FairPoint finally files bankruptcy plan

first_imgFairPoint Communications announced today that it has resolved issues involving unsecured creditors and has filed a restructuring plan with the US Bankruptcy Court that will get rid of $1.7 billion of its $2.7 billion debt in exchange for giving most of its common stock to secured creditors. FairPoint announced October 26, 2009, that it was filing chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a pre-negotiated deal with creditors. However, the 2,500 unionized workers and unsecured creditors continued to press the company to reach a more favorable agreement. Workers reached a new deal last week, setting the stage for today’s announcement. FairPoint has also reached agreements with regulators in Vermont and New Hampshire, but it is still in negotiations with regulators in Maine. Service will not be effected by the filing. FairPoint had put off the filing three times, the last of which on February 1. Two days later it reached a deal with unionized workers that would extended the current five-year contract in exchange for putting off raises and other concessions. FairPoint was seeking to save $30 million in employee costs. Since then, FairPoint worked on finalizing the deal with unsecured creditors, which will give them 17 cents on the dollar. The secured creditors will own 92 percent of the company, if the bankruptcy court approves the plan.FairPoint owns most of the telecommunication landlines in northern New England. It bought Verizon’s landline business in 2008. It cut over from the Verizon network a year ago, which resulted in several technical problems and customer service issues. The bonds FairPoint issued also wound up costing the company a higher rate than originally anticipated, with credit becoming harder to get because of the recent financial meltdown on Wall Street. Along with those two issues, FairPoint said the national recession also reduced revenues as consumers reduced spending at the same time competitors gained market share, all of which led to the bankruptcy filing. FairPoint insists that with the restructuring that it will be a stronger company, less burdened by debt and with more working capital that is better able to meet customer demand and compete against the likes of cable and wireless companies. FairPoint has said it counting on increasing consumer demand for broadband services to drive the business as it moves forward.BackgroundFairPoint inherited the roughly 317,000 Vermont residential and business telephone accounts that Verizon had accumulated as of 2007. FairPoint officials said in an interview with Vermont Business Magazine in early 2009 that the number had dropped to 295,000. The company acknowledged that it was losing about 10 percent of its base a year. It did not respond to a request for updated statistics, but if the 10 percent-a-year figure is applied, FairPoint probably has about 270,000 Vermont landline customers. The total for all three northern New England states may be about 1.3 million, compared to 1.5 million at the time of the takeover from Verizon.On October 26, 2009, FairPoint Communications and all of its direct and indirect subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York . The cases are being jointly administered under the caption In re FairPoint Communications, Inc., Case No. 09-16335 (BRL).FairPoint commenced the Chapter 11 Cases because of a significant need to de-leverage its balance sheet and to reduce its cost structure. In March 2008, FairPoint Communications completed the acquisition of certain landline operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont from Verizon Communications Inc. through a merger with Northern New England Spinco Inc, a subsidiary of Verizon. In connection with the Merger, FairPoint and Spinco entered into a $2.03 billion secured credit facility, as subsequently amended, and Spinco issued and FairPoint Communications subsequently assumed $551 million aggregate principal amount of 13-1/8% Senior Notes due 2018. As of the Petition Date,FairPoint had approximately $2.7 billion of indebtedness, including accrued and unpaid interest and amounts owed under interest rate swap agreements, which is not sustainable. FairPoint s financial difficulties have been exacerbated by declining financial performance which can be traced to, among other things, (i) increased competition from alternative voice and data communication providers that has eroded FairPoint s traditional base of wireline voice customers (ii) the recent turmoil in the financial markets, which has significantly limited available capital and resulted in a significant decline in the domestic economy and (iii) difficulties transitioning from Verizon s systems and integrating the NNE Operations acquired in the Merger with FairPoint s historical operations.In an effort to address these issues, FairPoint s management team worked diligently to expand and improve FairPoint s product offerings, diversify and grow revenues, increase operational efficiency and operating cash flows and reduce debt obligations through, among other things, (i) investing $85 million in the build out of a new next generation Internet protocol based network, (ii) suspending common stock dividends and (iii) completing an exchange offer for certain of the Original Senior Notes for new 13-1/8% Senior Notes due 2018, which allowed FairPoint to reduce its cash interest expense for the quarters ended June 30, 2009 and September 30, 2009 and maintain compliance with financial covenants  contained in the Prepetition Credit Agreement for the measurement period ended June 30, 2009. Despite these actions, FairPoint s balance sheet remained highly