September 29

Friday people roundup

first_imgCiti — Philip Forkan is joining Citi as the EMEA head of business development for the company’s open architecture global collateral management product OpenCollateral. Before starting at Citi last week, Forkan worked at Sapient Global Markets as head of its collateral and clearing practice. He was previously global head of collateral management at RBS.Meriten Investment Management – Martin Theisinger is joining from Oppenheim KAG, appointed to the investment boutique’s management board. In his previous role, he was responsible for business development and client relations. Theisinger has previously worked at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Fortis Investments, Schroder Investment Management and JP Morgan Asset Management.Northern Trust — Northern Trust has appointed Susan Bradley and David Price as head of transfer agency and head of client servicing, respectively. They will join the firm’s transfer agency team in Dublin and Limerick. Bradley comes to Northern Trust from Citi Bank Europe, where she was most recently head of transfer agency product for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Price joins the firm from JP Morgan (Ireland), where he was a senior client servicing account manager. Cantor Fitzgerald Europe – Sheil Aggarwal has been appointed to the role of managing director at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald Europe. He will be based in London, focusing on asset-back securities, mortgage-backed securities and collateralised loan obligations, the firm said. Aggarwalwill join Cantor from Pamplona Credit Opportunities, where he was a partner. Before that, he was a senior managing director at Bear Stearns.Aberdeen Asset Management – Dan Grandage has been appointed head of sustainability at Aberdeen Asset Management. The firm said he would lead its approach to responsible property investment, working to improve the environmental efficiency of the properties it manages around the world. Grandage has worked within environmental consultancy RPS Consultants and engineering and design consultancy WSP Group, Aberdeen said.Legal & General Property (LGP) – Imogen Ebbs has been appointed as a senior asset manager at Legal & General Property, to support its LPI (Limited Price Inflation) Income Property Fund. She comes to LGP from Lloyds Banking Group, where she was an associate director working as part of the bank’s UK property deleveraging programme. Dunedin — Karan Darrach has been appointed as financial controller at private equity firm Dunedin. Andrew Davidson has also been appointed as an analyst at the firm. Darrach was previously senior manager at KPMG. At Dunedin, he is responsible for fund reporting and portfolio monitoring. Davidson, who worked at PwC before, will be responsible at Dunedin for sourcing deals across the UK.last_img read more

September 29

PNO Media puts merger with PGB on ice

first_imgThe €4.1bn PNO Media pension fund has said it is not looking to increase ties with the €15bn printing industry scheme (PGB), at least for now.Ton Tekstra, chairman of PNO Media, told IPE the board concluded there was no immediate need to make the big step as it wanted to remain independent for at least three to five years.“Currently, there is neither need nor support for joining a large pension fund such as PGB as we are stable and have sufficient scale to continue under our own steam for the mid-term,” he said. Tekstra indicated PNO Media wanted to monitor developments in the media sector, as well as the ongoing consolidation process, including the possible effect on the pension fund. “Our sector is not only facing cuts in the public broadcasters, but there are also larger companies that are considering moving their pension plans,” he pointed out. “In addition, the gaming industry is growing rapidly, and does offer potential for the pension fund.”Tekstra, however, did suggest the company would be open to cooperation with other pension funds, but ones of a smaller size than PGB.“Currently, we are exchanging expertise with the Dutch pension funds of publishers Elsevier and Sanoma, as well as the scheme of newspaper De Telegraaf, aimed at a possible cooperation on areas such as investment,” he said.According to Tekstra, PNO Media has already jointly invested in private equity with some other schemes, but did not provide additional details on the matter.In a response, Ruud Degenhardt, chairman of PGB, said he regretted that the cooperation with PNO Media has been put on hold, but indicated that PGB’s door would stay open to the media fund.“A merger would remain a good development from the perspective of all participants,” he commented.Degenhardt reiterated PGB’s attempts at scaling with the inclusion and servicing of multiple industry branches, including rubber, paint and chemicals.As a result, the number of participants in the fund rose to 100,000 from 83,000 in the past two years, as its assets increased by €3.5bn to €15bn.Discussions between the two funds about a extending cooperation and a full merger had been ongoing up until last year.last_img read more

