IPE Views: Assurance standard to provide clarity on master trusts

first_imgI share the Pensions Regulator’s view expressed in its strategy for regulating DC schemes that the market entry level for master trusts should be set high enough so that only providers with durable business models are able to participate in automatic enrolment. Master trusts offer scale and should have sufficient resources to accommodate procedures that help maintain and demonstrate quality standards.It is particularly important that trustees approve a plan to manage the scheme and protect member benefits if the provider decides to wind up or close the master trust, transfers ownership of the trust or becomes insolvent, or is unable to continue to operate for some reason. It is critical employers choosing master trusts understand how members’ funds would be affected if any of these scenarios were to occur.The Pensions Regulator has published the following six principles for DC schemes to promote good governance, administration and communication.Essential characteristics: schemes are designed to be durable and fair and deliver good outcomes for membersEstablishing governance: a comprehensive governance framework is established at set-up, with clear accountabilities, and responsibilities agreed and made transparentPeople: those who are accountable for scheme decisions and activity understand their duties and are fit and proper to carry them outOngoing governance and monitoring: schemes benefit from effective governance and monitoring through their full life cycleAdministration: Schemes are well administered with timely, accurate and comprehensive processes and recordsCommunication to members: Communication to members is designed and delivered to ensure members are able to make informed decisions about their retirement savingsThese six principles explain what the Pensions Regulator expects DC schemes to do in pursuit of good member outcomes. They are underpinned by the activities, behaviours and control processes that are more likely to deliver such outcomes.The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Pensions Regulator have worked together to develop a supplement to their AAF 02/07 assurance framework technical release for master trusts, which was published for consultation in the autumn. This type of assurance framework is already used extensively throughout the pension sector for investment providers, custodians and pension scheme administrators to demonstrate controls are operating effectively.The control objectives in the mast trust supplement are aligned with the DC quality features and have been framed to focus on ensuring individual members’ interests are protected.Assurance can play an important role in raising standards of governance reporting, and this framework will allow trustees of master trusts to provide important information to employers and scheme members about how the trust is adhering to the Pension Regulator’s principles and quality features.Andrew Penketh is head of pension funds at Crowe Clark Whitehill The introduction of auto-enrolment in the UK has generated renewed interest in the master trust model. Employers are increasingly choosing master trusts because they take care of much of the administration and governance of employee pensions. Master trusts can also obtain preferential investment management and administration charges by virtue of economies of scale through pooled asset arrangements.The range of master trusts now available has created a competitive market offering employers real choice. However, some master trust structures lack independence, raising concerns about governance arising out of potential conflicts of interest – for example, where trustees, investment managers or administrators are tied to the trust provider. Indeed, a lot of master trusts are owned by the providers and are run for profit. However, it is important the trustees act in the interests of members at all times and are seen to be doing so.As with any pension fund, the choice of advisers needs to be carefully made to avoid any conflicts of interest. The Pension Regulator’s 2008 guidance Conflicts of Interest states: “Trustees should ask themselves what are the advantages for members in retaining a conflicted adviser if – as may well be the case – they could instruct alternative advisers with similar expertise who would not be conflicted.”Where master trusts have service-provider representatives on the trustee board, it is particularly important this does not influence trustee decision-making. The conclusion for many master trusts may be to separate the day-to-day running of the business entirely from its trustee function and ensure there are no links whatsoever between the trustees and the commercial provider of the master trust.last_img read more