leveraged, with substantial annual capital expenditure requirements and interest costs, and portions of the principal amount of the Prepetition Credit Agreement becoming due on a quarterly basis. This capital structure is not  sustainable, particularly after taking into account the impact of (i) the recession in the United States and the associated high levels of unemployment, reduced disposable income and consumer spending, increased business failures and higher than normal uncollected receivables, (ii) the continued significant capital expenditure requirements required for FairPoint to remain competitive in the telecommunications market and imposed by the regulatory orders approving the Merger and (iii) FairPoint s limited access to capital markets.As a result, FairPoint, with the assistance of its advisors, began to explore capital structure restructuring alternatives, including recapitalizations and a potential chapter 11 filing.Commencing in July 2009 and culminating in October 2009, FairPoint worked diligently, first with the holders of the Senior Notes and then with certain lenders under the Prepetition Credit Agreement, to obtain a sustainable solution to FairPoint s significant leverage. Through negotiations with a steering committee of lenders under the Prepetition Credit Agreement, FairPoint reached an agreement in October 2009 with the Consenting Lenders, who hold more than 50% of the indebtedness under the Prepetition Credit Agreement on a term sheet regarding the framework for a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that would result in the conversion of more than $1.7 billion of FairPoint s  indebtedness into equity in FairPoint Communications. Evidencing their support of the Plan Term Sheet, the Consenting Lenders have executed the Plan Support Agreement pursuant to which the Consenting Lenders agreed to support a chapter 11 plan as substantially embodied in the Plan Term Sheet.Thereafter, FairPoint commenced the Chapter 11 Cases on October 26, 2009.Pursuant to the Plan Term Sheet, FairPoint agreed to file a chapter 11 plan that provided for the reorganization of FairPoint as a going concern. The integral components of the agreement with the Consenting Lenders included (i) $75 million of debtor-in-possession financing, which would provide sufficient liquidity to fund FairPoint during the course of the Chapter 11 Cases and (ii) the conversion of approximately $1.1 billion of the indebtedness under the Prepetition Credit Agreement into equity in Reorganized FairPoint Communications.Following the Petition Date, the Ad Hoc Committee of Senior Noteholders raised certain concerns regarding FairPoint s proposed treatment of FairPoint Communications Unsecured Claims under the Plan Term Sheet. In an effort to resolve these concerns, FairPoint, the Lender Steering Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee of Senior Noteholders entered into extensive, arms length negotiations. These negotiations ultimately resulted in certain changes to the terms contained in the Plan Term Sheet and the formulation of the Plan, annexed hereto as Exhibit A (for references, see http://docs.bmcgroup.com/FairPoint/docs/nysb_1-09-bk-16335_575.pdf(link is external)).Under the Plan, Prepetition Credit Agreement Claims (Class 4) will be satisfied in full, as follows: (i) by a pro rata share of New Term Loan in the aggregate principal amount of $1 billion, (ii) by a pro rata share of the Cash Payment, (iii) by a pro rata share of forty-seven million two hundred seventy five thousand seven hundred eighty five (47,275,785) shares of the New Common Stock in Reorganized FairPoint Communications (subject to dilution) and (iv) by a pro rata share of Cash distributable out of the Reserve (as defined herein), provided, however, that if the class of FairPoint Communications  Unsecured Claims rejects the Plan, each holder of a Prepetition Credit Agreement Claim will receive its pro rata share of fifty eight million, four hundred eighty four thousand five hundred eighty seven  (58,484,587) shares of the New Common Stock (subject to dilution), as more fully described in Section VI.C.4 ( Summary of Plan of Reorganization Treatment of Claims and Equity Interests Under the Plan Allowed Prepetition Credit Agreement Claims (Class 4) ) of this Disclosure Statement.FairPoint Communications Unsecured Claims (Class 7) will be satisfied in full under the Plan, as follows: (i) by a pro rata share of four million one hundred ninety thousand six hundred fifty one (4,190,651) shares of the New Common Stock in Reorganized FairPoint Communications (subject to dilution) and (ii) by a pro rata share of the New Warrants to purchase up to seven million one hundred forty-three thousand one hundred fifty six (7,143,156) shares of the New Common Stock, as more fully described in Section VI.D.2 ( Summary of Plan of Reorganization Provisions Regarding New Common Stock and New Warrants Distributed Pursuant to the Plan New Warrants ) of this Disclosure Statement; provided, however, that if the class of FairPoint Communications Unsecured Claims votes to reject the Plan, themembers of the Ad Hoc Committee of Senior Noteholders or its counsel objects to the Plan, the  members of the Creditors Committee or its counsel objects to the Plan, or the Indenture Trustee or its counsel objects to the plan, then the holders of FairPoint Communications Unsecured Claims will not receive any Distributions under the Plan on account of their Claims. The proposed distributions to other creditors are discussed in Section VI.G ( Summary of Plan of Reorganization Distributions under the Plan ) of this Disclosure Statement.Source: FairPoint. 2.8.2010last_img read more

