Belgium: A consortium of GEC Alsthom and Bombardier Eurorail has won a BFr2bn contract to build 25 metro cars for Brussels, to be marshalled as five two-car and five three-car sets. They are based on the existing fleet, and the first two-car unit is due for delivery in May 1999, with the remainder by the end of the year.Canada: The Regional Transit Commission in Vancouver has adopted a five-year plan, TransAction 2002, which should see 20 extra cars bought for SkyTrain as part of an effort to boost travel on the automated metro.Denmark: Taylor Woodrow has won a £20m contract to supply reinforced concrete tunnel lining segments for the 15 km København metro.Germany: On April 11 K
The sector needed to develop an atmosphere of trust, she said, by highlighting potential benefits and risks as well as setting out what companies, advisers, trustees and consumers could expect from the process.“We’re trying to make sure the document gives a fair and balanced view of medical underwriting compared to a conventional approach,” said Mike Edwards, head of product development at L&G in the bulk annuities business. “In some cases it would be the right thing to do in other cases it wouldn’t,” he said.One of the potential advantages of medical underwriting is that it might result in a lower premium, he said.But trustees and sponsors had raised concerns that if they did opt to have individual scheme members’ health and lifestyles assessed in order to set annuity prices, the price could end up being higher as well as lower than it would otherwise have been, he said.And once a scheme had made a detailed enquiry about medical underwriting, if it then decided not to go ahead with the deal, other bulk annuity providers might take this as a sign that the membership was in better-than-average health and decline to quote. Other firms behind the Good Practice Guide are CMS Cameron McKenna, Just Retirement, Law Debenture and LCP. Insurers and advisers in the UK pensions sector are putting together a guide for trustees and sponsors to help them decide whether or not to use medical underwriting when buying bulk annuities.JLT Employee Benefits, Partnership, Aviva, Hymans Robertson, Legal & General and others said they plan to produce a “robust guide for the industry”, which will aim to formalise and improve existing industry standards.The move has been prompted by the arrival of new insurers in the market, ready to look at the health and lifestyle characteristics of individual scheme members when setting premiums, the group said.Margaret Snowdon, director of JLT Employee Benefits, said: “With an increasing number of businesses keen to explore using medical underwriting as part of their de-risking strategy, now is the time for the industry to step up and develop a robust guide to ensure good practice.”
The former chief executive of Siemens Pensionskasse is to take over as chairman of Valida Vorsorge Management, after Andreas Zakostelsky announced he would leave to focus on his career in politics. Stefan Eberhartinger, former head of Siemens Pensionskasse – renamed Valida Industrie Pensionskasse upon its takeover by Valida in 2012 – has been named chairman of Valida Vorsorge Management, the holding for Valida’s Pensionskasse, Vorsorgekasse and consultancy.Zakostelsky has stepped down to pursue his political career, following his election to Austria’s lower house in 2013.In a press release, Raiffeisen Bank, one of the main shareholders in the Valida Group alongside the insurer Uniqa, said Zakostelsky would continue to focus on the “strategic development of retirement provision in Austria”. He will also stay on as head of Austria’s pension fund association FVPK and remain “special envoy”, helping Valida with strategic questions regarding retirement.Last year, Eberhartinger was appointed to the board of the Valida Holding together with Albert Gaubitzer to work alongside Zakostelsky and tackle the administrative clean-up of joining several pension funds bought by Valida over the last years.From now, Eberhartinger will cover asset management, consulting, product development and membership management, while Gaubitzer will be responsible for operations, IT, risk management and finances as the only two board members at the Valida Holding.The seats Zakostelsky is vacating as chariman on the supervisory boards of the three Valida Holding subsidiaries – the Pensionskasse, the Vorsorgekasse and the consultancy – would be “filled by summer”, Raiffeisen said. For 2014, Valida Pensionskasse reported above average returns.
