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

Facebook, Twitter drive record number of calls to Lifeline (Aust)

first_imgSydney Morning Herald 13 January 2016Feelings of isolation enhanced by our increasingly technology-obsessed lives have contributed to a record-breaking year for crisis support service Lifeline, which received more than one million requests for help from troubled Australians in 2015.It is the first time in the charity’s 52-year history that the number of crisis and suicide prevention calls passed the one million mark in a year, while September to December was the busiest four-month period ever for the service’s 24-hour crisis phone line.Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel said it was no coincidence that more Australians were seeking help at a time when they were also spending more time online, particularly on social media.“We’ve seen the restructuring of the conventional way of our society. We don’t know the neighbours on our own streets … and at the same time you’re getting this amazing phenomenon called social media, which I believe has the capacity to accelerate those senses of loneliness and isolation,” Mr Shmigel said.“The more connected we are online, physically we don’t have time to be connected in real life, and that goes against the grain of hundreds of thousands of years of human experience.“We’ve been in families and we’ve been in communities because we need direct, real, human, sticky, gooey, social contact. It’s what keeps us well.” Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Blasting off the blocks

first_imgAttending a school like the University of Wisconsin can be a difficult task to take on. With its fine reputation as being one of the nation’s top academic public universities, many people would be scared to even apply. Then there are those who chose to come here not only to tackle the academic world, but also take on the role of student-athlete. For senior sprinter Dan Goesch, this was a task that was difficult for him to become accustomed to. “My first year or two were pretty rough, both on and off the track,” Goesch said. “It was a huge adjustment for me. Gradually, though, things got a little bit easier, and I was getting used to my routine.” Now in his fifth and final year, Goesch is not only preparing for his last home meet this weekend, but is also preparing for graduation. Goesch will graduate in just a few weeks with a degree in engineering mechanics and astronautics, a degree that demands an immense amount of time to deal with the strenuous workload. “I’ve definitely learned good time management and how to balance things,” Goesch said. While Goesch is busy staying up all hours of the night finishing up his senior design project, during the day he is practicing hours at a time to better his time in the 200, hoping to qualify for the NCAA regional in three weeks. This year Goesch has already made strides toward that goal. In winning the UW-Platteville Invitational 200 meters last month, Goesch ran a 21.27. That time is a mere .08 from qualifying him for the NCAA regional in Columbia, Mo., May 25. “I’m hoping that this weekend will be when it happens,” Goesch said. “We’re running at home, and if the weather is right. … I know this track well enough that it should happen Saturday.” While he has yet to qualify individually, Goesch has already qualified for the regional as a member of two relays. Goesch runs the 400-meter relay with Demi Omole, James Groce and Paul Hubbard, while running the 800-meter relay with Omole, Groce and Joe Detmer. This past weekend, the 800-meter relay team ran the fastest time in UW history while finishing the race in 1:23.88. Goesch credits his improvements to his new training regime with first-year assistant Mark Guthrie. “This year I started doing some of the workouts that the 400-meter guys do, and that has helped me with 200,” Goesch said. “With all that 400 work I did … now when I run my 200, I don’t get tired at all. I used to be able to start real quick, but die down because I got tired. Now because of the 400, I don’t get tired in the 200.” Despite running mainly the 100 and 200 meters, Goesch came to the Badgers as a 400-meter runner. He had won a high school state title in the 400 meters as a sophomore, but had a disappointing junior year and was injured his senior year. “It was a difficult time for me,” Goesch said. “But coming here, I was excited and ready for a new chapter in my life.” With this chapter about to come to an end, Goesch looks back on his five years here as a Badger with nothing but smiles. “The coaches told me coming in that there are three lives to college life,” Goesch said. “Those being school life, track life and social life. They said that you would have to choose two of those three to succeed. But I chose all three. It was hard, but I have no regrets. I’ve had the best time of my life here, and I hope the next part of my life is just as good.”last_img read more

Avalanche deposit removal north of the Pine Pass Summit.

first_imgPINE PASS, B.C. – Drivebc has posted Highway 97 in both directions will be affected by Avalanche deposit removal north of the Pine Pass Summit.Drivebc posted; Highway 97, in both directions. Avalanche deposit removal between Clearwater FSR and Willow Creek FSR for 7.6 km (22 to 30 km north of Pine Pass Summit). Until Thursday, January 9th, 2020 at 1:00 PM MST. Southbound lane closure. Northbound lane closure. Expect 15-minute delays.To view the post; CLICK HERE- Advertisement –last_img