The joint venture will be overseen by a board of managers consisting of three representatives appointed by Natixis and three representatives appointed by Moelis, the companies said.The investment committee will be chaired by Martin St. Pierre, who was most recently global chief executive GAPC and previously global head of credit trading at Natixis. Meanwhile, Aquila Capital has joined forces with index provider ECPI to offer sustainable investment products, mainly in the real asset sector.Aquila Capital said it had formed a strategic partnership with ECPI which would allow them to combine their skills to sell a series of co-managed sustainable investment solutions.Paolo Tolla, president of ECPI, said: “It’s important that the financial community recognises the importance of environmental, social and governance criteria as part of their investment choices, not only for the financial rewards connected to them but also for their moral significance.”Roman Rosslenbroich, chief executive of Aquila Capital, said there was growing demand for sustainability-driven real asset investments. French bank Natixis and Moelis Asset Management are setting up a joint investment management venture called Chamonix Partners Capital Management.Chamonix will initially manage Vallee Blanche Fund Alpha, a $1.3bn (€950m) fund, which will buy a portfolio of US dollar and euro-denominated structured product assets from Natixis’ Gestion Active des Portefeuilles Cantonnés (GAPC).Natixis said the transaction would be a true sale by GAPC, with the funds’ limited partners wholly external to Moelis and Natixis. As well as its initial investment portfolio, Chamonix will aim to raise and manage other funds to buy additional assets and enter into financing deals, the joint venture partners said.
A consortium of local authority funds has awarded Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) £6.5bn (€9.2bn) worth of passive mandates, a doubling of mandates previously run for the funds by one of the UK’s largest managers.The seven local government pension schemes (LGPS) – Cheshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire – were, in September, reported to be jointly tendering for passive equity managers to reduce costs.As a result of the exercise, the Shires managed to reduce management fees by more than 50%, asking LGIM to run a series of passive equity, passive fixed income and smart beta strategies.UBS Asset Management, State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and BlackRock have lost mandates as a result of LGIM’s appointment. SSGA, for example, was responsible for a global index-tracking strategy worth 31% of the Warwickshire Pension Fund’s £1.6bn in assets. The fund also employed BlackRock for a passive multi-asset mandate.UBS, meanwhile, ran a passive equity strategy for the Worcestershire County Pension Fund.As a result of the mandate, LGIM has doubled the volume of assets run on behalf of the seven local authority funds.All members of the consortium, with the exception of the £2bn Worcestershire Pension Fund, were already invested in funds run by LGIM.Existing mandates were worth more than £3.9bn, largely stemming from £1.2bn in mandates from the £4.1bn Cheshire Pension Fund and a further £1bn from the Leicestershire County Pension Fund.Bfinance, which conducted the tender on behalf of the consortium, said the exercise was completed in five months, after initial exploratory work by Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.A spokesman for the consortium, which has £19.6bn in assets, praised the work done by bfinance and said he was pleased with the quality of LGIM’s funds and its experience in managing passive strategies.He added: “Joining forces with other pension funds has enabled us to unlock significant savings and gives clear and tangible evidence of what can be achieved if LGPS funds are willing to work together and collaborate as equals.”Pai Sarai, managing director and head of client consulting at bfinance, said the award to LGIM’s pooled funds was an excellent outcome after an “extensive and rigorous” tender process.“Given this success,” he added, “we expect significant interest from other local government pension schemes in similar arrangements to achieve more cost-effective investment strategies.”It is the second sizeable mandate award by local authority funds in recent weeks, following from the £6bn in sub-funds launched by the collective investment vehicle set up by London’s local authorities.
