EIOPA stress tests find Europe-wide deficit of up to €700bn

first_imgEIOPA’s headquarters in Frankfurt, GermanyIn the DB sector, the supervisory authority found that, in the modelled stress scenario, the sponsors of more than a quarter of DB and hybrid schemes might not be able to fully support their pension promises.Their obligations could exert substantial pressure on the solvency and future profitability of the companies, EIOPA said.Double-whammyEIOPA’s stress test sought to identify how European pension funds would fare under a “double-hit” triggered by a shock to EU equity markets. One of the hits was a fall in fixed income and risk asset prices. The other hit was a drop in risk-free interest rates. The scenario was severe, but not implausible, said EIOPA chairman Gabriel Bernardino.For a quarter of the pension funds captured by the stress test, the value of sponsor contributions exceeded 42% of the company’s market value in the pre-stress scenario and 66% under the adverse scenario. This was on the basis of EIOPA’s “common balance sheet”.“Benefit reductions have similar negative effects on the real economy by reducing household income and consumption, but also resulting in lack of trust in the pensions system,” said EIOPA.In the DC sector, it said, the short-term effect on the real economy of lower replacement rates would depend on the extent to which DC members considered projected declines in retirement income in their current decisions about consumption and saving. Financial stabilisers EIOPA also considered the impact pension funds could have on financial stability in times of stress.It noted that the IORP sector did not seem to impact financial stability in the same way and to the same extent as banking or insurance, but that adverse effects on sponsors and/or beneficiaries, and the potential indirect impact on the real economy, warranted taking a holistic view and considering implications for financial stability.However, the stress test indicated that pension funds were more of a stabilising rather than destabilising force. IORPs could alleviate selling pressure during stressed market conditions because of rebalancing behaviour and the fact that many pension funds followed a buy-and-hold strategy, EIOPA said. For the first time, EIOPA’s IORP stress test sought to assess the potential impact on the real economy from shocks to the pension fund sector.  Gabriel Bernardino, EIOPA chairmanThe supervisor found an absence of herding behaviour, its chairman Gabriel Bernardino said during a press conference.However, he said it was difficult to draw firm conclusions as a substantial proportion of IORPs failed to provide information, “compromising the representativeness of the sample”.EIOPA was aiming for a 50% coverage rate in terms of the total assets of each national IORP sector, but only managed 39%, in particular due to a lack of data from Ireland and the UK.The supervisors in these countries mainly attributed this to them having a lack of powers to require participation in the stress test.For EIOPA, “these inadequate supervisory powers in certain jurisdictions are one of the key findings of this exercise and may be a source of risk as national and EU authorities may not be able to assess all relevant information and vulnerabilities of the sector during adverse events,” it said. ‘Kicking the can’ not fair If efforts to close funding gaps were put off for too long, the burden of restoring the sustainability of IORPs could fall disproportionately on younger generations, EIOPA warned. This was especially the case if investment returns fell short of expectations.“It is therefore of paramount importance to continue assessing relevant shortfalls using market-sensitive methodologies, the feasibility of sponsor support and benefit reduction mechanisms, also further enhancing the cash flow analysis in order to gain further insights into the time element of the vulnerabilities,” said EIOPA.Bernardino emphasised the importance of transparency, including to the public and beneficiaries. He said pension funds needed to disclose information about the sustainability of pension promises so that a dialogue with sponsors and members could take place “on a more realistic basis”.“Transparency can only help to close the gaps,” he said.“Environmental, social and governance aspects including climate change … will require cautious assessment of any financial stability implications”Gabriel BernardinoMore realistic valuations forcing action sooner rather than later was one way of dealing with the risks of funding shortfalls, he noted.ESG aspects in next stress testIn keeping with the European Commission’s proposal for European supervisory authorities to integrate sustainability into their mandate, EIOPA said this was one of its strategic priorities for 2018.In a statement, it said “environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects including climate change will be of growing importance for the pensions sector and will require cautious assessment of any financial stability implications”.Asked to elaborate on this, Bernardino told the press conference that EIOPA was focused on how the pension fund sector could contribute to a smooth transition to a lower carbon economy, and that it would be “quite attentive” to ESG obligations under the incoming IORP II Directive.ESG aspects would likely be included in the next IORP stress tests, scheduled for 2019, according to Bernardino.center_img EIOPA has warned European pension funds against “kicking the can down the road” and unfairly burdening the younger generation after its latest stress test of the sector pointed to large deficits and potential adverse effects on the real economy. In its second stress test of 195 European occupational pension funds – IORPs, in EU regulatory parlance – from 20 countries, the supervisory authority found that providers of defined benefit (DB) and hybrid schemes had an aggregate deficit of around €300bn, corresponding to a funding ratio of 79%. This was on the basis of the different valuation standards used in individual countries.On the basis of EIOPA’s “common balance sheet” – developed by EIOPA to enable comparisons and provide an EU-wide picture – the deficit deteriorated to €700bn, and the funding ratio to 38%.In the defined contribution (DC) sector, the market value of invested assets would drop by 15% in the stress scenario, EIOPA found. If persistent, this could lead to lower pension income upon retirement.last_img read more