IG Metall, Germany’s largest trade union, has expressed support for government proposals for industry-wide pension plans, although it has placed a strengthening of the first pillar at the heart of its recently unveiled reform proposal. It set out its stall on reform of the country’s pension system last week, presenting its proposals in Berlin.The German government is trying to see through reform before major parliamentary elections next year.Industry-wide pension plans, also referred to as the social partner model, have been on its agenda for some time. As Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall’s position on pension reform carries weight, according to Klaus Stiefermann, chief executive at aba, the German occupational pension association. “The prospects of success for the social partner model, both with respect to its becoming law and then its implementation, depend on the trade unions and employer associations,” he told IPE.“The metal industry is an important one, so it’s important that IG Metall is behind the project.” The trade union for the metal industry is mainly calling for a strengthening of the first pillar, but it also lent its support to efforts to boost workplace pension provision, as a supplement to the state pension system.The third pillar is not up to the task of ensuring adequate retirement income in old age, according to the union, which believes the drive to boost private pension coverage, via the take-up of state-subsidised pension schemes (Riester-Rente), has failed.Setting out the trade union’s reform proposal, Jörg Hofmann, president of IG Metall, said occupational pensions should be available for all employees and that any second-pillar reform needed to include making mandatory the financial participation by employers.He said the trade union was “in favour of and supports” the proposal from Andrea Nahles, the minister for labour and social affairs, for industry-wide pension providers.The collective bargaining parties should have the option to create industry-specific arrangements to be treated preferentially under law, he added.He also mentioned ways of making occupational pension provision more attractive, such as increasing the tax relief on funding requirements.
They should provide transparency on total remuneration to “avoid unacceptable outcomes”, and ensure all benefits had a clear business rationale, it said.“We will invite peer investors to consider shared principles for effective remuneration, and we will discuss with boards how this general position could be applied, taking into consideration the company’s specific circumstances,” NBIM said.Pensionable income should, the manager said, constitute a minor part of a chief executive’s total remuneration.“The board should commit to not offering any end-of-employment arrangements that effectively shorten or dilute the lock-in of shares,” it added in the paper.NBIM said that requiring the chief executive of a company to be a long-term shareholder seemed to be an under-utilised strategy for aligning the interests of the CEO with those of shareholders.It argued that requiring the chief executive to invest a “meaningful” part of their remuneration in company shares was a simple and transparent way of aligning that individual’s interests with those of shareholders and the wider society.However, it acknowledged the counter-argument that locked-in shares could drive up total pay levels, if chief executives demanded compensation for the increase in perceived remuneration risk.“Increased equity exposure and deferral is a cost to the CEO, but removing performance conditions will at the same time reduce uncertainty for the CEO,” NBIM said. The manager of Norway’s NOK7.9trn (€861bn) sovereign wealth fund has taken a stand on the contentious issue of top executive pay at listed companies, saying it should be driven by long-term value creation.In a position paper on CEO remuneration, Norges Bank Investment Management said: “A substantial proportion of total annual remuneration should be provided as shares that are locked in for at least five and preferably 10 years, regardless of resignation or retirement.”Releasing the report, the manager of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), said that as a global investor its main concern was that CEO remuneration should be value-creating for the company and shareholders.Apart from making sure remuneration was driven by long-term value creation and aligned chief executive and shareholder interests, boards should also develop pay practices that were simple and did not put undue strain on corporate governance, it said.
The European Commission has today unveiled its proposal for a pan-European personal pensions product (PEPP), with the draft regulation accompanied by a separate recommendation for the product’s tax treatment.The Commission said PEPPs were designed to complement existing state-based occupational and national personal pensions and would not replace or harmonise personal pension regimes.To ensure the PEPP “gets off to a flying start”, the Commission recommended EU member states grant the same tax treatment to the product as they do to similar existing national products, even if the new product did not fully match the national criteria for tax relief.The proposed regulatory framework was set up in expectation of a wide range of providers being able to offer a PEPP, such as insurance companies, banks, occupational pension funds, and asset managers. The PEPP forms part of the Commission’s plan to build a Capital Markets Union (CMU). The Commission believes the new pension product will help to channel more savings to long-term investments in the EU.The Commission has also proposed the PEPP framework because of concerns that the European market for personal pensions had become fragmented and uneven, with offerings concentrated in a few member states and nearly non-existent in others.According to an Ernst & Young study carried out for the Commission, the PEPP, with tax incentives granted, had the potential to double the growth of the personal pension market to €2.1trn by 2030.The Commission’s proposal set out standards for core product features such as transparency requirements, investment rules, switching, and portability.PEPPs will be authorised by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and can thereafter be distributed throughout the EU.The products will be portable between member states, and consumers can choose between five savings options. Member states will set the conditions for the saving phase and pay-out of capital, as well as tax treatment.PensionsEurope welcomed the Commission’s proposal as “a way to increase the overall pension savings and as one of the building blocks of the Capital Market Union”, but called on the Commission to promote occupational pension systems as well.Matti Leppälä, secretary general of the trade body, also said it “will be important to ensure the respect of existing national personal pension legislations and products”.“Tax incentives play an important role in defining the attractiveness of personal pensions, and we underline that the decision to take up the Commission recommendation will exclusively remain in the hand of each member state,” he added. “We hope that member states will decide to support pension savings.”EIOPA also welcomed the Commission’s legislative proposal, saying that it follows its advice “to create an attractive PEPP in the form of a second regime”.InsuranceEurope gave a cautious assessment of the Commission’s proposal, saying that, “at first sight”, it welcomed some of the PEPP’s features, such as the default investment option that would ensure capital protection for PEPP savers.It said the legislative initiative was important “but also very complex”, and that the insurance industry needed more time to study the proposal to assess whether it would be attractive to savers and providers.EFAMA, the trade association for the European investment industry, said it “fully supports” the Commission’s proposal.Peter De Proft, EFAMA director general, said: “The PEPP framework can succeed in breaking down barriers between national markets if it allows a broad range of providers the possibility to offer innovative and cost-effective pension products on a pan-European scale.“If this is achieved, I have no doubt that asset managers will have a significant role to play in the success of the PEPP.”The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council.
