Business leaders in New England are cautiously optimistic about the local and national economies, according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors New England Chapter (NACD New England). Seventy-eight percent of the boardroom directors and other business leaders surveyed believe that the U.S. economy will recover either significantly or slightly within the next 12 to 24 months. Only five percent believe the economy will worsen, and 16 percent expect it to remain the same.NACD New England’s 2009 Leadership Survey on Economic & Corporate Governance Trends surveyed 145 business leaders who serve on corporate or non-profit boards or hold other leadership positions at New England companies regarding the economy, as well as corporate governance issues including risk management, government oversight and boardroom diversity.”NACD members represent some of the region’s most influential business leaders, and they are optimistic about the national economy,” said NACD New England Chapter President William A. Earon. “Even more encouraging, the prevailing sentiment is that New England’s economy is stronger and will recover from the recession faster than the nation’s as a whole. These findings have positive implications for everyone who lives or does business in our region.”Sixty-three percent of the survey respondents believe the New England economy is stronger than the national economy, as opposed to 20 percent who see little difference between the two and 11 percent who feel the national economy is stronger than the economy in the region.The survey respondents also expect New England to recover from the recession before the rest of the country. Forty-two percent believe the New England economy will recover faster than the national economy, while an additional 34 percent expect the two economies to recover at the same pace. Just 15 percent see New England lagging the national economy in recovering from the recession.”These leaders who have a close pulse on business in this region seem confident in the New England economy’s ability to rebound from this recession,” said Ronald Skates, former president and CEO of Data General Corp. and a member of the NACD New England Chapter’s Board of Directors.The survey also produced findings in the areas of risk management, government oversight and boardroom diversity which suggest that New England’s business community is seriously confronting some of today’s most critical issues in corporate governance.Risk Management a Hot-Button TopicSurvey respondents highlighted the importance of risk management, as 52 percent said it is either the top priority or one of the top priorities of their boards. Forty percent said that risk management is important but not a top priority, while only seven percent said risk management is not a priority at all.When directors were asked for their opinions on federal regulation of corporate risk management, their responses were split. Forty- three percent think the U.S. government should regulate risk management, similar to how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulates accounting. But 41 percent believe government regulation is not necessary. Sixteen percent do not know or are not sure.Risk management was also listed as the leading concern for the audit committees of corporate boards of directors. When asked to list the top two challenges facing audit committees, 48 percent of the respondents cited an inadequate risk management program as the leading challenge.”These results show that Board members are very aware of the importance of managing risk at the Board level,” said Skates. “Though there is not a majority view in this survey that Boards are ready for regulation of risk management, it is good to see that Boards want to make managing risk a priority.”Mixed Support for Government Involvement, RegulationThe survey revealed mixed sentiment regarding how much power government should have in regulating the corporate sector, particularly in light of recent federal bailouts in the automotive and financial services industries.While 59 percent of respondents said they believe the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama will have a positive impact on the U.S. economy, only 25 percent said they believe that, given the current state of the global economy, the government should intervene in business.That sentiment was different when the questions focused on companies participating in the TARP. Eighty-eight percent of the directors surveyed believe the government should have a say regarding executive compensation at companies that received government bailout money as part of TARP. Of that 88 percent, 52 percent believe the government should have input but not control over executive salaries at companies receiving TARP funds. Thirty-four percent think the government should have both input and control.Diverse Skills Critical for a Successful BoardThe ability to assemble a board that possesses diverse skills is important to New England directors. An overwhelming 84 percent of the survey respondents see a need for boards to increase the focus they place on candidates’ skill sets and experience when selecting board nominees.Thirty-five percent of the survey respondents said that their boards are already comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Fifty-two percent said their Boards are somewhat diverse, though most members have skill sets similar to those of their representative industries. Only 12 percent of respondents do not consider their boards to be diverse.About the SurveyThe NACD New England 2009 Leadership Survey on Economic & Corporate Governance trends surveyed 145 local members of public, private and non-profit boards. Each respondent was asked a total of 19 questions about the economy and issues surrounding boardroom leadership.For full survey results and for ready-to-use graphics, please contact Jim Connelly at 617- 861-3654 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).About the National Association of Corporate DirectorsThe National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is a not-for-profit membership organization devoted exclusively to improving director and board effectiveness in fulfilling their obligation to ensure shareholder and stakeholder value. Founded in 1977, NACD conducts educational programs and standard- setting research and provides information and guidance on a variety of board governance issues and practices. NACD’s 10,000 director members comprise both individual directors and entire boards ranging from the Fortune 100 to smaller public, private, and closely held companies. NACD distributes NACD Directorship magazine and provides governance information online at www.nacdonline.org(link is external).Source: NACD. BOSTON – July 6, 2009 –
LD, which manages a non-contributory scheme for Danes based on cost-of-living allowances for workers granted in 1980, said total assets grew to DKK56bn, up DKK1.6bn from the end of December last year.It said this was a level not seen since 2007. Danish pension fund LD has reported an overall return for January to June of DKK3bn (€402m), corresponding to a 5.7% return.This compares to 5% for the same period last year.In its interim report, LD said equities generated 16.2%, while combined corporate bond and sovereign bond portfolios returned 0.7%.Its main balanced fund, LD Vælger, which is used by 90.9% of scheme members, returned 4.9% in the six-month period, while the equities fund produced 26.7%.