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Friday people roundup

first_imgSAUL Trustee Company – Sue Applegarth has been appointed chief executive, replacing Penny Green, who is to retire at the end of the year. Applegarth is currently chairman of Ensign Pension Administration but is to leave her role, as the third-party administrator was recently sold to consultancy JLT Employee Benefits. She will take up her new role at beginning of November, with Green stepping down at the end of 2014 after 14 years as chief executive.Neuberger Berman – Jolie Cornelius has been appointed senior vice-president of UK coverage for the US-based investment manager. Cornelius served as an investor relations professional for Verrazzano Capital and before then was with Blackstone.Stratus Infrastructure – Bob Shekleton and Nigel Brindley have launched a new advisory company that will focus on infrastructure investments in emerging markets. Shekleton has worked in infrastructure for 25 years, having led PPP bid activity for Jarvis and Mowlem. Brindley has 20 years’ experience and has worked at Barclays Private Equity, Barclays Infrastructure Funds and Mowlem.CBRE Global Multi Manager – Charles Baigler has been appointed to lead transactions in Europe from next month. Baigler will be based in London and have a particular focus on co-investments and joint ventures. Baigler joins from Rockspring and has also worked for Catalyst Capital. Kirstein, Forca, PBU, RBC Global Asset Management, SAUL Trustee Company, Neuberger Berman, Stratus Infrastructure, CBRE Global Multi ManagerKirstein – Nikolaj Waldhausen, partner at consultancy Kirstein and head of department for search and selection, has left to look for new challenges, according to the firm. He has worked at Kirstein for more than seven years. His role as head of the department will be taken over by senior investment analyst Martin Sønderskov Nielsen with immediate effect. Sønderskov Nielsen has seven years of experience in the department. Andreas Weilby, another senior investment analyst at the firm, will also join the search and selection team. Weilby comes from a role in financial market research. The rest of the search and selection team comprises senior investment analyst Jakob Hommel and investment analysts Peter Haurum and Simon Sparre. Another senior investment analyst will be added to the team in the autumn, Kirstein said.Forca – Lene Mortensen has been appointed as research director at Danish pensions administration company Forca, taking up the role at the beginning of August. She is joining the company from the education practitioners’ pension fund PBU (Pædagogernes Pensionskasse) – one of Forca’s customers – where she was head of membership. Mortensen has previously worked for ATP, PensionDanmark and Lægernes Pensionskasse, the pension fund for doctors.RBC Global Asset Management – The asset management division of Royal Bank of Canada has appointed Anne-Sophie Girault as managing director for business development in the EMEA region. Based in London, she will be responsible for growing the institutional asset management business. She joins from Aviva Investors, where she was responsible for the client portfolio managers teams for fixed income. Before then, she held roles at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Fidelity Investments and La Compagnie Financiere Edmond de Rothschild, in Paris and London.last_img read more

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HSBC Pension Scheme banks on annuities amid DC investment shake-up

first_imgMark Thompson, CIO at the fund, told IPE it plans to add a global bond fund to its options that is set to be managed by H2O Asset Management.Its global equity funds will be adjusted towards emerging markets, which will now account for 15% of holdings.Other non-UK equity holdings will increase to 75% of the fund, up from 60%.The fixed income and index-linked bond funds are both changing to pre-retirement funds to allow a more flexible allocation between long-dated UK Gilts and long-dated corporate bonds, thus moving away from the current prescriptive 50/50 split.Thompson said changes would allow its bond investments to better match annuities and with a duration hedge.The scheme is also adding an emerging market fund from Schroders and a diversified growth fund (DGF) from Investec Asset Management to add capacity to current managers.HSBC will add the choice of the capital lifestyle system from April 2015.The option will be designed to invest 100% in equities until 20 years before retirement before swapping into a DGF. Three years before retirement, funds will shift 25% into cash, allowing the member to access income drawdown.Thompson said HSBC had no plans to offer income drawdown in-house but would consider its approach as the product developed as an offering in the market.“We do not have predictions internally of how many people will use the capital lifestyle strategy, but it is important to have in there ready,” he added.The default annuity lifestyle investment strategy will remain 100% allocated to passive global equities until 20 years before retirement, before gradually investing in the scheme’s DGF offering.At 10 years before retirement, the strategy is equally split between global equities and DGF and begins moving into the fixed income bond fund. It shifts to a 25% cash allocation five years prior to retirement.The cash lifestyle option will be rejuvenated, becoming the default investment option for around 5,000 DB members transferring when the scheme closes to future accrual in July.Cash lifestyle has been used for DB members using the DC scheme for additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) – with members generally taking DC savings as a tax-free cash lump sum.The bank’s DB scheme closed to new members in 1996, meaning all current active members have significant built-up accrual rights in the final salary scheme.Read Taha Lokhandwala’s feature on the future of UK pensions and DC investment strategies The £2bn (€2.6bn) defined contribution (DC) HSBC UK Pension Scheme is keeping an annuity lifestyle strategy as its default option as it shakes up investment offerings.The scheme has created a new ‘capital lifestyle’ option for members to access income drawdown and will further utilise its ‘cash lifestyle’ for members moving from its defined benefit (DB) scheme.As the bank’s schemes prepares for the DC freedoms announced in last year’s Budget, it still believes the annuity lifestyle system – which moves from equities to diversified growth to annuity-matching strategies – will remain key for employees.The fund is also amending underlying investment funds offered to its DC members, increasing the total number on offer to 13, while amending six.last_img read more