September 29

​UK local authorities eye joint stewardship, ESG framework

first_imgAlex Younger, investment and actuarial services manager at Norfolk, said the tender had yet to be launched but would follow shortly after two concept viability days in early October with both the 13 involved LGPS and providers.He said the framework would have “real credibility” due to the involvement of several funds that have previously placed a heavy emphasis on stewardship and ESG, including the Environment Agency Pension Fund, the West Midlands Pension Fund and its counterpart in West Yorkshire.One of the other funds involved, the Lothian Pension Fund, has previously overseen a joint procurement exercise for voting and engagement services that saw Hermes win a contract from three Scottish LGPS.Younger noted the uncertainty surrounding the future shape of the LGPS, with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) currently working with the LGPS Advisory Board on options to pool assets.The London Pensions Fund Authority and the Lancashire County Pension Fund, both backing the new framework, in July agreed a partnership to pool assets, and other London local authority funds have joined to set up a collective investment vehicle (CIV).Younger said the framework team was “cognizant” of the uncertainty ahead.“We are seeking to make future frameworks as robust as possible for an uncertain new model,” he said. More than a dozen UK local authority funds are working on a national procurement framework for environmental, social and governance (ESG) providers, including the provision of proxy voting services.The new framework, currently being drawn up by Norfolk County Council, will cover an as yet unspecified number of areas including proxy voting, ESG data metrics and more general advice where required by local authority pension schemes (LGPS).The framework is the latest being undertaken by the National LGPS Frameworks project, overseen by Norfolk Pension Fund, which to date has launched frameworks including ones for legal advice, custody and investment consultancy services.In July, it announced it was set to hire dedicated procurement staff, citing £16m (€21.8m) in savings as proof of its success.last_img read more

September 29

​Irish trustee qualifications risk ‘group think’, IAPF warns

first_imgThe Irish pensions regulator risks imposing “group think” on trustee boards if it pushes ahead with new trustee qualifications and should instead bring its proposals in line with the current draft of the new IORP Directive.The Pensions Authority has been warned that the proposal risks driving away lay trustees who, according to the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF), bring a sense of balance to trustee boards.Instead, the trade body suggested limiting the requirements only to those trustees who are paid for their time, rather than those acting on a voluntary basis.The comments come in reaction to a September consultation on trustee qualifications, in which the Authority set out how the revised IORP Directive would impact domestic regulation and asked how to structure a potential curriculum for trustees.  “We suggest,” the IAPF said, “that any mandatory qualification requirements should apply to the trustee group as a whole rather than to each individual trustee.”It noted amendments made to the IORP Directive, after pressure from the UK and Ireland, that would only require a trustee board’s knowledge to be “collectively adequate”.Jerry Moriarty, chief executive of the IAPF, noted that the changes risked a “mass exodus” of lay trustees.“We do feel very strongly the lay trustees do have a lot to add,” he told IPE. “If everyone who is involved in running the pension scheme is paid to be there, then it does change the dynamics a bit.”He questioned whether having purely professional trustees on boards led to better outcomes, echoing the IAPF’s assertion that there was no “body of evidence” pointing to an improvement.Moriarty suggested the regulator “tread slowly” and said the industry was in favour of having trustees better equipped to deal with the challenges facing boards.“But requiring them to all complete the same degree in trusteeship is going a bit too far at this point in time,” he said.“If you are looking at any board – whether it’s for a company or a pension scheme – then one of the important things is to have diverse views and people who can ask tough questions and challenge.“If everybody who has come through the same school, then you are just going to have a major group think, rather than people questioning and delving into things, looking at it from a different point of view.”James Kavanagh, managing director of Trustee Decisions, agreed that lay trustees played an important role within schemes, calling their work “selfless”.But he also argued strongly in favour of improving their level of knowledge.“We need to ensure we have trustees who are knowledgeable, do not over-rely on advisers, operate with strategic clarity, have effective real-time decision-making procedures, are capable of adapting to change and manage conflict-of-interest issues,” he said.“All of this requires courage by trustees, especially in the area of challenging their advisers.”last_img read more

September 29

Swiss institution tenders CHF250m EM bond mandate using IPE Quest

first_imgApplicants should have at least CHF500m in assets under management (AUM) for the specific strategy and CHF5bn in AUM as a company.They should also have a track record of at least three years, preferably five.Interested parties should state performance, gross of fees, to the end of 2015.Separately, a Swiss institutional investor also tendered a CHF250m, sub-investment-grade, high-yield bond mandate using IPE Quest. According to search QN-2165, the active mandate will cover Europe, including the UK.Investors should use the BofA Merrill Lynch BB-B European Currency Developed Markets Non-Financial High Yield Constrained (HP4M) as a benchmark, keeping tracking error below 10%.The investor will accept any non-investment-grade bond from a corporate issuer.Convertible bonds and emerging market bonds are not part of the universe.Exposure to financials, senior loans and bonds rated lower than B- will be limited.Applicants should have at least CHF500m in AUM for the specific strategy and CHF5bn in AUM as a company.They should also have a track record of at least three years, preferably five.Interested parties should state performance, gross of fees, to the end of 2015.The deadline for both applications is 11 March.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest 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 jayna.vishram@ipe-quest.com. An undisclosed institutional investor in Switzerland has tendered a CHF250m (€230m) emerging market bond mandate using IPE Quest.According to search QN-2164, the actively managed mandate should be based in local currencies.The investor expects asset managers to outperform the JP Morgan GBI EM Global Diversified benchmark by an average of 100 basis points (net of all fees) per year over a four-year period.Tracking error should be no greater than 10%, and limits will apply to quasi-sovereigns, corporate bonds and non-local currency bonds.last_img read more

