Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has signed an agreement to invest $450m (€330m) into a new joint venture with Prologis, while PGGM has invested $300m into a new arrangement with Behringer Harvard.The investment by Norges is part of a $1bn joint venture with Prologis in the US. Norges holds a 45% interest in the JV, and Prologis the remainder.Karsten Kallevig, CIO for real estate at Norges, said: “We are investing in a solid portfolio of logistics assets close to key transportation hubs.” The transaction between Norges and Prologis is expected to close before 28 February. The portfolio to be acquired is unencumbered by debt, and no financing will be involved in the closing.The assets in the transaction total 12.8m square feet (1.2m sqm) of industrial and logistics properties in the US. The assets comprise 66 properties located in eight states and nine markets, including Southern California, Pennsylvania, the San Francisco Bay Area, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta and Miami.In addition to the venture on the existing portfolio, both parties have announced the signing of a definitive agreement to form the Prologis US Logistics Venture (USLV). This relationship anticipates adding to the initial portfolio over time with future investments in the US.It has not been publicly disclosed how much additional capital will be invested in the USLV venture going forward. The idea would be to acquire logistics properties in the country in gateway markets over the next several years.Norges and Prologis formed the €2.4bn Prologis European Logistics Partners Sari in 2013. This relationship consisted initially of 195 properties in Europe totalling 4.5m sqm of assets.Meanwhile, the capital from PGGM has gone into the PGGM Private Real Estate Fund. Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I, the real estate manager of the fund, contributed $360m of its own equity to the venture. With 55% debt, the venture’s total capitalisation is around $1.6bn-1.7bn.The ownership stake in the venture is 55% to Behringer Harvard and 45% to PGGM.Much of the capital has already been placed into an existing apartment portfolio in the US owned by Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I. There are a total of 13 assets in the portfolio located in a variety of markets including Florida, Virginia, Dallas, Houston, Denver and Atlanta.Mark Alfieri, president and COO at Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I, said: “Our plan would be to invest the capital in development projects. “Our company has only acquired one existing property the past two years. There is a tremendous amount of competition for core apartment assets, and pricing is very aggressive. “The market demographics are strong now for apartment development and should remain that way for the near future.”Alfieri also pointed out the big difference in returns for developments versus core assets.“The floor for returns for developments are around a 12% net IRR on invested capital,” he said.“This compares to a 7-7.5% net IRR for the acquisition of existing properties.”
Assets in unit-link products continued to grow in the reporting period compared with the same period a year before.At the end of March, their share of total assets under management had risen by 4 percentage points.“As a result of the continuously increasing share of capital-light products in relation to total AUM, the Solvency I ratio increased by 7 percentage points in the first quarter, ending at 180,” Nordea said.Operating profit for the life and pensions business fell 1% from the fourth quarter 2013 to the first quarter of this year to €68m, it said, attributing the fall to seasonal effects. Compared with the first quarter of 2013, however, operating profit was 10% higher in the latest reporting period. Nordea’s life and pensions business grew by 11% in the first three months of this year from the previous quarter as the Nordic and Baltic banking group reported high levels of sales for unit-link products via its banking network.Gross written premiums in the Life & Pensions division rose to €2.06bn in the first quarter, up 11% from the fourth quarter 2013 and up 16% from the first quarter of 2013, the banking group said in its interim report.Nordea said: “The strong sales are primarily driven by solid sales momentum for market-return products in the Nordea Bank channel.”In the January-to-March period this year, unit-link products accounted for 87% of total gross written premiums, a 5 percentage point increase from the same quarter in 2013.
