Felix Hufeld, executive director at German supervisory body BaFin, has argued there is currently “no pressing need” to change existing capital requirements for German occupational pension funds.He also warned that the holistic balance sheet (HBS) accounting approach must not be introduced “through the back door”.In his capacity as German representative to EIOPA’s management board, to which he was elected this summer, Hufeld is taking part in discussions on potential changes to capital requirements for pension funds.Speaking with IPE, he claimed there was currently no pressing need to change the existing capital requirements for pension funds. But he confirmed that BaFin would continue to take part in the technical work on a potential future IORP framework, particularly with respect to the HBS approach, which he described as “attractive in principle”. “It aims to ensure that the various safety and adjustment mechanisms existing in funded European pension systems are made comparable,” he said.But he also acknowledged that the results of the most recent quantitative impact study (QIS) showed that the question of whether the HBS approach can, in fact, be implemented ”cannot yet be assessed”.He said: “We have to wait for the results of further technical work by EIOPA.”Provided that a risk-based quantitative framework is implemented, Hufeld said he would, in principle, also be in favour of an Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) requirement for pension funds, similar to those under Solvency II.But he conceded that the question of whether these could be “filled with life” under IORP II – which will drop risk-based capital requirements for the time being – was “uncertain”.He said this was a question that “had not yet been talked about at the European level”.“In my opinion,” he said, “a holistic balance sheet approach should not be introduced via the back door through an ORSA vehicle.”Hufeld said an HBS approach was “even more complex” than Solvency II because it included the assessment of safety mechanisms and benefit adjustments on top of market-consistent evaluations.“This will most likely present a major challenge for many IORPs, and this is certainly also one reason why mainly large IORPs have taken part in the QIS,” he said.For future impact studies, he said he would like to see a similarly high participation level from German Pensionskassen and Pensionsfonds, in addition to smaller IORPs.“In only this way can we better assess the effects that new quantitative requirements will have on smaller IORPs,” he said.Hufeld said BaFin agreed with EIOPA that the HBS allowed pension funds to recognise the value of all the security and benefit-adjustment mechanisms available to them.This includes special features particular to the German system, particularly the Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV), which covers the pension liabilities of insolvent German companies.“To include all mechanisms is the only way to get a realistic picture of the actual economic situation of an IORP and its beneficiaries,” he said.He pointed out that the German PSV was currently covering more than 93,000 employers, including all companies in the DAX.Recently, the 2013 levy for the PSV, which covers Pensionsfonds but not Pensionskassen, was set at 17 basis points.
Japan’s Nikko Asset Management has hired William Low, former director of global equities at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), to head up a new global equities team.Low, who left SWIP in April following its acquisition by Aberdeen Asset Management, will be joined by six of his former colleagues, following the launch of an Edinburgh office for the $158bn (€114.8bn) Nikko AM.Stressing his team’s active approach to stock selection, Low said the group was the “antithesis of index-huggers”.He questioned the “blind faith” many investors placed in index providers to allocate capital for them, citing Morgan Stanley, Standard & Poor’s and FTSE, but argued that his team would “do a much better job of picking companies around the world”. Low joined SWIP in 2011 from BlackRock, first working as head of global equities and from 2012 onwards as director of global equities.He spent 15 years at BlackRock and has also worked at Dunedin Fund Managers.Alongside Low, Greig Bryson, Stephen Corr, Iain Fulton, James Kinghorn and Johnny Russell join Nikko AM – each with the title of investment director, with expertise on a specific sector.Yu-Ming Wang, deputy president and global head of investment, noted that many of the team had been working together since Low’s time at BlackRock.He said Nikko was active “in pursuit of high-alpha strategies, and with efficient passive offerings on our product”.“We will leave the middle to someone else because that middle can be easily replaced with cheap smart-beta options,” he added. Low’s team will be receiving funding immediately, taking over the management of some of Nikko’s existing global equity mandates.
