UK roundup: IBM, UK Court of Appeal, Northumbrian Water, GMB

first_imgIBM appealed the Court’s judgment.However, in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, IBM said: “If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Court’s rulings would require IBM to reverse the changes made to the UK defined benefit plans retroactive to their effective dates.“This could result in an estimated non-operating one-time pre-tax charge of approximately $250m, plus ongoing defined benefit related accruals.”In other news, Northumbrian Water Group is facing potential strike action from members over changes to its pension fund.Hong Kong group CKI owns the company, which supplies water to the North East and South East of England.CKI has proposed closing the final salary scheme and shifting to a career-average arrangement, moving indexation from the RPI to the CPI.According to trade union GMB, the scheme currently has a deficit of £153m (€215m).CKI, however, has since come out with a figure closer to £270m.The GMB said CKI’s proposed changes had nothing to do with the deficit but were aimed purely at maximising profits. If the company fails to produce an improved offer after August, the union will ballot members over strike action, it said.The GMB’s Maxine Batholomew said: “The company claims the current final salary scheme is unaffordable but has failed to show [figures] to back up its arguments.“CKI gave the trustees [the impression] it was fully committed to fully safeguarding pension entitlements, [but] it is just wallowing in greed.” IBM has told US financial regulators it expects to write off $250m (€226m) should it lose an appeal court case against its UK pension scheme trustees and members.The case, ongoing since changes to the scheme were made in 2009, is set to be heard by the UK Court of Appeal, with a verdict expected next year.The case relates to allegations that the computer giant made misleading statements and breached its duty of good faith when closing the defined benefit scheme to future accrual in 2009.However, in 2014, after four years of litigation, the UK’s High Court ruled in favour of the trustees and members, arguing that IBM misled members in consultation and failed to meet its legal duties.last_img read more

AP1 to review equity, fixed income management costs

first_imgSwedish buffer fund AP1 is to review its external equity and fixed income mandates with the aim of cutting management costs.In a tender, the fund said it was looking at ways to reduce the “long-term” cost of its long-only fixed income and equity portfolio.It said it was reviewing its approach to external mandates with several goals in mind.In addition to cutting costs, these include increasing transparency and the time its internal management team spends on matters relating to external mandates AP1 is also looking to improve integrated and operational-risk management, its manager-selection process and the flow of data from external managers.The buffer fund is seeking an investment services provider to help research transition managers and custodians.It said it would consider only providers with demonstrable track records of working with similarly sized clients.AP1 currently manages SEK297bn (€31.3bn) in assets, 37.3% of which is held in equities and 31.2% in fixed income securities.Interested parties have until 28 November to respond to the tender.last_img read more

Dutch CIOs call on industry to ‘refocus’ on promoting long-term policies

first_imgA group of CIOs from some of the largest pension funds in the Netherlands has called on asset managers, listed companies and other schemes to “refocus” on long-term policy.In an article published in the VBA Journal, the magazine for the Association of Investment Professionals, the CIOs said conflicts of interest between pension funds and asset managers must be reduced while the impact of long-term share ownership must be increased.The contributors, including Eloy Lindeijer of the €186bn asset manager PGGM and Inge van den Doel of the €59bn metal scheme PMT, said executive boards and shareholders were putting companies under increasing pressure to meet financial targets quickly.“As a consequence, the companies often postpone investments,” they said. In their opinion, pension funds and asset managers must also do their part to bring about the necessary change, “as they have also increased their focus on the short term, due to falling interest rates and regulation, including monthly reporting to the supervisor about funding and asset allocation”.“As a consequence,” they added, “many asset managers have limited the period to achieve their benchmark to three years.”To align the interests of all stakeholders, remuneration must be tied to long-term value creation, according to the CIOs, who called for additional research into preventing “perverse” incentives for pay.They proposed that individual pension funds and their asset managers jointly design investment policies for the long term, which the scheme then translates into an investment mandate.The CIOs also argued that risk/return measurement should long term, recommending the 20-year swap rate plus a 3% surcharge as benchmark.Quantitative performance should be measured every 5-10 years and could contribute to a different way of thinking among the stakeholders, they said.They pointed out that, given pension funds’ liabilities for a period of up to 40 years, monthly reporting about development in the investment portfolio was not essential.They said traditional risk management – focusing on volatility, tracking error and standard deviation – should be extended with scenario analysis, aimed at the risk of missing long-term targets.The CIOs argued that long-term reporting must also provide insight into the “intrinsic value” of the companies within the investment portfolio, and said asset managers could contribute by investing in their own investment funds, as well as by rewarding fund managers for long-term investments.Asset managers should also consider cutting management fees longer-term mandates, they said.last_img read more

