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.
OceanGate Expeditions and The Cape Eleuthera Institute are embarking on a Bahamas deep sea survey of the twilight zone of the Exuma Sound using the manned submersible Cyclops 1. Beginning in October 2017, with multiple weeks of diving each season over a year, the exploration aims to uncover new details on deep sea sharks and the variety of species that inhabit the waters off the Great Bahama Bank continental shelf.Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, explains: “We are excited to explore in depth the Exuma Sound in the Bahamas. It’s an ideal location for diving, thanks to the year round warm, clear water, and the abundance of natural resources and deep sea organisms. The deep water near the coast makes it a perfect fit for shore-based operation and use of Ms. Lars, our mobile subsea launch and recovery system. This is a great opportunity to advance scientific discovery as our Cyclops 1 can venture far below scuba depth to 500 meters.”OceanGate will provide the submersible and dive crew, while The Cape Eleuthera Institute will share the scientific knowledge of its experts, and its facilities in the Bahamas. The submersible will enable repeated visits to rarely explored sites to enhance understanding of habitat association in species and estimates of abundance and diversity of life in the Bahamian Deep Sea.Dr. Edd Brooks, COO at Cape Eleuthera Institute, said: “90% of the ocean is 600 feet or deeper. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with OceanGate to learn more about the creatures that call the deep ocean home.”Dr. Andrew Gill, director of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, adds: “We are incredibly fortunate to have these natural resources on our doorstep; having OceanGate’s manned submersible at our facility for a whole year will allow us to explore the depths of the Bahamas and collect information about deep sea organisms that are still very much a mystery, as well as observe better known creatures like sharks that are more often studied in the shallows.”The first phase of the deep sea survey in October will be conducted as a series of one-day and three-day missions. Additional phases of the survey are planned in 2018 in January, April and July to better assess resident and transient populations across multiple seasons. In addition to the crew and content experts, individuals and groups of up to three are invited to join the expedition in the submersible and ashore as mission specialists. They will actively participate in the operation and receive training according to their interests and abilities to support the dive team as observers, photographers, or to help manage communications and subsea navigation on an authentic scientific expedition. The submersible will be made available on a charter basis for researchers to use as part of their specific research projects.
The jockey said: “She had a fairly good run the first day at the Curragh and the step up to seven furlongs suited. She travelled sweetly and quickened up well. To be honest, coming here today I expected to beat Wayne’s filly (Tap Dancing).” Smullen doubled up when the Tracey Collins-trained Balmont Belle (12-1) got the better of a ding-dong battle with Wachman’s odds-on favourite Orator, another ridden by Wayne Lordan, to take the Bar One Racing Telebetting 1800 624 524 Maiden by three-quarters of a length. Like A Diamond, withdrawn in controversial circumstances at Ballinrobe last month having been backed from 50-1 into 3-1, ran well on his debut. A steady 7-1 this time, the Sharon Dunphy-trained gelding travelled well early in the straight to throw down a challenge but could find no extra in the final furlong and eventually finished fourth. Winning trainer Collins said: “I think stamina won the day, and Pat gave her a lovely ride. The flat track here helped as she wasn’t suited by the undulations at Wexford the last day.” It was Wachman’s turn when 11-10 favourite Pleasant Bay made the most of his chance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden after market rival Sniper reared in the stalls and lost valuable ground in the six-furlong contest. Lordan, back from duty in Chicago on Saturday night, held third position for most of the way and grabbed Wateed inside the final furlong before taking the prize by half a length. The jockey said: “He travelled well, but he was fairly raw when I brought him to challenge. He rolled about quite a bit. He’s always worked like a good horse, but he was a bit greener than I thought he’d be. He handled the surface well. He needs good ground and I’d say he wouldn’t mind going a bit further.” Press Association Dermot Weld looks to have a decent juvenile on his hands in the shape of Flying Jib, who won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Dundalk in eyecatching style. A promising fourth on her Curragh debut, the daughter of Oasis Dream had David Wachman’s Tap Dancing a length and a quarter in front of her that day and the two renewed rivalry. Flying Jib (6-4) travelled sweetly up to challenge the 11-8 favourite at the furlong pole and when Pat Smullen pressed the button she smoothly went clear to score by four and a quarter lengths.
Tipperary’s ladies footballers also scored their first National League win of the season yesterday.They proved much too good for Fermanagh, beating the Ulster county 6-14 to 0-1 in a Division 3 clash played in Bansha.