UK roundup: 300 Club, FTSE 350 contributions, accounting standards, PPF

first_imgSally Bridgeland, former chief executive of BP Pension Trustees, has become the 14th member of the 300 Club of top investment professionals from different countries – the first woman to do so.The 300 Club, set up nearly three years ago, aims to raise awareness about the potential impact of current market thinking and behaviours.Bridgeland said: “The demands of maturing pensions funds will change considerably over the next decade, and individual savers need an investment environment they can trust for the longer term.” The 300 Club was right to challenge current thinking, she said.  “I hope to contribute to the debate they have started,” she added. Bridgeland was chief executive of BP Pension Trustees for seven years until she left the £19bn (€23.8bn) UK corporate pension fund at the beginning of April.She recently took on the role of senior adviser to governance consultancy Avida International. Bridgeland is the founder of the charity Executive Shift and a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, as well as a member of the FTSE Policy Group. Before joining BP Pension Trustees, she worked at consultancy Aon Hewitt for 20 years.The 300 Club is chaired by Lars Dijkstra, CIO at Kempen Capital Management.The club’s name refers to the legendary 300 Spartans who held off the far larger Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, and is meant to symbolise a small group achieving something against the odds.Meanwhile, new research shows that, even though pension deficit contributions made by the firms in the FTSE 350 are at their lowest for five years, they still amount to nearly 40% of their Total pensions bill.The research done by consultancy Barnett Waddingham showed that the total IAS19 deficit reported by FTSE 350 companies in 2013 was £55.6bn, down £7.6bn from the aggregate shortfall from the year before.Deficit contributions paid last year were £8.5bn, down more than 20% from 2012.Nick Griggs, head of corporate consulting at Barnett Waddingham, said: “The fact 37p of every pound spent by companies on pensions is paid towards clearing pension deficits is striking and illustrates just how much companies are still having to pay to reduce funding shortfalls.”However, Griggs said the overall picture for defined benefit funding in 2013 had improved somewhat, with deficit contributions apparently putting less of a strain on company finances.“With TPR’s (the Pensions Regulator) new funding code of practice promising to be less restrictive on corporates going forward, directors should be optimistic about the future,” he said.The study showed the effects of auto-enrolment coming through for the 350 largest listed UK companies, with defined contribution costs increasing by an average of 16% compared with 2012.In other news, Aon Hewitt said changes that have been proposed to pensions accounting standards could take more than £25bn from the balance sheets of companies in the FTSE 350, and £1bn from their annual profits.As things stand, about 25% of the top 350 listed UK companies have an accounting surplus relating to their pension scheme, which is recognised on their balance sheet.Proposed changes to the IFRIC14 guidance, which supports international accounting standard IAS19, mean surpluses will no longer be recognised unless there is a realistic expectation the company will eventually be able to access it.Simon Robinson, principal consultant at Aon Hewitt, said: “We expect most companies with schemes that already have a surplus will not be able to recognise it under the new proposal – which would reduce the balance sheets of the FTSE 350 by £8bn.”But the proposal also affects companies making ongoing deficit contributions that are expected to have an accounting surplus in future, he said. “These contributions,” he added, “would now need to be recognised as liabilities on corporate balance sheets, which would amount to a further £20bn hit for FTSE 350 companies.”Finally, funding among UK defined benefit (DB) schemes has fallen by 1 percentage point over the last month, according to the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) 7800 Index.According to the index, funding fell to 90.5% at the end of July, with the aggregate deficit increasing by £23.7bn to £122.7bn over the same period.“The position has worsened from the previous year, when a deficit of £88.3bn was recorded at the end of July 2013,” the PPF added.The funding decline was despite assets increasing by 0.5% in value month-on-month and an overall increase of 4.2% in asset value since July last year.However, this contrasted with a 6.7% increase in liabilities, from £1.21trn to £1.29trn at the end of last month.last_img read more