UK’s Railpen backs Unigestion multi-factor funds

first_imgRPMI Railpen, manager of the UK’s £22bn (€28bn) Railways Pensions Scheme (RPS), is providing the seed capital for two multi-factor funds it has created with Unigestion.One of the funds is a long-only active factor fund, the other a long/short factor fund. The size of Railpen’s investment was not disclosed.An RPMI spokesperson told IPE the investments marked the first time it has allocated assets to an equity strategy that includes short risk factor exposure but that the strategy itself would be market neutral. It has had exposure to long/short and market neutral equity hedge funds in the past.Unigestion said the factors chosen for the funds were defined taking into account market and/or industry characteristics, a departure from the usual implementation.  The “enhanced” definition sees the strategies allocating to higher-quality value stocks, less volatile momentum stocks, more diversified quality stocks and more stable small-cap stocks, according to the Geneva-based asset manager.Steve Artingstall, senior investment manager at RPMI Railpen, said the manager decided to collaborate with Unigestion “due to our desire for transparent and effective factor exposure, and our high level of trust in Unigestion’s clear ability to carefully manage factor risk”.The collaboration with Unigestion on the funds is part of a shift toward smart beta-style strategies that RPMI Railpen has been implementing since launching an investment transformation programme in 2013.In December, RPMI hired Tony Guida, a former Unigestion portfolio analyst, to boost the research capacity within its alternative risk premia team.last_img read more

Accounting roundup: Rulemakers risk running out of time, IASB chair warns

first_img“And then to think that they will not even be applying IFRS 9 is just intolerable. So, any risk of disrupting implementation risking delay of the standard [is] very hard to accept.” Hans HoogervorstThe IASB issued the new accounting standard in May 2017. Since then, the board has heard from stakeholders about issues arising out of its implementation of the new standard – in some cases asking for amendments.IASB project manager Andrea Pryde said that staff planned to ask the board whether any of those concerns warranted changes to the IFRS.However, board member Nick Anderson said “there was a real prospect of generalist investors returning to the sector”, and warned that the “prospect of further changes and delay will only be met with dismay by investors” who had waited long enough.According to paragraph 11 of agenda paper 2, the board would only agree to make an amendment if it would not impair the quality of information in the accounts, reduce comparability or increase complexity.UK questioned over potential EFRAG conflictMeanwhile, former MEP Sharon Bowles has opened up a new front in her battle against conflicts of interest by quizzing the UK government on the steps it takes to ensure that its representatives work in the public interest rather than for any private or proprietary interest.Bowles, who now sits in the upper house of the UK parliament, has queried whether the UK’s representative on the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), Jed Wrigley, “manages the money of (1) public investors invested in funds managed by Fidelity International, or (2) the private shareholders of Fidelity”.Wrigley has worked for Fidelity since 1993, and currently works for Eight Roads, the US investment giant’s proprietary investing division. According to his biography on EFRAG’s website, he is responsible for portfolio governance and oversight. Neither Fidelity nor its US operation has responded to a request for comment.PIRC flagged concerns over bakery chain in 2015IPE has obtained copies of advisory notices issued by corporate governance adviser Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) detailing concerns it raised over troubled bakery chain Patisserie Valerie dating back several years.The company suspended trading in its shares last month after fraudulent accounting irregularities emerged in early October. The company’s finance director was subsequently arrested. At a shareholder meeting this morning the company managed to secure funding to keep it operational, according to reports.The PIRC documents show that the advisory group repeatedly encouraged shareholders to vote against the company’s annual report. In a PIRC alert from 5 February 2015, it warned: “[Patisserie Valerie] does not provide a remuneration committee report nor does it provide one for the audit committee. Board and committee meetings’ attendance is not disclosed.”PIRC repeated its warning in January this year about the company’s remuneration report.FRC urges overhaul of annual reportsThe UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) this week launched a “major project to challenge existing thinking about corporate reporting”, aimed at making companies’ annual reports more relevant for shareholders and other stakeholders.The accounting watchdog said the project would consist of a review of financial reporting and what it called “different types of corporate communications” in order to assess whether they met the needs of investors.The FRC said it would set up a 15-member committee to advise on the project and has invited interested parties to come forward. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) risks failing to have its new insurance contracts accounting rules in place before the next wave of turmoil hits financial markets, the board’s chairman warned last week.Hans Hoogervorst’s comments came as the board heard that its official advisory body on the new insurance accounting standard, IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts, had received 81 submissions raising queries on the new rules. Hoogervorst said: “There has been an explosion of corporate debt, and there has been an explosion of low-quality – but still investment-grade – BBB debt. In the search for yield there is a lot of debt being sold of non-investment grade.“A year ago the International Monetary Fund warned that even insurance companies in their search for yield were more and more investing in non-investment grade debt.last_img read more