According to the Credit Suisse survey, however, pension funds now believe the issues of diversification and long-term returns are of greater importance than cost-cutting. More than 70% of respondents said diversification was key, even if it increased costs.A case in point is exposure to direct real estate, which entails increased asset management costs yet comprises approximately 19% of pension funds’ portfolios.In its report (in German) on the survey, Credit Suisse says a shift towards direct real estate holdings is “a clear win”, as it reduces risk, increases diversification and offers roughly the same return potential as portfolios with greater bond and equity exposure. Is also argues that a shift towards lower-risk asset classes such as real estate is a reflection of pension funds’ growing concerns over ageing participants.According to the survey, demographics represents the second-largest challenge for Pensionskassen after the long-term low interest rate environment, although Credit Suisse claimed this would have a minor impact on asset allocation compared with regulatory changes and external market factors.Nevertheless, more than 40% of the surveyed pension funds said they would “slightly lower” their exposure to equities due to demographic developments in their membership structure, while 20% said they would do the same for alternatives, with roughly 5% of this group seeking to reduce exposure “significantly”.For more than 50% of respondents, the relatively high conversion rate has exacerbated the Swiss second pillar’s demographic problem. Not surprisingly, more than 80% welcomed the proposal to lower the rate to 6%, as part of the government’s Altersvorsorge 2020 reform proposal, while as much as 70% said they supported the reform package as a whole. Just one-third of Swiss pension funds are currently looking to cut costs, according to a survey by Credit Suisse, which canvassed custodial clients on such issues as costs, reform, asset allocation and demographic trends.Nearly 40% of respondents were of the opinion they had dealt with the issue, while more than 70% said they had already realised their full cost-cutting potential.Cost-cutting has been a major issue in Switzerland in recent months, particularly since the final implementation of a structural reform that sees pension funds now calculating total expense ratios (TERs) for their portfolios.In addition to renegotiating fees and adjusting asset allocations, a number of pension funds – including the BVK, the pensionskasse for the canton of Zurich – are looking to claw back commissions some service providers have received.
“So Allan has a lot of experience with both pensions and investment,” Askær said.For his part, Polack described the new role as a dream job.“PFA has shown great strength over many years recently,” he said, adding that, at the same time, the company had the potential to achieve more.“PFA stands on a solid foundation and is in the process of exciting developments in a range of areas, and I am pleased to be allowed to be involved in the process and hopefully contribute to it with my knowledge and experience.”Polack started as chief executive at Nordea Asset Management in 2007.Before that, he was group director at Nordea Life & Pensions from 2002, having previously had many positions within the Nordea group.He holds various directorships within the Nordea group, as well as being on the boards of EFAMA (the European Fund and Asset Management Association) and SEI (the Stockholm Environment Institute), but is set to leave all Nordea directorships by the beginning of April, according to PFA.Heideby led PFA for 13 years.In October, the company said he had resigned to take on more directorships and give strategic advice.Askær praised him in December for having made a real difference at the company, having taken on the top role in 2001 – a time when PFA had serious economic problems.However, in the previous few months, Heideby had come in for harsh public criticism over a potential conflict of interest.Askær had subsequently called on him to explain how and why PFA was using an advertising agency partly owned by Heideby’s son. Denmark’s largest commercial pension fund PFA has ended uncertainty over its future leadership by appointing Nordea Asset Management chief executive Allan Polack to take the helm at the beginning of April.The current chief executive of the DKK417bn (€56n) mutual pensions provider Henrik Heideby officially left his job on 22 December and was replaced temporarily by Jon Johnsen while the company set about appointing a permanent leader.PFA’s chairman Svend Askær said: “Allan’s professional background, experience and the set of values he comes with suit PFA really well.”He pointed out that Polack had been both chief executive of Nordea Life & Pensions as well as most recently being the overall chief of Nordea Asset Management.
