LGPS) that came together to set up Brunel and are now its clients.She took on the role of project executive for the Brunel pooling project while still at the EAPF, before switching to the role of interim managing director of the Brunel Pension Partnership in April 2017. Shortly thereafter she formally became the CEO of Brunel Pension Partnership, which currently manages around £8bn of assets for its clients, who have some £30bn between them.Today the Bristol-based company has more than 30 staff members.Turner is a member of the LGPS cross-pool collaboration group and chair of its responsible investment sub-group. Like others at Brunel, she is a strong advocate of responsible investing and long-term relationships with asset managers; her Brunel profile describes her as “passionate about the role of pension funds in moving to a more sustainable business world”.Brunel said its board would soon begin the process of recruiting the next CEO. It is currently recruiting for a new non-executive director after Freddie Pierre-Pierre resigned in May.last_img read more

Investec AM changes name to Ninety One, demerges from group

first_imgInvestec Asset Management (IAM) has unveiled its new name and branding as Ninety One, which will be rolled out following completion of the firm’s demerger from Investec Group. The demerger process is on track to take place in the first quarter of 2020, subject to shareholder approval.In September 2018, following a strategic review, the boards of Investec PLC and Investec Limited – collectively Investec Group – announced that IAM would become a separately listed entity. This decision ensured IAM would be a focused, independent asset manager, a position appreciated and valued by investment management markets, an announcement stated.Last August the group confirmed that the demerger and independent listing of IAM had received all key regulatory approvals.The leadership structure for IAM post listing has also been confirmed. The current leadership remains unchanged prior to listing. Hendrik du Toit will return as chief executive officer and John Green and Domenico Ferrini will assume deputy CEO roles. Board appointments will be confirmed in the group’s Shareholder Circular, however, due to be released shortly after the group’s interim results presentation tomorrow (21 November). The board will include an independent, non-executive chair and other non-executive directors, including a senior independent director. Du Toit believes the new identity reflects the heritage of the firm. ”Back in 1991 when we started in South Africa, change was coming. Along with its challenges came the chance to invest in a better future. Being part of that change made us who we are. It taught us to be bold, resilient and agile; to believe that active investing can be a force for good.”Investec Asset Management began as a start-up asset manager in South Africa in 1991. Today it manages more than $151bn (€136bn) for institutional and advisor clients globally, including some of the largest and most sophisticated asset owners.last_img read more

​Norway eases SWF’s reporting duty to semiannual from quarterly

first_img“Norges Bank must continuously assess the need to publish information on developments in the fund outside the half-year and annual reports, especially during periods of particularly severe turmoil in the financial markets,” the ministry wrote in its announcement.Asked whether NBIM would in fact switch to less frequent financial reporting on the fund, a spokeswoman for the central bank division referred IPE to the finance ministry for all questions related to their decision.However, she did confirm that all NBIM’s reports would still be available in English. The mandate changes state only that the reporting must be in Norwegian.State Secretary Marianne Eikvåg Groth, of Norway’s Conservative Party, told IPE the change to less frequent mandatory reporting was initiated by the ministry and not Norges Bank.The management mandate stated that there should be the greatest possible transparency about the management of the fund within the limits defined by responsible execution of the mandate, she said.At the end of September 2019, the GPFG managed NOK9.7tn (€982bn) while the GPFN had NOK261bn. Managers of Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund will be required to report only every half year rather than quarterly following changes to their mandates effective at the beginning of this year.The government said mid-year reporting safeguarded long-term considerations better than the current quarterly reporting system, and that it would help save resources.The Norwegian finance ministry announced details of changes to the mandate and reporting framework for the smaller portion of the fund, the locally-invested Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN), in December, and for the much larger Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) at the end of November.   However, the new rules do not necessarily mean that in practice the managers of the two funds – Folketrygdfondet and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) respectively – will abandon more frequent reporting, since the government has also put the onus on the managers themselves to decide whether there is a need for additional publications.last_img read more