Live off the grid in luxury Main Beach villa

first_img2/53 Breaker St, Main Beach.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa17 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe four-bedroom residence, which has not been lived in, features a study, high ceilings, Blackbutt timber flooring and quality fixtures and fittings. “The brief was also to include the use of light, space and air flow, hence the floor to ceiling height of 3m on the ground floor and the lightwell void streaming into the stairwell which creates this real sense of space,” he said. 2/53 Breaker St, Main Beach.“The design brief was to create a natural and timeless palette with the use of lots of natural materials including wood, stone and wool,” Mr Rice said. “We also wanted to head towards a carbon neutral home with the tesla battery and the solar system generating about 25kws a day which if used normally no electricity from the grid is required.” 2/53 Breaker St, Main Beach.One of the highlights of the two-level property is the indoor-outdoor entertaining area overlooking the pool and water feature. “The cafe-style collapsing door system creates a seamless indoor-outdoor space which leads out to a fabulous outdoor kitchen and entertaining area,” he said. He said the property would suit Baby Boomers, downsizers and professionals. “In my opinion Main Beach is the coolest, most liveable suburb on the Gold Coast,” he said. 2/53 Breaker St, Main Beach.THIS new villa offers the very best of modern living on the Gold Coast.Vendor James Rice, the boss of South Australian property development company Urban Construct, knocked down the existing dwelling and built luxury duplexes that were completed in March. 2/53 Breaker St, Main Beach. ON THE MARKET 2/53 Breaker ST, Main Beach Agent: Robert Graham, Ray White Prestige Area: 300sq m Auction: June 21, 11am, Gold Coast Turf Club Inspections: Saturday and Sunday, 11-11.30amlast_img read more

