Norwegian pension fund KLP saw an influx of 150 corporate and 16 local authority pension scheme transfers in the third quarter of this year following the withdrawal of major providers from the public sector pensions market.In interim results, the public service pensions giant said the transfers, which took place between July and September, represented NOK10.4bn (€1.2bn) of funds, and brought the total new membership inflow this year to 132,000 individuals.The transfers are a continuing effect of the decisions by Storebrand and DnB Livsforsikring to withdraw from the public occupational pensions market, leaving KLP as the only provider in the sector.However, Norwegian public bodies also have the option of setting up their own pension funds for staff. In June, KLP predicted its membership would grow by a total of 150,000 in 2014.It said that, of the 18 municipalities that still have their pension scheme with other providers, 16 of these had asked KLP to make them an offer with a view to transferring on 1 January 2015.Sverre Thornes, chief executive, said: “This migration represents one of the biggest ever influxes of new members to KLP’s pension schemes.”He said the company was responding to the changed market situation with continued focus on value creation through good returns, low costs and good service.KLP reported an overall return from January to September of 4.9% but said equities made almost nothing in the last three months of the period.Over the whole of the nine months, equities, short-term bonds and property were the primary contributors to the positive return.Total assets grew to NOK470bn from NOK399bn at the end of December.The nine-month return compares with 4.5% in the same period last year.Meanwhile, the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (Finanstilsynet) warned that Norwegian pension funds and life insurers faced major challenges in the next few years, despite making strong returns so far this year.In its 2014 financial trends report, the supervisor said rising stock prices and capital gains on bonds had brought good results for pension institutions so far this year. “However,” it added, “the institutions face major challenges in coming years.”Low interest rates are making it difficult for them to secure a return above the guaranteed minimum rate, it said.“Although the volume of defined contribution pensions is rapidly growing, the bulk of life insurers’ liabilities still consists of contracts providing a guaranteed annual return,” the report went on.Other problems facing the sector are low interest rates, the effects of Solvency II regulation and rising longevity, it said.When Solvency II takes effect in the EU on 1 January 2016, it will bring substantially higher capital charges for a number of life insurers, Finanstilsynet said.“The latter must either reduce risk or increase their capital to meet the new requirements,” it said.Noting that the directive amending Solvency II – Omnibus II – allowed some relaxation of the requirements because of the difficulties facing many life insurers, the Norwegian supervisor indicated it would take advantage of this leeway.“Finanstilsynet has recommended applying some of these relaxations to Norwegian life insurers to give them more time to adapt to the new capital requirements,” it said.
Thousands of African migrants travelling through Niger’s vast desert to reach North Africa and Europe are said to be at risk. According to the International Organization for Migration, a number of them may be dying of hunger and thirst in the Sahara during the crossing. The EU recently approved tough laws to stem the migrant crisis, but migrants continue to attempt dangerous and illegal crossings
I cannot applaud the actions of the New York Knicks’ Antonio Davis any more than this: I’m writing my first regular column on an athlete from the Big Apple (yech!). I am a Miami guy, which is to say I am about as anti-New York as they come.Jets, Giants, Knicks, Mets, I despise them all. And unless you are talking about the fine side dish at Mickie’s Dairy Bar, the Yanks are a bunch of bums too.But the actions of Davis are so exemplary that they overshadow all my distaste for the city that never sleeps.Last Wednesday night, the Knickerbockers were in Chicago playing the Bulls in what was to be just another boring mid-week NBA contest between two teams going nowhere. In all reality, even the fact that the game went down to the final shot in overtime probably wouldn’t have made it part of the first 20 minutes of SportsCenter.But with just over a minute remaining in overtime, Davis went into the stands to protect his wife, whom he thought was being threatened by a fan during a New York full timeout.Television cameras showed Davis look up into the stands and then briskly make his way to the scorer’s table, which he calmly jumped over as gracefully as a horse in an equestrian competition, and made his way over to his wife, Kendra.That was it. No more. Kendra Davis looked like she told her husband to return to the floor and once security arrived, he did. End of story.Now, the gravity of a player leaving the field (or in this case, court) of play is not lost on me at all. The Indiana-Detroit chaos set off by Ron Artest last year is the darkest moment in the history of the NBA.And if you take into account all the catastrophic events that could’ve occurred once Davis was among the ticket-holders, such as the fan punching him, or some guy tossing a beer at him, then it is easy to say that Davis’s decision was reckless and stupid.However, the most important fact is that Davis wasn’t going after a fan; he was going after his wife, who he perceived was being threatened. A man has to protect his family, period, case closed, end of story. What real man wouldn’t do anything it took to protect his kin?Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. In what movie involving the Governator’s family being taken hostage (which is most of them) does the big guy not risk it all? Sure, he blows up millions of dollars in property and probably causes a few deaths here and there, but in the end he always protects his loved ones. That is why he is a movie hero.In fact, if Davis should be criticized, it should be for not letting loose a haymaker first and asking questions later, which is more then I can say I would’ve done (had it been me, you would’ve seen a lot more Jackie Chan and a lot less Jesse Jackson in my actions).Davis made the right move in running into the stands to protect his family, on multiple levels.First off, Davis is the Knicks’ unquestioned leader in the locker room. Actually, as the president of the NBA players’ association, Davis is the unquestioned leader of every player in the league. What kind of message would it have sent if Davis had not intervened? He acted as a leader should, and led by example.Family is the first priority.Some say it was poor leadership by Davis to go into the stands because it cost New York Davis’ services for five games. That is flat out … Just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend the Knicks lose all five games Davis misses, and that if he had played they would’ve won all five. The Knicks would still be far under .500 and at best scrounging for one of the last two playoff berths, for which Detroit or Miami would reward them with a first-round trouncing.Even Spike Lee (who is usually as overstated about the Knicks’ chances as Wilt Chamberlain was about how many women he slept with) knows the team is going nowhere this year, so Davis isn’t hurting his team at all.Lastly, what about the reward Davis is set to receive? All guys know that women want a man in shining armor (and women, if you think this is stereotypical, then stop going to see movies like “Kate and Leopold,” and “Ten Things I Hate About You”) and Davis was the knight that evening. He risked life and limb to protect his fair maiden and will now be “rewarded” with an 11-day vacation where he will surely find himself being thanked many times, by said maiden. Many times.Damn that Antonio Davis and his luck. Just one more reason to hate New York.