The University of Edinburgh is looking for companies to provide administrative, actuarial and investment services for its Staff Benefits Scheme (SBS) over a five-year period, according to a notice on the official EU tenders service TED.The UK university said the scheme’s trustees regularly reviewed all their service providers as a matter of good practice, to continue getting good value for money on behalf of members.The contract, due to start on 1 April next year and last until the end of March 2020, is being divided into lots, and tenders can be submitted for one or more lots, the university said.It said service providers bidding for the pension administration services, actuarial services and investment services contracts had to have experience of working with similarly-sized schemes. The university said it envisaged inviting five firms to tender or participate.The deadline for tenders or requests to participate is 15 September.In other news, UK local authority the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is searching for a manager to implement a currency overlay programme for its pension fund, according to a tender notice on TED. The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is the administering authority to the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund.The contract is estimated to be worth between £150,000 (€187,000) and £300,000, the council said in the notice.The resulting mandate is set to start on 1 April 2015 and run until the end of March 2020.Tenders or requests to participate must be received by 4 September.Meanwhile, AP3 – Sweden’s third national pensions buffer fund – has picked market data firm SuperDerivatives to supply it with investment analysis and valuation via its DataX product.AP3 will also be using DGX, SuperDerivatives’ real-time market data, news and analysis terminal.Mattias Bylund, chief risk officer at AP3, praised SuperDerivatives, saying it provided the best guarantee of accurate market data, having supplied data for a range of financial products and markets for more than a decade.
However, interest in fiduciary management was largely dependant on the size of a fund’s portfolio, the survey found.It also found that those managing more than £1bn in assets were more inclined to delegate responsibility for only part of their portfolio, while those with less than £500m in assets delegated the entire portfolio.Köpke added: “The last few years have seen occupational schemes in Germany as in England – both small and medium-sized ones – work with fiduciary managers.” Pension boards and trustees are opting for fiduciary management because they can often only spend five hours each quarter scrutinising investment decisions, according to Aon Hewitt.The consultancy said the increasing complexity of investment decisions was driving those in charge of pension assets into the arms of fiduciary managers, but that only one-quarter of those using such providers were employing indices to measure successful performance.Drawing on the results of a UK survey of nearly 360 investors worth £269bn (€344bn), the Aon Hewitt Germany’s head of investment consulting Thorsten Köpke said the questions facing UK investors were also relevant concerns for their German counterparts.The survey also found that 73% of pension boards and trustees were only spending five hours a quarter on investment decisions, a 10-percentage-point increase over the 2013 survey results – meaning they placed significant trust in managers to monitor investments, according to the consultancy.
AZL, Mercer Switzerland, Principal Global Investors, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, Man Group, Financial Reporting CouncilAZL – Pensions provider AZL has appointed Peter van der Steur as manager of its Integral Board Support business unit. Previously, he was head of client and board relations at provider A&O Services. Van der Steur is a certified pensions lawyer and has a background in marketing and pension fund governance. Separately, Elke Op het Veld has started as manager of AZL’s actuarial business unit. She has been working as a senior actuary at AZL since 2009, when she left pensions adviser Towers Watson, where she had been actuary and senior consultant. She succeeds Audrey Ringens, who had been appointed corporate actuary at chemical and pharmaceutical firm DSM.Mercer – Catherine Schoendorff has been named country leader of the consultancy’s Swiss business. She joined Mercer in 2011 after a decade at Hewitt and headed up its German, Austrian and Swiss administration division. At Hewitt, she was leader of its pension administration business in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.Principal Global Investors – Andrea Muller has been appointed executive director-head of international distribution, which was previously held by Kirk West. West moves into the newly created role of executive director-head of international, assuming responsibility for all the international offices of Principal Global Investors outside the US, and chief executive of Asia. Muller will assume responsibility for all sales, relationship management and client service activities in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management – Mihir Meswani and Nicolas Laporte have joined as portfolio managers to strengthen the firm’s hedge fund advisory business. Meswani joins from Mount Yale Capital Group, where he was a consultant, while Laporte was most recently a senior portfolio manager of alternative investments for the British Airways Pension Fund.Man Group – John Cryan has been appointed to the board as a non-executive director. He held a number of senior roles at UBS over a career spanning more than 25 years, including CFO between 2008 and 2011. He was also chairman and chief executive at UBS AG EMEA between 2010 and 2011 and served as chief executive at UBS Limited.Financial Reporting Council – Jim Sutcliffe is to stand down from the board, as well as the chairmanship of the Codes & Standards Committee of the FRC with immediate effect. Nick Land, a member of the board, has replaced him on the committee.