Clive Palmer’s new Townsville penthouse

first_imgClive Palmer and wife Anna have made multimillion-dollar property decisions this year. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images) Gold mine found in suburban backyard $5 villas set for newest millionaire Property records released in April showed $7.5m was the price Mr Palmer paid for a seven-bedroom Fig Tree Pocket home in Brisbane this year.It was understood he had been scouting for properties near The Strand while he was in Townsville.Mr Palmer had said he wanted to buy property in Townsville so he could oversee the reopening of the QNI ­refinery at Yabulu.Mitchell St is one of Townsville’s most popular streets due to its proximity to The Strand and ocean views. The street was also once home to North Queensland Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston before he moved to Pallarenda. The unit block is popular with north Queensland business identities including former car dealer David Carmichael who also owned Townsville’s most expensive home Toscano Dal Mare in the mid 1990s.It has panoramic ocean views and fronts on to Strand Park while the apartment complex itself is immaculately maintained and has a lap pool, gym and manicured gardens.The property deal follows Mr Palmer announcing in Townsville last week that he was hoping to finalise a ­property purchase in the next ­fortnight.“I’ll be a resident, I’ll be ­living here,” Mr Palmer said at the time. A resident of the complex at 88 Mitchell St said Mr Palmer had been spotted in the building while several black Mercedes-Benz cars were also seen parked outside last week, coinciding with Mr Palmer’s visit to Townsville. While the price has not been revealed, Mr Palmer is believed to have paid several million dollars for the luxury property.Real estate sources have ­described the penthouse as being one of Townsville’s best.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020It takes up the entire top-floor building of the Mitchell St complex and is more than 600sq m in size.center_img Clive Palmer fronts media to announce the reopening the Yabulu Refinery in Townsville. Picture: Alix SweeneyCLIVE Palmer is understood to have bought one of Townsville’s most luxurious penthouses for an undisclosed sum.The controversial billionaire has bought 9/88 Mitchell St in North Ward in a private sale.The penthouse wasn’t on the market at the time of the sale and was once owned by ­renowned Townsville businessman David Carmichael before he sold it for $3.4 ­million in 2008.Several real estate sources told the Townsville Bulletin yesterday that the sale had gone through, meaning Mr Palmer could be moving in during the next few weeks. The Fig Tree Pocket home was previously owned by embattled businessman Peter Bond.Properties in North Ward regularly fetch more than $1 million due to the seaside ­suburb being close to Townsville’s best parks, bars, restaurants and shops while also being close to the CBD. FOLLOW CHRISTIE ANDERSON ON TWITTERlast_img read more

House hunters buying up big in Belgian Gardens

first_img11 Parry St, Belgian GardensA BELGIAN GARDENS property has sold for $818,500 in four days recording the most expensive sale in nearly a year.The four bedroom, two bathroom house at 11 Parry St sold to a family in the Northern Territory who plan to move to Townsville.The last time a property sold in Belgian Gardens for above $800,000 was in October last year when 12 Parry St sold for $847,000. 11 Parry St was sold by Bayside Realty Townsville owner Mario Torrisi who said it was rare to find a low maintenance, modern home in Belgian Gardens as older homes were more common in the beachside suburb.“It was fairly unique as it was a new home built about four years ago,” he said.“It had everything a family could want like the shed and the pool and it was immaculate.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“The family who bought it are coming here for work and they wanted their children to go to the Belgian Gardens State School.“It sold so quickly that we had to cancel the open homes and I had quite a lot of people wanting to purchase it hoping the sale would fall over.”The house is on a 1036 sqm block and has a chef’s kitchen, open plan living and dining area and outdoor entertaining area.The undercover outdoor area leads out to the in-ground saltwater pool.There is also a double lockup garage with direct entry into the house and a 8m by 8.4m masonry block shed at the rear of the property with electricity.Mr Torrisi who has specialised in selling property in the Belgian Gardens area for 16 years said the suburb had remained popular with buyers.“The average days on market are really low in Belgian Gardens and it has had a bit of a spike in values,” he said.“It’s close the CBD and The Strand but also for a suburb close to the CBD there is no major unit development so you don’t have any high density living.”last_img read more