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UK’s USS to meet with members on controversial weapon petition

first_imgUSS has more than 370,000 members from almost 400 institutions in the higher education sector.The petition is co-ordinated by an Ethics for USS campaign with support from ShareAction, a responsible investment campaign group, and the NUS.Similar demands were made two years ago, when USS was called on to adopt an ethical investment policy.Tim Valentine, an academic and a leading member of the Ethics for USS campaign, said: “USS still invests our money in cluster bombs and other controversial weapons. Today, we are renewing our call. The law allows USS to take our views into account. It is time to give us a pension to be proud of.”According to a statement from the campaign initiative, USS chief executive Bill Galvin and chair of trustees David Eastwood have agreed to meet with scheme members “to discuss the issues raised in the petition in early 2017”. In a statement, USS said it was invested in the debt of Textron, a company it described as having “interests in aircraft, industrial and automotive products”. It said the company had recently announced plans to discontinue production of sensor-fused weapons, “meaning it will no longer be producing cluster munitions”.USS said the scheme trustee’s “primary duty is to ensure there is enough money to pay the pensions of our 375,000 members”. It added: “[We are] an active and responsible investor, and we engage with the companies we are invested in on a range of matters, when we believe doing so is in the financial interests of our members.”It said it did not rule out investment in any sector on purely ethical grounds. It said it “takes its members’ views very seriously” and would carefully consider feedback from a recent survey of members on a broad range of issues, including their views on ethical and responsible investment. The UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is being petitioned to phase out investments in companies involved with controversial weapons, and in a response has noted that an industrial conglomerate it is invested in has recently announced plans that mean it will no longer be producing cluster munitions.Members of the £49.8bn (€63.4bn) scheme and the National Union of Students (NUS) presented the petition to USS on Thursday.It calls on the pension scheme to phase out investments in companies involved with weapons banned under the Controversial Weapons Convention, and to adopt an ethical policy that would be informed by a member survey and an annual open forum event.The petition was signed by more than 3,000 scheme members.last_img read more

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Joseph Mariathasan: The Macron phenomenon