PIP breast implant boss arrested in France

first_imgMr Mas founded the now-defunct company PIP in 1991The owner of a French breast implant maker at the centre of a safety scare has been arrested in southern France. Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) founder Jean-Claude Mas, 72, was held at his home in Six-Fours-les-Plages, police sources told reporters. In 2010, France banned PIP implants made with low-grade industrial silicone, amid fears they could rupture and leak. Up to 400,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have been given implants. Mr Mas remains at his home while police search it – as required by French law.He is believed to have been detained as part of a judicial investigation started in December into manslaughter and involuntary injuries.A second PIP executive, former chief financial officer Claude Couty, has also been arrested Mr Mas has been under investigation since he revealed in a police interview last year that PIP ordered employees to hide the unauthorised silicone when inspectors visited its factory.He told police that PIP had deceived European safety inspectors for 13 years. But he has insisted they posed no threat to health and attacked the French authorities for offering to pay for their removal because it put women through a “surgery risk”.He also said he had “nothing” to say to women facing surgery for their removal and that victims had only filed complaints “to make money”.Excerpts from Mr Mas’s interview have been re-examined by a French magistrate.The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris said he had been “quite arrogant” about what had happened and had not felt any remorse.In France, 30,000 women have been advised to remove the implants and 2,700 have filed complaints against Mr Mas.Women in 65 countries – mainly in Latin America and elsewhere in Europe – have received implants made by the company, which closed down in March 2010.Health officials in Germany, the Czech Republic and Venezuela have advised women to have them removed.But the medical advice in the UK, where 40,000 are affected, is that there is no need for all the implants to be removed, only those causing problems such as pain or tenderness. In England, the NHS will only replace them in exceptional circumstances, and the NHS in Wales said it would only do so when it was deemed medically necessary. Women in Northern Ireland who received PIP implants for health reasons will have them replaced, but the NHS will only remove, not replace, those inserted for cosmetic reasons.Scotland’s Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said concerned women who had them fitted privately would be offered advice and the option of removal if necessary. There are no records of PIP implants being used by the NHS.The international police agency Interpol has said Mr Mas is wanted in Costa Rica over a drunk driving charge.It said the “red notice” over an alleged incident in June 2010 was “totally unconnected” to PIP.BBC News 10 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share HealthLifestyle PIP breast implant boss arrested in France by: – January 26, 2012last_img read more

DNR fines Wright County egg facility for improper wastewater discharge

first_imgEAGLE GROVE — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has fined a Wright County egg production and processing facility for violations related to the improper discharge of wastewater.The DNR says Daybreak Foods of Eagle Grove agreed in January 2018 not to illegally discharge pollutants to a water of the state. In November of last year, the DNR received a complaint that a tributary to the Boone River was green in color.A DNR investigator later observed discolored water at a tile discharge, a grassed waterway discharge, and as part of ponding water near the base of a lagoon. Field tests later showed that wastewater was being discharged.As part of a consent agreement, Daybreak Foods agreed to a $7000 administrative penalty and to cease all illegal discharges into the tributary.last_img

