The decision, however, was a temporary one, according to Van Vlier, “as the social partners could not agree on the direction at the time”.Van Vlier, who declined to provide further details on the differing opinions, said the investigation into the scheme’s options came as a consequence of the nationwide debate on the viability of smaller pension funds.“It is a sensitive issue, and there is a lot of emotion,” she said.“Many participants are proud having their own pension fund.”According to the scheme’s annual report, the parties involved have agreed that a solution will be implemented on 1 January 2017.Roozemond, who has chaired Waterbouw since September, said the pension fund was preparing for various scenarios but had to wait for decisions from the social partners before any implementation could begin.She said many scenarios were possible, as, in addition to the mandatory plan for the 1,000 workers in the Netherlands, there were three voluntary arrangements for 2,000 employees abroad.Previous negotiations to merge with BpfBouw, the €47bn scheme for the Dutch building industry, broke down, as did talks with PGB and Koopvaardij, due to differences over investment policy.Waterbouw has approximately 12,000 workers, former workers and pensioners, affiliated with 70 employers. Waterbouw, the €1.1bn pension fund for the Dutch maritime construction sector, is considering its future as an independent scheme.Member companies and employees are now looking into whether the accrual of pension rights should remain with the pension fund, according to Lea van Vlier, secretary for the social partners.Kitty Roozemond, Waterbouw’s recently appointed chair, said the pension fund, which is responsible for existing pension rights, was preparing itself for the implementation of a number of different scenarios. The social partners and trustees decided last year to maintain the pension fund’s independence after a study concluded that placing Waterbouw’s pensions with another scheme or an insurer would fail to satisfy all parties.
The Danish Risk Council has given a strong warning that sudden changes in how the markets view risk could lead to big falls in asset prices and fire sales.The council, chaired by the director of the Danish central bank Lars Rohde, said after its latest quarterly meeting: “Sudden changes in risk perception in the financial markets combined with low market liquidity may still lead to significant falls in asset prices and fire sales.”It warned about behaviour that could be unleashed by the availability of cheap credit.“Due caution should be exerted in relation to the low level of interest rates, which may lead to excessive risk-taking and risk illusion among borrowers and credit institutions,” the council said. The Danish Risk Council was set up in 2013 by the country’s government to address systemic risks in the financial sphere.In its statement, the council said that, in the last few months, the risk of a rapid and marked fall in asset prices in some of the global financial markets had appeared to some extent.“The large fluctuations in the financial markets in early 2016 have not had systemic consequences in Denmark,” it said, but it warned that sudden changes in the perception of risk could prompt big asset price falls.Seasonally adjusted prices in the housing market continued to rise in the second half of last year, it said, even though this was at a more moderate pace than in the first half for single-family houses. Expectations of future price developments remains high, it said. “While growth in housing loans in Copenhagen and Aarhus has subsided, market expectations of low interest rates several years ahead may still lead to excessive risk-taking and risk illusion among borrowers and credit institutions,” the council said.It said this could be the case if the risks of higher interest rates and a reversal in house prices were not taken into account to a sufficient degree. The council said the observation it made in March last year about low interest rates and the build-up of systemic risks still applied.Back then, it said the conditions for a rapid build-up of systemic financial risks were in place due to the extraordinarily low interest rates, especially if these were “embedded into the expectations of borrowers and credit institutions”.The council said yesterday that it also discussed potential systemic risks stemming from the insurance and pension fund sectors at its latest meeting. “The Council considers it crucial that companies be appropriately capitalised to avoid fire sales in periods of sudden changes in asset prices,” it said, adding that it would continue the analysis of systemic risks in the insurance and pension fund sectors.Meanwhile, in its regulation statistics publications, the Danish central bank (Danmarks Nationalbank) reported that, even though interest rates on overnight deposits remain negative in Denmark, companies in the country are still putting more money into banks.It said the average interest rate for the overnight deposits had been negative since April 2015 but that deposits grew in February by DKK21bn (€2.8bn) to stand at DKK218bn at the end of the month.“Overnight deposits account for more than 94% of total corporate deposits, while time deposits account for an ever smaller proportion, even though the interest rate on these is still positive, albeit declining,” the central bank said.The average interest rate on all overnight deposits for business was just below zero in February.The bank said the insurance and pension sector, as well as unit trusts, were now getting the lowest average deposit interest rates at around -0.6% on their total deposits.