Quick Hits: Zombie Deer + Armadillo Invasion

first_imgChronic Wasting Disease in deer spreads to TennesseeWildlife officials in Tennessee are implementing an emergency plan after at least 13 deer in Fayette and Hardeman counties have been diagnosed with chronic wasting disease (CWD). The disease is a deadly neurological disorder and is also known as “zombie deer disease.” In CWD the brains of deer, moose, and elk develop holes that lead to weight loss, loss of energy, poor balance and coordination, drooling, excessive thirst or urination, drooping ears, more aggressive behavior and eventually death. Deer hunted in Fayette and Hardeman counties must remain there, except meat with all the bones removed, antlers with no tissue attached, tanned hides and finished taxidermy products. Starting December 29, hunters killing deer in the CWD zone are required to check for testing at sampling and check stations with the counties. CWD has now been found in 24 states including Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. Humans cannot contract CWD. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to resignAfter nearly two years in office, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will leave his position at the end of the year. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and member of Montana’s Congress, billed himself as an outdoorsman who believed in protecting public lands. Yet during his tenure, Zinke oversaw the largest rollbacks in federal land protections in US history and opened up huge swaths of water for coastal drilling. He also racked up a number of potential ethics violations, triggering at least 17 inquiries, probes and investigations into his conduct. In perhaps his most famous move, Zinke recommended shrinking the size of 10 national monuments including Bear Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante monuments in Utah, rolling back protections on 2 million acres of federal lands. Trump announced on Twitter that he would name Zinke’s replacement in the upcoming weeks. Armadillos are invading the MidwestArmadillos are native to South America but one species, the nine-banded armadillo, arrived in Texas in 1849. There it stayed until recent years when armadillos began making their way north. In 1996 the nine-banded armadillo was documented only as far north as the Missouri River but in 2014, researches found that the armadillos had crossed the Mississippi River into southern Illinois. They’ve since been spotted in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin. “We’re on the cusp of an armadillo invasion,” Michael Beran told the Associated Press. Beran runs the company Wildlife Command Center that picks up roadkill in St. Louis County in Missouri. Armadillos need bugs and water to survive and can live in any area with a minimum average daily temperature of 18 degrees in January. As winters grow warmer across the US, armadillos are finding new places to call home.last_img read more

UF trial teams garner high honors

first_img UF trial teams garner high honors The trial team at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law won high honors in this year’s statewide trial team competitions.UF’s trial team won both first and second place in the Trial Lawyers Section’s Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition in January. The winning team consisted of advocates Chris King and Paul Vicary, as well as witnesses Najah Gibson and Greg Edwards. Second place went to a team consisting of advocates Claudel Pressa and Loreal Belfon, as well as witnesses Chris Chestnut and Natalie Hanan. Chris King was also named Best Advocate at the competition.UF was also a contender at the American Trial Lawyer’s Association competition held in Miami in February. UF’s ATLA team, coached by attorney Lawrence Marraffino, advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. The team included defense advocates Eric Roberson and Katie Brinson and plaintiff advocates Suzannah Gilman and Michael Eatroff. May 15, 2005 Regular News UF trial teams garner high honorslast_img read more

