UK roundup: AXA IM, LGPS, DWP, same sex benefits, TUC

first_imgAXA Investment Managers has warned the government that UK local authority pension schemes would witness a “tsunami of foregone returns” if the funds were banned from using active management.It said proposals to reduce costs in the local government pension schemes (LGPS) by either launching several collective investment vehicles (CIVs) or shifting assets to an index-tracking approach were “well-intended policy changes that could, in fact, have negative repercussions”.In its response to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) consultation, the asset manager said a focus solely on CIVs and passive management overlooked the longer-term contribution that investment returns and risk management made towards reducing deficits.It said the DCLG’s decision to push for passive management was based on analysis that showed active management not significantly outperforming market indices. “These numbers are clouded by a broad spectrum of active styles and strategies, including some whose holdings did not deviate much from the market index (thus making it difficult to deliver excess return net of fees),” the paper says.“Others that are less benchmark aware and have consistently outperformed the market index over the long term.”Instead AMA IM suggested a greater focus on risk management and hedging strategies to smooth any funding level volatility within individual LGPS.“Passive management and use of CIVs might be an ideal solution for some schemes, but these investment decisions need to be made in consideration of a fund’s own strategy,” it continues.“Low cost does not need to mean passive management or use of CIVs, and similar cost savings are likely to be available through collaboration and collective bargaining.”The asset manager urged the DCLG to consider the wider consequences of implementing the “seemingly small” change.“Cost reduction should not be the key measure of success or the main focus of reform,” the paper concludes.“Deficit reduction is about improving funding levels, and success should be measured through a combination of factors that – outside of changing the benefit structure and increasing contributions – also include return enhancement and risk management.”Meanwhile, government has estimated that equalising the survivor benefits of same sex couples is set to cost UK defined benefit (DB) schemes £3.1bn (€3.8bn).According to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), which was required to review the matter following the introduction of marriage equality in England and Wales earlier this year, the immediate cost to public sector schemes would be £1bn, backdating benefit payments that would have been paid prior to April 2015.The review added that the ongoing cost of putting same and opposite-sex spouses on equal footing would be £100m “into the 2020s, reducing thereafter” for the public sector.It also found that private sector DB schemes would see their liabilities increase by £400m, with the impact limited to a relatively small number of funds.The problems stem from the introduction of civil partnerships for same sex couples in 2005, and the subsequent allowance in the Equality Act 2010 that pension funds need not account for spouse benefits of same-sex partners prior to that time.Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the union umbrella group TUC, said the discrepancy between the two survivor groups was “disgraceful”.“This discrimination is especially widespread in the private sector, where one in four defined benefit schemes discriminate against same-sex couples,” she said. O’Grady was referencing survey data published by the DWP that found 27% of schemes employed two distinct ways of calculating pre-2005 survivor benefit entitlements for same and opposite-sex spouses.“This equates to 1,334 schemes that have a difference in this entitlement,” the DWP said. “Small schemes were more likely to have a difference in how these benefits were accrued (35%) compared with large/extra large schemes (15%).”The DWP said it would need to consider the “costs and potential impact”, as well as the wider impact of making retroactive changes to DB benefits, before settling on how to proceed.However, O’Grady noted that equalising benefits would only amount to a 0.03% increase in private sector liabilities, which, according to the Pension Protection Fund 7800 Index, in May stood at £1.29trn.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to UK government review of survivor benefits for same sex couplesLink to Axa’s ‘The unintended consequences of change’ paperlast_img read more

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MLB wrap: Josh Bell’s 3 home runs help Pirates demolish Cubs

