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.
President David Granger on Friday last donated $1 million to the New Amsterdam Secondary School to improve its science and technology capacity.The Head of State made the donation during a visit which was part of activities in observance of Education Month.President David Granger presents the cheque to the Head Teacher of the New Amsterdam Multilateral School, Vanessa Jacobs to assist the school’s STEM programmeThe ancient county, the President said, has played a pivotal role in the development of education in Guyana. He lauded the school for its exceptional performance at the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams which recorded a 93.1 per cent pass rate.The school registered 100 per cent passes in Agricultural Science, Resource Management, Food and Nutrition, Industrial Technology, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies and several other subjects.However, the Head of State also added that Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) is an economic pacesetter.“Timber, bauxite, rice and sugar and some of the resources in abundance in this region. These commodities have made this region the food basket of the country. More than half of the sugar that Guyana produces comes from East Berbice-Corentyne. Quarter of your rice and the majority of your fish and cattle meat comes from this region. So, your economy has built up over the years but we need to think more of what we can do… outside of Demerara, this is the only region with a university campus.”President Granger explained that the New Amsterdam Multilateral School is one of six multilateral schools which were established to bring into operation a new curriculum.He said the advancement of the science and technology field will produce scientists who are going to propel Guyana’s development.“We need scientists, architects, agronomist, biologists, botanist, chemists, doctors, engineers, environmentalist, hydrologist and physicist. I am a man that puts my money where my mouth is.”On that note, the President announced that he will be giving the school $1 million. President Granger told the students that he has established the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST) fund from which the money was taken.The original education system in Guyana, President Granger noted, has been the recipient of tremendous investment.He explained that this year, investment in the education sector moved from 14.8 per cent of the national budget to 17 per cent of the budget which is $52 billion, 15 per cent more than last year.The President said he is not satisfied with only ensuring that every child is in school but he is looking forward to A grade students.“The first A means access – Every child must be able to access primary and secondary schools. The second A is attendance – Every child must attend the school and the stay in school. Studies have established that there is a strong relationship between school attendance, school literacy and numeracy. Giving access and assuring attendance are not enough; we want children to reach a high level of attainment which means that we want children to stay in school so that they can graduate and go to university,” the President added.