September 29

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund commits €30m to SME lender

first_imgThe Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will invest €30m into the country’s largest non-bank lender, Finance Ireland.The €8bn sovereign wealth fund has “conditionally agreed” to take a 32% stake, according to a statement from Finance Ireland, and will nominate two directors for the lender’s board.Last year, PIMCO bought a similar stake in the company through a private equity vehicle it runs.Finance Ireland lends to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture, motor and commercial real estate sectors. It expects to provide “in excess of €300m in new lending” to Irish businesses this year.The ISIF and Finance Ireland began working together earlier this year as part of a group providing €100m of loans to milk suppliers.The two firms teamed up with Rabobank and Glanbia Co-operative Society to launch the Glanbia MilkFlex Fund.Eugene O’Callaghan, director at the ISIF, said: “[Our fund] was attracted by the opportunity to support an established and experienced management team to expand its non-bank platform and in particular grow its SME and agri-leasing businesses.“This investment complements the products provided by other non-bank platforms in the SME sector the ISIF has supported.”Finance Ireland founder Bill Kane added: “This significant investment by the ISIF underpins our very ambitious growth plans for the coming years. “Our mission is to create a major non-bank lender in the Irish financial landscape offering customers a real alternative to the traditional banking sector, and we are well on the way to achieving that.”This is not the first time the ISIF has invested in SME funding – in March, the fund was announced as the cornerstone investor in a €30m fund backed by BMS Finance.last_img read more

September 29

Dutch regulator to scrutinise schemes as cuts loom

first_imgDutch regulator DNB is to increase its focus on ensuring that underfunded pension funds correctly reflect their financial position, as the possibility of benefit cuts loom for some schemes as of 2020.Detailing its supervisory plans for 2019, the watchdog noted that most pension funds would be able to grant inflation compensation, but the situation was different for some large schemes.It said that it “would ensure that the schemes involved keep on adequately reporting their financial position ahead of potential rights discounts”.The regulator said it would highlight “unacceptable valuations and adjustments” on pension funds’ balance sheets. DNB added that most pension funds, like in previous years, strongly depended on investment results. It called for “realistic” assumptions in pension funds’ recovery plans, adding that funds tended to postpone pension cuts for too long.DNB said it would also check whether pension funds were on schedule to implement the legal requirements of the IORP II directive.The regulator would scrutinise schemes’ ability to adjust to new legislation and a potential new pensions system, it said, even though it wasn’t clear yet in which direction pensions reform was headed after the collapse of the negotiations between the social partners and the government.last_img read more

September 29

Border to Coast searches for multi-manager for global equities fund

first_imgThe global equity fund is slated for launch in mid-2019, Border to Coast said, once the multi-manager and direct managers have been selected.More information on the tender is available here.When it launches, the global equity fund will be the fourth pooled fund launched by Border to Coast for its 12 Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) clients.In the last quarter of 2018 it launched a £1.2bn UK equities fund, run by Baillie Gifford, Janus Henderson and UBS Asset Management.This followed its first two funds, formed in July 2018 by pooling internally managed UK and non-UK equity allocations worth £7bn from the pension schemes for Teesside, East Riding and South Yorkshire.Border to Coast aims to pool approximately £46bn of assets from the LGPS funds for Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Teeside, Tyne and Wear, and Warwickshire. Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, set up in 2017 to pool the assets of 12 UK local authority pension funds, has launched a tender for a multi-manager to run part of a £5bn (€5.7bn) global equities allocation.In a tender notice published this week, Border to Coast said it intended to appoint four or five direct global equity managers and one multi-manager, with each running between £500m and £1.5bn. The initial focus is on the multi-manager part of the mandate.“The key objective of the multi-manager mandate will be to provide exposure to specialist investment strategies that may not otherwise be captured in a predominantly large cap, global equity portfolio,” the tender notice stated. “For example, giving exposure to small caps or regional specialists.”The appointed multi-manager will be responsible for manager selection, portfolio construction and implementation, Border to Coast said, and may be asked to provide advice, research or dealing support to the other global equity managers.last_img read more

