September 29, 2020
European pension funds have seen liabilities sky-rocket as a consequence of the low rates, and schemes that have hedged only small parts of the interest risk on their liabilities have suffered in particular.At the Netspar congress, Van Olphen declined to comment on the hedging policy of APG’s clients, including the €356bn civil service scheme ABP.ABP has hedged no more than 25% of its interest risk and lost 0.5% on this cover last year.“This discussion would be too simplistic and single-sided,” Van Olphen said, adding that “with the knowledge of hindsight, things are always easy”.He pointed out that the drawback of an interest hedge was that pension funds, when using interest swaps, must “park” a significant amount of assets with the counterparty as a security.“This also poses a system risk,” he said.Van Olphen said APG, in light of the coming changes to the Dutch pensions system, must improve its ability to adapt, as the pace of change was “increasing all the time”.“In the past, the sector had to absorb two changes over five years,” he said.“Nowadays, we see five major developments in a single year.” Gerard van Olphen, the new chief executive at Dutch asset manager APG, has said the low-interest-rate environment plaguing European pension funds is “structural” and will not go away any time soon.Speaking at a congress organised by think tank Netspar, he pointed out that low interest rates were the consequence not only of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) controversial quantitative-easing policy but also Europe’s generally ageing population and relatively low productivity.With his comments, Van Olphen takes a different view from that of his predecessor, Dick Sluimers, who resisted the introduction of market rates for discounting pension liabilities and argued that central banks were keeping interest rates artificially low.Van Olphen’s view is more aligned with that of Dutch financial regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB); Klaas Knot, DNB president, recently argued that the low rates seen today were a function of low inflation, an ageing population and the slow growth of productivity.
September 21, 2020
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was thrilled by Stewart Downing’s debut in the 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Cardiff City at Upton Park. Press Association “We didn’t start him because he was short of match time during pre-season. Cardiff were tiring and the spaces were getting wider, so off he went. “What he contributed was exciting and he’s glad to be here, that’s the most important thing. We hope he gave the crowd a look at something they’ll see all season.” West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen barely had a save to make all match as Cardiff endured a challenging start to life in the Premier League with substitute Nicky Maynard skying their only real chance over the crossbar. “We’ve done a great job today. Our time spent in pre-season has stood us in good stead,” Allardyce said. “We showed today that physically and mentally we were 100 per cent ready for the Premier League. “We won the came comfortably, perhaps not taking as many chances as we’d have liked, but that doesn’t matter now because it’s a 2-0 victory and a clean sheet. “They were two very good goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan and the team performed very, very well.” Allardyce ruled out making any further signings in the transfer market, stating his budget had been spent, and revealed that Andy Carroll would also miss Saturday’s trip to Newcastle with his heel problem. Cardiff were making their first appearance in the top flight since 1962 and manager Malky Mackay felt they had acquitted themselves well, despite their obvious shortcomings. Downing celebrated his £5million move from Liverpool with a lively 20-minute cameo as goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan gave the Hammers a comfortable start to the season. “There’s no need to ask Stewart if he can prove himself because he’s already done that. He’s a top quality Premier League player and has been for a number of years,” Allardyce said. “We started slowly but after that we had an awful lot of possession. We knew we were coming to a good team in a good atmosphere,” Mackay said. “They were clinical with Cole’s goal and while we had plenty of possession, there was no penetration. We grew into the game in the second half. “Overall I can’t be too harsh on my players because we gave a good account of ourselves. We weren’t overawed and that showed today.” Mackay revealed that new signing Andreas Cornelius will return to training next week after missing the match with an ankle problem and announced that additional recruits could be heading for Cardiff City Stadium. “We’re trying to get new players and we’ll keep trying to do that, but sometimes it’s not always in your control,” he said. “If I find a good player and everything comes together in terms of the club and player agreeing everything, I’ll absolutely try and act.”
September 21, 2020
Press Association Nathan Dyer’s 23rd-minute goal saw off the Clarets but it was not without scare as Burnley dominated the second half and probably should have returned home to Lancashire with a point. Danny Ings was a constant thorn in the Swansea defence and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had to make an excellent second-half stop to deny David Jones and preserve the 1-0 success. But Heaton was beaten five minutes later as Ben Mee failed to intercept Sigurdsson’s ball and Dyer advanced to beat Heaton inside his near post with a shot which raised question marks about the Clarets goalkeeper. The goal settled Swansea down and Bony began to flex his considerable muscles but Burnley were well-organised and refused to yield too much space. Sigurdsson volleyed over from the edge of the area following a poor clearance from Michael Duff, who was making his 500th career appearance, and Bony’s weak shot was comfortably held by Heaton – but Burnley had no further alarms before the break. Bony had another chance straight after the restart when Dean Marney’s headed back pass fell into his path but he horribly miskicked as he bore down on goal. But Burnley were still very much in the game and Jutkiewicz felt he should have had a penalty after more good work by Ings, although television replays showed Ashley Williams made contact with the ball. Scott Arfield and Marney both saw wayward efforts fly wide and Ings’ drive was deflected wide as the home crowd began to get restless. And Burnley should have been level when Marney’s 64th minute cross picked out the unmarked Jutkiewicz but the former Middlesbrough forward headed over. Garry Monk had seen enough and sent on Bafetimbi Gomis and Jefferson Montero for Bony and Dyer – but Burnley were within inches of equalising when Ings found David Jones and his shot was saved by Fabianski, with the ball just evading Jutkiewicz at the far post. Swansea almost released the pressure valve when Montero’s cross was punched out by Heaton and Ki Sung-yeung’s rising drive just cleared the crossbar. Burnley continued to press in the final minutes just as they had done all half but Swansea held on to make it two wins from two games. Swansea backed up their opening-day win at Manchester United with victory over battling Burnley at the Liberty Stadium. The hosts were unchanged following their shock victory at Old Trafford, with midweek signings Federico Fernandez and Tom Carroll not included in the matchday squad. Burnley were also unchanged from their 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea as Sean Dyche’s side attempted to put their first points on the Barclays Premier League board following their promotion from the Championship. Swansea went close to taking a third-minute lead when Wayne Routledge’s cross found Wilfried Bony 12 yards out. The Ivorian’s header seemed destined for the far corner of the net but Jason Shackell intervened with a precious header. Burnley were not shy in coming forward and Ings was lively as he played off the burly frontman Lukas Jutkiewicz. Ings volleyed over from just inside the box after Jonjo Shelvey had been dispossessed and then he reached the byline to cut back a cross which Fabianski was grateful to grasp with Jutkiewicz lurking. Shelvey forgot about his earlier error to get Swansea moving with a raking 40-yard pass which released Routledge down the right. Routledge sped past Kieran Trippier to deliver the perfect ball for Gylfi Sigurdsson but the Icelandic midfielder’s shot lacked power and Tom Heaton held on.