This group has broadly supported what the IASB has labelled asymmetric prudence.They believe this cautious approach to accounting will mean distributions and management pay are made on a prudent basis.Speaking during a 17 May board meeting, however, the IASB’s staff recommended against adopting asymmetric prudence.They warned it could lead to greater subjectivity in financial reporting.The call also noted that dividend distributions and executive remuneration were issues for local law and corporate governance, respectively.IASB project manager Jelena Voilo said: “While [the accounts] can be used as inputs for this process, it is not the [purpose] of financial reporting to determine the amounts that can be used without further analysis.”The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, as well as Iain Richards of Threadneedle Investments and Roger Collinge of the UK Shareholders Organisation, have all demanded a return to prudent accounting.On the other hand, IASB member Stephen Cooper, a former sell-side analyst, has argued that prudence would reintroduce a conservative bias that could mean investors receive less relevant information.The IASB’s predecessor, the IASC Board, approved the IFRS conceptual framework in April 1989.The IASB subsequently adopted the framework in April 2001.In September 2010, the IASB revised the framework, in particular the objective of general-purpose financial reporting and the qualitative characteristics of useful information.The board is now in the process of updating the framework.The project was originally scheduled to end in June 2015.It is now slated to terminate around the end of the year.The decision to remove prudence was driven largely by the rush to converge IFRS with the position in the US.As part of this convergence drive, the IASB debated the detail of removing prudence from the framework in May 2005.Staff noted at the time that the concept conflicted with neutrality in financial reporting. Both staff and the board agreed that “the inclusion of neutrality [was] a non-issue”.They also noted that it clashed with the accounting traditions of prudence and conservatism.The decision to revisit the term has left the board struggling to incorporate prudence back into the framework alongside neutrality.Tim Bush, a long-standing IFRS critic and the head of financial analysis at PIRC, told IPE: “The IASB is so good at missing the obvious it’s like a pantomime where the children are screaming ‘it’s behind you’.“Prudence is booking likely liabilities and losses, and not booking unrealised profits. Any other definition is harmful to creditors, or else creditors may be funding distributions and losses.“Furthermore, given that true and fair view requires prudence, the IASB position is confirming IFRS standards are not prudent and does not have a true and fair view override.”The board’s staff agreed during the 17 May meeting that they would bring back a proposed wording to a future meeting in a bid to clarify the relationship between neutrality and prudence. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has dashed the hopes of long-term UK institutional investors by rejecting calls to reintroduce ‘prudence’ defined as a bias toward conservatism back into International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).Instead, the IASB appears set to reintroduce a more restrictive notion of prudence – so-called cautious prudence.In an exposure draft on the project released last year, the IASB defined cautious prudence as the exercise of caution in conditions of uncertainty.Some major UK investor interests have demanded the return of prudence because they believe it offers long-term investor interests a degree of protection.