All eyes in college hockey will be on Madison this weekend as No. 5 Wisconsin faces No. 1 Colorado College Friday and Saturday in a battle of conference unbeatens.While the Tigers (9-1-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) top all the college hockey rankings, the Badgers sit in first place in the WCHA standings, just ahead of the Tigers. The match-up will be the first meeting between top five teams in college hockey this season.The Badgers (6-1-1, 5-0-1 WCHA) have been on a roll as of late, winning their last five games, two of which came on the road at then-No. 5 North Dakota last weekend. The Badger offense has surged in the last few weeks, moving the team’s scoring average to 3.5 goals per game, and has led the team on its hot streak.The Badgers’ recent success can also be explained by the play of junior goaltender Brian Elliott, last week’s WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week. He has put to rest the doubts about Wisconsin’s goaltending this season after the departure of Bernd Brückler.”In hockey it always comes down to one thing: goaltending. That’s the first thing you look at,” UW head coach Mike Eaves explained. “You go from the goal line, to the blue line, to the red line where the forwards are, so goaltending is always the key factor.”Elliott has performed admirably thus far. He is fourth in the country with a 1.48 goals-against average and fifth nationally with a .942 save percentage, both of which are tops for conference goalies. He has yet to allow more than two goals in a game this season, and in his last 12 starts dating back to last season.”One of my goals was to be at two goals against or under, and we’ve done a good job at doing that,” Elliott said. “Setting goals like that and trying to achieve that is what I attribute to that.”Elliott will have to face a flurry of shots against a Tiger offense that has the most explosive scoring line in the WCHA, with seniors Brett Sterling and Marty Sertich scoring a combined 34 points on the season.Sterling has 10 goals already this season, is averaging one per game, and leads the country in both goals and overall scoring. Junior defenseman Brian Salcido is also an offensive threat on the ice. He sits at second in the conference in scoring, right between Sterling and Sertich, with 16 points scored.After their top line, however, scoring tapers off for Colorado College, and while Wisconsin does not have one line that can match the Tiger’s top line, it has had production from all four of its lines this year.”We need to make sure we have all four lines going,” forward Andrew Joudrey said. “As much as that one line scores for them, if our other three lines that aren’t matched up against that top line aren’t playing well, they’re going to take advantage of that and score.”To get scoring going, the Badgers will have to contend with another steady goaltender in junior Matt Zaba. He is second to Elliott in the WCHA in goals-against average with 1.72 and third in save percentage with a .930 mark. This will be the second week in a row the Badgers face one of the top net-minders in the conference.The teams also match up well on defense. While Wisconsin’s defense has allowed only 1.5 goals per game, good for second in the country, the Tigers have managed to hold teams to only 1.8 goals per game and are just behind Wisconsin in the WCHA.”One of the key factors for them is their offense is their best defense,” Eaves said. “If they have the puck, and you don’t have it, then you’re not going to score.”Like any good series in hockey, though, the games should come down to special teams. The Badgers haven’t had the most potent power play in the WCHA, but it has been strong in the last few games. They have managed at least one goal on the man advantage in their last five games, and at least two power play goals in three of their last four games. Meanwhile the Badgers have stymied opponents’ power plays by shutting down 86.7 percent of their chances.This weekend will prove to be the Badgers’ toughest series of the season, and between the two red-hot teams, something will have to give.”We’re just really excited for the opportunity to get a chance and see where we match up against these guys and how well we can play,” Joudrey said. “I think this will be a really good indicator of where we’re at so far in the season and what kind of team we are right now.”