UK roundup: AG Barr, Canada Life, Merseyside Pension Fund

first_imgAG Barr, the Scottish soft-drinks manufacturer, has completed a £35m (€40.1m) bulk annuity deal with Canada Life for its pension scheme, covering more than 50% of the scheme’s pensioner liabilities, and focuses on those who have recently retired.The deficit for the AG Barr (2008) Pension and Life Assurance Scheme doubled from £13.7m at the end of July 2015 to £25m a year later, with the scheme’s defined benefit section closed to future accruals from 1 May 2016.The buy-in was primarily funded with Gilts, with the trustees taking advantage of good pricing to optimise their low-risk assets.Lead adviser to the trustees was Hymans Robertson, with Shepherd and Wedderburn providing legal advice. James Mullins, partner and head of risk-transfer solutions at Hymans Robertson, said: “This deal is illustrative of the excellent value the market for pensioner buy-ins represents at the moment.“This is being driven by new entrants to the market such as Canada Life. It’s therefore highly likely we’ll see an increasing number of schemes go down this route, taking them a step closer to fully securing benefits.”In other news, the Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF), the pension scheme for public sector employees in Merseyside, northwest England, has reported an investment return of 1.2% on its £6.8bn portfolio for the year to 31 March, compared with its bespoke benchmark return of -0.4%.This takes average annualised returns to 6.5% for the three years, and 7.1% for the five years, to the same date.The previous year had seen a return of 12.6%, compared with 10.9% for the benchmark.During 2015-16, equities in all geographical regions except North America made negative returns, but other asset classes were all in positive territory, with property by far the best performer, returning around 10% (specific figures are not published).There was little change in asset allocation year on year.The strategic allocations are 30% in overseas equities, 23% in UK equities, 20% in alternatives, 19% in fixed interest and 8% in property.However, councillor Paul Doughty, chair of the fund’s pensions committee, said that, as anticipated in the previous year, volatility in financial markets was picking up, and the fund had been positioned cautiously.With the next triennial valuation to be made as at 31 March, the MPF’s estimated funding level is around 76%, the same as for the previous valuation.last_img read more

Jewish community in Toronto supports a peaceful Caribbean

first_imgTORONTO, Canada — During a special service for Israel on Tuesday night held at the Beth Avraham Yoseph Synagogue in Toronto, Canada, under the theme “Canada standing with Israel and Israel’s right to exist in the Middle East,” participants also expressed solidarity with the aims and objectives of the organisers of the Peaceful Caribbean Conference, scheduled to be held in Barbados next month, in their initiative to seek solutions to the spread of violence and terrorism in the wider Caribbean.(L-R) Peaceful Caribbean Conference Media Director Melanius Alphonse; Conference Director Rebecca Theodore; and Amir R. Gissin, Israeli Consul General in TorontoConference director Rebecca Theodore participated in the discussions and took the opportunity to draw attention to the ongoing efforts by Iran to establish a foothold in Latin American countries — in North America’s backyard – specifically in Venezuela, which provides a springboard for activity in the region.She pointed out that Iran and its emissaries in the region also engage in extensive social, cultural, and religious activity aimed at exporting the Islamic Revolution. The resulting infrastructure in Latin America could, in time of need, help Iran act against the United States itself or against Western interests in Latin America in various scenarios: if its nuclear installations are attacked by Israel and/or the United States, or if, should Iran’s sense of isolation and encirclement intensify, it seeks to initiate crises with the US, perhaps on the model of the Cuban missile crisis. In the meantime, according to Theodore, Iran is exploiting the relative proximity to the US to illegally penetrate its territory (via Mexico) as well as to prepare a terror and sabotage infrastructure within the US itself.Equally, Iran and Hezbollah will take and most likely are taking advantage of Venezuelan ties and influence in the wider Caribbean to infiltrate the small countries and islands of the region, thereby moving ever closer to the United States and Canada.Members of the Jewish community in Toronto have expressed a firm interest in the aims and objectives of the Peaceful Caribbean Conference 2012 and indicated a willingness to attend and support a presentation at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 3:00 pm in support of the conference.By Caribbean News Now contributor Share 52 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share Tweet FaithInternationalLifestylePrint Jewish community in Toronto supports a peaceful Caribbean by: – March 9, 2012last_img read more

Destination Dominica: The Caribbean island prepares for Carnival 2012

first_imgDirector of Tourism, Colin Piper.ROSEAU, Dominica — Carnival, the most festive season on the Caribbean island of Dominica, begins in early January as Calypso competitions get underway. From January and into February, Dominicans and visitors alike are invited to join in Carnival activities taking place across the Nature Island. The pre-Lenten festival, also known as “The Real Mas,” includes parades, Calypso Monarch, Junior Monarch (Calypso competition for youngsters), Queen Show, Princess Show, Teenage Pageant, carnivals and much more. The Opening Parade on January 29 marks the official start of the Carnival celebrations and the opening of Carnival City. The excitement begins during the weeks prior; rising to a fever pitch before the finale on February 20 – 21. While key Carnival events take place in the capital of Roseau, smaller carnivals are planned in villages such as Portsmouth, Marigot and Grandbay. Organizers are also planning a few surprise additions to this year’s festival.“Carnival activities are taking place across the Nature Island throughout January and leading up to the final days on February 20 and 21,” explained Colin Piper, director of tourism for Dominica. “Anyone looking for a winter getaway should plan to come to Dominica to participate in some of our exciting carnival activities in addition to diving, hiking, whale watching or any of our other unique island activities,” he added.Caribbean News Now LocalNews Destination Dominica: The Caribbean island prepares for Carnival 2012 by: – January 14, 2012 Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img Share Share 12 Views   no discussionslast_img read more