He said this would depend on pension funds’ future choices, such as their pensions target and the desired level of risk.“Smaller financial buffers would create more potential for better investment results, but would also increase risks,” the CEO said. Van Olphen indicated that APG’s preparations for the introduction of a new pensions system included a focus on simplification of pension arrangements.“During the past 40 years, collective labour agreements and transitional measures have created an accumulation of well-meant schemes and exceptions, which have caused complexity, costs and risks,” he said.“Together with our pension fund clients, we are now trying to push back the multitude of arrangements.”APG carries out the pensions administration for nine pension funds in total, including the €403bn civil service scheme ABP.In October, ABP agreed with workers and employers at the Ministry of Defence that it would replace the final salary scheme for defence workers with pension benefits linked to employees’ average salary, from 2019. Pension funds’ returns could suffer if, in a new Dutch pensions system, their financial buffers were not allowed to temporarily turn negative during times of economic stress, Gerard van Olphen, chief executive of the €453bn asset manager APG, has warned.The Dutch government has said that pension funds’ financial buffers must remain positive at all times as part of a new system currently being negotiated. APG’s CEO said this meant schemes would have to implement rights discounts earlier.“The risk would be that pension funds would want to increase their focus on certainty, which would limit their investment options,” he said.In an interview in IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro, Van Olphen said that a new pensions system with less concrete promises and less fixation on schemes’ funding ratios would in principle offer more freedom for investment, as well as potential for improved returns.
23 Views no discussions Sharing is caring! NewsRegional Britain’s APD response ‘a slap in the face’ for Caribbean by: – December 7, 2011 Share St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism and International Transportation Ricky Skerritt making a statement in the St Kitts and Nevis National assembly on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Erasmus Williams)BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The British government’s announcement on Tuesday that it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system, has been described as “a slap in the face for all Caribbean people.”In a 26-page document published on Tuesday, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations. Furthermore, the fact that premium economy passengers will continue to be charged the same APD as first class passengers is a blow for those customers wanting to upgradeOver a period of three years, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament. St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism Ricky Skerritt, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said: “Today’s announcement on the APD is a slap in the face for all Caribbean people. It dismisses all of the research and information CTO has provided to the British government over the past three years, and it contradicts the message sent by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne MP, in March 2011 when he cited the discrepancy between the USA and Caribbean APD rates as one of the reasons for holding a consultation on reform of UK APD. The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world and the British government’s decision totally ignores the negative effect that APD is having on our economies and the Caribbean’s business partners in the UK travel industry.”“It is a slap in the face of Caribbean people because at no point in recent months has the Caribbean being led to believe that its concerns would not be addressed. As recently as the second week in November I sat face to face with a senior Minister in the United Kingdom Treasury who reassured me that the British government was sensitive to our concerns and would be announcing shortly a decision that would have addressed the issue of parity,” Skerritt continued.“I say it is a slap in the face because the UK government’s announcement in effect says it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean. It says that APD rates to the Caribbean will be continue to be considerably higher than some competitor destinations,” he said.“It is slap in the face because the Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world and the British government decision totally ignores the negative effect that it is having on our economy,” Skerritt added.Caribbean prime ministers, ministers of tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK, including the High Commissioners, have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK government and UK Parliament and the region’s concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.The region made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that: • The Caribbean requires parity in banding with the US.• A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean’s requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations. • No other option set out in the consultation addresses the concerns of the Caribbean.• APD has become a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK. Skerrit said it is a matter that Caribbean governments would have to raise in the near future with the United Kingdom and hoped the issue would again be raised at the upcoming United Kingdom-Caribbean Forum in mid-January 2012 in Grenada.He said it is a time for the Caribbean to speak out and let the British Government know that we are not happy.“It is a time for Caribbean leaders at all levels to understand that this is about a serious economic matter and this matter will not go away just by wishing it away,” said Skerritt.By Caribbean News Now contributor Share Share Tweet