An influential group of UK parliamentarians wants to “inform and influence” the government’s consultation on defined benefit (DB) reform proposals.The Work and Pensions Committee, chaired by Frank Field, today announced it was launching an inquiry into the white paper the government published in mid-March.The committee has been heavily involved in the debate about DB pensions in the UK, and today said the government’s report had adopted one of its main recommendations – to strengthen The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) main anti-avoidance power by enabling it to issue fines to punish “irresponsible activities that cause material detriment to a scheme”.In December 2016 the committee demanded TPR be given powers to enforce “nuclear deterrent” fines on companies that did not adequately fund their pension schemes. Last month’s white paper also proposed tightening the “voluntary clearance” system, which relies on companies deciding whether or not to inform TPR when significant corporate activity might affect a DB scheme. Frank Field MPThe select committee has asked for feedback in relation to questions such as whether improving TPR’s effectiveness was “a matter of greater powers, better use of resources or cultural change in the organisation”, and what could be done to strengthen the regime for clearing corporate transactions such as takeovers.The committee has asked for written submissions by 18 May.The government has indicated that it would consult on its proposals during the rest of this year and into 2019.
Helen McEwan, USS chief pensions officerBill Galvin, USS Group CEO, said: “This is a critical role, so I am delighted we have been able to appoint someone of Helen’s calibre and experience, who will add great value to our executive team and who will be able to build on the high standard of service that our pensions team already provides to our members.”McEwan said: “With its large scale I am also looking forward to supporting the scheme in driving forward its pension proposition, digital capability and taking its operational excellence to the next level.”McEwan joins USS a few months before the scheme’s chief investment officer, Roger Gray, is due to retire. The pension fund is in the process of appointing Gray’s successor.The scheme has been caught up in a dispute about the valuation of its liabilities for almost two years. It has completed its 2017 valuation, but has been consulting with employers and unions on a new one that could shrink the funding shortfall from £7.5bn to £3.8bn. Last week, UUK, which represents university employers, said it had written to USS with a summary of employer responses to the 2018 valuation consultation. Its understanding was that the scheme would consider the UUK response at a board meeting on 28 March. The feedback from UUK included employer views on potential contingent contributions, after USS presented a framework for such an arrangement in early February. Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pension fund for the UK’s higher education sector, has appointed Helen McEwan as its new chief pension officer.McEwan will take up the role on 1 April and will be based at the £64bn (€75bn) scheme’s office in Liverpool. She replaces Kevin Smith, who retired last year. According to USS, the chief pension officer is responsible for “all pensions-related activities”, including business and operational strategy, product development and delivery, operations, member communications, and client engagement.McEwan previously held a variety of senior roles at Aegon and has served on several executive boards, including that of pensions technology platform True Potential. She is also a non-executive director at The Exeter, a healthcare and protection insurance provider.
Swedish pension fund AMF has signed a deal with German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen to invest over SEK2bn (€200m) in the company’s heavy truck and bus division, Traton.The deal for an equity stake in the VW subsidiary, which includes brands such as Scania and MAN, is taking place in connection with Traton’s upcoming listing on the Stockholm and Frankfurt stock exchanges at the end of June.Anders Oscarsson, head of equities and ownership at AMF, said: “Five years ago, we were among those working for Scania to stay on the stock exchange, and now we do not want to miss the opportunity to invest once again in one of Sweden’s most respected and important industrial companies, even though this time as part of a larger vehicle group.”Oscarsson said the deal felt “extra right in light of how important Scania is to Sweden in general, and in particular to many of our savers who work in the company”. Sweden’s AP7 has added seven stocks to its exclusion list, bringing the total blacklisted by the defined contribution default fund to 71 following its latest half-yearly revision of the list.The latest companies to be cut from the SEK460.1bn (€43.6bn) fund’s investment universe include two Canadian cannabis companies that the main national pension buffer funds, AP1-4, blacklisted at the beginning of this year.Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth were excluded following a recommendation from the AP funds’ council on ethics. AP7 has followed suit, saying the companies’ involvement in cannabis violated international conventions against drugs.The fund announced the exclusion of five other companies:Brookfield Asset Management for involvement with nuclear weapons;US energy company Evergy for acting in violation of the Paris Agreement;Korean steel manufacturer Posco and its subsidiary Posco International for violations of worker rights in Turkey; andRosneft Oil for violations of environmental standards in connection with oil extraction in Russia.Danica in Sweden changes name to Futur PensionNow under new ownership, the Swedish arm of Danica Pension has announced that it is to change its name to Futur Pension at the beginning of next year.The name change comes after the pension provider’s parent company, Danske Bank, finalised its sale to a group of investors including Danish labour market pension fund Sampension, Swiss asset manager Unigestion and two private equity companies.Claes Carlson, chief executive of Danica Sweden, said: “With the change of ownership and as part of the agreement, we also take the opportunity to switch to a name and a visual identity that is more in line with our ambition and our values.”The fund said the change of identity was agreed as part of the DKK1.9bn (€254m) sale, which was finalised on 2 May. The Swedish commercial vehicle brand Scania has its headquarters in the city of Södertälje and has been one of the country’s leading industrial companies since it was founded in 1891.Institutional investors including AP4 and Alecta were invested in Scania prior to its purchase by VW in 2014. At the time, both investors attempted to resist the acquisition in support of Scania’s independence, but eventually submitted to the bid in May 2014.AP7 blacklists stocks including cannabis firms
EIOPA was commenting in the context of its submission to the European Commission’s consultation about the next phase of its sustainable finance strategy. This closed on Wednesday.One of more than 100 questions posed by the Commission was whether the EU “should explore options to improve ESG integration and reporting beyond what is currently required by the regulatory framework for pension providers”.The IORP II Directive refers to the concept of investment decisions’ impacts on ESG factors, but merely states that pension funds should be allowed to take these impacts into account.Last year EIOPA recommended that national pension fund supervisors “should encourage” IORPs to take into account the potential long-term impact of investment decisions on ESG factors, adding: “in order to support society’s sustainability goals”.It argues that considering the long-term impact of investment decisions on ESG factors could contribute to managing pension funds’ exposures to ESG risks. EIOPA has suggested as a potentially positive step the amendment of EU pension fund legislation to mandate pension funds to take into account the long-term environmental and/or social impact of their investment decisions.According to the European supervisory authority, the change would be in the context of the prudent person rule, set out in Article 19 of the IORP II Directive, and “without prejudice to the objective of providing occupational retirement benefits, also having regard to the principle of proportionality”.It did not explicitly recommend this action be taken, but said that introducing such a mandate for IORPs “may be” a step that could further improve ESG integration by pension funds.An industry insider described EIOPA’s proposal as “a significant departure from the current prudent person rule”. EIOPA in Frankfurt, GermanyIn its consultation submission EIOPA also said that mandating IORPs to take into account the potential long-term impact of their investment decisions on ESG factors “would require further consideration of how IORPs integrate members’ ESG preferences in relation to prudent person rule compliance”.In recent years the narrative around ESG has evolved to explicitly include the notion of investment activity’s sustainability impact, as distinct from the perspective of ESG factors having implications for investment decisions. Some refer to impact as a “third dimension”, after risk and return.In its consultation, the European Commission asked for views about changing rules to directly require asset managers to consider and integrate adverse impacts of investment decisions on sustainability, but it did not mention this idea in relation to IORPs.EIOPA also made another suggestion in relation to IORP II, saying a further improvement would be “to have a standardised ESG quality label presentation to make information more friendly to members and consumers”. It did not further explain this idea.In response to a question about how pension providers could contribute to the achievement of the EU’s environmental goals “in a more proactive way,” EIOPA said “the importance of IORPs’ stewardship role through the Shareholder Rights Directive” should be strengthened.“Large IORPs are more likely to influence investee companies,” said EIOPA. “For small and medium-sized IORPs it is a challenging, if not impossible task: in other words size matters.“Initiatives such as a taskforce or consortium bringing together IORPs with common interests/objectives to influence investee companies or regrouping ESG knowledge/practices, can be encouraged.”PensionsEurope’s Matti Leppäla this week told IPE’s Summer Pensions Congress that EU regulation around responsible investment for pension funds was moving too fast.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.