The ECB has sent a strong signal, but it was inevitable at that point, particularly given the anticipation of the equity and bond markets. It is the logical conclusion of the ‘whatever it takes’ rhetoric Draghi initiated almost three years ago.Martin Steward, investment editor, IPEIt’s early days, but if this more optimistic take on things sticks over the next days and weeks, we could be seeing the beginnings of what could be a powerful bull market in European risk assets – but perhaps not the long-overdue and much-needed correction in safe-haven rates.Mark Burgess, CIO at Threadneedle InvestmentsThere has been some discussion about the lack of ‘mutualisation’ or risk sharing of the government bond purchases, but we feel the important issue is the commitment from the ECB to expand its balance sheet.Risk sharing was always likely to be a stumbling block, particularly given strong German opposition to the idea, but it should not reduce the effectiveness of the policy in terms of addressing short-term growth and deflation concerns. Importantly, German policymakers have not questioned the legality of the ECB’s decision to implement sovereign QE, although it is clear many Germans do not like it.Andrew Sheets, Phanikiran L Naraparaju and Serena W Tang of Morgan Stanley ResearchWe view the size as a positive surprise versus market expectations. More risk-sharing would have been better in our view, but at least there was some. The decision to allow buying out to 30-year maturities came as a surprise to markets. Combined with a larger-than-expected buying programme, we’d expect 30-year Spain to outperform.Jon Jonsson, senior portfolio manager at Neuberger BermanOverall, the announcement takes a constructive step in repairing the credibility of the ECB. We anticipate that the impact should generally be positive for risky assets within fixed income, prompting a tightening of spreads in peripheral sovereign markets, as well as European corporate credit. Equities, in turn, are likely to rally on a better economic outlook.Dennis van Ek, actuary at Mercer in the NetherlandsThe causes of the currently low rates – low inflation, as well as the ECB’s policy of suppressing rates – are still present. The purchasing programme will amplify this effect.Filippo Battistini, head of institutional and fund buyers at Allianz Global Investors in ItalyThe traditional carry strategies will no longer be sufficient. There is a potential for more flexible asset management strategies to gain ground, ones that include new alternative asset classes in the fixed income space and are complemented by hedging with derivative instruments.Maria Paola Toschi, global market strategist at JP Morgan in ItalyThe QE decision could initiate a very favourable period for the European economy, including firms and investors. The bond-buying programme should continue to put pressure on peripheral spreads, thus creating positive conditions in terms of debt obligations.We are convinced the ECB announcement and its implications for a weakening euro, coupled with a stable rates environment, could lead to potentially significant change in Europe. This makes us confident Europe will be one of the most promising investment themes of this year. A day after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi unveiled details of a €60bn-a-month asset purchase programme, a European quantitative easing (QE), IPE rounds up reactions from across the Continent to find out if the intervention will be able to pull the single currency out of its disinflationary spiralJohn Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset ManagementFortunately, the ECB positively surprised the market in most every way. It is a historic day for central banking in Europe and, therefore, for the world, too, even if one thinks the economic effects will be marginal. In a sense, the ECB is now the most aggressive central bank in the G-3, as it has both negative policy rates and sovereign QE, but there are some factors to consider going forward.Andrea Beltratti, chairman at Eurizon Capital
VBV Group – Andreas Zakostelsky is to join the occupational pension provider as group chief executive, a move first reported by IPE earlier this week. Zakostelsky, an Austrian MP and former head of Valida Group, will assume the new position in April, replacing Karl Timmel, who is retiring after 26 years in the role. Timmel will be replaced as head of VBV Pensionskasse by Gernot Heschl, who joined the board at the beginning of the year, and previously worked for Erste Group Bank and UniCredit/Bank Austria Group.Erste Asset Management – Robert Senz has been appointed head of fixed income. Senz has more than 25 years of experience in fixed income and has worked at Raiffeisen Capital Management, where he was CIO for bonds. The current head, Alexander Fleischer, will take an educational leave at his own request.Pictet Asset Management – Simon Gottelier joins as senior investment manager for the Water strategy from Impax Asset Management, while Peter Lingen joins as senior investment manager to co-manage the Robotics strategy from Swedbank Robur. Christian Roessing joins the thematic equities team from Vontobel Asset Management, and Cyril Benier has been appointed as a senior investment