Italian banking group UniCredit confirmed it has received offers from other parties to acquire Pioneer Investments and that it is now in talks with potential buyers.The group put out a statement in response to “media speculations regarding asset sales”, saying offers had been received for the subsidiary.It said: “As announced on 11 July 2016, UniCredit is undertaking an in-depth group-wide strategic review, focusing on how to reinforce and optimise the group’s capital position, improve profitability and ensure continuous transformation of operations whilst maintaining flexibility to seize value-creating opportunities.”The review encompassed all major areas of the bank, it said. “The outcome of this strategic review will be unveiled at a capital markets day in London on 13 December 2016,” it said.“As regards Pioneer Investments, there can be no certainty these discussions will lead to any transaction nor any certainty as to the terms upon which any such transaction might potentially proceed.”Italy’s postal service Poste Italiane confirmed it had presented a bid for Pioneer to UniCredit, in cooperation with Italian bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Italian independent asset manager ANIMA.Poste Italiane said the three firms had come together to acquire Pioneer jointly and create a leading asset management operator.The postal firm said the joint project was intended to create value for the three companies’ respective shareholders, and be capable of making the most of private savings in Italy.French asset manager Amundi has also said it is interested in buying Pioneer, and other parties reportedly in the bidding include Australian group Macquarie and the UK’s Aberdeen Asset Management.Offers for Pioneer, according to Italian press reports, are said to be around €3.6bn.
Joseph Mariathasan explores how India might get its financial house in order after a botched currency demonetisationIndia’s radical and many would say misguided move to ban “high-denomination” notes overnight on 8 November during the peak wedding season in a largely cash economy has caused chaos and will reduce GDP in the short term by significant amounts. Moreover, the notes that were banned – Rs.500 and Rs.1000 – are not that high a denomination and account for 86% of currency in circulation. It is not analogous to withdrawing $500 bills or €500 notes in Europe or the US, which are hardly used.Whether India will benefit in the long term remains to be seen. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s aims were certainly laudable – to attack corruption and the ‘black economy’ with a surprise and bold move. It is likely to also benefit the exchequer, as much of the money may never be exchanged.One real problem, though, is that it has not been just the corrupt who have suffered but the mass of the general population. Arguably, the big-time crooks would have been storing undocumented and untaxed wealth in other assets such as gold and property rather than cash. The events are happening against a backdrop of massive changes in India that still leave much to be done. China is experiencing a financial Big Bang that is transforming its economy. But in India, more people have mobile phones than bank accounts. The cost of finance is exorbitant for everyone bar the very largest companies. As economist Ajay Shah argues, in India, the financial system is simultaneously hostile to innovation and competition, and vulnerable to crises.India has seen major reforms in certain sectors after 1991, such as telecommunications. Import restrictions were loosened for manufacturing, which led to major improvements. But in finance, Shah argues the existing laws were built for a different age and need to be reorientated to the needs of the India of the next 20 years. So far, only the equity market has been “fixed”. The rest of finance is mostly unchanged – banking, for example – or has new parts that are as yet small, such as the New Pension System.Modi is halfway through his term. Shah believes there have been six wins in Indian finance that bode well for the future. The full solution for the country lies in the draft Indian Financial Code (IFC), put together between 2011 and 2015.Enacting and implementing the IFC at one shot has not happened. But a lot has, says Shah: Commodity futures have been classified as securities and are now regulated by SEBI. This should lead to convergence of financial markets and big gains to the economy.A basic concept of the rule of law is that orders of a financial agency should be subject to judicial review. After 2015, a tribunal hears orders against all financial agencies other than RBI. RBI is now the only financial agency where orders are not subject to judicial review.The Indian system of capital controls has failed. The first step towards fixing this was taken in February 2015, where the power to write regulations for non-debt capital flows (both in-bound and out-bound) shifted from RBI to the Ministry of Finance.Two new agencies envisaged in the IFC are the Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) and the Resolution Corporation (RC). The FDMC will, for the first time, make possible a full view of Indian finance and thus an assessment of systemic risk. The RC is a specialised bankruptcy code for financial firms. If high-quality laws are enacted, and the implementation plans in hand are pulled off, this will give two big steps in reform.Inflation targeting and the monetary policy committee were once heretical ideas when they were in committee reports and in the IFC. In February 2016, for the first time in its history, RBI had an objective (4% inflation) and power shifted from the governor to the MPC.At this historic moment in RBI’s history, the new governor, Urjit Patel, will now refashion RBI as an agency that will consistently deliver on its objective. This is harder than merely announcing the target. For Shah and others, there are grounds for optimism that he will be able to get this done. It may, however, be dependent on his surviving the fallout from the botched currency demonetisation.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE
PFA, Sampension and other Danish pension funds have defended themselves against reports that they have been avoiding tax by investing in funds domiciled in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.A television documentary on Denmark’s national broadcaster DR on Tuesday and a report in national broadsheet Politiken today have both named Danish pension funds as having investments in tax havens.The reports follow the recent large-scale leak of tax-related documents – known as the “Paradise Papers” – implicating wealthy individuals and companies in tax avoidance practices.Politiken today reported that 16 out of 17 Danish pension companies it surveyed said they invested in a number of countries that are seen as tax havens. The paper singled out PFA, saying it had gone one step further and also set up its own fund in one such jurisdiction. PFA said it had set up the Midgard investment fund in 2009 but its choice of the Cayman Islands as the fund’s domicile had nothing to do with “aggressive tax speculation”.PFA said: “Tax was paid in relation to prevailing Danish and international legislation. The reason it was placed in the Cayman Islands at the time was that the fund was also intended for international investors, and the Cayman Islands had an investment set up that international investors can easily adapt to their business.”The Midgard fund had since moved to Luxembourg, it added.Lærernes Pension, the Danish pension fund for teachers, said it had money in a forestry fund registered in the Cayman Islands, but that investing pension money in this fund was not the same as investing it in a tax haven.“This is because we pay tax, both where the investment takes place and in Denmark,” it said. In relation to this investment fund, Lærernes Pension said it paid 19% in corporation tax in Indonesia as well as Danish pensions returns tax (PAL).“We think everyone – big and small – has to pay the taxes that the law requires, and if the law is too slack, politicians and international organisations should tackle this,” the fund said.Sampension said it also invested in the same fund, which backs sustainable forestry activity in three south-east Asian countries. It operates in conjunction with the Danish state investment fund IFU and several pension funds in Denmark and other countries, along with other investors.“The fund has been established [in] the Cayman Islands solely for practical reasons, to bring a range of investors together for investment in several different countries,” the pension fund said.Henrik Olejasz Larsen, CIO at Sampension, said the company did not participate in structures that aimed to avoid paying taxes in Denmark or the country where the economic activity took place.“As a pensions company, we gain no tax advantage from choosing to go with the state-owned development fund IFU and invest in funds in so-called tax havens,” he said.In response to the media reports, the Danish pensions and insurance association Forsikring & Pension (F&P) said that, since 2015, Denmark has had tax information sharing agreements in place with all jurisdictions that were previously deemed to be tax havens.Karsten Beltoft, deputy director at F&P, said: “Pension companies of course do everything they can to make sure they always pay the tax they should – both in Denmark and in the countries they invest in.“But realistically, no one can claim to have perfect knowledge about what ultimately happens regarding payments in third-party countries.”However, MP Pension’s chief executive Jens Munch Holst said his pension fund would use the media reporting as a prompt to take another look at its guidelines.“MP Pension does not approve of tax evasion, of course, however, our guidelines for responsible investments have not specifically focused on tax havens,” he said. “Politiken’s investigation has given us cause to revisit our guidelines.”Separately, in New Zealand, the managers of the country’s NZD36.4bn (€21.7bn) NZ Super Fund confirmed that it had previously used Appleby, the law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers document release.The firm had been used to help with local Bermudan law advice in respect of certain investments, the Guardians of NZ Super said.However, the manager said it was confident there would be “no negative commercial implications” for the fund from the potential security breach of the Guardians’ documents.“The use of collective investment funds domiciled in locations such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands is legal, common and widely considered best practice portfolio management,” the manager said.“The collective investment fund provides a tax-neutral jurisdiction to ensure its collective income does not pay a second layer of foreign tax in relation to income on which all applicable taxes have already been paid at source.”