first_imgEmmanuel Macron’s achievements in France are both surprising and impressive.He and his new party La République En Marche do not represent participants in the battle between left and right, but rather one between young and old. The Brexit vote and the Trump phenomenon also represented reactions against what are perceived to be entrenched elites, but neither created such a dramatic and positive change of mood within a country.Indeed, the contrast between the UK’s political chaos, the US’s Trump phenomenon, and France is stark. Macron’s party claimed 60% of the seats in the weekend’s election. With such a majority, he is in a strong position to – as his supporters hope – transform the position of France.While Macron’s position does look unassailable from a UK perspective, Jean Médecin, a member of the investment committee at Carmignac Risk Managers, cautioned that his success does not mean that he has a large mandate from the French population to reform every industry. So far, details of changes have been few and reforms announced modest. He represents a Tony Blair-type figure rather than a revolutionary. The irony is that, as Médecin points out, Macron’s success has been to a great extent a function of the electoral system that enabled him to win 70% of the parliamentary seats but gain only 33% of the popular vote in the first round. Compare that to Theresa May and the Conservative Party in the UK, struggling despite having won 42.5% of the popular vote.The key issue may be how Macron’s tendency for industrial support and protectionism mesh with Germany’s preference for a Schumpeter-type creative destruction – although perhaps Germany is not so keen as the UK in a totally laissez-faire approach to industrial policy.Macron, like Trump, has been very short of details. Criticisms of the French economy have tended to revolve around rigid labour laws, with a 35-hour week seen as inhibiting job creation. He has also cited a misaligned education system, dominating unions, and industrial action in sectors such as farming.While there may be some elements of truth in this, Médecin tells me he can’t remember the last time French farmers were causing disruptions, and points out dynamic sectors such as technology, with Paris becoming another of Europe’s tech hot points alongside London and Berlin. He even praises a dynamic French financial sector, in particular in asset management (although some may disagree).The key issue that France has is a lack of competitiveness within the euro-zone. If it had its own currency, this problem would have been solved by depreciation. Indeed, some have argued that the euro-zone would be better off splitting into a northern European currency for Germany and the Benelux countries, with France and Italy dominating a southern European currency. That is not going to happen in a hurry. However, Spain has shown the way forward, having managed to improve its internal competitiveness to such an extent that French car companies are now building plants in Spain and the country produces more cars than France.That is the real challenge for Macron. Having a young president helps as he has a better understanding of what is required to attract talent. Moreover, a crisis is often the best time to introduce radical reforms: Macron’s predecessor Francois Mitterrand reversed his socialist policies in March 1983 with the “tournant de la rigueur” (austerity turn) that gave priority to combatting inflation to enable France to remain competitive within the European monetary system.This happened because the policies leading up to 1983 were leading France to bankruptcy, says Médecin. He argues that what France needs is firstly a business-friendly agenda that can unleash its growth potential and secondly, to work hard on the European agenda improving the efficiency of European agencies, EU institutions and the governance of the euro-zone. The convergence of economies is still work in progress, made harder by the UK’s Brexit vote.Making dramatic improvements may not actually require as much new legislation as may be required for revolutionary changes. As the US saw with Trump, animal spirits can be unleashed through words even if no actions follow. With France, relaxing constraints may be easier than making legislative changes, No one is forced to work only 35 hours a week. Companies need to be given the ability to be able to negotiate with employees without being subject to top-down constraints, argues Médecin.But if improving competitiveness within the euro-zone is France’s key challenge, that means essentially improving its position vis a vis Germany. For France to succeed, it may require its biggest neighbour to be less austere. I look forward to having another lunch with Jean in six months’ time to discuss how Macron has fared with Angela Merkel.last_img read more

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GKN pension trustees flag deficit as hostile takeover bid emerges