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Sovereign wealth funds invest in UK mobile phone operator

first_imgThe Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Singapore’s GIC, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec are investing in a UK mobile phone operator.The four investors have joined Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual in the £3.1bn ($4.78bn) purchase of a 33% stake in the UK’s combined Three and O2 networks.The funds are investing alongside Hong Kong holding company Hutchison Whampoa (HWL), which owns Three and is paying Telefonica £9.25bn for O2 in a deal backed by £6bn in bank finance.GIC and the CPPIB will each invest £1.1bn.  The ADIA is investing through its wholly owned Limpart Holdings subsidiary, while Québec’s La Caisse is investing through Ivanhoé Cambridge.The latter said the deal gave it a 12% stake.Mark Jenkins, CPPIB’s senior managing director and global head of private investments, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a meaningful stake in what will become a leading mobile operator in the UK, giving us immediate scale in an important sector.“We expect this investment will generate attractive, long-term, risk-adjusted returns.”CPPIB said the deal would close next year, pending EU regulatory approval.last_img read more

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Football News FIFA reserves soar to $2.7 billion, revenue at $6.4 billion

first_imgLondon: FIFA’s cash reserves soared to a record $2.74 billion and revenue climbed to $6.4 billion in the four-year period covering the 2018 World Cup, The Associated Press has learned. The robust financial results suggest FIFA has weathered the deepest crisis in its history, which erupted in 2015 when a United States-led criminal investigation led to the arrests and later convictions of high-ranking officials on corruption charges.FIFA President Sepp Blatter also was deposed as FIFA president in a financial misconduct case that left the governing body’s reputation in tatters and caused a backlash from sponsors.After being elected as Blatter’s successor in 2016, Gianni Infantino said that “FIFA was clinically dead as an organization.”Although Infantino’s leadership has come under criticism from within European governing body UEFA, Infantino will be able to show the budget is in a healthy state, and he is due to be re-elected unopposed in June for a four-year term.The 2015-18 finances obtained by the AP exceed the forecasts presented to the FIFA Congress last June. While FIFA projected cash reserves to increase to $1.653 billion in the 2018 World Cup cycle, they had grown to $2.74 billion at the end of 2018, according to people with knowledge of the finances.The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial results remain confidential.FIFA’s reserves at the end of the 2014 World Cup cycle were $1.523 billion after generating $5.718 billion after the tournament in Brazil.Amid of corruption crisis of 2015, FIFA modestly targeted raising $5 billion by the end of the Russia World Cup, a projection later raised to $6.1 billion.Those expectations were eclipsed when the four-year cycle ended with revenues of $6.4 billion, according to the people with knowledge of the financial report, which shows profit of around $1 billion.The record revenue was achieved despite FIFA not filling its full slate of sponsors for the 2018 World Cup. Several sponsors did not renew after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, an opponent of Infantino in the 2016 vote, had warned Infantino’s plan to increase payouts to member associations would “bankrupt” FIFA, but that has not transpired.In the 2011-14 World Cup cycle, FIFA’s accounts showed just over $1 billion was spent overall on development projects with $538 million going to the Financial Assistance Programme for national associations and confederations.In the 2015-18 cycle, investment dedicated to FIFA’s new Forward development program was $1.079 billion of which $832 million had been approved and committed to member associations, confederations or regions by the end of last year, according to a financial document seen by the AP.Between May 2016 and December 2018, 941 specific projects were funded in 179 of the 211 member associations at a cost of $270.3 million. There are a range of handouts: from $30,769 to train female football administrators in South Africa to $2.25 million on youth development in Peru.FIFA proclaims it has far more rigorous system of financial controls designed to guard against further corruption scandals. FIFA rejected 201 of the 1,978 funding applications received in the four-year cycle.FIFA is also trying to secure backing to expand the Club World Cup and develop a Global Nations League, a mini-World Cup for national teams, to further boost revenue. But Infantino’s hopes of obtaining $25 billion in guaranteed finances from backers, including Japan’s SoftBank, have stalled over European opposition to the formats and funding.Even without that additional income, FIFA said in its financial report that the success of the 2018 World Cup has provided “strong financial resources” to enable it to raise Forward funds by $667 million to $1.746 billion in the 2019-22 cycle.Each member association can apply for up to USD 6 million over the 2019-22 cycle, while each of the six confederations receives $48 million. In addition, $62 million is available for zonal or regional associations if they organize at least five youth and women’s competitions per year.News of the soaring FIFA reserves comes amid ongoing questions about the lack of parity for World Cup prize money between the men’s and women’s tournaments.France earned $38 million from FIFA for winning the men’s World Cup last July but the women’s champion this July will earn $4 million. For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

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