ATP, USS, IMI Pension Fund, NEST, HSBC Global Asset Management, Barings, CAMRADATA, Natixis, Omni Partners/CBFL, Franklin Templeton, Schroders, Generali Investments Europe, JP Morgan Asset ManagementATP – Bo Foged has been appointed group finance director at Danish pension fund ATP, replacing Lars Damgaard Sørensen, who left ATP earlier this month. Foged comes to ATP from the role of managing director at BankInvest Group, which he occupied since 2011. Before that, he was CFO at the asset manager from January 2009, having been CFO at Carnegie Bank prior to that. No date has been set for Foged’s start at ATP.USS – Kirsten English is joining the trustee board of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) as a new independent director. Most recently, English worked as a consultant to private equity firms focusing on financial technology and portfolio company operational improvement. She previously worked at Reuters for 16 years. English is replacing John Bull, who stepped down at the end of March after 10 years as an independent non-executive director on USS’s trustee board. Bull was deputy chairman of the trustee board, a role that will now be filled by Kevin Carter.IMI Pension Fund – Greg Croyden has retired from his position as director of group pensions for IMI, the engineering firm, as well as his role as a company-nominated trustee and member of the investment committee. Croyden had been at IMI for more than 18 years, and was in his last role for just over a year. He was a trustee for the £1.2bn (€1.5bn) pension fund since 2006. NEST – Tom Boardman has been named deputy chairman at the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) Corporation. He has been a trustee member of NEST since 2010 and is a member of the trust’s audit and investment sub-committees. Previous roles in the pensions and insurance industry include director of retirement strategy and innovation at Prudential UK. Graham Berville has been appointed as a new trustee member of NEST. Both appointments will start on 1 June. Berville was chief executive of the Police Mutual Assurance Society until 2008 and is currently a trustee of Yorkshire Cancer Research. HSBC Global Asset Management – Ernst Osiander has been appointed head of the global bond team in London. As part of the new role, he will also join the firm’s global fixed income management group. Osiander joined HSBC two years ago. Before that, he worked for FMS Wertmanagement, focusing on sovereign credit risk. Osiander reports to Xavier Baraton, global CIO of fixed income, and takes over from Guy Dunham, who left the firm for Barings.Barings – Guy Dunham has been hired by Baring Asset Management (Barings) as head of global & aggregate. He will take responsibility for managing a range of global and aggregate portfolios for institutional clients, as well as being involved in managing global pooled bond funds. Dunham will be based in London. CAMRADATA – John Buttress is joining analysis provider CAMRADATA as a specialist adviser to oversee its business in evaluating ESG risks for investors, investment consultants and asset managers. Buttress has previously worked at Royal Sun Alliance and Allianz. Natixis – Ian Burn has been appointed global head of cash equity at Natixis, within its wholesale banking division. Burn will be based in London and report to Luc François, head of global markets at Natixis. He was previously at MainFirst Bank, and ING before that. Omni Partners/CBFL – John Jenkins has been hired as chief executive of CBFL, the captive origination platform for Omni Partners’ lending business and the Omni Secured Lending Fund. He comes to CBFL from GE Capital, where he was chief executive for eight years.Franklin Templeton – Kelsey Biggers has been named as the new head of performance analysis and investment risk (PAIR) at Franklin Templeton. He will oversee the global PAIR team, which comprises more than 100 staff across 19 locations. Biggers was previously head of risk at Franklin Templeton subsidiary K2 Advisors. He will report to Mat Gulley, executive vice-president and head of investment management strategic services for Franklin Templeton Investments. Schroders – Marc Mayer has been hired as head of institutional for North America at Schroders. Mayer comes to Schroders from a role as chief executive at GMO. Before that, he worked at AllianceBernstein for 20 years in various leadership roles. Geoff Cheetham has been appointed head of UK institutional clients at Schroders. He comes to the firm from Blackrock, where he was most recently head of EMEA consultants. Cheetham will report to Miles O’Connor, head of European institutional. Generali Investments Europe – Andrea Favaloro has been appointed head of sales and marketing at the asset management arm of Italy’s Generali Group. He was previously global head of external distribution at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. Antonio Cavarero is also joining as the new head of fixed income Italy. He comes to the company from Deutsche Bank in London, where he was senior inflation trader. Fabio Cleva has also been hired as deputy head of fixed income Italy, supporting Caverero. He joined the Generali Group in 2003 as fixed income manager. JP Morgan Asset Management – Andy Seed has been appointed to lead client relationships for the UK defined contribution (DC) business. He will report to Simon Chinnery, head of UK DC, and be based in London. Seed was previously a director for KPMG DC Solutions, and before that worked at Deloitte and Mercer.