first_imgPension implicationsHunter continued: “It’s up to the company to go to the Pensions Regulator [TPR] for clearance [for the takeover]. TPR has strong powers to go after companies or individuals to get cash into schemes – even if the company doesn’t go for clearance it has to bear in mind these powers.“If the deal results in a weaker covenant on day one, I would expect the sponsor to put in place more cash contributions or a contingent asset deal. I would hope Melrose has taken advice and realises the implications if it weakens the covenant.”In a statement to the stock exchange this morning announcing its offer for GKN, Melrose said accrued benefits would be “fully safeguarded in accordance with the applicable law” and would not be affected by an acquisition.The statement continued: “Melrose notes the statement by the trustees of the GKN Group pension schemes on 16 January 2018. The numbers published are entirely in line with Melrose’s own reading of the pension exposure at GKN and Melrose looks forward to meeting the trustees as soon as is appropriate. Melrose has an impeccable track record of safeguarding and improving pensioners’ rights in every acquisition it has made.”According to the trustees, the schemes had more than 32,000 members as of 5 April 2017, of which 17,000 were pensioners.Last year, the smaller of the two GKN schemes sealed a £190m buyout with Pension Insurance Corporation.In response to this morning’s bid, Anne Stevens, GKN’s newly appointed chief executive, urged shareholders to reject Melrose’s offer and claimed that the terms “fundamentally undervalue the company”. GKN’s full statement is available here. At the end of 2016 the two schemes had combined assets of £2.3bn, according to GKN’s annual report.“Melrose has an impeccable track record of safeguarding and improving pensioners’ rights in every acquisition it has made.”Melrose company statement“Any material change to the corporate and capital structure of GKN would lead the trustees to reassess the strength of covenant going forward and determine appropriate funding plans based on that covenant and its associated level of risk,” the trustees’ statement said.It added that the trustees expected “full engagement with management and with any relevant third parties… to ensure satisfactory protection and mitigation for any impacts arising from any change in the strategic direction or future ownership” of GKN, given that the schemes were “very substantial” stakeholders.Martin Hunter, principal at consultancy group Punter Southall, highlighted that the trustees had not included figures from the scheme’s latest triennial valuation – potentially because a change in GKN’s ownership would have an effect on the sponsor covenant.In October last year the company said it expected to reduce its annual contributions slightly following the valuation. GKN pumped £250m into the larger of the two schemes last year following its closure to future accrual. Melrose, a UK-listed company specialising in acquisitions in the manufacturing sector, has promised to safeguard the pension schemes of engineering firm GKN as part of a bid for the business.It follows a statement issued by the trustees of GKN’s two UK defined benefit (DB) schemes yesterday, which raised concerns about the sponsor covenant in the event of a takeover.Melrose approached the board of GKN last week with an offer valuing the company at roughly £6.9bn (€7.8bn), which was rejected. This morning Melrose made an offer directly to shareholders that valued GKN at roughly £7.4bn.The two GKN pension schemes had a combined shortfall of £1.9bn as of 30 September 2017, according to the trustees, based on the amount of money needed to enable both schemes to be transferred to an insurer through a buyout.last_img read more

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PLSA: Auto-enrolment is not enough to secure good retirement

first_imgTens of millions of people in the UK are not saving enough for their retirement with millions more presuming that the auto-enrolment scheme introduced in 2012 will be enough to give them a comfortable lifestyle after giving up work, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has warned.Following a three-month consultation, in which pension fund trade body canvassed the opinions of policy makers, product providers and the general public, the PLSA today issued a report that revealed 80% of people were not sure they were saving enough for retirement.More than half (51%) said they thought the auto-enrolment scheme represented the UK government’s “recommended amount”.Under the terms of the current auto-enrolment system, the employee pays in a minimum of 3% of their salary, while the employer pitches in 2%. That is set to rise to a total of 8% in April 2019, of which at least 3% must be covered by the employer. Since the scheme was introduced, almost 10m new savers have entered the pensions market, according to the Office for National Statistics.However, the PLSA said a simple increase was not enough. In its report – Hitting the Target: A Vision For Retirement Income – the organisation made five key recommendations:Introduce targets and increase engagement;Increase pension savings;Increase support at retirement;Make it easier to use other income sources; andImprove how pension schemes are run.In terms of the proposal to increase the level of overall saving, the PLSA proposed increasing the minimum contribution level for auto-enrolment from 8% to 12% of overall salary between 2025 and 2030.“Millions of savers are confused about whether they’re on track for the lifestyle they want in retirement,” said Nigel Peaple, director of policy and research at the PLSA.“We believe that a simple and widely promoted system of retirement income targets would make it much easier for savers to know whether they are saving the right amount.” The PLSA’s proposals were met with widespread approval by the pensions industry.“While auto-enrolment has been a real game changer for millions of people across the UK, most people still aren’t saving enough to live comfortably in retirement,” said Andy Tarrant, head of policy at The People’s Pension.“The PLSA’s saving targets will help people to judge more accurately how much they need to save…and [the organisation’s] roadmap is an important contribution as to how the can most effectively be done.”Tarrant’s comments were echoed by Simon Chinnery, head of defined contribution (DC) client solutions at Legal & General Investment Management.“Introducing new retirement income targets are an excellent start and moves us away from terms such as ‘good outcomes’ to providing members with the tools to know that this aspiration can be achieved,” he said.However, NOW: Pensions noted that UK employers bore less of the pensions burden than in other countries that have nationwide auto-enrolment or DC schemes.According to a survey conducted by the Pensions Policy Institute, commissioned by NOW: Pensions, UK employers will be responsible for 37.5% of the contribution burden, compared with 84.8% in Italy, 66.7% in Denmark and at least 50% in Japan.“As auto-enrolment minimum contributions increase, employees will find themselves bearing more of the burden than their employer and this inequality doesn’t feel right,” said Troy Clutterbuck, CEO of NOW.“The employer contribution is the main selling point for workplace pensions and over the long term. Rebalancing contributions would almost certainly help minimise opt outs.”last_img read more