She emphasised that this required a fine-tuned understanding of individual schemes’ liabilities and the specific local interest rate situation.INTEXTLINKTEXT; Elisabeth Bourqui, ABB; Vincent Mortier, Amundi; Liam Kennedy, IPE” src=”/Pictures/web/u/u/a/Highlights-IPE-29th-Nov—-Morning-0_660.jpg” />L-R: Onno Steenbeek, APG; Elisabeth Bourqui, ABB; Vincent Mortier, Amundi; Liam Kennedy, IPEABB’s head of pensions management indicated that the ALM studies helped to integrate the market cycle for equity into the long-term investment policy for the pension funds’ assets, which total approximately €9.5bn.Bourqui added that the ABB pension funds had invested heavily in real assets for its long-term investment policy. It total real estate allocation is approximately 12%.A vote among pensions funds and asset managers at the strategy forum showed that 14% did not have any investments in real assets, whereas 7% had invested more than 10% in the asset class.Vincent Mortier, deputy chief investment officer at Amundi, indicated that the asset manager assumed that returns on real estate and private equity would be 4% and almost 9%, respectively, in 10 years’ time.Also during the panel discussion Onno Steenbeek, director of strategic portfolio advice at the €460bn Dutch asset manager APG, explained that the fates of its pension fund clients – including the €403bn civil service scheme ABP – were intertwined, despite the individual schemes having different objectives. “We need to help them with that,” he said.Steenbeek said APG looked at a scheme’s pension target, costs, contribution rate, risks and sustainability as criteria for establishing a proper asset allocation.ABB’s Bourqui collected two awards at Tuesday’s ceremony in Prague: the country award for best pension fund in Switzerland, and the Gold award for Pension Fund Achievement of the Year.APG took home the Climate-Related Risk Management award. A “very strong” digital infrastructure helps Swiss-Swedish ABB Group knit together its multitude of different pension funds around the world, according to Elisabeth Bourqui, head of pensions management at the technology multi-national.Speaking at a pension fund strategy forum during IPE’s conference in Prague, Bourqui said that the digital system helped to bring together the combined liabilities of the company’s dozens of pension funds.The system was also useful for analysing the local situation for each fund, as well as for communication with the various schemes when generating a broader picture for the overall management, she explained.Bourqui said that ABB Pensions had entered into a partnership with Dutch pensions adviser Ortec Finance, which had carried out local asset-liability management (ALM) studies to establish unique local liabilities, taking into account, for example, individual schemes’ profiles and local regulation.
LCP found around half of the increase in costs was caused by higher performance fees, which rose by 32% to €2bn, while combined returns decreased to 5.7% in 2017 from 10.4% in 2016.Koopmans said lower returns do not necessarily mean lower fee ”as for a performance fee, the achieved returns only need to be better than the agreed benchmark”.Transaction costs climbed by €331m to €1.3bn, he said, amounting to 0.1% of total assets, pointing out that several pension funds indicated they had only last year started disclosing transaction costs in accordance with rules set by the Pensions Federation.According to LCP, higher asset management and transaction costs accounted for €819m of the total rise in costs last year of €968m, with changes in the asset mix as well as higher levels of assets under management behind the remaining €149m.Large pension funds in particular incurred higher costs last year, although more than 60% reported an average 8bps fall in costs.Meanwhile, the combined costs of pensions administration dropped 0.9% to €990m last year.Costs per active participant or pensioner fell from €115 to €111 per participant – a decrease of 3.3%.As in 2016, the cost of pension provision varied widely between the funds, with 55% posting increases of 12% on average and 45% reporting an average 8% fall.LCP noted that industry-wide schemes – which tend to be large – incurred much lower than average costs at €91 per participant on average. Company schemes and professional pension funds, on the other hand, reported average costs per participant of €258 and €422 respectively.Asset management costs and administration costs at general pension funds (APFs) were largely similar to costs at company pension funds.LCP said the 2017 survey was the first opportunity to compare eight of the 16 compartments at five APFs, as these had still been company schemes in 2016. Dutch pension funds saw their combined asset management and transaction costs rise by 14.7% to €7.6bn in absolute terms last year, on the back of increased performance fees and previously hidden dealing costs, according to LCP Netherlands.In a year that saw the schemes’ total assets under management grow 8% to €1.31trn, the average cost level rose by 6.2%, or from 54bps to 58bps, the consultancy’s survey of 222 annual reports reveals.This compares with a rise in costs of just 1% in 2016.Jeroen Koopmans, partner at LCP and author of the survey, said he was surprised by the scale of last year’s increase, even though asset managers often charge more if assets under management rise.