The funds said the combined contract, negotiated through the framework, would save £1.25m over the contract period, and £250,000 in procurement costs.Each scheme, however, retains a separate contract with HSBC defined to the particular requirements.Jill Davy, head of financial services at London Borough of Hackney council, said: “Working together has delivered a great value for money outcome for each of our funds, but wider benefits for each of us also as we shared our ideas and experience to help identify the right solution for each of us.”The framework, which was originally set up in 2012, allows local government funds to reduce the procurement process, still comply with European legislation, but leverage better pricing through collaboration, and the use of a price ceiling.It covers actuarial, benefit and investment consultancy services, global custody, and from the end of this year, legal services.This is real collaboration in action, already delivering significant savings and benefits for the LGPS. The achieved and potential savings are very significant,” said Nicola Mark, head of Norfolk Pension Fund and chair of the framework.Six custodians were appointed to the framework for services in November 2013, and alongside HSBC are BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, JP Morgan, Northern Trust and State Street.The original framework was jointly created by seven local authority funds , but remains open to all LGPS funds. Three local government funds have made a joint custodian appointment using the newly established National LGPS Framework agreement, saving around £1.5m (€1.8m) through collaboration.The framework, which was set up by local government funds in order help reduce procurement costs, and negotiate better deal for funds, went live for custodian services at the start of 2014.Suffolk Pension Fund and London’s Hackney Pension Fund joined Norfolk, which led the creation of framework agreements for the LGPS in 2012.Jointly, the funds appointed HSBC Securities to act as global custodian for the combined £5.2bn in assets.
“The impact of the fall in yields on government bonds more than offset the investment gains through the adverse impact this has on the valuation of pension promises earned,” he said in the fund’s annual report.Over the year to 31 March, the fund, the largest local government fund in England, fared well its 62% asset allocation to public equities, in particular its UK equities exposure.The asset class returned more than 15%, above the fund’s benchmark.Despite the fund’s making its best and worst returns in UK equities and index-linked global bonds, respectively, it still withdrew close to £300m from UK equities to finance increases in property and alternatives.It also shifted allocations from cash and global corporate bonds to further hedge inflation exposure with index-linked global bonds.GMPF made a close to 5% return on global equities and a near 12.3% return on property.Its alternatives allocations, predominately made up of private equity and infrastructure, returned nearly 6%.The fund committed to increase private equity by £100m per year, with annualised performance hitting 16.7%.Infrastructure allocations are now set to increase by £75m a year, but the fund said, with only £98m currently invested in projects, its target allocation of 3% would still take several years.Its 10% allocation to property is also set to increase as the fund continues to grow its direct holdings and the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund (GMPVF).The GMPVF aims to generate returns while supporting the fund’s local area, namely Manchester.While taking stakes in a project around the city’s airport, and funding office developments and social housing, GMPF said it would continue to build a broad portfolio in the next three years.The fund’s assumed liabilities grew by 3.2% over the year to £16.9bn, leaving the fund 90% funded. The £13.3bn (€17bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) returned 7% over its last financial year, backed by strong returns in both public and private equity.However, the local authority fund was held back by significant losses in its global bonds portfolio that included sovereign and corporate fixed income and inflation-linked bonds.Despite a net growth in assets, the fund also saw its funding ratio, calculated on an actuarial basis, fall to 90.5%.Councillor Kieran Quinn, chairman of the fund, said despite investment returns outperforming the actuary’s expectations, long-term interest rates made the funding situation difficult.