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Ex-fund manager fined over IPO misconduct [updated]

first_imgA former fund manager has been fined £32,200 (€36,600) for attempting to influence other managers in relation to the pricing of two initial public offerings (IPO) in 2015.According to a statement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Paul Stephany, formerly of Newton Investment Management, contacted fund managers at other companies and “attempted to influence them to cap their orders at the same price limit as his own orders”.The regulator said Stephany’s actions “risked undermining the integrity of the market”, adding that the fund manager had “acted without due skill, care and diligence”.In September 2015, the FCA reported, Stephany had emailed managers at 11 other companies suggesting a price level for initial shares in travel agent On The Beach Group. In July he had contacted two managers by phone with similar suggestions about the pricing of real estate company Market Tech Holdings. In its final notice on the case, the FCA stated that the “proper price formation process” at IPOs required investors to submit orders “based on their own valuations, rather than using their collective power to influence the share price”.Stephany argued in response that there was “no clear distinction” between information sharing and influencing, and the IPO process was “much more complex” than depicted by the regulator. Stephany ran two UK equity funds at Newton, as well as overseeing mandates for the Johnson & Johnson UK pension scheme and the Merseyside Pension Fund. During the period in question he was in charge of roughly £1.8bn.He became inactive on the FCA’s register of approved persons in October 2015, and is currently listed on his LinkedIn page as a business consultant to sell-side firms.Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “This matter underscores the importance of fund managers taking care to avoid undermining the proper price formation process in both IPOs and placings.“These markets play a vital role in helping companies raise capital in the UK’s financial markets and when they are put at risk the FCA will take action.”A spokesperson for Newton said: “It is not our policy to comment on matters relating to former or current employees; however, Newton IM has been co-operating fully with the FCA and will continue to do so until it reaches its conclusion.”Newton is one of four asset managers currently under investigation by the FCA regarding potential breaches of UK competition law, relating to the pricing of IPOs and placings. However, the regulator said this was separate to the case involving Paul Stephany.This article was updated on 5 February 2019 to add a statement from Newton Investment Management.last_img read more

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Joseph Mariathasan: Nuclear safety, bad science, and climate change