Record sale: Brisbane bayside palace smashes suburb record by $450,000

One of the bedrooms in the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum. The view from inside the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum. This house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum, has sold for $2.95m. Inside the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoIn the past decade, only five residential properties have sold over the $2 million mark in the suburb. The property at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum, has four bedrooms and four bathrooms on a huge 4,449 sqm block. The billiards room in the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum.The record for Wynnum had previously been held by two homes, which sold for $2.5 million — 25 Waterloo Esplanade and 52 Bay Terrace. The sunroom in the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum, which has sold for $2.95m.Features include a tennis court, infinity pool, outdoor entertaining area, billiards room with bar, rooftop viewing deck and a garage with room for four vehicles.The sale was negotiated by Clinton Sippel of Couture Realty, who said the buyer was a long-time Wynnum resident who did not know Petersen Street existed until he saw the property advertised on social media.Mr Sippel said the family plans to renovate the home and move in as soon as possible.He said the property’s position drove the sale price, but many were skeptical about how much it would go for.“We had many, many people through who didn’t think we’d get more than $2.25 million because there were no sales in the area to support that,” Mr Sippel said.“It was really good to find someone who saw the value and ended up buying it.” The outlook from the house at 85 Petersen St, Wynnum, which has sold for $2.95m.THE record sale price for a home in the bayside suburb of Wynnum has been smashed by $450,000.A palatial, yet dated, house with arguably “Brisbane’s best bayside view” has fetched $2.95 million, selling to a local family who didn’t even know the street existed. read more

Shareholders say Yes! to Wood Group-Amec FW merger

first_imgWood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler have approved Wood Group’s recommended all-stock offer for Amec Foster Wheeler.The offer was launched by Wood Group back in March, under which each Amec Foster Wheeler shareholder will receive for each Amec Foster Wheeler share 0.75 new Wood Group shares.Based on the closing price of £7.52 per Wood Group share on March 10, 2017, the terms of the combination value the issued and to be issued share capital of Amec Foster Wheeler at approximately £2.225 billion ($2.72B).According to Wood Group, the proposed deal received overwhelming support from both sets of shareholders. The deal remains subject to relevant clearances from competition authorities in certain countries where both companies operate. It is expected that the transaction will complete in the fourth quarter of 2017.The deal remains subject to relevant clearances from competition authorities in certain countries where both companies operate. It is expected that the transaction will complete in the fourth quarter of 2017, Wood Group said on ThursdayRobin Watson, Chief Executive, Wood Group, said he was delighted that both sets of shareholders have shown support for the all-share offer for Amec Foster Wheeler.“Our coming together is a tremendous opportunity for our employees, our customers and our investors. Today we take another significant step towards creating a global leader in project, engineering and technical services delivery across a broad range of industrial markets, predominantly focused on oil & gas.”“Amec Foster Wheeler has a strong operational capability, a leading service offering and broad sector exposure and we have complementary asset light, flexible business models. This is fundamentally a great growth story. By building on Wood Group’s existing range of services, the quality of our delivery and the passion of our people, together we will have a stronger, broader business across a wide range of sectors.”“UK’s truly global” The combined Group will be led by Robin Watson as Chief Executive and David Kemp as Chief Financial Officer. Ian Marchant will continue as Chair. On completion, certain members of the Amec Foster Wheeler Board will join the Board of the combined Group: Roy Franklin will join as Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director, and Ian McHoul and Linda Adamany will be appointed as non-executive directors.Wood Group said that with a market capitalization of around GBP 4.6bn at current share prices, Wood Group will consolidate its position “as one of the UK’s truly global businesses.”The company said the combination will give “global career opportunities to employees from both companies and to people in the regions where we operate, across a broad range of services.”“The North East of Scotland, where we are headquartered, has generated international business for several decades, so it’s a terrific boost for Scotland that one of the UK’s largest international employers will be based there when the deal closes. Work now begins on the planning to integrate the talent, expertise and experience of our two great companies,” the company said.ProbeWhile the shareholders may have approved the merger, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has yet to give its nod.The government body has earlier this week announced the launch of its merger inquiry to see if the transaction, if carried into effect, will create a situation which may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision whether to refer the Merger for a Phase 2 investigation is  August 7, 2017.last_img read more