The ongoing ITV vs Box Clever case has reached a new stage as the UK Court of Appeal handed back the debate to the Upper Tribunal, some 15 months after it left the court.The legal wrangling relates back to attempts by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to issue a financial support direction (FSD) to ITV to cover the Box Clever pension scheme deficit.FSDs create a legal requirement on a company to contribute to deficit repairs within a pension scheme it has links to.The case will now be re-heard by the Upper Tribunal, which must decide if TPR and the trustees can use additional evidence submitted outside of its original FSD case, something that ITV requested be ignored. The Upper Tribunal is effectively an appeals court but does allow new evidence to be submitted as part of an ongoing case.It originally dismissed ITV’s protests over the new evidence, but the Court of Appeal has now requested the court re-examine the case from scratch.The Court of Appeal did not accept ITV’s request to have new evidence struck from the case, but, when referring the case back to the Upper Tribunal, it asked it to consider why additional evidence was submitted late on in the litigation.Hogan Lovells, the law firm representing ITV, said the judgment showed its questions regarding the late-stage submission of TPR’s evidence was important, and that it should not be approached on a “simplistic” basis.Angela Dimsdale Gill, the litigation partner for Hogan Lovells, said it welcomed the guidance from the Courts, as clarity was necessary for TPR, and others, over what the regulator can and cannot do.“The fact it is not to be taken as a given that the regulator can change its case whenever it pleases – as contended by the regulator – means it would do well to determine at the outset what the justification for its regulatory action is, since it will by no means be certain it will be able to change horses later on,” she added.A spokeswoman for TPR said: “The regulator is pleased the Court of Appeal has rejected the test advocated by ITV and that it has adopted a broad discretionary test, following arguments advanced by the regulator and trustees.”The case refers back to September 2011 when TPR issued a warning notice to ITV regarding the potential of an FSD. The regulator’s Determinations Panel decided to follow through three months later.ITV referred the £62m challenge from TPR and the trustees for Box Clever to the Upper Tribunal, where both parties made cases based on the evidence used within the FSD determination.However, in a second round of evidence, TPR amended its case, making different allegations against ITV over its funding for the Box Clever scheme, at which point ITV requested the new evidence be ignored.The Upper Tribunal rejected this appeal in December 2013 before ITV took the request to the Court of Appeal, which ruled this week.Dimsdale Gill said the next chapters of the case could prove significant for the pensions and business community – in a variety of ways, it would “test the threshold of the regulator’s powers”.It is likely the retrospective application of legislation will remain a key part of the case, given the power to issue FSDs did not exist until 2005, some two years after Box Clever’s failure and five after it was created.Box Clever was a joint venture set up in 2000 by Granada (now ITV) and Thorn TV, and included the creation of the pension scheme for transferred and new employees.The company failed in 2003, leaving a pension scheme deficit of around £60m (€82m).However, ITV said it never had any involvement in the scheme and oversaw no increase it its shortfall.Some 11 years after the failure of the firm, the Box Clever scheme entered PPF assessment in late 2014.
When Amundi was formed in 2010 by the two banks, Société Générale’s eventual exit was pre-determined, and it has slowly sold its stake to the rival banking group.The bank also wholly owns Lyxor Asset Management, a €128bn manager focused on exchange-traded funds and absolute-return strategies.Société Générale will continue using Amundi for investment solutions for its retail and insurance networks on a five-year arrangement, which could be extended further.Crédit Agricole said it intended to play a key role in the development strategy for Amundi and would continue setting out its strategy.In March last year, Amundi was set the target of reaching €1trn AUM by 2016, as Crédit Agricole added another 5% of ownership from Société Générale.The manager, which focuses primarily on fixed income, equities and absolute-return strategies, set out plans to grow organically across Asia and Europe while making acquisitions of mid-sized asset management firms.Prior to announcing the potential exchange listing, Amundi said had hired Vincent Mortier as deputy CIO – who joined from Société Générale.Mortier worked at the French bank since 1996 and was senior manager in the firm. French asset manager Amundi is set to be floated on the French stock exchange by the end of 2015, allowing part-owner Société Générale to sell its remaining stake in the firm it help found.Amundi was set up in 2010 after the merging of the asset management businesses of French banks Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, with the latter currently owning 80% and expected to retain majority control of the firm.The banks said they wanted to secure a listing by the end of 2015, subject to market conditions, and after plans had been submitted to trade unions.Amundi’s owners said floating the €954bn manager would help develop its ambitious business plans while providing additional liquidity to Société Générale as it looks to sell the entire 20% share.