Speaking at a recent OECD Global Forum on Private Pensions in Mauritius, Holger Fabig, head of division for G7/G8, G20, world economy, monetary and currency issues at the German finance ministry, said investment opportunities in Africa were “truly stunning”.He also addressed challenges for pension funds interested in investing in Africa, saying the compact would benefit investors by “play[ing] its part in overcoming both hesitation and hurdles” to such allocations. Compact With Africa would be different from the many other African initiatives that have come before it because of the European experience of the refugee crisis, according to Fabig.“It is very easy to be cynical, in particular about Africa,” he said. “So my answer to the critics is simple. In Europe, we have witnessed a refugee crisis of historic dimension. Even those finance officials who have been very reluctant to engage with Africa now agree that we cannot just stand by, but that we have to do more to support African countries on their way to sustainable development.”In addition, CWA had a focus on income and private investment rather than development aid and government intervention, said Fabig.“And finally, this time is different because the German finance ministry, a ‘bastion of fiscal caution’, is behind it,” he added. ”This does herald a new era, if not a paradigm change. Let’s hope it stands at the beginning of a truly African take-off.” Speaking at a responsible investment conference in September, Jason Mitchell, a sustainability strategist at Man Group, said the migrant crisis was often viewed in terms of its impact on Europe, but that the flow of migrants, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa, also reflected diminishing economic opportunities in frontier markets such as parts of west and central Africa.“Generally when we think about the literature of migration it’s been driven by wage differentials [and] income differentials, but now what we’re seeing is different structural factors start to drive that,” he said.Mitchell noted that, at one point before the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya had hosted millions of Ghanaian migrants who lived there in a relatively safe environment with rule of law and jobs, and sent remittances back to their home country.“Those jobs there, and to a certain extent in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, no longer exist – at least not in the same format,” he said.Mitchell suggested that investors needed to consider the implications of a potential withdrawal of critical multilateral development funding by major donors. Also, many African countries were highly indebted. “Ghana is at 70% debt to GDP [ratio], Zambia and Angola at 60%, Mozambique is in technical default,” said Mitchell. “When our emerging market debt team looks at sovereign debt, the first thing they go to into in terms of understanding country risk and governance risk is the World Bank world governance indicators, which measure institutional strength, transparency and accountability.” The refugee crisis in Europe has lent impetus to a new initiative to foster private sector investment in Africa, according to an official in the German finance ministry. Compact With Africa (CWA) is an initiative of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) to promote private sector investment in Africa, including but not limited to infrastructure.The objective is to de-risk private investment for sustainable growth by way of country-specific agreements between individual African countries, international organisations and other partners. CWA was initiated by the German presidency of the G20 in March.
Peugeot Pensionskasse, PensionDanmark, AP4, LSE Group, Polaris, State Street, BNP Paribas, QMA, PGIM, Deutsche AM, Northern Trust, Pictet, Julius BaerPeugeot Pensionskasse – Olaf Keese has become chief risk officer at Germany’s Peugeot Pensionskasse in connection with a reshuffle linked to the upcoming retirement of the head of the pension fund. Jean-Marie Porté, who has been with the Pensionskasse for more than 20 years, is leaving at the end of the year. Christof Blank, who joined the board in April, will take over from Porté.Blank was chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroën from 2013 to 2016, and has been managing director of Peugeot Deutschland’s support fund since March and on the board of PSA Peugeot Citroën Deutschland’s contractual trust arrangement since December 2016. Bernd Bach, who is employed with the PSA group, is the other member of the Pensionskasse’s board, with Keese joining at the beginning of November as the required third board member. Keese was previously the managing director of German pension provider S-Pensionsmanagement. He also held positions on the boards of Sparkassen Pensionskasse, Sparkassen Pensionsfonds and Heubeck. At S-Pensionsmanagement he was replaced by Wolfgang Wiest. PensionDanmark – Jens-Christian Stougaard, senior vice-president at PensionDanmark, is leaving the pension provider after 13 years to “pursue new challenges”, he stated on his LinkedIn page. He joined the group in 2004 as an executive assistant before being promoted to lead the management secretariat