Including: FRANCE - Unions call off strikes; SWEDEN - AP4 chooses BlackRock; UK - Watson Wyatt expands strategy group; AUSTRALIA - Future Fund appoints director of FI and alternatives; ITALY - Banco Popolare and Citi expand custody relationship
Widespread strike action in France relating to the ongoing unrest over the proposed reforms to the special pension regimes has been called off following union splits. Round table talks between the unions, employers and government have made moderate progress, undermining the case for industrial action. A lack of motivation following the extensive strikes last month was also cited as a reason why this round of walk-outs has failed.
SWEDEN - AP4 chooses BlackRock
AP4, the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, has appointed BlackRock as equity manager in the Pacific region. BlackRock will manage a portion of a total Pacific equity portfolio for a period of four years. Further investment managers for the other sections of the portfolio are to be announced.
UK - Watson Wyatt expands strategy group
Watson Wyatt has announced the appointment of Philip Tindall to its investment strategy team, taking the number of members over 50. The expansion reflects increasing demand for risk management and structured product advice as part of an industry-wide move to liability driven investment (LDI).
AUSTRALIA - Future Fund appoints director of FI and alternatives
Mitchell Stack has been appointed investment director for fixed interest and alternatives at the Future Fund. He will be responsible for researching and managing mangers and products across the areas of fixed interest and non-equity alternatives. Stack joins from Western Asset Management.
ITALY - Banco Popolare and Citi expand custody relationship
Banco Popolare has chosen to extend its custody arrangement with Citi by including the assets of its institutional asset manager clients. Banco Popolare cited operational efficiencies and economies of scale as the reasons it chose to expand its business with Citi.
A buyout tool which provides schemes with up-to-date pricing and comparisons between insurers has been launched by JLT Employee Benefits.
The DB white paper sets out plans to review the funding regime, with 'prudent' and 'appropriate' possibly redefined. But James Phillips asks if this could this signal a return to an MFR-like approach?
The trustees of GKN's pension schemes have agreed a package of mitigation measures that would improve funding to a "more prudent level" if Melrose's offer is accepted by shareholders next week.
While the new powers are welcome, most respondents doubt it will make a difference to the outcomes for members, Pensions Buzz respondents say.