BlackRock has pointed to the UK multi-employer pension scheme NEST as an example of a vehicle France could consider setting up to encourage employer take-up of a new type of pension scheme introduced by legislation. In a comprehensive note on the “Pacte” law, a group of BlackRock senior staff also suggested that authorities consider eventually imposing auto-enrolment, making it obligatory for employers to offer a pensions saving scheme to employees – or, in the case of the self-employed, to sign up to a scheme once certain revenue conditions were met.In return for imposing such an obligation, BlackRock said, the French government could consider setting up a national structure like the UK’s National Employment Savings Trust – better known as NEST – to encourage employers to offer the new pension plan introduced by the Pacte law and close any gaps in private sector pensions coverage.NEST was set up by the UK government in 2011 to help implement its auto-enrolment policy, and today the £4.5bn (€5.1bn) defined contribution master trust has more than 8m members across thousands of employers. The BlackRock authors said NEST gave smaller entities access to a mutualised multi-employer plan that was competitive compared with vehicles offered by private players.Another measure recommended by BlackRock was the creation of a “dashboard” to display individuals’ pension entitlements across the three pension pillars once reform of the country’s public pension system was complete.Loi Pacte and wider reformsIn France, the first and second pension pillars refer to the pay-as-you-go public pension system, which includes a social security entitlement (first pillar) and complementary pension provision linked to professional status (second pillar). The two elements are the focus of a major reform being prepared by high commissioner Jean-Paul Delevoye, who is due to publish a report setting out his ideas this year.The third pillar refers to funded pension vehicles that individuals or employers can subscribe to voluntarily, and is addressed by the Pacte law. Passed by the French parliament in April, it aims to catalyse domestic economic growth by developing equity financing. Outside the public pension system, the French mainly save for retirement using life assurance products – invested mostly in fixed income assets – and bank savings accounts such as the “Livret A”, with workplace pension schemes such as the PERCO seeing less take-up. The pensions reform element of the Pacte law centres on the introduction of a standardised pensions saving product called Plan Epargne Retraite (PER), with features aiming to make workplace or individual pensions saving more attractive. The PER market will be open to asset managers.Regulations setting out the detailed implementation measures for the PER could be published later this summer, according to French media reports.
