September 29

Switzerland’s BVK closes in on 100% pension funding level

first_imgOver 2013, the pension fund outperformed its benchmark by 80 basis points.It also outperformed the average Swiss Pensionskasse, which returned approximately 6% over the period. The BVK’s strategic equity allocation is at 30%, with another 41% in fixed income and a relatively high real estate allocation at 22%, the vast majority of which is in directly held Swiss properties.To ensure alignment of interest between the managers of the property and the BVK as owner, the pension fund will be integrating the employees of its external facility manager in the coming months, it said.“This will ensure the properties are managed according to the investment strategy,” the fund said.The BVK said it was already well placed for its future as an independent foundation, as it operates with a relatively low total expense ratio (TER).All Swiss Pensionskassen have to calculate this benchmark figure in future, but the BVK was the first to do so before it became mandatory. Currently, its TER stands at 0.19%.For 2009, Swiss consultancy c-alm calculated an average TER of more than 0.5% for Swiss Pensionskassen. The Zurich pension fund also pointed out re-negotiating mandates had helped it save CHF70m annually compared with 2009. The CHF26bn (€21bn) BVK has generated a return of 7.4% in its last year as a public pension fund, raising its funding level to 96.1% from less than 90% in 2012.The pension fund for the Swiss canton of Zurich has also been reorganised as a private foundation as per 1 January, meaning that it will now have to achieve full funding and maintain sufficient buffers.According to a statement, the BVK said the transition to an independent foundation would be “formally finalised” in the third quarter.A trustee board has been named, while Thomas Schönbächler is to remain as managing director of the fund, which in recent years has weathered the storm of a corruption trial against its former head of asset management.last_img read more

January 12

Complaints raised over excavation of Boerasirie Dam

first_img…flooding looms during high tide, rainfallRecent actions to excavate the Boerasirie Dam in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) have caused much worry to residents and fishermen who are fearful that their homes will be inundated during the high tide periods.A section of the dam which was excavated several feet lowerSpeaking with Guyana Times on Monday, a Councillor from the area explained that she received calls from numerous persons, relaying the distress that residents were faced with at the hands of unknown persons.This publication understands that some men started excavating the dirt from the dam and have been retailing it to interested persons. The situation is even worse, given the fact that there is no koker to stop water from entering during high tides. She said the dam has been lowered by some six feet, and any high tide in the future will result in mass flooding along Tuschen and Zeelught with the possibility of other areas being affected.“There is a dam before the trench, and someone is excavating the dirt from it and they’re excavating so low. This trench goes straight out into the river and there is nothing to stop the water so when the high tide comes, it will flood the entire De Kinderen and Zeelugt,” said the Councillor.The Councillor posited that fishermen are also severely worried and calls are being made for authorities to put a stop to the excavation since their efforts proved futile.One of the excavators on site“The resident and fishermen is calling for something to be done before they’re affected. Some of the dirt is sold to people and they’re using some to build other areas. Some persons went out and stop them from digging the dam further and explained what will happen if they excavate the dam so low and they still continued. The Tuschen-Uitvlugt NDC (Neighbourhood Democratic Council) is also aware of this,” she explained.Meanwhile, a resident from the area, Mugdridge (only name provided) explained, “If the dam get a breach, it will flood everywhere. If I get flood, who will be responsible? We have the Phagwah and Easter spring tide. If the dam get a breach, it will cause a big problem”.When the tide rises, some fishermen will also suffer since it will not be possible for their boats to be docked along the waterway. The resident noted that this is an extremely dangerous situation being created that will affect thousands of residents living in the area.The Public Infrastructure Ministry had issued a notice to the public, sending advice to take precautions during the impending high tide season, which is expected in the coming weeks.For the past week, predictions indicate that the tides will rise above normal levels and the Sea and River Defence Department estimate that flooding will occur in areas which are susceptible to such situations due to storm surges and overtopping of sea defence structures.Some of the areas include the Pomeroon River banks, Sans Souci to Sarah in Wakenaam Island; Canefield/Amsterdam, Endeavour/Blenheim and Cane Garden in Leguan Island; Windsor Forest to De Willem on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD); and the Parika Market area to Salem and Sparta on the East Bank of Essequibo.Many persons are still recovering from flooding last year, caused by a breach in the sea defence structures at several locations along the West Coast of Demerara. (Rupa Seenaraine)last_img read more

August 19

Street harassment critic Gerardo Cruz dies

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica protesters march against street harassment Finally some upbeat news for family of Costa Rica’s good Samaritan Gerardo Cruz PHOTOS: Costa Rica march demands end to street harassment Police arrest suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz Gerardo Cruz, the young Costa Rican man who became a national hero for his stance against street harassment of women,died of a heart attack at Calderón Guardia hospital, Costa Rican media reported Thursday evening.Patricia Barquero, Cruz’s mother, confirmed his death at 6:18 p.m. to the newspaper La Nación.Cruz’s uncle, Giovani Barquero, told Channel 7 TV news that the family hoped to bury Cruz Friday.Cruz had been in hospital since Oct. 7 recovering from several surgeries after he was stabbed by at least two assailants, according to police reports. Cruz had been off life support for more than a month, and his family had been hopeful that he would recover after he opened his eyes on Oct. 28, the newspaper La Nación reported.Cruz became a viral sensation after he posted a video to his Facebook page of himself confronting a man who had been trying to film up a woman’s skirt with a smartphone camera. Judicial Investigation Police have given different accounts as to whether or not the attack on Cruz in the San José neighborhood of San Sebastián was related to his social media activism or if it was a robbery. The case is still under investigation.The attack on Cruz set off a national dialogue on street harassment and catcalling. Marches took place around the capital San José in the weeks after his assault and several lawmakers came out in support of a bill that would criminalize the kind of lewd behavior that Cruz denounced on his Facebook page. Facebook Commentslast_img read more