first_imgBell hit homers in the first, second and eighth just one day after he made the All-Star roster and became a derby participant. It was the 20th three-homer game in franchise history, according to MLB.com, and the first ever by a switch-hitter.✌️#BELLieve pic.twitter.com/WgFtNJGNN9— Pirates (@Pirates) July 2, 2019Bell wasn’t the only one with a hot bat in Pittsburgh.  Related News Colin Moran went a perfect 5 for 5 with two RBIs, Adam Frazier was 5 for 6 with a pair of RBIs and five other Pirates each finished with one RBI.Adbert Alzolay had a rough start against Pittsburgh and was ultimately pegged with the loss. He lasted 2 2/3 inning and allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs.The Pirates are five games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers.Chicago falls to one game behind Milwaukee.Studs of the NightChristian Yelich hit his major league-leading 30th home run to help the Brewers rally and beat the Reds, 8-6.#30 for the MVP! #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/iMEC6tJJEb— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 2, 2019Kevin Kiermaier hit a three-run homer to lift Tampa Bay over Baltimore, 6-3. Dud of the NightThe Royals could have used a little more offense to keep up with the Blue Jays, who won 11-4 on Monday. Alex Gordon finished 0 for 4 with two strikeouts for Kansas City. Autopsy set for Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs; Rangers-Angels game to be played Tuesday MLB teams, players mourn death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggscenter_img HighlightThis is both an offensive highlight and a clip that could end up on the Padres’ blooper reel as the Giants’ Austin Slater hit an RBI triple that bounced around outfielder Franmil Reyes.Hello, Austin Slater. 👊#SFGiants pic.twitter.com/R4ZVXg5ng9— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 2, 2019What’s Next?Yankees (54-28) at Mets (38-47), 7:10 p.m. ET — It’s a showdown in New York. The Yankees return to their home state to face the Mets on Tuesday. They have won 13 of their last 14 games, including a sweep of Boston in the London Series. The Yankees hope to keep winning and will send James Paxton (5-3, 4.34 ERA) to the mound. Meanwhile, the Mets have been struggling, dropping seven of their last eight. They have a lot of ground to gain in the NL East and will hope to turn the tide with Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.51 ERA) starting. Someone must not have told Josh Bell that Monday wasn’t the Home Run Derby.The Pirates first baseman hit three home runs in the team’s 18-5 win over the Cubs. He finished 4 for 6 with seven RBIs.last_img read more

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Governor says state lab doubles testing capacity, prisoners to make hand sanitizer

first_imgDES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is taking steps to expand child care options and ensure low-income students can get school lunches even as schools in the state are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.“I think I’ll state the obvious, again, this is an unprecedented time for our state and our nation,” Reynolds said at the open of a news conference Monday afternoon. “We are monitoring the situation in real time and making evidence-based decisions to mitigate and slow the spread of the virus.”On Sunday, Reynolds recommended that Iowa schools close for four weeks. The U.S.D.A. has given Iowa a waiver, so Iowa schools can continue to provide meals to low-income students on a “grab and go” basis.Earlier Monday afternoon, legislative leaders announced they plan to waive the requirement that Iowa schools reschedule canceled days between now and April 12. The governor said policymakers will reassess after that, as school officials consider whether summer school may be required or whether members of the Class of 2020 meet the requirements for high school graduation.“But right now, this really gave them I think some relief that they were looking for as they try to plan what their next steps are in educating Iowa students,” Reynolds said.It was on Monday of last week that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Iowa. The governor announced late Monday afternoon that a 23rd case had been confirmed, in a Dallas County resident.“A second shift is being added to the State Hygienic Lab to expand our testing capabilities. Our daily capacity will now increase from 54 to 108 tests per day,” Reynolds said. “When the situation warrants, we are ready at that point to add a third shift so that we can run tests around the clock.”Reynolds told reporters she hopes to get at least two of the “drive through” testing sites set up in Iowa, with priority given to first responders, health care workers and Iowans above the age of 65. President Trump has urged governors around the country to try to secure more ventilators for hospitals that will be inundated with critical COVID cases. State officials say details about how many ventilators are in the state today is confidential. Reynolds said she’s talked with private companies about getting more here.Some other governors and big-city mayors have ordered the closure of bars and restaurants. Reynolds is not taking that step, but she is encouraging Iowans to avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible.“Practice social distancing, so don’t cram yourself into some of those venues. You have a role to play in helping us mitigate the spread and to bend the curve,” Reynolds said. “…There’ll be another St. Paddy’s Day next year.”The governor also urged Iowans not to hoard food or other products. She said inmates in the state’s prison system will start making hand sanitizer.last_img read more

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