Brisbane’s property market performed well in the past quarter with median house prices reaching a record high. Picture: AAP/ Ric FrearsonBRISBANE’S house prices have hit a record high with new figures revealing the median had now hit $670,000.While the property market continued to cool in southern states, new figures released by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland showed the median house price within the Brisbane local government area was 3.1 per cent higher in the March quarter.REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the growth demonstrated “admirable resilience’’ in the local market.She said the price rise was buoyed by steady population growth and strong demand and a lack of new listings. LANDMARK HOME HITS SALE HIGH Stock on market was down to just 6.1 per cent — the lowest in the state.As a result Ms Mercorella said buyers had to act fast if they wanted to snare a property with days on market now at just 32 days.Matt Lancashire of Ray White New Farm, said the past quarter had been a strong one for the Brisbane market“Our last quarter was the most positive quarter in this financial year for us,’’ he said.Mr Lancashire said the unit market in the inner city was starting to fire again and importantly Brisbane’s property market including the luxury end, was seen as really good value.He said in the past couple of months there had been a huge amount of interstate interest in the market. SUN AND SAVINGS LURE SOUTHERN BUYERS The report said the outlook for the house market in the Brisbane local government area remained solid while parts of the unit market continued to face difficult conditions because of oversupply.“We expect to see greater equilibrium between supply and demand over the next 12 to 24 months,’’ it said.More from newsNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by Parks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoREIQ chairman Peter Brewer said the figures showed that Queensland was a “safe haven’’ for property investment.“Interstate migration is still strong, that helps give us stability around prices as well,’’ he said.Mr Brewer said with pledges for spending on infrastructure through Federal and State governments on things like Queensland roads, property was becoming more attractive here.“Overall it is a pretty healthy report for Queensland compared to other states,’’ he said.Mr Brewer said growth in Brisbane and Queensland was “steady, nice, comfortable and sensible’’ and that wasn’t a bad way to be.“Real estate is still the number one spectator sport and people still watch it with passion and we are very, very, safe.’’Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 13:43Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -13:43 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels576p576p480p480p256p256p228p228pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenPrestige property with Elizabeth Tilley13:44Other council areas outside of the Brisbane area also performed well during the quarter. The Logan local government area delivered one of the strongest performances during the quarter with its median house price up 4 per cent to $395,000.The report found the “lifestyle markets’’ of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast had continued to drive the growth of sales and rentals.The Gold Coast median house price was down by 0.3 per cent in the quarter, but grew by 6 per cent in the past 12 months to $620,000, the highest growth in the state, while on the Sunshine Coast the median house price rose by 2.3 per cent for the quarter and 5.2 per cent for the past 12 months to $576,250.
Ray White New Farm auctioneer Haesley Cush in action. Saturday June 30, 2018. (AAP image, John Gass)The last week of the year is always a big time in the real estate industry. It’s not big in terms of the number of transactions, the number of opens or even the number of auctions.It’s big because everyone who hasn’t bought or sold, and wants to, gets their last minute “shopping” done. The years residual buyers and sellers can be very keen to get a contract wrapped up and under the tree before Christmas. Auctioneer Haesley Cush I recall many Christmas Eves being spent driving between buyers and sellers, getting their last initials on contracts, and then seeing their elation at the closing of the deal before heading in to the end of year break.That added incentive usually means opportunity. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours agoIf you’re the person chasing the sale, you will likely move a little more due to your willingness to close the deal.I have watched many owners benefit from a determined buyer and, likewise, I have witnessed buyers get a “Christmas bargain” because they were able to present a clean contract to a seller who was equally keen to close out a stress-free sale. Generic Sold Home/For Sale Sign. ThinkstockMy advice to those people in the market is to be clear on your position. In every deal there are two separate lines of negotiation — one is the price and the other are the terms. If the timing is important then move on your price but if it’s not, don’t be bullied by the Christmas deadline and hold your line on price.All parties need to review the market conditions, their financial position and consider the alternatives if a sale is not made. This should be the driving force. Christmas is just a date on the calendar and it will be replaced by New Years, and New Years will be replaced by Australia Day. From there it’s Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day and then Easter. There’s always something around the corner and having a plan and a clear position will ensure you walk away from a sale with a smile on your face. Haesley Cush is a licensed real estate agent and an auctioneer for Ray White.
