Dutch schemes’ funding up by at least eight percentage points in 2017

first_imgThe coverage ratio of Dutch pension funds increased by at least eight percentage points on average last year, in particular thanks to improving equity markets, according to Mercer and Aon Hewitt.Mercer saw the schemes’ funding rise by one percentage point to 107% on average during December. Aon Hewitt, which applies slightly different criteria, found that coverage had last month remained unchanged, at 106%.Aon noted that the funding level at the end of 2017 exceeded the required minimum of 104.3% and said it expected that only a few pension funds had closed the year with a funding shortfall.This compares favourably with the situation at the end of 2016. Then, coverage of Dutch pension funds was 98% on average, after funding had just jumped thanks to improving equity markets and rising interest rates in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as US president. At the time, it was expected that no more than 10 pension funds would have to start cutting pension rights in 2017.As schemes are allowed to spread out necessary discounts, cuts were expected to be limited to a maximum of 1% last year.Commenting on 2017, Mercer said that worldwide developed market equities had risen 0.7% without a 50% currency hedge in December, and 1% in case schemes had applied such a hedge. It added that equities in emerging markets had gained 2.9%.The rise in the swap rate hardly contributed to a drop in liabilities, as the ultimate forward rate fell from 2.9% to 2.6% last yearAon HewittListed property and commodities yielded 0.8% and 2.3%, respectively, last month, while euro-denominated government bonds and credit had lost 0.8% and 0.3%, respectively, according to Mercer.Aon indicated that equity investments without currency hedging had generated 10% over last year.It said the US dollar had depreciated 14% relative to the euro.Property portfolios lost more than 2% on average last year, according to Aon, which added that fixed income portfolios had remained largely at the same level.During December, the 30-year swap rate – the main criterion for discounting pension funds’ liabilities – dropped marginally to 1.50%. At the end of 2016, the rate stood at 1.23%.Aon Hewitt noted that the rise of the swap rate had hardly contributed to a drop in liabilities, as the ultimate forward rate (UFR) had fallen from 2.9% to 2.6% last year. The UFR is part of the discount mechanism for Dutch pension funds’ liabilities.  “As a result of this reduction, pension funds must apply higher liabilities for long durations, which has cancelled out the effect of decreased liabilities for the short durations,” the consultancy said.The UFR allows pension funds to apply higher interest rates than the market rate for long-term liabilities. However, the difference between the market rate and the UFR has decreased significantly.Mercer noted that pension funds’ liabilities had risen 0.1% on balance last month, following an increase in short-term interest rates and a slight drop in long-term rates.Edward Krijgsman, senior investment consultant at Mercer, explained that pension funds’ liabilities are more susceptible to long-term interest rates, whereas regular government bonds and credit are more affected by short-term rate developments.last_img read more

Orion Academy & St. Luke’s Primary victorious at World Environment Day Exhibition

first_imgEducationLocalNewsPrimarySecondary Orion Academy & St. Luke’s Primary victorious at World Environment Day Exhibition by: – June 5, 2012 108 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Winning Exhibit by the Orion Academy students “Water Cycle”. The Orion Academy and the St. Luke’s Primary School have emerged winners in the World Environment Day Exhibition which was held on Tuesday.The Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) partnered with the Youth Division, Dominica Youth Environment Organization (DYEO) and the Waitukubuli National Trail in hosting an exhibition to commemorate World Environment Day 2012 which is being celebrating in at least 193 countries worldwide.Nelsha Shillingford, the Chairperson of the Prospective Persons Committee of the DYEO explained that the purpose for the exhibition.“The Organization felt that World Environment Day would be a good opportunity for young people to showcase their views on the environment and matters affecting them. The theme was also an important one to Dominica as an alternative energy and a green economy have been a prime focus for both government and private sectors for a number of years”.Three activities were organized to commemorate World Environmental Day which are; a poster competition for primary schools, an exhibition for secondary schools with environmental clubs and an essay competition for secondary schools without environmental clubs.Winning poster by St. Luke’s Primary SchoolThe Orion Academy placed first with their “Water Cycle” exhibit, Pierre Charles Secondary School placed second with their “Forestry” exhibit while the Goodwill Secondary School placed third with their “Geothermal” exhibit.The Orion Academy students have received a snorkeling trip to the Champagne Beach compliments Irie Safari.Other gifts for the winning schools include; vouchers compliments KFC and lunch vouchers compliments the Fort Young Hotel.The St. Luke’s Primary copped the winning positing in the poster competition, while the Convent Preparatory School placed second and the Roseau Primary School placed third.The essay competition deadline was extended as per requests from several of the participating schools therefore the winners will be announced at a later date as the judges were given the essays on Tuesday, June 4th, 2012.Ameka Cognet who placed 1st runner up in this year’s National Queen Show Pageant performed a poetry piece entitled “Stained Green” in which she highlighted several effects which climate change has had on the environment.She also asked the students to assist her in the performance by repeating the line “They say blood is red by mine runs green”.Stained GlassThe students were also introduced to the ECU’s YouTube Channel entitled “ECU Dominica”.Kimisha Thomas urged the students to subscribe to the page which was created to create awareness of what is taking place environmentally.According to Thomas, the students can retrieve pertinent information on climate change, among other topics.[nggallery id = 195]Dominica Vibes Newscenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Sharelast_img read more