Liberian Diaspora Leaders Concerned About State of Civility in Liberia

first_imgThe All Liberian Conference of Diaspora Leaders, representing the major Liberian regional umbrella organizations around the world has observed with grave concern the growing political tension in Liberia characterized by incendiary rhetoric  and occasional threats of violence.The Diaspora leadership representing the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA); the European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA); the Union of Liberian Associations in Ghana (ULAG); The Federation of Liberians in Australia (FOLICA); Conference of Liberian Organizations in the Southwestern United States (COLOSUS); and the Coalition of Concerned Liberians (CCL) issued the call in a joint statement at the close of a recent summit in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA.The leaders made specific reference to the recent threat by a band of former warlords against a legislator, Montserrado County District #10 representative, Yekeh Kolubah, which was later clarified and rescinded. They also commended the organizers of the June 7 rally for their pledge to conduct themselves peacefully with respect to the rule of law.“While the Diaspora Leadership recognizes that free expression of views and assembly are cardinal to the democratic process, it is also aware that the use of confrontational languages in the public space have the potential of creating misunderstanding and a hostile environment,” The Diaspora leadership noted.They further issued a call to all Liberians, including the government, the opposition and the media, as well as those on social media to be mindful of the fact that the nation is still emerging from years of instability. “Let us be mindful of our recent past and help strengthen our fragile democracy by maintaining an enduring environment of peaceful co-existence. In so doing,” the Diaspora leaders noted, “we must tone down the rhetoric as it is time that Liberians begin the process of talking with each other, rather than talking at each other to discuss national issues. We must reckon with the fact that there will always be divergent of views. Hence, tolerance and sobriety are key requirements in expanding the democratic environment.”The Diaspora Leadership Group then called upon Liberians to never again see violence as a pathway to resolving political problems. Rather, politicians, advocates, and citizens should take the constructive path organizing peacefully using the rule of Law to advance their political agenda.June 7 ProtestMeanwhile, the Diaspora Leadership Group is particularly pleased that organizers of the June 7 protest have emphasized their commitment to the rule of Law and pledged that the event will be peaceful. Similarly, the Diaspora leadership Group also welcome the expression by the government that it will uphold its obligations under the law by ensuring that Liberians exercise their right to freely assemble and petition their representatives in a peaceful manner.The Diaspora Leadership Group applauds the decision of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) NOT to stage a counter-demonstration against the June 7 protestors on the same day. This decision is not only wise, but largely removes any miscalculation that could lead to potential violence amongst protestors.Disassociation From Sanctions CallIn a related development, the Diaspora Leadership Group strongly distances its various organizations from a call made by few Liberians who styled themselves as “US Citizens and US Taxpayers” for the United States government to stop economic support to Liberia. The independent group recently made the call when they visited a Legislative staffer in the offices of the U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Diaspora leadership believes that at a time when Liberians at home are facing tremendous economic challenges, such a call by this group for an economic embargo on the Liberian people is unconscionable and may increase the suffering on ordinary Liberians. Meanwhile, the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) has already taken the necessary actions in the corridors of the U.S. Government to counter what they described as an unwarranted request.Leaders of Liberian Diaspora organizations present at the summit included: Vamba Fofana, President, Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA); Kingston Washington Wleh Sr., President, The European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA); Willie Kim Kamara, President, Conference of Liberian Organizations in the Southwestern United States (COLOSUS); John F. Lloyd, National Chairman, Coalition of Concern Liberians (CCL); Mohamed Salia Dukuly, President, The Federation of Liberian Communities in Australia (FOLICA), Inc.; and Julia Mardea Richards, President, United Liberian Association in Ghana (ULAG).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –last_img read more

Related Win a flight to spaceBranson boldly goes

first_img RelatedWin a flight to spaceBranson boldly goes… and the pick of the rest of the week’s travel stories.Holiday cats: street cats of the world in picturesCalling all cat lovers! A collection of photos of beautiful ‘street cats’ around the world, from Italy to Japan.5 cool things to experience in JapanBlogger and budget traveller Kash Bhattacharya shares his top things to see and do in Japan. A ‘cat café’ is a cat-themed establishment serving drinks and maybe food, but where the main attraction is definitely cats. We present a purrfect nine of the best cat cafés around the world.Yes, it’s a café populated by cats. How it works is that you pay a fee, usually on an hourly rate, so they can pat and play with the cats in a form of ‘supervised indoor pet rental’. The café staff are usually human.The cat café is a relatively recent phenomenon. The very first opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998, drawing not only locals but tourists from Japan, a famously cat-loving country. Japan got its own cat café in 2004 when the first opened in Osaka, Now there at least 39 in Tokyo alone.Cat cafés have strict rules (for their customers) to keep their feline occupants in good health and order. For example, to make sure that the kitties are not disturbed too much, as they don’t like getting their tails pulled by small children and sometimes just want to be left alone for a snooze.1. Cat Café Neko no Niwa, SingaporeAs well as serving coffee, many cat cafés are on a mission to raise awareness of cat welfare issues, such as the plight of stray and abandoned cats. Cat Café Neko no Niwa in Singapore (‘neko’ is Japanese for cat; neko no niwa, cat garden) only adopt stray and rescue cats. Owners Sam and Sue say: “While cat cafes in Japan, Korea and Bangkok usually feature only pedigreed cats… all cats deserved to be loved, [including] the homeless and abandoned ones”. They ‘want to show that non-pedigreed cats can be beautiful and affectionate companions’. Its residents include Emma, ‘a rare find – only 15% of all white cats with blue eyes are not deaf’.https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2032/IMG263.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more