Credit: Darko Stojanovic The Dutch doctors’ pension scheme has cut its allocations to Chinese equities and commodities“The divestment of the last and most complicated investments came with calculated losses, which we deemed acceptable relative to the profits generated by the initial allocation,” the scheme told IPE.The pension fund said it had now fully committed an €80m allocation to investments in care home properties as an impact investment, adding that the 10 assets it already owned had generated a result of 5.4%.The scheme has a hedge fund allocation of almost €5m. SPH has been divesting this position since 2016.The occupational pension fund posted an overall investment loss of 0.9%.Future plansLast year, SPH introduced a new framework for balance sheet management, focusing on its risk budget. An important part of the new setup was a funding level-based matrix for strategic asset allocation, which would direct its investment policy towards an increasingly defensive asset mix and interest rate hedge as the scheme’s funding level improved.At year-end, its interest rate hedge position stood at 69%. It said the cover had contributed 2.6 percentage points to its overall return. In contrast, it lost 1.6 percentage points as a result of its currency hedge.The board also said it had started evaluating its current arrangements in order to improve the sustainability of its pension plan. The outcome would be used as input towards a new administration system to be introduced in 2022, the board said, when its current provider provider PGGM aimed to replace its current system.Dutch pensions publication Pensioen Pro, citing SPH, reported that the reorientation could also lead to the pension fund taking its administration in-house, or co-operating with another self-administrating scheme.The occupational pension fund granted its participants additional pension rights of 3.1%, based on its coverage ratio of 138.6% at the end of 2018. However, it said the indexation bonus was still short of its target of 2.25% plus wage inflation, which amounted to 4.2% in total.Last year, SPH replaced PGGM with BlackRock as manager of its interest rate-matching mandate of government bonds and interest swaps. It said the change followed the appointment of Achmea Investment Management as “co-ordinating” manager.SPH reported administration costs of €598 per participant. It spent 28bps and 6bps on asset management and transactions, respectively.The GP scheme has 11,670 active participants, 1,288 deferred members and 7,095 pensioners. SPH, the €11bn Dutch occupational scheme for general practitioners, has divested its 4% allocation to commodities following an investment review.In its annual report for 2018, the scheme said it had concluded that commodities offered “limited value” to the scheme and that access to the risk premium was getting increasingly complicated.“As the market is getting smarter, it is necessary to keep on developing a clever strategy,” it said. “We have estimated that the risk premium of simply keeping a commodities allocation had become insufficient.”The pension fund reported a 15.2% loss on commodities for 2018, but this still represented a slight outperformance relative to its benchmark. SPH also cut its Chinese equity holidngs last year, preferring instead to focus on broader benchmarks and equity mandates.In its annual report, it said that it had lost 10.5% on emerging market equities, attributing the result in part to the performance of Chinese equity.The doctors’ scheme made a 22.4% loss on private equity in 2018, in the last phase of a gradual divestment of the asset class that began in 2011.
UWV – Toine van der Stee is the new chairman of the board of the €7.9bn pension fund for Dutch employment and benefits agency UWV, succeeding Frank van Galen , who has retired. Van der Stee has been the chief executive of fiduciary manager Blue Sky Group since 2005. Smart Pension – Ruston Smith has been appointed chair of the board of directors of the UK defined contribution master trust provider Smart Pension, replacing former Virgin CEO Stephen Murphy , who has stepped down. Smith is also chair of the firm’s international advisory board and has been a non-executive director at the provider since September 2018. He is the former chairman of the UK’s pension fund trade body and former Tesco group pensions director. Smart Pension said Smith’s appointment came as the company “extends its reach in the UK as a broader DC pension provider and moves into new global territories with its platform technology arm”.Smith said: “This is an exciting time to be leading the Smart Board with the two strategic directions the company is moving in”. NIO Fondsmæglerselskab – Bjarne Graven Larsen , former CIO of both Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Danish pension fund ATP, has taken on a new role at the alternatives-focused Danish investment fund company NIO Fondsmæglerselskab. He has become deputy chair of the firm’s board of directors and chair of its investment committee. Last year, Graven Larsen launched his new firm Qblue Capital , which is to offer a multi-strategy risk premia investment fund.Bank J. Safra Sarasin – Sasja Beslik has left Nordea Asset Management to take up the position of head of sustainable finance development at the Swiss private bank. He had been at Nordea since 2009, and had been head of group sustainable finance since 2017.Bank J. Safra Sarasin described him as an “internationally renowed ESG financial expert”, highlighting accolades such as his 2013 award from the king of Sweden for outstanding contributions to Swedish environmental and sustainability theory.B&CE – Jane Dunlop has joined the provider of multi-employer defined contribution scheme The People’s Pension as