2nd Suspect Charged in 2014 Roosevelt Slaying

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A second suspect has been charged in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old Freeport man in 2014, Nassau County police said. Corey Walker, 19, was arrested Thursday afternoon in connection with the Dec. 20, 2014 shooting death of Sayvon Marcus Burt, police said. Walker was charged with second-degree murder, attempted robbery, grand larceny, and criminal possession of a weapon. He will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead. In May of last year, police arrested 18-year-old Elliott Fortune and charged him with second-degree murder. Fortune was reportedly charged with attempted murder in another case. Police said Burt was discovered outside an alley in Roosevelt at 4:15 p.m. with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police were alerted to the scene by a Shot Spotter notification and a subsequent 911 call.last_img read more

Ottawa Aces: Canadian club postpone League One entry to 2022 | Rugby League News

first_imgOttawa’s TD Place will now have to wait until 2022 to host professional rugby league Ottawa's TD Place will now have to wait until 2022 to host professional rugby league
Ottawa's TD Place will now have to wait until 2022 to host professional rugby league

APHA projects big decline in public health workforce

first_imgSept 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The nation’s largest public health organization sounded an alarm this week about the public health workforce, citing a current shortage and projecting that the profession could lose up to half of its workers over the next few years.The American Public Health Association (APHA) outlines the problem in a report titled “The Public Health Workforce Shortage: Left Unchecked, Will We Be Protected?” It was released on the eve of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.In a press release, the APHA called for immediate action to reverse the shortages, which it said could leave great numbers of Americans vulnerable to a number of health threats.The report says the number of public health workers decreased from 220 per 100,000 Americans in 1980 to 158 per 100,000 in 2000.”Our emerging public health workforce crisis comes at a time when Americans are facing a host of risks to their health and safety, from bioterrorism to pandemic influenza and environmental disasters,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the APHA. “At the same time, we risk losing ground on responding to ongoing health problems such as obesity, heart disease and cancer.”Federal funding to recruit and train public health workers must increase dramatically, and states should evaluate their public health workforce needs and establish development and training programs, Benjamin said. “Medical devices and disease tracking instruments are ineffectual without adequately educated and trained workers,” he said.The APHA says that in the next few years, state and federal public health agencies could lose up to half of their workers to retirement, the private sector, and other opportunities. A study from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Council of State Governments found that the average age of state public health workers is 47 years, 7 years older than the national average for all occupations. Current vacancy rates are as high as 20% in some agencies, and annual turnover rates have reached 14% in some parts of the country.The most severe shortages were found in epidemiology, nursing, laboratory science, and environmental health, the APHA says.Although the public health workforce has become more diverse in the past 30 years, there is room for improvement in that area, the report says. Minority group members make up about 25% of the US population but only about 10% of people in the health professions. Increasing diversity in public health work would help reduce many health disparities, because the profession could respond better to the needs of minority populations, according to the report.The APHA urges several strategies to stem the workforce shortage:Establish federally funded scholarship and loan repayment programs modeled after those outlined in the Public Health Preparedness Workforce Development Act, introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.Renew investment in federal programs that address the shortage of medical personnel in underserved areas to shore up and diversify public health professions such as epidemiology, environmental health, maternal and child health, and nursingIncrease financial support for the public health infrastructureEnhance leadership development programsExpand internship and fellowship programs in agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