The home at 35 Bradley Rd, Clontarf.This modern house comes with dedicated space for the golf buggy and direct golf course access.Jeannie and Colin Gower have owned the property for about 18 years and built their dream home on the block 10 years ago. “We bulldozed the old worker’s cottage and built the house of our dreams,” Mr Gower said. “We went through three sets of plans before we got it right. We were over the moon with the finished product. The kitchen at 35 Bradley Rd, Clontarf. Picture: supplied“We thought this would be our forever home so we put the best of everything in it.”Mr Gower said he loved the house so much he couldn’t pick a favourite space but he did particularly like that nearly every room had a view of the swimming pool or Redcliffe Golf Course. “We’ve been members of the golf club for over 30 years,” he said. “We absolutely bought the block for its location. It’s in a great spot overlooking a pond, between the third and eighth tee, so we don’t have people teeing off at our back door.”The house is set over two levels with an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area on the ground floor opening to a patio over-looking the golf course. The formal living and dining space opens to the poolside courtyard. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus11 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market11 hours agoThe pool area at 35 Bradley Rd, Clontarf. Picture: supplied.There is also a laundry, powder room, bathroom and guest room on this level, along with a double-car garage at the front and a golf buggy garage at the back. “I can drive straight out on to the golf course and the club house is a two-minute buggy ride away,” Mr Gower said. Upstairs, the spacious master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe, ensuite and a private balcony. The two remaining bedrooms have built-in wardrobes and there is a family bathroom. The Gowers are selling to make a sea or tree change.
Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) has delivered two 1000m Atom Mk1 work-class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems to JFD.The Atom systems, equipped with ultra-compact launch and recovery systems (LARS) and SMD purpose-designed control and workshop cabins, provide a complete turnkey solution which is essential for JFD in providing its customer, the Indian Navy, with reliable equipment for on time critical missions.Optimised for submarine rescue operations, each Atom system carries three emergency life support pods for delivery to a submarine forming the intervention element of the 3rd generation submarine rescue system.Ben Sharples, India project director, JFD, said: “At JFD, we believe in the power of improvement and the importance of collaboration and we have been pleased to work together with SMD on developing these new technologies. SMD’s Atom ROV systems play an important part in our new 3rd generation submarine rescue systems, and in advancing our ultimate aims of driving down time to first intervention, protecting life at sea, and improving the standards of safety for submariners around the world.”The small size and lightweight design of Atom was an important factor for JFD in the selection process, as the entire system must be air transportable for rapid response. During factory acceptance, SMD were able to demonstrate Atom’s thrust capability to JFD representatives at their facility in North Shields, Newcastle using its 64 cubic metre in-house test tank.Mark Collins, managing director ROV Systems, stated: “This has been a significant project for SMD that has seen us deliver two submarine rescue specification Atom ROV systems successfully to a high profile client in the defence sector. Significantly it shows that SMD can provide optimised work class ROV power and capability in a very small package that is light enough for air transportation and fast deployment. Ease of use and reliability were also key requirements which SMD are able to demonstrate through a long track record in a diverse range of sectors. We look forward to continuing our new partnership with JFD to support their current and future needs in the defence underwater arena.”