The UK’s Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) is looking to increase investment in private debt funds this financial year as it continues to diversify growth assets as part of strategy changes agreed in 2015.This strategy involves reducing equity risk and creating a “high level” allocation to diversifying growth assets as an alternative to low-returning bonds.The diversifying-growth allocation consists of a 12% allocation to real assets, 5% to growth fixed income and 5% to private debt/illiquid credit.As part of the latter, the £2.73bn* (€3.47bn) EAPF worked with other Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) and UK pension funds to create a private debt fund, run by BlueBay Asset Management, that is tailored to the particular needs of LGPS. “We are looking to invest in one or two more funds in this area during 2016-17 on a similar basis,” said the EAPF in its recent annual report.The EAPF invested £50m in the BlueBay Direct Lending Fund in the 2015-16 financial year, according to its annual report.Its real assets portfolio stands at £330m, or 12.1% of the fund, as at 31 March, counting investments and undrawn commitments.“Despite a lot of demand from investors,” the fund said, “we have found some good opportunities, partly through focusing on partnerships and innovative structures.”It highlighted investments in UK wind – with fund manager Temporis – and UK and European renewable energy – with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.As concerns the fund’s bond allocation, it moved from a passive mandate to a “buy and maintain” basis, which it said provided “a low-cost portfolio with a better balance and more consideration of environmental, social and governance issues than an indexed allocation would achieve”.Last year also saw the EAPF launch a policy to address the impact of climate change, aimed at ensuring its investments were in line with keeping global warming to below 2°C pre-industrial levels.Analysis done for the policy influenced the EAPF’s decision to reduce its exposure to UK equities.The pension fund also reviewed its exposure to “value equities” – value being the factor driving the equity selection. It decided to keep this exposure but is looking for “options to reform it into an approach that is both ‘low carbon’ and ‘value”.As a first step in this process, it has switched smart beta indices, moving from a Research Affiliates Fundamental Index (RAFI) tracking 3,000 companies to the RAFI 1000 index, which has lower carbon exposure.The EAPF had some £100m invested in the value-orientated equity strategy as at 31 March.The fund is also understood to be continuing to look for private equity funds combining high return and strong sustainability credentials.These investment plans come as the EAPF and nine other funds work to develop an asset pool to meet government requirements. The grouping has been named the Brunel Pension Partnership and, like other LGPS pools being developed, submitted a proposal to the government in time for a 15 July deadline. Risk aversion rewardsThe EAPF has a target for 25% of the fund to be invested in the “sustainable and green economy”, and it said it has delivered on this.As at 31 March, 28% (£769m) of its assets were invested in companies with more than 20% of revenues derived from energy efficiency, alternative energy, water and waste treatment, and public transport, and investing in property and infrastructure funds with low carbon or strong sustainability criteria.The EAPF posted a return of 2.3% for its active fund in the year to 31 March, with assets growing by £73m to £2.73bn. The overall return of 2.3% for the last financial year outperformed the fund’s strategic benchmark by 2.6 percentage points (the benchmark posted a loss of 0.3%).Clive Elphick, chairman of the pensions committee, said: “The outperformance in the year was due to the benefits of the risk-averse stance we have chosen to take to support the fund in more difficult markets.”The EAPF’s CIO recently told IPE the fund’s investment strategy had sheltered it from the impact of the Brexit vote. In its 2016 annual report, the pension fund also noted that its investment performance was helped by the fund’s having significantly reduced its exposure to high carbon assets, sheltering it from the fall in the oil price.*As at 31 March 2016. The fund recently told IPE it had £2.9bn in assets at the end of June 2016.