September 29

Bonus eyes climate risks with fresh investment approach

first_imgClaudio Gligo, CIO, Bonus PensionskasseOnce the new data had been collated, Bonus could then choose to make changes to its asset allocation within the fund-of-funds structure or start an engagement process with companies held via retail funds, the CIO said.Bonus aimed to repeat the same exercise for its corporate bond and government bond holdings Gligo said. Eventually the approach could be copied for the €1.1bn Bonus Vorsorgekasse.The group signed the Principles for Responsible Investment at the beginning of this year, which proved to be a “surprisingly extensive but also very interesting” exercise in data collection, the CIO said. “I like the network you are joining by signing the PRI and the new ideas you can get from it,” he added.With more climate data analysis available Bonus is considering signing the Montreal Carbon Pledge, which will involve the annual public disclosure of the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio.“In any case, we will start to report on our climate-related risks and opportunities more in the future – also to our clients,” Gligo said.He added that Bonus did not want to rush into adopting an ESG strategy, but instead take small steps “that are profound, grounded and can be documented. We are not interested in producing short-lived marketing headlines”.The group was also looking into impact investing ideas such as affordable housing, and it was looking to “expand governance topics” such as “working on an engagement policy”, he said.“It is important to understand how well a company is actually implementing a sustainable strategy and how far along the value-creation chain it has an impact,” Gligo emphasised.Victoria VolksbankenGligo said Bonus was able to focus on implementing comprehensive ESG strategies having successfully integrated Victoria Volksbanken’s pension funds.“We have finalised the merger this year for both the Pensionskasse as well as the Vorsorgekasse,” he said. “Joining the two different IT systems used for membership data proved to be the most difficult step.”In January 2016, the Bonus Group cleared the final regulatory hurdles to take on the €660m Victoria Volksbanken Pensionskasse and the €224m Victoria Volksbanken Vorsorgekasse. Gligo, who previously held various positions at Volksbanken Group and Union Investment, joined Bonus in November 2017 to help integrate the newly merged portfolios and asset management approaches. “For us climate risks are particularly important for company assessments as they are hard economic factors that must be included in a holistic financial analysis,” Gligo said.He added that, with more regulatory updates including climate-risk assessment provisions, companies not addressing such risks might “end up as stranded assets”.Climate-risk assessments were also mentioned in a recent update to the Austrian law governing pension funds, the PKG, which came into effect last year.“This is one of the reasons why we are focusing on climate data analysis in our portfolio, but for us social and governance factors are also very important,” Gligo said.Fixed income plans Austria’s €1.5bn Bonus Pensionskasse is setting up a fund-of-funds structure to enhance the efficiency of its investment process.The multi-employer pension fund will get a better overview of the climate-related risks in its portfolio as a result, according to CIO Claudio Gligo.“We are in the final stage of a selection process for a provider of a fund-of-funds vehicle to give us comprehensive information on climate risks in all our equity exposure,” Gligo told IPE.The name of the asset manager has not been disclosed.last_img read more

September 29

Merchant navy fund converts longevity swap to £1.6bn buy-in

first_imgThe Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF) has insured £1.6bn (€1.88bn) of members’ benefits after converting a pensioner longevity swap into a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).The £1.6bn buy-in secures the pensions of around 14,000 members in the industry-wide pension scheme. The longevity swap was held between MNOPF and Pacific Life Re and dates back to 2014.Rory Murphy, chair of MNOPF, said the buy-in was positive for members and employers in the maritime and shipping industry but also contained “a positive message here for the wider pensions community”.“A well-run fund, with strong governance and expert advisers, can deliver valued and sustainable benefits to its members while successfully managing the risks and costs faced by its employers,” he said. To carry out the longevity swap in 2014 MNOPF set up an insurance “cell” company using a model offered by Willis Towers Watson, and those involved in the new de-risking transaction said it had benefitted from this structure.Andy Waring, CEO of MNOPF, said: “The trustee pioneered the use of a ‘ready-made’ Guernsey captive cell for the purposes of longevity hedging back in 2014 – one of the reasons for this was our view that it would make a future novation to buy-in easier and more efficient, which has proved to be the case.“Securing the benefits of our members has always been a significant part of the MNOPF journey plan. The buy-in with PIC is a great step forward to achieving this outcome.”Two month novation processAccording to Shelly Beard, senior director and deal lead at Willis Towers Watson, which advised MNOPF, the process to novate the longevity swap to an annuity was straightforward, taking less than two months.The buy-in is the third involving a conversion of a longevity swap that PIC has completed, which the specialist defined benefit insurer said signified growing appetite in the market for these types of deals.In November the Scottish Hydro-Electric Pension Scheme completed such a transaction, insuring £750m worth of liabilities with PIC. The other of the three deals has not been publicised.MNOPF was an early and significant adopter of innovative de-risking transactions, completing its first bulk annuity transaction back in 2009 and doing five further deals since then.CMS provided legal advice to PIC in respect of this transaction, and Pacific Life Re was advised by Hogan Lovells. Baker McKenzie provided legal advice to the trustee.last_img read more