FX cap hurts Austrian pension funds’ performance

first_imgA 30% cap on foreign currency exposure has hit Austrian Pensionskassen investment returns in recent years, according to consultancy Mercer.“The cap has limited the domestic pension funds considerably and lost them chances for additional returns,” said Michaela Plank, retirement expert at Mercer Austria.In a low interest rate environment in developed markets it was particularly important for institutional investors to seek returns in other areas of the world, she added.All existing investment caps for Austrian funds will be lifted when the country implements the EU’s IORP II directive, now scheduled for October. The necessary revisions to the Austrian law governing pension funds – known as PKG – was due to pass through parliament before summer but a technicality means it will have to wait till October.However, the Austrian pension fund association FVPK told journalists this week that the amendments, including the abolition of quantitative investment caps, would be agreed on by a majority. Andreas Zakostelsky, FVPKCredit: Franz HelmreichAndreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the FVPK, confirmed that the two coalition parties in the government, the conservative ÖVP and the far-right FPÖ, were “in full agreement” on the package.Regarding other amendments demanded by the IORP II, Austria had “almost no need for amendments”, he added. Most of the EU directive’s standards for transparency, information, governance and risk management are already part of the domestic legal framework.Mercer’s Plank also emphasised that Austrian pension funds already had the risk management in place to be given free rein regarding their investment allocations.Under the proposed amendment to the PKG, every pension fund would have to set down its own allocation guidelines, which would then be approved by the financial market supervisor FMA.Regarding reforms, however, the FVPK was much more excited about next year as the government promised a major tax overhaul. This is expected to include incentives for companies to set up pension plans and an improved tax treatment of additional member contributions.“The time is ripe for a balanced three-pillar pension system,” said Zakostelsky.He said the government had been “pleasantly clear” in its commitment to this goal when it published its agenda last year.So far, however, the coalition was more focused on other topics including Austria holding the rotating EU presidency until December.last_img read more

Fletcher to miss start of season

first_imgManchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher expects to miss the start of the new Barclays Premier League season as he continues his rehabilitation from a bowel operation. The Scotland captain took nine months out to see if his symptoms settled down before returning last September, and seemed to be making rapid progress. However, after appearing in three games out of four at the end of November, he was restricted to two very brief substitute appearances – the last of which came in the 4-3 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. “I’ve had it for five years but really struggled to control it for the last three years,” he said. “It’s had a big impact on my day-to-day life, never mind trying to play football. “Medication wasn’t helping me but surgery was the only solution if I wanted to have not only a future playing football but even a quality of life going forward. Fletcher added: “It’s all going well. I am still under the hands of the medical team just now, and the surgeon who is looking after me. Everything is going to plan so far and I am not that far away now. “I am doing exercise on my own. I’ve not been given the green light to join in contact in football training but I am doing my own running and physical activities and feel great. “Hopefully, in the next few weeks I am going to get the green light to join in and to start making the comeback, which is looking very good.” Press Associationcenter_img The 29-year-old has been battling ulcerative colitis for the past five years and underwent surgery in January as part of a “planned procedure”. Asked on BBC Radio Five when he would be back in action, Fletcher replied: “Hopefully, not too long after the start of the season. I think I will just miss the beginning of the season.” last_img read more

Texas A&M hires Buzz Williams as basketball coach

first_imgMy family & I are overwhelmed with thankfulness 🙏🏿 and honored to return home 🏡 to Texas A&M ➕ @aggieMBK! 🏀We are excited about the future, and can’t wait to 👀 the @12thman again tomorrow.#GigEm👍🏼— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) April 3, 2019Williams, who spent the last five seasons at Virginia Tech, will take over a Texas A&M program that went 14-18 this past season, missed out on the NCAA Tournament and fired Billy Kennedy on March 15.According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M is expected to pay Williams at $3.5 million per year — a nice bump from Williams’ $3 million salary at Virginia Tech and Kennedy’s $2.45 million in 2018-19.Williams, 46, is fresh off leading Virginia Tech to a 23-7 regular season and an appearance in the Sweet 16 where the Hokies fell to Duke. He took the Hokies to the tournament in each of the last three seasons. “Thanks to our talented student-athletes, Coach Williams and his staff, Virginia Tech is now one of the most attractive jobs in the nation’s top basketball conference, the ACC,” Babcock continued. “I’m extremely confident that we’ll be able to identify and hire a new head coach who can further build on the success our men’s basketball program has achieved in recent years. Until we have our new head coach in place, we will have no further comment on our search process.” Prior to his stint with Virginia Tech, Williams led Marquette to five NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons, including one Elite Eight trip and two other Sweet 16 berths. He was an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 2004-06 under Billy Gillispie.Kennedy tallied a 151-116 record during his time at Texas A&M. He reached two NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the Sweet 16 in both 2015-16 and 2017-18. UCLA job search: Jamie Dixon, Mick Cronin emerge as two top candidates, report says Kentucky, John Calipari agree to lifetime deal: ‘Where else would I want to coach?’center_img “Coach Williams made a very positive impact on the culture of our basketball program at Virginia Tech,” Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “We appreciate all that Buzz and his staff did for our students and our program. We wish Buzz, Corey and their family the very best as they return to their home state of Texas.” According to reports, Williams will be introduced by Texas A&M as early as Thursday, which the Texas native appeared to confirm in a subsequent tweet. Related News The Aggies have their man.Texas A&M has hired Buzz Williams as its new basketball coach as Williams’ former school, Virginia Tech, confirmed his departure.last_img read more