first_imgSource: International Atomic Energy AgencyAn inspector visits the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2013The LNT model and ALARA force levels of safety that may appear to be worthwhile, but come at the expense of increased risks elsewhere. The evacuation of the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 reportedly killed more people in the prefecture than the natural disasters themselves, according to a Japanese newpaper cited by NBC. However, there appeared to be no evidence that anyone died from exposure to radioactivity.More worryingly, the underlying philosophy in terms of the LNT model could be based on what Calabrese and others claim is fraudulent science.As Calabrese states: “The story of cancer risk assessment as told by regulatory agencies such as the EPA is really a profound example of flawed science – the product of errors, deception, perverse incentives from academic grants, and ideology.”However, the fear of radioactivity is so deeply ingrained in the popular psyche that any attempt to question the assumptions creates controversy itself – as demonstrated in this article by American news website Mother Jones and the Center for Public Integrity. Scientific issues are obscured by political stances that degrade attempts to develop a rational discourse on understanding what actual risks are being faced.It may seem reasonable to say that, until the health risks are fully understood, we should continue to employ the most conservative approach to dealing with exposures to radiation. However, the medical evidence already seems strong – see, for example, this Feburary 2018 paper from physics and health experts, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.Meanwhile, if humanity faces an existential challenge through global warming, there has to be objective assessments based on actual science rather than reinforcing prejudices. This suggests advocates of environmental and sustainable investing approaches would be wise to not reject nuclear power out of hand. Source: Cato Institute“The story of cancer risk assessment as told by regulatory agencies is really a profound example of flawed science – the product of errors, deception, perverse incentives from academic grants, and ideology”Edward Calabrese, University of MassachussettsCurrent approaches to nuclear safety are based on the LNT model, which in turn leads to the objective of ensuring radiation is “As Low as Reasonably Achievable” – abbreviated to ALARA. The adoption of LNT and ALARA as the guiding principles of safety means radiation levels are set within a small fraction of naturally occurring levels.According to Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University, this measurement is unrelated to any risk. Instead, he argues, it comes from a political wish to say that the effects of radiation have been minimised.Opponents of the LNT model argue that radiation can be a potential source of cancer – although it is actually very small, and it does this by damaging DNA at any given dose of radiation or a given dose over a given time. However, from human and animal studies, we know a given dose of radiation (or a given dose over a given time) below certain levels allows living creatures to repair DNA damage – not just from radiation, but from much greater DNA damage due to a creature’s own metabolism.Some scientists subscribe to the theory that such radiation damage and its repair by the body can actually stimulate decreased DNA damage throughout the body – known as radiation hormesis. More significantly, there are thresholds of radiation dose and dose over a given time, below which no increased cancer incidence can be observed. Allison often argues that life evolved in the presence of radiation and is adapted to its presence in the form of background radiation. What is the impact of low dose radiation on living creatures? This may seem an esoteric question only of interest to medical clinicians and animal rights activists, but the answer has enormous ramifications on the economics of nuclear power – and hence on the ability to successfully reduce the impact of climate change.  Life on Earth arose and evolved in the presence of background radiation. Clearly, all life must be able to tolerate radiation levels below some minimum threshold, or else life would never have evolved. However, public acceptance and the economics of nuclear power are affected by current safety regulations, which in turn are based on what many scientists believe is flawed – and potentially fraudulent – science.In a recent article for the Cato Institute’s Regulation journal, Edward Calabrese, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts, looks at the origin of the Linear-No-Threshold (LNT) model – the fundamental plank of radiation safety.The LNT model essentially states that a low dosage will cause commensurately less, but still some, damage. It also leads to the conclusion that if millions of people are exposed to radiation, no matter what the level, there is an expectation that there will be a certain number of deaths arising directly from the radiation exposure and the number will be a function of the dose.center_img Calabrese argues that the LNT model is based on the judgment and passion of Hermann Muller. Muller, an American scientist and Nobel Prize winner, was the first to claim that x-rays induced gene mutations. Muller made a momentous breakthrough in 1926 when he found a way to produce alterations in the size, colour, or shape of fruit flies, which he interpreted as being the result of gene mutation.In 1930, he announced that the nature of the dose response for x-ray-induced mutation was linear, all the way down to the smallest dose. That meant, he claimed, there was no safe exposure to radiation.last_img read more

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People moves: LPP’s Pardo exits; PensioenFederatie names Brussels chief

