Niina Bergring, CIO, said: “We are very pleased with the result, considering the market situation.”Fixed income performance had lowered the overall result, she said, with the asset class ending with a return of just 1.5%.Property investments, which the company said were traditionally strong within its portfolio, returned 5.9%.Total contributions fell by 1.2% to €452.8m from €458.2m, while pensions and other benefits paid out rose 7.3% to €432m.Veritas blamed the fall in contributions partly on payroll developments, with pension client numbers declining, and partly on the fact more corporate clients had failed this year to make their scheduled contributions.Managing director Jan-Erik Stenman said he was not surprised by the slide in contributions.“We are now seeing the aftermath of the general economic situation,” he said.“In the course of 2013, the impact of globalisation hit our customers – small and medium-sized enterprises – which had hitherto perhaps fared better than large companies in the current economic situation.”Over the year, Veritas lost 1.8% of employees as clients, or 53,339 workers.Total investment assets rose to €2.4bn, up €170m from a year earlier.Solvency capital increased during the year to end at 27.8% of technical provisions from 24.1% a year before, Veritas said, adding that this meant solvency capital was 2.1 times the solvency limit. Finland’s Veritas produced a 7.4% return on investments in 2013, but saw contributions fall by 1.2% as globalisation effects hit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.Reporting preliminary results for last year, Veritas said it was the positive trend in equity markets that boosted investment returns, particularly at the end of the year.The 2013 investment return was helped by listed equities, which generated the pension insurer’s highest returns at 18.3%.However, the overall return was down from last year, when investments ended the year with a profit of 11.3%.
Opperman was writing to the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, which is carrying out an inquiry into green finance. As part of this the committee is trying to develop an understanding of the approach UK pension funds are taking to environmental risks and, more generally, green finance. The UK government is considering requiring pension scheme trustees to have a policy for climate change, it revealed in a letter to a group of parliamentarians.Corporate governance is another area for which trustees could be required to have a specific policy.The requirements are one of several options for policy and regulation the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) is considering seeking feedback on in an upcoming consultation on pension funds and investments related to social or environmental considerations.The government had already committed to such a consultation in its response to a Law Commission report on pensions funds and social investment last year but the letter from Guy Opperman, pensions minister, revealed more about its thinking about what to consult on. Source: Chis McAndrewGuy Opperman, pensions minister, responded to questions from the Environmental Audit Committee in a letterAccording to the letter from Opperman, other options the government is considering consulting on include requiring trustees to evaluate how they intend to take account of financially material risks, and – when they revisit their statement of investment principles – to review how they ensured those considerations were taken into account.The department was also mulling consulting on requiring trustees to publish the statement of investment principles or make it available to all on request, and to tell members that it was available.Opperman said the DWP was planning to launch the consultation in May or June and that, rather than making small technical amendments, it wanted to introduce regulations “which are as effective as possible in delivering the right level and consideration by trustees”.Opperman also revealed the government was planning to shortly propose legislation that would require trustees of defined contribution (DC) occupational schemes to disclose on request the pooled funds in which members are invested, and to tell members annually that this information is available. This, said Opperman, would enable members “to identify and access other publicly available information about the policies of the investment managers in relation to voting, engagement, and sustainable and responsible investment.The DWP would also shortly propose legislation that would require disclosure of information about “the cost implications of churn” – turnover of assets – to DC pension scheme members, he said.‘Outright misunderstanding’ of fiduciary dutyIn his letter, Opperman said the government was aware of “relatively little robust research” on the way that pension funds interpret risks such as climate change but that “good practice appears to be far from universal”.Recent research had indicated that “a lack of attention and outright misunderstanding” of the scope of their fiduciary duty remained widespread among trustees.This was despite guidance on this from The Pensions Regulator.Opperman said there was broad scientific and public policy consensus that climate change was such a risk, so trustees had a duty to take account of it.