manager in the small-cap equities team, joining from AXA Investment Managers.AXA Investment Managers – The Duy Nguyen has been appointed as a senior portfolio manager. Nguyen will be responsible for managing multi-asset class portfolios within AXA IM’s structured finance team. He joins from Natixis, where he spent five years in the European asset-backed securities and collateralised loan obligations trading team.Sacker & Partners LLP – The UK law firm for pension scheme trustees, employers and providers has strengthened its defined contribution offering with the appointment of Jacqui Reid as an associate director. Reid was previously at Linklaters for 15 years, where she advised trustee and employer clients on defined benefit, DC and hybrid schemes. ATP, PensionDanmark, Skandia, Achmea Investment Management, Actiam, VBV Group, Erste Asset Management, Raiffeisen Capital Management, Pictet Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers, Natixis, Sacker & Partners LLP, LinklatersATP – Lars Gjørret started work on 1 January as property investment manager at ATP Real Estate, within its investment & portfolio unit. He comes to ATP from an eight-year stretch at PensionDanmark, where he was most recently project director specialising in residential developments. ATP said Gjørret’s main responsibility at its property investment division would be to execute the new strategy within residential investments, and that he would also take part in property development generally.Skandia – Per Wahlström, one of the two head directors of Skandia in Denmark, is taking over sole responsibility for the company’s Danish business. The current co-head, Charsten Christensen, is to leave the company in the summer, when he has completed a big strategic project. Wahlström will take on the role of chief executive of Skandia Link Livsforsikring (Life Insurance). Skandia said the change in management was result of its efforts to reduce the number of its Danish legal business entities to two from six. It said the changes it has made in the last three years meant it could now focus on offering unit-link pension products and health-related products.Achmea Investment Management – Jacob de Wit has been appointed chairman of the new asset management division as of 1 February. He is to succeed Hans Snijders, who has been holding the position on an interim basis. De Wit has been executive chairman at asset manager Actiam. Prior to this, he was a member of the executive committee at F&C Asset Management. Achmea Investment Management was established on 1 January after Syntrus Achmea Vermogensbeheer and Achmea Beleggingsfondsen Beheer merged.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of the bank’s investment arm, British Business Investments, said the organisation’s earlier venture capital project – the UK Innovation Investment Fund – had backed a number of funds that had already invested in “a large number of outstanding UK businesses”.“The £500m made available today under our new Managed Funds programme will build on this experience by attracting more institutional capital to the venture and growth asset class,” she added. “Through this Managed Funds programme, prospective investors will be able to access high quality venture and growth capital funds that will be investing in the success stories of tomorrow.”In November last year Chancellor Philip Hammond, head of the UK’s Treasury department, announced plans to “unlock over £20bn” for “scale-up businesses”.As part of this move, the Treasury said the Pensions Regulator would “clarify guidance on investments with long-term investment horizons”.“With over £2trn in UK pension funds, small changes in investment have the potential to transform the supply of capital to innovative firms,” the chancellor’s report said.However, JP Morgan Asset Management’s Sorca Kelly-Scholte previously warned that the mature nature of UK defined benefit funds – which still account for the majority of the country’s pension assets – meant that illiquid asset classes such as venture capital were not always suitable.“Funds are maturing and they often think that private equity is not the right risk or liquidity profile for them,” Kelly-Scholte told IPE in November. “They don’t want to get into illiquid assets if they are going for buyout.”Last month, the European Commission and the European Investment Fund launched a similar venture capital programme, VentureEU, with initial capital of €410m. The Commission said it expected to unlock €6.5bn of new investment in start-up and high-growth companies across Europe. The UK government has launched a £500m (€567.3m) venture capital programme as part of its stated aim of encouraging more pension funds to invest in small domestic companies.The Managed Funds programme, launched by the government-funded British Business Bank, aims to increase long-term allocations through investing in “large scale” funds of funds.In a statement, the bank said its project would “boost the amount of patient capital available to the UK’s high-growth businesses”. The programme aimed to generate a “commercial rate of return” from a diversified portfolio.Managers interested in running money through the programme have been invited to pitch to the British Business Bank.