Luxury Gold Coast penthouse sells in multimillion-dollar deal

first_imgMORE NEWS: Escape to the rainforest Now that’s a bar.“We had a lot of people interested in it … but there’s not that many with the capacity to purchase in that range.”Mr Longmore said it had been on the market for about a year before it was snapped up last month.The southern penthouse, which was once owned by former fugitive businessman Lux Daswani, changed hands for $3.795 million almost two years ago.A local buyer also bought that residence, which hit the market in November 2015.It was previously owned by brother and sister Peter Kyriakou and Athena Jordan, who inherited the property from their father, the late Paul Kyriakou.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa13 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoMORE NEWS: Turn a dream into reality Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 4:18Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -4:18 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels576p576p400p400p320p320p228p228pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenNovember 6: Prestige listings04:19 It’s all class inside. Imagine entertaining on your own rooftop terrace.center_img The penthouse’s rooftop pool.ONE of the penthouses topping Southport’s Rivage Royale tower has sold in a multimillion-dollar deal that eclipses the price its neighbour fetched almost two years ago.A local buyer snapped up the tri-level skyhome, known as the northern penthouse, which has panoramic views that capture Marina Mirage, the Broadwater, Main Beach and the Hinterland.Marketing agent Duncan Longmore, of Kollosche Prestige Agents, said it sold for less than its asking price of $5.25 million but much more than the southern penthouse.“It all happened pretty quickly (with the buyer),” he said. He bought the tri-level Rivage Royale home from receivers in 2001 for $1.42 million.Receivers and mortgagees moved in on Mr Daswani’s assets after he fled Australia in 2000.Mr Longmore said the penthouses’ floorplans were mirror images but their styles were very different.“(They are) the same size — about 850sq m with their own pools,” he said.“The northern one was beautifully renovated though.“The (southern) one needed a renovation whereas this one had had a beautiful renovation 10 years ago.” Every inch of the four-bedroom, six-bathroom apartment is grand, from the large chandelier in the living room to the intricate statues decorating the rooftop entertainment area.The master suite includes a sitting room, spa, walk-in wardrobe and balcony while the rooftop has an pool, sauna, spa and marble outdoor kitchen with Gaggenau barbecue.The residence also has an internal lift that services all three levels, a Bose surround sound system and Back-To-Base remote alarm with video monitoring.Mr Longmore said it was in a pocket of Southport that was becoming more popular as it was further developed.“That little pocket of Southport is getting better and better,” he said.“It’s a great spot for wealthy downsizers to be living.” According to latest CoreLogic data, the median sale price for a unit in Southport is $360,000.last_img read more

Calamvale house with its own Irish pub

first_imgThis room is affectionately known as the “Irish bar”.Born in Scotland, and it is safe to say her heritage influenced the design of property.“I would describe myself as Glasgow Irish,” Dr Cunningham said. “I grew up in the Irish community.”There is a billiards room, with red walls, a formal dining room with a fireplace, and finally — the Irish pub.“The Irish bar is my favourite, I feel at home in there and play my guitar in there,” Dr Cunningham said.“I sing Irish music … and we have had a lot of good parties in there, using it as a music room.” More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoIf things get too rowdy in the bar, step out for a game of pool.The room has shamrock green walls, a bar and raised floor used as a stage.However, the house was originally inspired by the humble Queenslander, and functioned well as one. The kitchen is made from solid timber.Dr Cunningham has made good use of the 2000sq m block, with a lap pool in the backyard, and landscaped gardens.“It’s got a lovely garden, and a vegie garden and fruit trees. It’s a house where you can swim, play your guitar, grow your vegies and entertain your friends.”Dr Cunningham is relocating to the Gold Coast. For more civilised occasions there is a formal dining room.“It is a bit unusual for the Calamvale area, but I couldn’t find a Queenslander near where I work so I wanted to build one.“I like the wide verandas and being able to have the breeze flowing through the house.”There are polished timber floorboards, french doors and a solid timber kitchen.“It’s got those period features and Colonial style.”center_img Jump in the pool on hot days.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 6:04Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -6:04 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p432p432p270p270pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenFebruary: Brisbane CoreLogic RP Data market update06:05 Is this Calamvale’s most unusual house?Get ready to slap down a Guinness and do an Irish jig.An Irish pub is the last thing you expect to find in a Calamvale home.Yet there it is. Stage, bar and all.Dr Sarah Cunningham has been a general practitioner in the area for 30 years, and built her home at 205 Benhiam St 15 years ago.last_img read more