“ A young person auto-enrolled on a pension today may be 45 years away from retirement. Over that timescale these climate change risks will inevitably grow.”Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee They had a duty to take account of any and all financially material risks, including where these emerged from environmental or social contexts.It was rare for there to be cases where no social or environmental considerations would be financially material, if at all, Opperman wrote in his letter.Subject to the outcome of the upcoming consultation, the government would bring forward legislation that “clarifies this point”, he indicated.Parliamentary committee probes pension fundsThe Environmental Audit Committee published Opperman’s letter when it today announced it had written to the 25 largest UK pension funds to ask how they manage the risks that climate change poses to pension savings.Mary Creagh, Labour chair of the committee said: “The climate change risks of tomorrow should be considered by pension funds today. A young person auto-enrolled on a pension today may be 45 years away from retirement. Over that timescale these climate change risks will inevitably grow.”The letter asks the pension fund trustees a range of questions, such as whether they accept that pension funds are potentially exposed to financial risks through climate change, what actions they had taken in response to climate change-related risks – if they had considered these –, and if they were planning to adopt recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures for their scheme’s reporting.The pension funds have been asked to respond by 28 March.Reactions – delight and dismayCommenting on the move by the committee of MPs, Luke Hildyard, policy lead for stewardship and corporate governance at the UK pension fund association, said: “Numerous credible commentators from institutions such as the Bank of England, Cambridge University and many leading financial services firms have highlighted the major economic impact of climate change and the serious long-term threat that it poses to pension funds’ investments.“It’s definitely an issue that trustees should be making time to discuss and seeking advice on.”Rachel Haworth, senior policy officer at campaign organisation ShareAction, welcomed that the Environmental Audit Committee was “taking decisive action to assess how far pension funds are taking account of climate risk”.“We applaud the government’s intention to introduce robust regulations that are as effective as possible in delivering the necessary changes,” she added.Others, however, pushed back against claims that trustees were misunderstanding their fiduciary duties. Rosalind Connor, partner at ARC Pensions Law said: “The widespread misunderstanding of trustees’ duties may extend to others involved in this debate.”She suggested that, often, statements about the need for trustees to understand their duty to invest in green assets for financial reasons were motivated by something else.“The concern that is really underpinning this is that trustees are not investing in a way that is good for the environment,” she said. “That is not the pension trustees’ duty under the present law.”She said it was because trustees understood their obligations that pension fund investment was not flowing into “greener” investments, not because they didn’t understand them.“If MPs want trustees to invest in more sustainable investments, they should investigate changing the law to make this a requirement. It is not accurate to blame the trustees when they are simply complying with their obligations.”The pensions minister’s letter can be found here.
Bijan Robinson, a five-star running back from Tucson, Arizona, committed on Friday to Texas.Robinson, rated the No. 3 running back in the nation in the 2020 recruiting class, according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, chose coach Tom Herman’s Longhorns over, among others, Ohio State, USC and UCLA. The 6-foot, 200-pound runner made his announcement via Twitter, writing in part: “The last few months was more than just choosing a school. To me, it was a crossroad that could change the direction of my life, and my future.”pic.twitter.com/Nnc7iazM1c— Bijan Robinson (@Bijan5Robinson) August 2, 2019According to 247Sports’ evaluation of the rising senior at Salpointe Catholic High School, Robinson has “(t)errific vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. Has burst to hit the second level and reach another gear. Short strides, but effectively changes pace and turns the corner. Elusive in the open field. Threat to score from anywhere on the field.” Related News Texas enters the 2019 season ranked 10th in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll.An unofficial projected Longhorns depth chart shows sophomore Keaontay Ingram as the top running back with true freshman and early enrollee Jordan Whittington the potential No. 2 coming out of fall.If Robinson is to contribute as a freshman next season in Herman’s rush-pass attack, he likely will have to be a better receiver out of the backfield than he has shown at the high school level. The evaluation assesses that Robinson could potentially contribute immediately in college and has the upside to grow into a first-round NFL Draft pick. Kendall Milton, 5-star running back, picks Georgia over Alabama, LSU, Ohio State