“Allow the bouquet of ESG to grow first before setting standards, otherwise we could end up with a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out’”Claudio Gligo, CIO, BonusHe added that the OeNB – which runs a €3.1bn portfolio of reserves and buffers – hoped for “further developments” pushed by demand, but it also “believes in the reinforcing effect of regulation”.Standardisation of ESG Partsch was convinced that the standard rating process and the assessment of ESG criteria would merge in the near future.“For investors, the impact is not important but the risk-return profile is,” he said.During a panel discussion at the conference, Claudio Gligo, CIO of the €2.5bn Bonus Group Vorsorgekasse and Pensionskasse, warned against too much standardisation.“Until very recently ESG was still a niche topic and not taken very seriously by many,” he said. It has since reached a different standing and as clients’ awareness of the subject was increasing, hard facts were necessary, Gligo said.However, the CIO warned that too much regulation could mean standardisation at a low quality level. “Allow the bouquet of ESG to grow first before setting standards, otherwise we could end up with a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out’,” he warned.Gligo agreed with Partsch that “any risk analysis not taking ESG factors into account is incomplete”.As the OeNB was part of a global network of national banks, Partsch was able to confirm that there were “strong developments in Asia” regarding ESG topics with Europe being “the frontrunner with its action plan”. However, there was “little interest from North America”, he added. The differences between providers were mainly concerned with how ESG was implemented within company structures, and in the ex-post assessment of ESG issues.“Many areas of sustainable investing are lacking best practice and market standards,” Partsch said. Investors are becoming more aware of the risk elements of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, which is increasing their significance, according to Austria’s central bank.Speaking at an industry event in Vienna last week, Franz Partsch, director of the treasury department at the Austrian National Bank (OeNB), said: “We are looking at sustainability from a risk point of view – we do not want to be exposed to ESG risks both because of return as well as reputation.”At the annual summit organised by Barbara Bertolini and aimed at institutional investors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the OeNB treasurer called for more standards in ESG investing.“When we tendered an equity mandate last year with an ESG benchmark we saw major differences in the technical implementation of ESG,” Partsch said.
LSR – Iceland’s Pension Fund for State Employees (LSR) has appointed Harpa Jónsdóttir as its new chief executive. She replaces Haukur Hafsteinsson , who announced his retirement in March, after working for the ISK826bn (€6bn) pension fund – Iceland’s largest – for 37 years. Jónsdóttir previously worked as director of the financial stability division at the Central Bank of Iceland. Columbia Threadneedle Investments – Mark Burgess , CIO for the EMEA region and deputy global CIO at Columbia Threadneedle, is to leave the asset manager to take a career break after nine years at the firm. He will depart the firm on 27 September.William Davies , currently the group’s global head of equities, will take on Burgess’ EMEA role, the company said. He joined Columbia Threadneedle in 1994 when it was founded, initially as a European equities portfolio manager. He became head of European equities in 1999 and of the global equities team in 2011. He has been global head of equities since 2017, overseeing all the company’s equity teams.Burgess said: “In this ‘age of longevity’, I am looking forward to taking a break to spend time with my family, pursue some of my other interests and consider the next phase.“The ability to hand over the mantle to William Davies, an exceptional investor and people leader, has made the decision easier and I look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the EMEA investment team under William’s leadership.” Willis Towers Watson – The consultancy has named Rash Bhabra as head of its retirement business in Great Britain. Bhabra has been with Willis Towers Watson for more than 20 years, in roles such as head of the financial services group and head of corporate consulting, and is replacing Peter Rowles , who will be retiring at the end of 2019.Rowles has spent the past five years as head of retirement for Great Britain, and will have worked at the consultancy for 32 years in total.Gresham House – The UK-based asset manager has hired Richard Staveley from Majedie Asset Management as a managing director in its strategic public