In the latest survey, 30% of respondents said geopolitical risk was a key concern, down from 71% a year before.The asset allocation intentions of insurers, as gleaned in the study, were shown to span across all asset classes.Alternatives remained attractive and there was high interest in all areas of private markets, as well as a desire for selective emerging markets investments, such as the China A market, BlackRock said.ESG challengesPatrick Liedtke, head of the firm’s insurance asset management business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, expressed surprise regarding some of the survey’s findings on insurers’ environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) work.Insurers increased their focus on ESG during the past 12 months, BlackRock found, with 83% saying an ESG investment policy was either very important or extremely important to their companies. However, some insurers said they had struggled to develop in-house expertise in the field, and opinions differed regarding how to implement ESG into investment processes.“While such developments are to be welcomed – particularly in Europe which is leading the way in implementing ESG policies – practical ESG obstacles remain,” Liedtke said.Some 90% of respondents agreed in the survey that regulators should provide clarity in this area by defining ESG investments on a consistent basis globally.Outsourcing on the riseBlackRock also reported that some insurers were “choosing partial or complete outsourcing of asset management as an effective way to balance exposure with the need for cost control and operational efficiency”.Around 35% of respondents outsourced management of their private market holdings fully, and another 52% did so partly, the survey found.Reasons for doing this varied, but 67% of respondents suggested that insurers were reluctant to add to costs and dilute profitability by building in-house expertise in these assets, especially in Europe and Asia.No comparable figures on outsourcing for the previous year were available. The number of insurance companies around the world that are planning to increase their investment risk has surged over the last 12 months, according to a survey from the world’s largest asset manager.In its latest Global Insurance Report, BlackRock found that 47% of the 372 senior insurance executives – based in 27 countries – it polled planned to increase portfolio risk exposure over the next one to two years.This compared to just 9% who planned to do this in 2017.BlackRock said: “In sharp contrast to 2017 findings, concerns about geopolitical and other macro risks have subsided in almost every case – suggesting that insurers are generally more sanguine about the macro environment.”
Brisbane has seen a surge in development since 2011, much of which has centred around the riverfront suburbs. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson.In Brisbane, it had undertaken a study early this year that found 19 of the 20 suburbs affected by the 2011 floods outperformed the rest of the city.Five areas did so well they punched way above the city’s five-year growth rates of 26.7 per cent to deliver upwards of a 40 per cent rise in prices. Brisbane’s three-for-one home deal within reach of the city QLD to defy ‘mini credit crunch’ set to hit Sydney and Melbourne More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago Inner-city house sells for $2.7m“This is because these high-flood areas are well located on the river which is in high demand. Also, statistically floods like those in 2011 are a once-in-a-50-year event and that makes these homes a risk people are willing to accept.”He compared that to the two most impacted areas of Cyclone Yasi — Cassowary Coast and Hinchbrook located about 1225km from the Brisbane CBD — which saw 7.4 per cent and -1.9 per cent respectively, lower than capital growth in the rest of Queensland of 7.5 per cent in the five-year period. There was a huge emotional toll on homeowners during the Brisbane 2011 floods, but the market recovered for those able to hold on. Picture: Russell ShakespeareHe said some of that impact was also off weakness in the closest major city, Townsville, which had -5.7 per cent capital growth in the period.The study had found similar popularity-based results out of flood-affected Gippsland, Bass Coast, Baw Baw and Cardinia — located on average 78km from the Melbourne CBD — where the average capital growth in the past five years was 44.6 per cent, beating the rest of Victoria’s benchmark of 31.3 per cent.In comparison, around 126km from the CBD, houses in Latrobe and South Gippsland — which were also impacted by floodwaters — averaged a relatively low capital growth rate of 19 per cent in the same period.So too the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires where suburbs that were closer to the Melbourne CBD like Murrindindi and Nillumbik (around 50km away) saw an average 55.6 per cent growth — a much stronger performance than Indigo and Wellington (around 210km from the CBD) which saw 29.3 per cent. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK The Brisbane 2011 floods turned waterfront properties into islands. Picture: Russell ShakespeareHOUSE price growth is so watertight in some parts of flood-affected Brisbane, it can take whatever’s thrown at it, come rain, hail or high water.Market figures show rampaging city housing demand was the driving force behind why even disaster-hit areas that run the risk of future devastation still see house prices bounce back strongly.Riskwise Property Research chief executive Doron Peleg, whose firm studied the property price impacts of the 2011 Brisbane floods and 2011 Cyclone Yasi along with the 2012 Gippsland Flooding and the 2009 Black Saturday Victoria Bushfires, said it was all about popularity.“It really depends on the popularity of the areas. We found each of the natural disaster areas that were closer to the CBD delivered higher capital growth than areas that were a greater distance from the CBD. This is despite any unpredictable future impact of floods or fire.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 3:56Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -3:56 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels576p576p512p512p400p400p228p228pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenJuly 21: Aleisha Dawson talks property03:57
An aerial view of what the university campus will look like at Petrie. Pic supplied.“Petrie is also located within Moreton Bay, which is one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions, with its population expected to growth by a staggering 40 per cent over the next 20 years.”A four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home on 621 sqm at 25 Bordeau Cres, Petrie, is currently on the market for offers over $439,000. This house at 25 Bordeau Cres, Petrie, is for sale.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours agoRaceview in Ipswich is also in a growth area, according to Mr Walsh, with the region’s population expected to increase from 210,000 to 500,000 by 2041.The suburb is only three kilometres from Ipswich’s main centre, which allowed goodaccess to the region’s diversified economy, including healthcare and social assistance,retail and manufacturing sectors. Your Property Your Wealth director Daniel Walsh.Mr Walsh said one of the most exciting new projects was the new university campus being built in Petrie.“Construction of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Petrie campus is under way, which aims to attract 10,000 students in its first year of operation in 2020,” Mr Walsh said. The suburb of Raceview in Ipswich as seen from above. Picture: Nearmap.com.au. Mr Walsh said Amberley’s $5 billion Defence contract was also vital for the region, with the $340 million Cunningham Highway upgrade helping to reduce commuting times to Brisbane. A three-bedroom house on 617 sqm at 281 South Station Rd, Raceview, is on the market for just $285,000. MORE: Why coast waterfront properties are so popular New housing in the suburbs. Image: AAP/Troy Snook.Petrie and Raceview are the hot picks in Queensland, with average house prices of $440,000 and $343,000, respectively. RELATED: How to increase your rental return This house at 281 South Station Rd, Raceview, is for sale.His top investment picks include both regional and capital city locations.“Contrary to some people’s narrow viewpoint that Sydney and Melbourne are the only markets in Australia, there are myriad locations where investors can secure affordable property,” Mr Walsh said.“Not only do they have median house prices under $500,000, but they are also locations on the rise because of fundamentals such as major infrastructure or population growth.” Your Property Your Wealth director and buyer’s agent Daniel Walsh said the sunshine state offered a number of good investment opportunities, not only because of its relative affordability, but also because of its strong infrastructure program. Five of the best places to invest in property under $500,000 have been revealed.A SUBURB on the northern outskirts of Brisbane and an underrated Ipswich gem have been named two of the best places to invest in property in 2019.National buyers’ agency Your Property Your Wealth has hand-picked five locations in three different states that are on track to record solid growth in the years ahead — and they all have a median house price under $500,000. Australian homes as seen from above. Image: AAP/Sam Mooy.No NSW locations made the top five list, despite prices softening in Sydeny.offered more bang for an investor’s buck.“You don’t have to spend $1 million to make a wise investment decision,” Mr Walsh said.“In fact, you could buy two properties for that price in these areas and benefit from the market upswing in the future.”TOP FIVE INVESTMENT LOCATIONS UNDER $500,000 Suburb Locality State Median house price1. Grovedale Geelong VIC $467,0002. Wyndham Vale Wyndham VIC $480,0003. Petrie Moreton Bay QLD $440,0004. Raceview Ipswich QLD $343,0005. Port Adelaide Adelaide SA $350,000(Source: Your Property Your Wealth, CoreLogic)