It’s not the kind of record the Calgary Flames wanted to set.Not only did the team’s 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday extended their losing streak to six games, but it marked an entirely separate low: the Flames haven’t even held the lead in nearly that entire timeframe. Via @Sportsnet: #Flames pic.twitter.com/9C0jW07dxY— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) November 22, 2019The last time Bill Peters’ team held any sort of lead was during their 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 7, when Sean Monahan scored a go-ahead goal halfway through the second period.Since then? Six consecutive losses. Calgary has been outscored 23-5 in those games. They have not played even with the score tied since a Nov. 9 game against St. Louis went to overtime (the Flames lost 3-2). The Flames have been shut out in three straight road games for the first time in franchise history. Calgary players reportedly held their second closed-door meeting in the locker room in just eight games after the latest beating, in which team captain Mark Giordano told reporters they offered “just a lot of honesty” to one another.Head coach Peters told reporters on Nov. 5 that the Flames “need more out of some veteran guys” amid their ugly downward trajectory, disappointing for a group that expected to contend as the Western Conference’s team to beat again this season. The team will need to find that “more” soon or face season-defining consequences. After all, a certain team east of Alberta just recently went 400 minutes without holding a lead, and their coach was fired.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has never been big on promoting itself.However, league governors should be pleased to give themselves a pat on the back after correcting original suspensions following a January 29th game at the NDCC Arena between Nelson and Castlegar.Following the penalty-filled contest, as many as three Leafs had suspensions posted on the KIJHL website.However, after the Leafs appealed the rulings, the KIJHL, in consultation with BC Hockey Referee in chief Sean Rapheal, reversed the original decisions thanks to the beauty of having all games video taped by the home club.“The appeal process (was handled by) Referee in Chief, Sean Rapheal,” Neil Murdoch Vice-president Larry Martel said in an email.“He reviewed video from the game and overturned two of the calls.”Martel said the call to Leafs Levi Hulston and Castlegar’s Tyler Barrett were deemed correct.However, video revealed the calls to Matthew Sokol of Nelson as the instigator in a fight with Daniel Petten to be incorrect.“Sokol should have had a kneeing call that was missed but video shows Petten was the instigator not Sokol,” Martel explained.Martel also said in the fight between Rayce Miller of Nelson and Barrett, the scoresheet was changed to add instigator to Barrett.“The changes in the instigators therefore change the suspension as per the Junior B supplement,” Martel said. “Two of the three fighting majors and instigator calls were overturned by the referee in Chief Sean Rapheal, (with) BC Hockey,” Martel added.All three Leafs players were in the lineup for Friday’s game against Castlegar, a contest won 5-3 by Nelson.One step forward, two back for LeafsThe on-again, off-again, Nelson Leafs, well, took a step back after dropping a 4-3 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League decision to the Spokane Braves Saturday in the Lilac City.The setback comes after the team played one of its best games of the season Friday against rival Castlegar Rebels at the NDCC Arena.Nelson captain Rayce Miller scored twice and added an assist to lead the Leafs past the Rebels 5-3.Kurtis Redding rained on the Leafs parade Saturday, scoring two goals in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie.Miller scored a power play marker late in the frame but Nelson was unable to find the equalizer.Kyle Donaldson and Paxton Malone also scored for the Braves.Blair Andrews and Levi Hulston replied for Nelson.Spokane was the better team in the third period, firing 20 shots at Friday Hulston, Brendan Smith and Miller scored in the first period to give the Leafs a commanding 3-1 lead.Ed Lindsey cut the margin to 3-2 early in the second period but Miller and Andrews restored the lead.Lindsey and Tayden Woods also scored for Castlegar.Nelson, 18-25-0-0-2, returns to action Tuesday with a road date in Fruitvale against the Nitehawks.The game is the first of four games in six days for the Leafs as the Green and White plays out the KIJHL 2015-16 regular season.
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