a year later. Stougaard has also served as treasurer and subsequently chairman of Dansif, the Danish institutional investor network.PensionDanmark was named European Pension Fund of the Year at the IPE Awards in Prague on Tuesday.AP4 – Lars Åberg has been appointed as the new deputy chairman of AP4, the fourth of Sweden’s national pensions buffer funds. He succeeds Jakob Grinbaum, who stepped down from the job on 5 October at his own request. Åberg has held various executive roles in the Swedish financial sector, having worked at AMF Pension from 1997 to 2013 and at the other three AP funds during the 1990s. He has been working as an independent consultant since 2013.London Stock Exchange Group – CEO Xavier Rolet has left LSE with immediate effect after several weeks of speculation and investor pressure. He had originally intended to leave at the end of next year, but one shareholder, The Children’s Investment Fund, called for Rolet’s tenure to be extended and called for a general meeting of shareholders.In a statement yesterday, LSE said chief financial officer David Warren would take over as interim CEO until a permanent successor is found. It also said that the company’s board “continues to believe” that the lengthy transition period initially planned would have been in the best interests of the group.Donald Brydon, chairman of the LSE Group board, said he would not stand for re-election in 2019. The statement said that Brydon and the board had agreed that “at that point it would be in shareholders’ interests to have a new team at the helm to steer the future progress of the company”.Rolet said: “Since the announcement of my future departure on 19 October, there has been a great deal of unwelcome publicity, which has not been helpful to the company. At the request of the board, I have agreed to step down as CEO with immediate effect. I will not be returning to the office of CEO or director under any circumstances. I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight and a half years.”LSE’s share price has declined by 2.2% since the initial announcement of Rolet’s departure on 19 October.Polaris Investment Advisory – Thomas Friese, former head of global pensions at Nokia Group, is one of four new senior advisors at Polaris, which specialises in business development and marketing for alternative asset managers. Hanspeter Bader, Baldomero Falcones and Matthias Knab have also joined the Polaris senior advisory board. Before joining Nokia Group Friese was in charge of infrastructure projects and investments at the Siemens Group for 26 years. Bader worked for Unigestion for 17 years, most recently in the position of head of private equity/private assets. Matthias Knab is founder and managing director of Opalesque, a global news and research portal for alternative investments. Falcones has worked as a member of the management executive committee of Banco Santander and as chairman of MasterCard International, among other roles.State Street Global Advisors – Jenny Yoe has been appointed head of UK pensions, to lead the UK defined benefit sales and client-facing teams. She joins from River & Mercantile Asset Management, where she was head of UK institutional. Before that she was director of UK distribution for AMG Limited. BNP Paribas Asset Management – Philip Dawes has been appointed to the newly created role of head of institutional sales for the UK and Ireland. He reports to Charles Janssen, head of institutional sales for Europe. Dawes joined from Allianz Global Investors (AGI), where he worked for 16 years in a variety of roles, including head of UK institutional. Before that he was head of consultant relations for Europe and chaired AGI’s global consultant relations group.QMA/PGIM – John Gee-Grant will join quantitative investment specialist QMA, part of the US asset manager PGIM, in January. He takes on a newly created role as head of international distribution and global consultant relations, based in London. Gee-Grant was previously head of global consultant relations at BlackRock.Deutsche Asset Management – Mark McDonald has joined as global head of private equity secondaries. Most recently, McDonald was global head of secondary advisory at Credit Suisse and a senior member of the screening committee for the firm’s private fund group. He led the development and implementation of the group’s secondary strategy. He was also previously a senior member of Keyhaven Capital Partners. Northern Trust – Mike Mahoney has been recruited as a transition manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with a focus on insurance companies and financial institutions across the region. He reports to Craig Blackbourn, who was appointed as head of transition management for EMEA in January 2017. Mahoney was previously at State Street Global Markets where he was a transition manager and portfolio trader for the last eight years.Pictet/Julius Baer – Boris Collardi, CEO of Swiss private bank and asset manager Julius Baer, has left the company after eight years at the helm. From next year he will join Pictet Group’s board of partners, taking joint responsibility for the company’s global wealth management business alongside Rémy Best.
