Higher-risk, equity-weighted pension funds peform best in Latvia

first_imgLatvia’s 23 mandatory second-pillar pension funds returned an average 5.24% in 2014, up from 2.29% in 2013, according to data from the Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia (LKA).The best annual returns were generated by higher-risk, equity-weighted plans (5.52%), followed by balanced funds (5.28%) and conservative, bond-weighted ones (4.57%).For the higher-risk funds, the main asset allocation shifts included increasing the share of equity and equity funds from 27% to 32% of the portfolio, while reducing the bond and bond fund share from 57% to 54%.The conservative funds, meanwhile, raised the overall bond and bond fund share from 82% to 85%. By geographical distribution, Latvian investments accounted for 42% of second-pillar investment, followed by Eastern Europe at 17%.Assets increased over the year by €328m to €2.1bn, of which €92m were investment gains, while membership grew by 2% to 1.25m.Asset growth should accelerate in 2015 as contribution rates – which remained unchanged, at 4% out of a total 20% in 2013-14 – rise to 5%.The five open and one closed third-pillar funds increased their average return from 2.23% to 5.33%, with the riskier funds generating 6.62% and the balanced ones 4.91%.Assets increased by €45.1m to €280.7m, of which €9.4m were investment gains, and membership by 17% to 235,000.The total level of contributions soared by a historic high of 19% to €51.1m.The rising interest in the third pillar came primarily from individual account members, whose contribution levels grew by 26% in 2014, while those from employers fell by 4%.The LKA noted that public sector employers, in particular, have limited scope to contribute to their workers’ pension plans.Have a look at Rachel Fixsen’s article on one Latvian pension fund’s search for size and scale in the January issue of IPE magazinelast_img read more

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Norwegian oil fund cuts 10 more companies over coal activities

first_imgThe latest companies to be excluded by NBIM are:CEZ (Czech Republic)Eneva (Brazil)Great River Energy (US)Otter Tail Corp (US)HK Electric Investments & HK Electric Investments (Hong Kong)Huadian Energy Co (China)SDIC Power Holdings Co (China)PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna (Poland)Korea Electric Power Corp (Korea)Malakoff Corp (Malaysia)The two companies put on observation are both US-based: NorthWestern Corp and Portland General Electric Company.The SWF said it divested from 23 companies on the basis of ESG assessments in 2016, and that it had sold off a total of 210 companies over the last five years on such grounds.Separately, NBIM said it questioned firms about environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues in more than 1,500 company meetings last year.Publishing its 2016 report on responsible investment, NBIM said good corporate governance and sustainable business practices were in the GPFG’s long-term interest. In a recent interview with IPE, NBIM’s chief executive Yngve Slyngstad said that in 2017 the investment manager expected to have nearly 4,000 meetings with companies. It held 3,790 meetings with 1,589 companies last year.“In nearly half of those meetings, we raise issues on governance, environmental, and social issues,” he said.Chairman of the NBIM executive board Øystein Olsen, who is also governor of the central bank Norges Bank, added: “That does not mean that regularly we go public with any of these issues, but we do actually discuss them with the companies.”NBIM said it aimed to vote at all general meetings, and that during 2016 it had voted at 11,294 shareholder meetings around the world.“We are a large global investor with minority ownership in almost 9,000 companies,” Slyngstad said, adding that insight was a prerequisite for responsible management. “Good corporate governance and sustainable business practices will contribute to higher long-term returns”, he said. Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the manager of Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund, has excluded 10 more companies from its portfolio because of their involvement in coal business, and put another two under observation.The latest exclusions bring the total number of companies outlawed by the NOK7.6trn (€850bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) because of coal to 69, with a further 13 firms placed under observation.The move came as a result of the manager’s third round of analysis of businesses that may be affected by its coal criterion, NBIM said. All of the latest companies to be excluded are unlisted subsidiaries that issue bonds.Green bonds were excepted from the analysis, NBIM said, as well as subsidiaries deemed to have significant renewable energy activity.last_img read more

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Who will win the World Cup? The captains have their say

first_imgAaron Finch (Australia)IT’s a good question, I think, England have been in great form over the last couple of years and along with India, they’ve probably been the standout performers. So you’d have to say England are definitely the favourites.I think it’s important that some of our guys have got that World Cup experience and having, I think, six players who have been a part of a winning World Cup will hold us in good stead going forward, hopefully. But it’s a different tournament and, once you get out and start playing, the pressure takes over. So it’ll be a great tournament.Eoin Morgan (England)I’ve no idea. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s head and shoulders above everybody else. In a 10-team World Cup, the best ten teams in the world, it’s going to be an extraordinarily competitive tournament. And I think there will be some quality cricket played. We’re really looking forward to playing.Of course being at home will be a factor. It’s called home advantage for a reason. We get to spend a lot of time in our own beds, we’ll see a lot of our families, and get to prepare like we have done for a number of years now. But England’s a great place to come and play cricket. If you ask any of these guys or any of their players, they love coming here and playing.Virat Kohli (India)We’ve had both our warm-up games televised already so there’s much pressure on the team wherever we play.The way I look at it, there’s always going to be a huge fan-base for us anywhere we play in the world. But I have to agree with Aaron, I think England is probably – in their conditions – the strongest side in this tournament, but I also agree with Morgs, that all ten teams are so well balanced and so strong, and the fact that this is a tournament where we have to play everyone once, makes it all the more challenging.I think that’s going to be the best thing about this tournament, I see this as probably one of the most competitive World Cups that people are going to seeSarfaraz Ahmed (Pakistan)As Morgan and Kohli said, all the teams are really balanced, and all are good teams, so I wish them all the very best and I think people will watch great cricket here. Definitely if you’ve seen the past results of Pakistan teams in England – I’m talking about the 1992 Test series, or the 1999 World Cup or 2017 (Champions Trophy) – Pakistan have been very good in England. So we are very confident, in’shallah, we will do very well.Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)We have played good cricket and have good experience (of playing) in England as well, so we will try to do well, and do our best. We came early to get some confidence in the conditions; we are in good shape and will do our best.Kane Williamson (New Zealand)There are a few guys who were in the last World Cup, which is great; so there is some experience there. But naturally, with four years in-between tournaments, there are a lot of new players as well. I guess there’s been a lot of talk around rankings, favourites, underdogs, but I think the thing that stands out is how balanced all the teams are and, when it comes to the day, anything can happen, which makes the way for a really exciting competition.Faf du Plessis (South Africa)If you look at international cricket right around the circuit, you’ll see very close competitive series home and away. It’s not just more home teams that are dominating. So, like the other captains are saying, I think all of us are really excited to try this new tournament, with everyone playing everyone once. I think it’s a great tournament.last_img read more

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