Place Advisory director Lachlan Walker says it’s a good time to look at buying an apartment in Brisbane.Inner Brisbane “appears to be headed toward undersupply within the next 12 to 18 months”, according to the report, which makes a return to sustained capital growth in the apartment market an increasingly likely scenario.Place Advisory director Lachlan Walker said there had been a significant shift away from investor-grade one-bedroom units to higher quality two-bedroom and three-bedroom, which was good news for buyers. A new report has found Brisbane’s new apartment supply is shrinking fast. Image: AAP/Darren England.THE time to buy an apartment in Brisbane is now, according to a leading property analyst.Nearly two thirds of apartment projects planned for the city have been ditched or deferred as it heads towards an undersupply of stock that could drive up prices and competition, a new report reveals.The Place Advisory report shows new development applications now account for just 10 per cent of the future apartment pipeline, with 62 per cent shelved or abandoned and only 28 per cent approved. Quality apartments aimed at owner-occupiers like those in Gallery House in Hamilton are selling fast.Mr Walker said less stock was coming to market, which meant increased demand and likely price growth.“It’s definitely a good time to be looking at the apartment market again,” Mr Walker said.“Compared to 18 months ago, when the apartment market was to some degree flooded, the current product on market is designed for owner occupier purchasers (not investors).”The average apartment sale price in Brisbane is 6.5 per cent higher at $841,333 based on 150 unconditional sales — up from $790,000 in the September quarter and $700,000 in the same period 12 months prior. The second stage of the waterfront development Gallery House sold 22 apartments during the December quarter, the highest result of any development. One of the bedrooms in the penthouse in Soko Waterfront Apartments.The latest Urbis apartment report predicts the national apartment market will show signs of recovery this year.The report found that with new stock coming in and sales experiencing speed bumps, national apartment sales as a percentage of available stock dropped to a new low of 7.7 per cent in the December quarter of 2018.It noted that the first half of 2019 would likely bring more than 1000 new apartment launches for Brisbane.NEW APARTMENT PROJECTS COMPLETEDProject Location Total units Sold to date Available for saleThe Midtown CBD 144 129 15 Mary Lane CBD 184 124 60Belise Bowen Hills 228 207 21The Yards Bowen Hills 401 331 70Capri Newstead 207 189 18Mode Newstead 158 153 5Nero Newstead 108 95 13 Alcyone Hamilton 228 198 30Pure Spring Hill 93 86 7The Johnson Spring Hill 192 191 1Baxter St Fortitude Valley 56 50 638 High St Toowong 136 127 9Illumina Toowong 221 211 10Augustus Toowong 90 85 5Light & Co – Radiance West End 139 136 3Light & Co – Illuminate West End 90 84 6INK West End 107 80 27Olympia on Russell South Brisbane 65 62 3Black Fold West End 40 29 11 More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoAtlas South Brisbane 210 170 40Soko West End 120 113 7Allure West End 53 41 12Corde East Brisbane 60 56 4The Marc Kangaroo Point 69 69 0Lincoln on the Park Greenslopes 93 72 21The Duke Kangaroo Point 125 124 1NEW APARTMENT PROJECTS UNDER CONSTRUCTIONProject Location Expected completion Total units Sold to date Available for saleSkytower CBD 2019 1092 1005 87443 Queen CBD 2020 264 173 91 Magnolia St Lucia Dec 2019 34 13 21Utopia Space Fortitude Valley End 2019 300 243 57Gallery House(Stage 1) Hamilton 2019 170 145 25White Dawn Toowong 2019 60 52 8Chester Newstead Jun 2020 170 152 18Ella Newstead Jun 2020 149 119 30Gallery House (Stage 2) Hamilton 2020 150 107 43Encore West End Jul 2019 60 25 35One Bulimba Bulimba Aug 2019 30 17 13Linton Kangaroo Point Oct 2019 154 111 43The One West End Nov 2019 61 33 28Citro West End 2019 106 69 37Virtuoso West End 2019 77 64 13The Mews Woolloongabba 2019 139 136 3Boggo Road(Stage 2) Dutton Park 2019 75 63 12Park Central 1 Woolloongabba 2019 168 17 151Brisbane 1 South Brisbane 2019 608 454 154Oxy Greenslopes 2019 60 31 29The Standard South Brisbane Dec 2020 268 244 24NEW APARTMENT PROJECTS AWAITING CONSTRUCTIONProject Location Expected completion Total units Sold to date Available for saleAura Milton Late 2019 82 49 31Obsidian Milton Jun 2020 298 57 241 Jorge and Alejandra Palacios recently bought an apartment off-the-plan in Gallery House in Hamilton.Other developments, including 443 Queen, Alcyone Residences, Capri, Soko Waterfront Apartments, The Mews and The Standard all recorded more than 10 unconditional sales for the quarter.The report said construction of the majority of new apartments would be completed in 2019, with 44 per cent currently completed. (Source: Place Advisory)