equity team.Tony Dalwood, Gresham House CEO, said Staveley’s appointment would help the company’s push into offering listed equity products and strategies, following the launch of a joint venture with Aberdeen Standard Investments in March.Before joining Majedie, where he was responsible for small caps, Staveley was a founding partner of River and Mercantile Asset Management. He has also served as head of UK small companies at Société Générale Asset Management.Law Debenture – The listed professional services firm has appointed Keith Scott as a trustee director. He joins from BMO Global Asset Management where he was a client director, managing pension funds and focusing on liability-driven investments, credit, and ESG.Scott was previously at IBM, where he spent 17 years in various pension roles – latterly European pensions director.AXA Investment Managers – Simon Baxter has been appointed to the French asset manager’s “buy and maintain” fixed income team as a portfolio manager, based in London. The buy and maintain team focuses on global credit and “cashflow delivery” investment strategies and manages £305bn.Baxter has previously worked at Morgan Stanley Investment Managers and BlackRock, in both cases managing global credit investments. Aon – The consultancy giant has appointed Stephen Purves as a partner in its risk settlement team. He was previously head of core business at UK-based insurer Aviva , responsible for four teams and leading on several bulk annuity transactions. He has also worked at Mercer and Higham Group.Aon has advised on a number of major bulk annuity deals this year and has predicted that total transactions for 2019 could hit £40bn by the end of the year. Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) – Julia Beinker has joined the €36.8bn asset manager as a managing director to support its growing distribution activities in Europe. She will initially focus on Austria and Germany, the company said. ICG’s assets under management in Austria and Germany have grown by 6% in the last two years, it added.Beinker was previously at Muzinich & Co where she was also responsible for distribution in Austria and Germany. She has also worked for Deutsche Bank.Smart Pension – UK-based Smart Pension has appointed Mark Howard as its general counsel for pensions and financial services. He joins from law firm Clyde & Co where he worked for 14 years, latterly as head of pensions.Smart runs a UK defined contribution, multi-employer master trust. The trust received authorisation from the Pensions Regulator this week.Cairn Capital – The $4.5bn (€4.1bn) credit investment specialist has named Nicholas Chalmers as its new CEO, succeeding founding CEO Paul Campbell .Campbell co-founded Cairn Capital in 2004. He will continue to serve the firm as a senior adviser and a member of its investment and capital allocation committees, the company said in a statement.Chalmers was previously CEO and president of boutique investment house Oceanwood Capital Management . His appointment is subject to regulatory approval. XPS Pensions Group – The UK consultancy firm has named Ben Gold as head of investment, taking over from Patrick McCoy who has become head of advisory for the company’s pensions and investment businesses.In a statement, McCoy said his new role was aimed at ensuring XPS produced “well thought through, joined-up advice across all our advisory service lines, which helps clients meet their long term goals”.Gold joined XPS nearly five years ago as head of investment for its Leeds office, and was previously an investment consultant at KPMG.Svensk Försäkring – Louise Sander has been appointed as the new chair of the industry organisation for Swedish insurance companies Svensk Försäkring. She is the chief executive of Handelsbanken Liv , the life arm of the Swedish banking conglomerate. and has been a member of the supervisory board of Svensk Försäkring since 2013. The insurance body said she took up the role on 1 September. Achmea – Achmea Pensioen & Levensverzekeringen has appointed Robert Otto and Michel Lamie as members of the division’s statutory board as of 1 September. They replaced Frans van der Ent and Martin Heuvelmans, division chairman and financial director, respectively, who are to continue in their roles.Achmea said the moves were part of organisational and governance changes, designed to create closer links between the market-focused chains and to simplify the organisation’s management.AFM – Dutch regulator Autoriteit Financiële Markten has named Rob Langezaal as member of its supervisory board (RvT) as of 1 September.From 2007 to 2015, Langezaal was a member of the executive board of SNS Retail Bank. He worked as chief client officer at Volksbank between 2015 and 2018. Prior to this, he had several positions at