“Kieran’s energy, drive, enthusiasm and commitment to the pension scheme and its members will be difficult if not impossible to replace and I will personally greatly miss his support, good humour and friendship,” he said.Quinn was a member of the LGPS Advisory Board, chairing its investment committee.In a note posted on the LGPS Advisory Board website, Steven Pleasant, chief executive of Tameside Council and accountable officer, said Quinn made an enormous contribution to the community of Tameside and Greater Manchester, as he was not only chair of the GMPF but leader of Tameside Council and an architect of devolution for Greater Manchester.“At times of great challenge when clarity of leadership was required Kieran never shied away from the tough decisions,” wrote Pleasant.“Whether astutely guiding Tameside Council through the most difficult period for local government in living memory, ensuring the GMPF grew into the largest most successful pension fund in the UK against the wider trend of pensions shortfalls or fighting to reduce the north south economic imbalance now widely recognised through the Northern Powerhouse agenda, he always stood up and provided the necessary leadership.“In all his roles Kieran worked tirelessly for everyone in the community, especially those most vulnerable and in greatest need of a helping hand. It is that which will be his legacy.”Quinn became chairman of GMPF in 2010, when he also became Tameside Council’s executive leader.He was appointed chairman of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum in 2013.GMPF is part of the £35bn Northern Pool, one of the six asset pools emerging across the LGPS. It is a founder member of GLIL Infrastructure, an investment joint venture between five local UK public pension schemes.Quinn wrote IPE Magazine’s ‘Guest Viewpoint’ one year ago, reviewing what he said was one of the most significant years for local government pensions in recent memory.He is survived by his wife, Councillor Susan Quinn, and two sons. Kieran Quinn, chairman of the UK’s Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), died on the evening of 25 December, according to Tameside Council, the pension fund’s administering authority.He was hospitalised on 23 December following a fall precipitated by a heart attack while out with his wife delivering Christmas cards to constituents.With £21.2bn (€24.6bn) of assets, GMPF is the largest fund within the UK’s local government pension scheme (LGPS).Roger Phillips, chair of the LGPS Advisory Board, relayed the news on the advisory board’s website.
Source: PreqinThere were 3,869 funds seeking nearly $1.4trn from investors at the end of March“Despite their misgivings over asset pricing and the potential impact on performance, investors in most asset classes indicated that they intend to commit as much or more capital to the industry in 2018 as they did in 2017,” Preqin said in its Q1 2018 report.“While this is encouraging in some respects, it also adds to the challenges investors face as they proceed through the year: the number of funds in market makes it even more difficult to find funds that suit investors’ priorities and goals.”HeadwindsHowever, the data firm also warned that the number of funds closed and capital raised in the first quarter of the year indicated a slowdown relative to 2016 and 2017.In the first three months of 2018, 180 private equity funds closed raising $80bn between them. This compared to $120bn across 295 funds in the first quarter of 2017, and marked the first quarter since Q3 2016 that private equity funds had failed to raise at least $100bn.Fundraising in the private debt, real estate and infrastructure sectors also declined in Q1 relative to the same period last year. Direct lending funds in particular saw their lowest total capital raised since Q3 2016 ($5.1bn).Tom Carr, head of private debt products at Preqin, said: “This may simply be that the industry is pausing for breath before beginning another fundraising cycle. Dry powder available to fund managers remains high, and it may be that investors are waiting for firms to begin putting capital to work before making further commitments.“But the outlook for the rest of 2018 remains positive: the conditions that prompted such strong fundraising in 2017 are still in place, and funds in market have already raised significant sums through interim closes. If they hold a final close this year, we could see fundraising totals rise rapidly.” Private markets fund managers are seeking nearly $1.4trn (€1.1trn) in capital from investors – a record high, according to data firm Preqin.More than 3,800 funds were seeking investors at the end of March for investment in unlisted asset classes such as real estate, private equity and private debt, according to data collated by Preqin for the first quarter of the year.The majority of the 3,869 funds in the market were private equity strategies, accounting for two-thirds of funds and 61% of targeted assets.There were a record 642 private real estate funds open to investors at the end of March seeking $206bn, Preqin reported. There were 348 private debt funds seeking $168bn from investors, with almost half relating to direct lending vehicles.A further 178 funds were targeting $133bn to invest in infrastructure.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#