first_imgPensions Federation – Theo Langejan has started as director of the Brussels office of the Dutch Pensions Federation as of 1 June. He succeeds Sibylle Reichert, who has been appointed executive director of the Association International de la Mutualité in Brussels, an industry organisation for healthcare insurers.Langejan has been an adviser to the Pensions Federation since 2017. Prior to this, he was a senior adviser at consultancy firm Twynstra Gudde and the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs.Reichert has represented the Pensions Federation in Brussels for the past 10 years. She chaired the committee on occupational pensions of the European Association of Paritary Institutions for Social Protection (AEIP), and was active in a number of PensionsEurope’s working groups.Fondo Pensione Priamo – Nicola Settimo has been appointed as chair and Matteo Colamussi as deputy chair of the supervisory board of Italy’s Fondo Pensione Priamo, the second-pillar pension fund for public transport sector employees.Settimo takes over from the previous chair Mario Rocco Carlomagno while Colamussi, who was already a member of the fund’s supervisory board, replaces the previous deputy chair, Laura Moscetti.Changes to the composition of the supervisory board are made every three years by the fund’s assembly of delegates, with half being elected by the employees’ union and the other half by the association of employers. Settimo currently works for the Italian Labour Union as a manager responsible for rail and local public transport complementary pension policies, while Colamussi is general manager of southern Italian road and rail firm Ferrovie Appulo Lucane.Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) – Nico Marais has been appointed sole chief executive officer and head of the €415.6m asset manager, replacing Kristi Mitchem, who left WFAM in January to become CEO of BMO Global Asset Management.Marais recently shared the CEO role at WFAM with Kirk Hartman. The asset manager said Hartman will continue to serve as chief investment officer and take on the additional role of president of WFAM. Marais has been at WFAM since February 2017, having previously been head of multi-asset investments and portfolio solutions at Schroders. Hartman joined WFAM in 2002.PGIM – Cameron Lochhead has been named global head of PGIM’s institutional relationship group. Based in Newark, New Jersey, he will lead a team with representatives in Chicago, London, Munich, Singapore and Sydney, with plans to expand into Shanghai later this year.Lochhead joined Prudential Financial’s €1.2bn investment management business in 2016 as managing director. Before that he held senior roles at Russell Investments and was a partner at Guggenheim Partners in New York. Universal-Investment – The €36bn asset manager has appointed Daniel Andemeskel as head of innovation management, a newly created role. He joins from AXA Investment Managers in Paris, where he held a similar role.Andemeskel has been tasked with developing “new business models” and improving client service quality, Universal said. As part of this role, he will assess how the group can use artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology, digital assets and big data. CEO Michael Reinhard said: “It is precisely these skills that Universal-Investment needs to achieve our goals and remain one of the innovation drivers in the fund industry.”The German asset manager and investment platform aims to become the “leading European fund service platform for all asset classes” by 2023. Schroders – The UK-listed asset manager has hired Lisa Stuart as a client director to work with its UK institutional clients. Stuart joins from BlueBay Asset Management. Before that she was a consultant relations manager at BlueCrest Capital Management.Polar Capital  – The £13.8bn asset management group has appointed Gerard Cawley as head of its Japan investment team, replacing James Salter who has decided to take a break from the industry. Cawley has worked alongside Salter since joining Polar Capital in 2005 as a fund manager in the Japan team, and has been lead manager of the Polar Capital Japan Value fund since its launch in 2012. Alpha FMC – The investment consultant has hired benchmarking expert Emma Haffenden as a senior manager to broaden the types of benchmarking that Alpha currently undertakes. Haffenden was previously at Accenture where she was responsible for a number of strategic asset management benchmark programmes, following their acquisition of Investit in 2017. Alpha said the expansion of its benchmarking practice represented “a key milestone” in its expansion strategy. SimCorp – Christian Kromann has been appointed chief operating officer, a new position within the company. Kromann will take up the position on 1 August, joining from TIA Technology, where he was CEO. SimCorp provides technology and software to asset managers, institutional investors and consultants, including PenSam, Nordea, Willis Towers Watson, Universal-Investment, Storebrand and Groupama. Local Pensions Partnership, Pensions Federation, Fondo Pensione Priamo, Wells Fargo Asset Management, PGIM, Universal-Investment, Schroders, Polar Capital, Alpha FMC, SimCorpLocal Pensions Partnership (LPP) – Pedro Pardo has left his role as investment manager at LPP, the £15.2bn (€17.1bn) collaboration between three Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds. He joined last year following the Berkshire Pension Fund’s formal agreement to join LPP.Pardo was at Berkshire for eight years, supporting pension fund manager Nick Greenwood in overseeing the LGPS fund’s assets, which totalled £2.1bn as of 31 March 2018. Prior to joining Berkshire in 2010, he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for 11 years.Pardo told IPE he planned to take some time off “while reassessing my next steps”.last_img read more

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