telecoms firm KPN during a 25-year spell, including general director of KPN Retail. His appointment is for a 4-year period.The AFM’s RvT is now complete and also comprises Martin van Rijn – a former CEO at the €211bn asset manager and pensions provider PGGM – Willemijn van Dolen, Wendy de Jong and David Voetelink.The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) – Caroline Rookes , former chief executive of the Money Advice Service , has been appointed interim chair of TPO, the body responsible for resolving complaints relating to pension funds and retirement savings.Prior to the Money Advice Service Rookes was director of private pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions. She is also an experienced pension trustee and from 2015 to 2019 was a non-executive trustee at NEST.Northern Trust – The financial services giant has hired Rob Dixon from State Street to join its London-based transition management team, which covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Northern Trust has also appointed Mat Cook – also from State Street – to establish a dedicated transition management team in Sydney, Australia.SYZ Asset Management – Adrien Pichoud , chief economist, has taken on the role of head of total return strategies, leading a new team. Under the new structure Maurice Harari will oversee equity allocation with the support of the global equity team for security selection, credit selection will be performed by the credit team led by Antonio Ruggeri , and Christophe Buttigieg will oversee the emerging market debt exposure.Morningstar – Libby Bernick will join Morningstar as its head of sustainability effective 9 September. She was most recently at Trucost , an ESG analytics firm that is now part of S&P Global, where she was most latterly managing director and global heaad of Trucost corporate business. She replaces Steven Smit , who recently left Morningstar. Her role at the fund analysis firm will be to lead its cross-functional ESG research team. PIMCO – Nick Granger has been hired from Man Group as managing director and portfolio manager for quantitative analytics. The fixed income manager said he would lead its quantitative team from the company’s base in Newport Beach, California, working with its more than 255 portfolio managers. He will take up his role in the first quarter of next year.At UK-listed hedge fund Man Group, Granger was chief investment officer for the Man AHL unit as well as a member of the group’s executive committee. He joined Man AHL in 2008, having previously been an equity derivatives strategist at JP Morgan. GlaxoSmithKline, LSR, Columbia Threadneedle, Gresham House, Law Debenture, AXA IM, Aon, ICG, Smart Pension, Cairn Capital, XPS, Svensk Försäkring, Achmea, AFM, Pensions Ombudsman, Northern Trust, SYZ AM, Morningstar, PIMCOGlaxoSmithKline – The pharmaceuticals giant has appointed James Chemirmir as UK pensions director, responsible for overseeing GSK’s £12.6bn (€13.9bn) pension arrangements. He replaces Dan McDonald.Chemirmir was previously an actuarial manager at audit and consultancy group EY , according to his LinkedIn page. He took up his role at GSK on 2 September.
Offshore driller Rowan Companies has bought two jack-up drilling rigs from Petrobras for a total of $77 million. Rowan has concluded the purchase of two LeTourneau Super 116E jack-up rigs, the P-59 and P-60, which were both delivered new into service in 2013, in a public auction from a subsidiary of Petrobras for $38.5 million per unit, the driller informed on Friday.As previously reported, Rowan was the high bidder in a Petrobras public auction with a bid price of $30 million per rig. While the high bid was not accepted by Petrobras, after negotiations, both parties agreed to the revised price.The company said it intends to mobilize these modern jack-ups to the Middle East from their current location in Brazil in late first quarter 2018.Tom Burke, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We consider this purchase an opportunistic investment, made near a cyclical low, at a highly attractive price. Since mid-2015 we have divested five older jack-ups (Rowan Louisiana, Rowan Juneau, Rowan Alaska, Rowan Gorilla II and Rowan Gorilla III).“The addition of these two modern rigs will help renew the Rowan fleet and increase the company’s future earnings capability. We are very familiar with the design and construction of these rigs. We are confident in our ability to integrate these jack-ups into our existing fleet to generate strong financial returns from this investment and deliver safe, efficient and reliable operations to our customers.”The company also announced that it sold the Cecil Provine in November 2017 for scrap, and has cold-stacked the Gorilla IV following the conclusion of its latest contract.