general counsel, and a member of the executive team. Previous roles include director of legal (life) for Aviva UK Insurance and head of legal for Friends Life UK.Clara Pensions – Ashley Smith has been appointed general counsel at the defined benefit pension scheme consolidator. He joins from law firm CMS , having previously worked at Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance. Clara Pensions said his addition to the team “reflects a growing pipeline of potential transactions as Clara works toward approval”.Swedish ministry of health and social affairs – Annika Strandhäll , the Swedish minister for social security since October 2014, has resigned her post following a period of absence in the wake of the sudden death of her partner.In a post of Facebook, Strandhäll said: “The background is that right now I need to focus on creating peace and security in everyday life for my children and for the whole family.” However, she said she would not leave politics, which was “part of what makes me who I am”.On Tuesday Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven announced she was being replaced by Ardalan Shekarabi , who is moving into the role from his previous job as minister for public administration. In turn, Lena Micko has been appointed as the new minister for public administration.Janus Henderson Investors – The €287bn global active aset manager has hired Norbert Fullerton from MJ Hudson Allenbridge as head of institutional client strategy for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA). Janus Henderson said Fullerton would be fulfilling a new role, “enhancing the way we engage with our institutional clients in EMA by leading our thought leadership, investment solutions and strategic initiatives for our institutional clients”.At MJ Allenbridge Fullerton was a senior adviser. Previous roles include partner at Mercer, director of pension solutions at Russell Investments, and senior investment strategist and scheme actuary at then Towers Watson.Invesco – Stephanie Butcher , European equity fund manager, has been named as the successor to Nick Mustoe , who has decided to step down after 10 years as chief investment officer, the €777bn asset manager announced this week.Butcher is to work alongside Mustoe for a three-month transition period and assume the role of CIO from 1 January 2020.Doug Sharp, senior managing director and head of EMEA, said: “I am delighted to announce Stephanie’s appointment to CIO. She is an investor of the highest calibre, combining strong leadership and investment skills, with an exceptional understanding of our clients’ needs, built up over her 17 years with Invesco.” BNP Paribas Asset Management – David Vaillant is switching roles within the BNP Paribas group, taking on the role of global head of finance, strategy and participations at the asset manager after having been head of banking for EMEA in the investment bank’s financial institutions coverage division.At the asset manager he succeeds Pascal Biville , head of strategy and finance and head of affiliate network, who the company said had left to pursue other opportunities.UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UK SIF) – Michael Meehan , the former CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative , has been appointed the new chair of the sustainable finance membership organisation. He replaces Lesley Alexander , who steps down after five years as chair of UKSIF.According to UK SIF, Meehan has been a chief executive and board member in sustainability for almost 20 years and has worked with organisations and governments around the world including the World Economic Forum, California State Senate, the White House, and the United Nations. He sits on the boards of impact organisations such as London-based Natural Capital Coalition and TCR Innovations. Swedbank Robur — Catrin Jansson has been appointed as portfolio manager equity at Swedbank Robur, and began work in the new role at the Swedish bank’s mutual funds subsidiary on 1 October. Jansson previously worked at Swedish fund management firm Enter Fonder, where she was also equity portfolio manager. At Swedbank Robur, she is taking over management responsibility from Carl-Fredrik Lorenius , who remains at the firm as portfolio manager.Mediolanum International Funds – The Irish asset management division of Italian banking group Mediolanum has hired Damian Barry as head of multi-asset multi-management, a newly created role. He joins from Seven Investment Management, and has also worked at Threadneedle and Russell Investments. Smart Pension, UWV, AAE, NIO Fondsmæglerselskab, Bank J. Safra Sarasin, B&CE, Clara Pensions, Swedish social security minister, Janus Henderson Investors, Invesco, BNP Paribas Asset Management, UK SIF, Swedbank Robur, Mediolanum International Funds Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) – Cecilia Thorn has replaced Ad Kok as chief executive of the European actuarial association. According to an announcement from the AAE, she has 16 years of experience in international and EU public affairs/policy, with her last position being head of international relations for the UK’s Financial Reporting Council .Kok was chief executive of the association for five years until his retirement at the beginning of August. The AAE said it was grateful to him “for the way he fulfilled this position and thereby contributed to the further professionalisation of the association”.Esko Kivisaari, chairperson of the AAE, said: “I am delighted that Cecilia has accepted the position of chief executive of the AAE. I look forward to continuing to build a strong and effective partnership between the executive and the AAE leadership that Cecilia draws on her experience to help deliver our strategy.”