Urban retreat

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

MEMO: Governor Wolf Secures Critical Funding to Fight Opioid Epidemic

first_img Budget News,  Memo,  Results,  Substance Use Disorder To: Interested PartiesFrom: Jeff Sheridan, Press SecretarySubject: 2016-17 Budget Secures Critical Funding to Fight Opioid EpidemicDate: July 10, 2016Over the last several months, Governor Wolf traveled the commonwealth to hear from people on the front lines of the opioid crisis, and everywhere he went, he was told that we cannot afford to wait any longer for more resources to expand treatment for people suffering from addiction.Working with the legislature, Governor Wolf secured critical funding in the budget to establish new treatment centers and improve treatment options for Pennsylvanians struggling with substance abuse disorder.The budget included $10 million in behavioral health funding and $5 million in medical assistance funding, totaling $15 million. This will allow DHS to draw down $5.4 million in federal funding for an overall total of $20.4 million.This critical funding will enable the Department of Human Services, during phase one, to implement 20 Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Centers of Excellence that will treat approximately 4,500 people that currently are not able to access treatment.The Department is also working with its actuaries to determine the number of additional centers that can funded with the $5 million in state Medicaid funds and $5.4 million in federal funds by analyzing the impact they will have on Medicaid managed care rates. The Department of Human Services will announce the additional Medicaid-funded OUD Centers of Excellence in August.Once established through the Department of Human Services, the proposed OUD Centers of Excellence would be the first stop for people in need of treatment – providing medication-assisted treatment and connecting those in-need with appropriate wraparound services, such as cognitive-based therapies and employment assistance.In 2015, more than 3,300 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose. Heroin and opioid overdose are the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals each year than motor vehicle accidents.Our fight against this epidemic is not finished.Governor Wolf will continue to travel Pennsylvania and outline further action Pennsylvania can take to address this crisis head on.   SHARE  TWEET MEMO: Governor Wolf Secures Critical Funding to Fight Opioid Epidemic Read more about the latest budget news.Read about the 2016-2017 budget’s historic increases in education.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img July 10, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

People moves: British Steel Pension Scheme appoints new chairman [updated]