Evopod tidal unit awaits Portugal redeployment

first_imgThe Marine Offshore Renewable Energy (MORE) team from the University of Algarve plans to redeploy the scaled Evopod tidal unit off Portugal in mid-September 2017.The team from the University’s Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA) retrieved the 1:10 scale Evopod unit late in August for maintenance, after having been deployed at Ria Formosa, a coastal lagoon in the south of Portugal, for one month.The deployment is part of the SCORE project whose goal is to examine the behavior of small-scale tidal current turbine in a shallow-water estuarine environment.As reported earlier, the turbine hit the waters of Portugal early in June 2017, after which it was retrieved for battery replacement and electronics waterproof sealing.As the delivery of the new load cells required additional time, the team redeployed the unit in mid-July to gather data on turbine performance and tension forces in the mooring lines, the CIMA-MORE team informed.André Pacheco, one of the members of the MORE team, said: “We are waiting the arrival of four load cells for each of the mooring lines and to replace the battery, since the one existent failed to charge through the solar panels during the low flow on neap tides. We will now incorporate an extra solar panel and a battery with extra amperage capacity. The redeployment is scheduled for the middle of September.“Meanwhile, we were able to collect performance data for an entire month as well as noise levels that will be now compared with the baseline study.”Pacheco added that the marine biologist team is proceeding with the analyses of the seabed and the interaction of the turbine with the wildlife using collected ROV footage.The SCORE project will consider both the impacts of the turbine on its environment and the effects of the flow conditions on the turbine. The insights from the project will be collected in a socio-economic report, which is expected to offer guidelines for tidal energy converter implementation projects on similar coastal lagoons and estuarine systems worldwide.To remind, the scaled Evopod E1 unit was leased by the University of Algarve from the UK-based tidal energy developer Oceanflow Energy.last_img read more

Statoil says meets climate change goals ahead of schedule

first_imgNorwegian oil major Statoil has already achieved its 2015 target of reducing the CO2 emissions from the Norwegian continental shelf by 1.2 million tonnes annually from 2008 to 2020 – two years ahead of schedule.According to Statoil, the reduction equals the emissions from some 600,000 private cars annually or almost every fourth car on Norwegian roads.Arne Sigve Nylund, executive VP of Development and Production Norway (DPN), said: “It is essential that we take strong and effective actions to meet the challenges associated with man-made climate change and to realize the important goals set in the Paris Agreement. Targeted efforts are therefore underway throughout our business.“The results show that it is possible to achieve ambitious emission reduction targets. Skills, technology and hard work over time pay off, and confirm that the transformation we need must be achieved in cooperation with, not in opposition to the petroleum industry.”In 2008, the petroleum industry, under the direction of Konkraft, set a collective energy efficiency goal equivalent to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year between 2008 and 2020. Statoil’s share of this was 800,000 tonnes.In 2015, four years ahead of schedule, Statoil achieved this goal, and therefore the company raised its target by 50 percent to 1.2 million tonnes the same year.“We did not know how to achieve the targets set in 2008, but we did get there. And the emission reductions have been both quicker and bigger than we defined as our original ambition. This gives us important inspiration and motivation when we now go for our 2030 target,” Nylund added.In nine years until September this year, Statoil has implemented 228 energy improvement measures within the categories flaring, production processes, gas compressors, and gas turbines.In August 2016, the petroleum industry, under the direction of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, launched an ambition of introducing carbon reduction measures equivalent to 2.5 million tonnes on the NCS by 2030, compared with 2020. Statoil’s share of this is 2 million tonnes.Nylund said: “We aim to reduce CO2 emissions from the NCS by another 2 million tonnes by 2030, i.e., a total of 3.2 million per year. We do not have all of the answers to how to achieve this, but the results we have achieved show that we can find solutions that make this possible. Our goal is to maintain our industry leadership in producing oil and gas with lower emissions.” CO2 emission reduction examplesStatoil implemented several measures to ensure reduction of CO2 emissions. As a result, the company reduced emissions from gas to flare by 140,000 tonnes of CO2 since 2007.On the Statfjord A offshore platform, Statoil changed the way it produces drinking water, reducing CO2 emissions by around 4,800 tonnes per year while on Åsgard A in the Norwegian Sea, modification on two gas compressors saved 8,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.By using gravity pressure from the sea instead of a water injection pump on the Kristin field the Norwegian oil firm reduced CO2 emissions by 7,375 tonnes per year. On Oseberg South, an upgrade of two main power turbines reduced annual CO2 emissions by around 10,000 tonnes.The Kristin field also reduced emissions by installing a new check valve to reduce pressure drop in the inlet manifold. As a result, CO2 emissions went down by 10,000 tonnes per year.last_img read more