Pat Spencer overpowers Nick Mellen with 9 points as Loyola tops Syracuse in NCAA tournament

first_img Published on May 11, 2019 at 5:30 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+ BALTIMORE — Before the first faceoff, the matchup was clear. Syracuse’s Nick Mellen would be stationed next to Loyola’s Pat Spencer on the edge of SU’s defensive zone. The officials and faceoff specialists readied and Mellen held his long-stick across Spencer’s chest. They had both been there before, facing another team’s best player. Now it was a matter of seeing who was better. For the better part of the last two years, Mellen has simplified SU’s defensive gameplan: No matter the size or skillset of a top-attack, Mellen wouldn’t be unmatched. For the last four years, Loyola deployed Spencer the same way, just on offense. Saturday’s biggest matchup boiled the game down to its core: one-on-one. Spencer hunted for shots and assists. Mellen did anything possible to stop, or at least limit, Spencer’s stardom. In the end, after their greatness linked them together for 60 minutes, Spencer had overpowered Mellen in Loyola’s (12-4, 7-1 Patriot League) 15-13 win over Syracuse (9-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) at the Ridley Athletic Complex. From the sidelines, SU coaches, who spent two weeks planning for Spencer, could just watch. He posted nine points (three goals, six assists), scored when needed and found grey jerseys at crucial moments to lead a Greyhound comeback after facing a four-goal deficit. Spencer’s afternoon — one in which he matched and set numerous NCAA records — ultimately carried Loyola to the second round of the NCAA tournament and ended Syracuse’s season. “He’s a load, number one,” Mellen said of guarding Spencer. “He’s a big guy, too. His vision is tremendous. He’s able to find the open guy even with a lot of pressure on him — by me.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKaci Wasilewski | Senior Staff WriterLast week, Mellen downplayed his matchup with Spencer. The redshirt-junior that had locked down Cornell’s Jeff Teat and Hobart’s Eric Holden, among others, saw their clash as another matchup. During film review sessions, coaches would show SU players clips of an opponent’s top-performers. Spencer led off the Loyola highlights. While no Orange coach explicitly said that Mellen would defend Spencer, the defense knew that Mellen would draw the challenge, goalie Drake Porter said. When they went on the practice field to run through sets, Mellen jogged over to freshman attack Mikey Berkman, SU’s scout-team version of Spencer. “We were a little back and forth on things,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said of stopping Spencer. “I didn’t think we helped out like we could’ve. We wanted to see how the game was gonna go, how many opportunities he was gonna have.” In their first in-game battle, Mellen jabbed at Spencer’s stick 30-yards away from the goal. Loyola’s top attack charged left while Mellen side-shuffled. Approaching the crease, Spencer swung the ball to sophomore Aidan Olmstead, who then found senior John Duffy for a score. On fields with no hash marks, Mellen said he relied on other SU defenders to let him know how far he was from the cage since the Orange usually plays on football fields. Against Spencer, however, it didn’t matter. Other Orange jerseys rotated toward Spencer and opened a hole in the zone. Greyhounds head coach Charley Toomey said that his team wanted to attack SU from the goal line. At first, they inverted midfielders to set up big-little matchups. Then, they rolled Spencer behind and let him operate. Desko said that SU was prepared for the strategy. Again, it didn’t matter. The senior attack utilized his 6-foot-3, 205-pound-frame to pound the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Mellen through the zone. Spencer even dotted the midfield to scoop ground balls at times. In the first quarter, while backing Mellen down, Spencer lowered his shoulder and generated space. Facing Porter’s left, Spencer wrapped his stick around his shoulder and slipped one near post.  Porter turned and watched the replay. Spencer stared at the net, his work causing those in attendance to gasp loudly. From the sidelines, Desko rubbed his hands together and shook his head. For Mellen, it was the first goal he allowed to his assignment in a month-and-a-half.Kaci Wasilewski | Senior Staff WriterSU committed bodies inside and forced Spencer into four turnovers. Mellen covered his size disadvantage in spurts, consistently watching Spencer’s hips and smacking him with plastic. In one midfield scrum, three SU players collided into Spencer when Brett Kennedy ran in and sent Spencer tumbling.“Sometimes the going gets tight and I feel like I need to make a play and I need to get this team rolling,” Spencer said. “Sometimes I do. But, other times, they’re gonna slide quick and I gotta trust the guys to make the plays.” Down four goals late in the third quarter, Spencer said the offense didn’t rush — they knew they’d have a chance to come back. Standing at the top of the offense, staring back at an Orange zone man-down defense, Spencer picked out Olmstead for a strike. Then, Spencer clogged space and Olmstead found freshman Chase Scanlan for another score. Two back-to-back penalties later, SU had jump-started a Loyola run it couldn’t stop. With 1:11 left in the game, Spencer capped off the victory with a goal that bounced into an open net. Behind him, Mellen walked with hands on his hips. Spencer turned to the Loyola bench while his teammates rushed. Before they reached him, Spencer held his arms out one more time.He was the best player on the field on Saturday. He’d been there before. “I felt like I had (Mellen) from the start,” Spencer said. “He’s a good player. I just think there are spots I was able to get to on the field.” Commentslast_img read more