Before these names appeared on the LGPS’ list, the Advisory Board said code signatories accounted for more than £150bn (€171.5bn) of its total assets.In total, 49 asset managers and other investment service suppliers have officially adopted the transparency code.LGPS Central opens its doors with £12bnMeanwhile, one of the eight LGPS pools has officially opened for business with an initial £12bn of assets under management.LGPS Central aims to run at least £40bn from nine public sector schemes based in the Midlands.As IPE previously reported, the pool has launched three equity funds and plans to open at least two more later this year. LGPS Central has launched a passive global equity (ex-UK) fund, a passive UK equity fund, and a global dividend growth factor equity fund. In a statement, the pool said it would launch a £2.5bn global active equity fund and a £2bn emerging markets equity fund in the autumn.In addition, LGPS Central has assumed management of eight “advisory and discretionary mandates” on behalf of its nine pension fund clients.Joanne Segars, chair of LGPS Central, said: “After years of planning, we can now make a reality of asset pooling as we start to deliver cost savings, enhanced risk-adjusted returns after cost and a broader set of investment opportunities to our partner funds.“We are at the start of an exciting journey. I would like to thank the team at LGPS Central and the officers and members in partner funds for their hard work and support in getting us to this point.”CEO Andrew Warwick-Thompson added that the pool had appointed several staff members who transferred from the partner funds, bringing its full-time staff up to 32.“We are all now keen to get cracking on developing new products and services, and we look forward to working together with our nine partner funds to build LGPS Central’s capability and assets,” he said.LGPS Central aims to deliver cumulative cost savings of more than £250m over the next 16 years.The LGPS have faced a deadline of this month to finalise their asset-pooling plans. In IPE’s April magazine we provide an overview of the pools. Aberdeen Standard Investments has signed up to an influential cost transparency code for the UK’s Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).The €575.7bn group runs money for more LGPS funds than any other manager – 44 – according to the latest scheme annual reports.According to the LGPS Advisory Board’s website, M&G – which worked with at least 24 LGPS funds as of March 2017 – has also signed up to the code. Both companies previously told IPE they were working to meet the LGPS’ standards.Macquarie Investment Management, Jupiter Asset Management, Royal London Asset Management and Oldfield Partners have also signed in the past week, according to the Advisory Board. LGPS Central’s office is in Wolverhampton, EnglandCredit: Paul Cosmin
LGPS Central, a £14bn (€16bn) collaboration between nine UK local authority pension funds, has launched its first pooled private equity vehicle.The fund closed on 31 January and raised money from five of LGPS Central’s pension fund clients, after six months of work on assessing the vehicle’s legal structure, obtaining regulatory approvals and building internal systems.Omar Ghafur, investment director for private equity at LGPS Central, said: “Given that we started with a blank sheet of paper, and brought together the various parts of the organisation – investments, finance, legal, operations and compliance – to structure and launch this fund, I’m immensely proud we were able to conclude this process in such a short time frame.”The LGPS Central Limited 2018-19 Vintage Private Equity fund sits on LGPS Central’s new private equity platform, which the company said would aim to raise and invest more than £2bn in the next few years as the pooling of local authority pension assets accelerates. In a statement, the provider said the platform would support annual launches investing in “a mix of fund and direct” private investments “with a view to reducing the high external costs associated with private equity, thereby enhancing risk adjusted returns”.Existing private equity strategies Credit: Paul CosminLGPS Central’s office is in Wolverhampton, EnglandThe new launch caters for future investments into unlisted equities by the local government pension schemes (LGPS) for Cheshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and West Midlands. LGPS Central did not disclose how much had been allocated by the five investors.The five funds have existing private equity allocations totalling roughly £1.8bn, or just over 5% of their £34.8bn in total assets.The other four LGPS Central clients not participating in the new private equity fund launch are the pension funds for Derbyshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority. The latter two pension funds do not have allocations to private equity.All together, LGPS Central’s nine clients run £44.3bn.