The European Commission has appointed Michel Barnier, a veteran French politician and the former commissioner in charge of internal markets, as its chief Brexit negotiator.Barnier will lead a commission taskforce in charge of negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, the legal basis for a member state’s exiting the EU.Announcing Barnier’s appointment, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Commission, said: “I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job.“He has an extensive network of contacts in the capitals of all EU member states and in the European Parliament, which I consider a valuable asset for this function. “I am sure he will live up to this new challenge and help us to develop a new partnership with the United Kingdom after it will have left the European Union.”Barnier will take up his new role in October.On the basis of the principle of ‘no negotiation without notification’, Barnier’s task will be to lay the groundwork for negotiations with the UK that can commence once it triggers the Article 50 withdrawal process, according to the commission.Once this happens, “he will take the necessary contacts with the UK authorities and all other EU and member state interlocutors”, it said.James Walsh, EU and international policy lead at the UK’s Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said Barnier’s appointment confirmed the Brexit negotiations would be challenging and “exposes the very different approaches being taken within the EU to the Brexit negotiations, with president Juncker playing hardball and chancellor Merkel signalling a more accommodating approach”.“The whole process will be highly political,” he added.Barnier was commissioner and then vice-president in charge of internal market and services from 2010 to 2014, when the Commission introduced single market reforms such as Solvency II and the revision of the EU Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs).The PLSA’s Walsh said the association would expect Barnier to carry into his new role the concern he showed for transparency and accountability in financial markets when he was a commissioner.“As a result, we should expect him to insist on a high level of continuing UK compliance with legislation such as MIFID II, EMIR and AIFMD in return for meeting any demands from the UK,” said Walsh.“In practice, it has always been likely the UK would comply with most of this legislation regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum.“We don’t believe it’s in anyone’s interest to have major differences in financial regulation across what are now global markets.”The UK’s outgoing commissioner Jonathan Hill has said the UK’s exit from the European Union would not materially change the Capital Markets Union (CMU). Barnier is also a former French minister and has been a member of the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, since 2005.In other EU news, the Council of the EU, which represents member state governments, has adopted a revised schedule for the rotating presidency of the council as a result of the UK vote to leave the EU.The UK was due to hold the rotating presidency in the second half of next year but relinquished this.The Council has brought forward the order by six months in response, meaning Estonia will hold the presidency half a year earlier than originally intended.Slovakia holds the presidency, having taken over from The Netherlands on 1 July.
The IPO is expected to consist of an issue of new shares to raise around DKK5.5bn, and a partial sale of existing shares by its current shareholders.ATP has a 5% stake, and private equity houses Advent International and Bain Capital have around 43.5% apiece.The rest of the equity is held by other co-investors and members of Nets management and staff.The IPO will form part of a debt restructuring, with the proceeds pooled with new bank borrowing and used to repay existing debt, the company said.Nets said it would announce the total offer size when it publishes a prospectus.ATP invested DKK3.6bn in Nets back in March 2014, as part of a joint venture with Advent International and Bain Capital to purchase Nets for DKK17bn.ATP’s investment consisted of DKK300m in equity and a loan of DKK3.3bn in the form of a high-yielding PIK (payment-in-kind) note — a type of mezzanine financing.A Danish newspaper has reported the yield on this loan to be 14%, but a spokesman for ATP said he could not confirm this.Nets was previously owned by more than 180 separate banks.Advent International also said it was pleased – “delighted” – with the progress Nets had made over the past two years.“When we made our initial investment, we envisioned a future listing when Nets was ready,” said James Brocklebank, a managing partner at the private equity firm and member of the Nets board of directors.“The company has exceeded its ambitious performance targets and done so faster than expected, so we are now executing on our plan,” he said.The Nets investment makes up nearly 4% of ATP’s DKK97bn return-seeking investment portfolio.ATP reported big profits from another of its large private equity investments last week, with its investment in DONG Energy boosting half-year returns on its investment portfolio to the tune of DKK2.9bn in the six-month period alone. Denmark’s statutory pension fund ATP intends to remain a shareholder in the Danish payments firm Nets following the IPO the firm has just announced, with the fund saying its investment in the company had made very good returns. Carsten Stendevad, outgoing chief executive of the DKK800bn (€107bn) pension fund, said: “The transformation of Nets has exceeded our expectations by far and has been a very lucrative investment for our pensioners.“We look forward to supporting Nets in the next phase and we will continue as shareholders,” he said.Nets, which provides digital payment services and related technology in the Nordic region, announced yesterday it would launch an IPO (Initial Public Offering) of its shares and list on Nasdaq Copenhagen.