first_imgGreenfield joined the BSPS trustee board last year after the restructuring. He is a former finance director for Royal Sun Alliance’s life insurance business, and has chaired the trustee boards of the Royal Insurance Group Pension Scheme and Pilkington Superannuation Scheme.Greenfield said: “Allan has made a significant contribution over the period of his chairmanship. Allan’s foresight and leadership over the last 12 years were critical factors in being able to offer members the opportunity of switching to the new scheme as an alternative to entry into the PPF.“Allan steps down as chairman with the scheme in good shape and I am pleased to say that I will be able to call on his knowledge and experience as he continues to serve as a company-nominated trustee director.”ATP – Allan Mikkelsen has left ATP Real Estate, having been deputy head of the ATP subsidiary’s foreign investments. Following the arrival of Martin Vang Hansen as ATP Real Estate’s new chief executive at the beginning of this year, changes are taking place at the operation, which hopes to have a new CIO appointed before the summer.Varma – Kari Jordan resigned as chairman of the supervisory board of Finnish pension fund Varma on 28 March, having been elected as a member of the board of directors for Nordic bank Nordea. Finnish law dictates that a supervisory board chair cannot also be a member of a bank’s board of directors. Varma’s supervisory board said it would elect a new chair at its next meeting on 16 May.EIOPA – The supervisory board of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has elected Sergio Álvarez Camiña as a new member of the regulator’s management board. Camiña is currently director general for insurance and pensions funds at the Directorate General Insurance and Pensions Funds, within Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Business. Members of the management board serve a two-and-a-half-year term, which can be extended once.ASR – Dutch pensions insurer ASR has proposed to reappoint Kick van der Pol as chairman of its supervisory board (RvC) for a two-year period. Van der Pol has chaired the RvC since 2008 and was due to step down in May. However, as the insurer hasn’t found a successor yet, he has agreed to carry on for a maximum of two years. Until recently, Van der Pol was chairman of the Dutch Pensions Federation.Annet Aris is also to step down as an RvC member in May. ASR said it was in the process of selecting a successor as well as an additional member of the supervisory board.DNB – Dutch supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has named Cindy van Oorschot as supervisory director for pension funds as of 1 May. She is to succeed Gisella van Vollenhoven, who is to return to the corporate sector, where she spent most of her career.Van Oorschot is currently head of DNB’s expertise centre for intervention and enforcement, and has worked at the regulator since 2010. She has also been head of asset management at DNB’s department for financial markets, head of the expertise centre for asset and liability management, and head of international insurance groups.GAM – The troubled Swiss asset manager has proposed three new board directors, subject to regulatory approval. Former Syz Asset Management CEO Katia Coudray, former group general counsel for Janus Henderson Jacqui Irvine, and ex-AIG CIO Monika Machon will all be proposed to shareholders at GAM’s annual general meeting on 8 May.The three nominated members will replace Diego du Monceau , Ezra Field and Monica Mächler , who have decided not to stand for re-election. Hugh Scott-Barrett is standing for re-election as board chairman, with Benjamin Meuli, Nancy Mistretta and interim CEO David Jacob standing for re-election as members of the board of directors.In December, GAM forecast a CHF925m (€825m) loss following heavy outflows, in particular from its fixed income products. CEO Alexander Friedman resigned in November as investors withdrew money and the company’s share price fell in the wake of the suspension of a senior fund manager.Detailhandel – The €20.6bn Dutch sector scheme for the retail industry has appointed Lieske van den Bosch as a trustee and member of the scheme’s advisory committees for finance and risk, and communications. Van den Bosch runs her own HR firm and is also a board member at the €3.4bn closed pension fund for the furnishing sector (Wonen). She was previously HR manager at Dutch furniture chain Leen Bakker.Fidelity International – The $379bn (€337.9bn) investment group has hired Andrew McCaffery to the newly created position of global CIO for alternatives and solutions. He will join in July and will be responsible for the development of Fidelity’s multi-asset, investment solutions design and real estate teams. McCaffery joins from Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) where he worked for eight years, latterly as global head of strategic client investments. He has also worked at BlueCrest Capital Management, Attica Alternative Investments, where he was CEO, and UBS.Aberdeen Standard Investments – In response to McCaffery’s departure, ASI has promoted Robert McKillop to the newly created role of global head of product and client solutions.The position will incorporate McKillop’s existing responsibilities for the group’s UK proposition, digital advice, product development and management along with “broader responsibility for solutions”, ASI said. The company has also created a new client solutions group, responsible for engaging with clients on “matters that impact their whole portfolio”.Edmond de Rothschild – The private bank and asset manager has appointed Christophe Caspar as head of group asset management. He joined in November as deputy CEO after 17 years at Russell Investments, where he was global CIO. Caspar replaces Vincent Taupin, who has been appointed group CEO. In addition, Cynthia Tobiano, chief financial officer, has been named deputy CEO.Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) – Zeina Bain has joined ICG as a managing director in its European subordinated debt and equity team. She will join in September from Carlyle Group, where she has worked for 18 years, most recently as a managing director in its European buyout team. In her new role, Bain will focus on sourcing opportunities for ICG’s European investment strategy, one of its largest franchises.MN – The €135bn Dutch pensions provider and asset manager MN has appointed Jannie Minnema as director of IT as of 1 May. She replaces chief finance and risk officer Liesbeth Sinke, who left in February and was also responsible for IT. Minnema has worked for software firm Oracle for more than 20 years, including as director operations and business development strategy since 2015. In her new role she will be responsible for IT systems and platforms for asset management, pensions administration, communications, and the design and construction of new applications. Last month, Ralk Rikze started as director for pensions and insurance at MN, succeeding Henri den Boer.Amundi – Europe’s largest asset manager has appointed Hamza Bahaji as head of engineering and solutions for indexing and smart beta, as part of an ambitious plan to double its assets under management in this area.Bahaji was previously at Natixis Asset Management for 12 years in a variety of roles, particularly in quantitative investment. Most recently, he was head of engineering and quantitative research at Natixis subsidiary Seeyond.Invesco – Colin Fitzgerald has been appointed head of EMEA distribution for the $946bn (€842bn) asset manager, a newly created role. He is responsible for the retail and institutional sales teams. He has worked at Invesco for four years as head of institutional sales for EMEA. Alex Millar, previously head of UK institutional and sovereigns, has been appointed to replace Fitzgerald in the EMEA institutional role. In addition, Ronnie Ahluwalia has been appointed head of key account management across EMEA and Esa Kalliopuska has been appointed chief operating officer for EMEA distribution.Fidante Partners – PeterPaul Pardi has been named head of Fidante Partners for EMEA and North America. He was previously global head of distribution at BNY Mellon and has also worked for private equity firm Arcapita, as global head of institutional fund distribution, as well as holding senior executive positions at PIMCO, Lehman Brothers Investment Management and Barclays Global Investors.Pardi will be responsible for growing Fidante’s business in Europe and North America by partnering with boutique asset management firms, the company said. Fidante forms distribution partnerships with boutique investors.Universal-Investment – The German investment house has hired Christian Reitz as head of digital transformation. He previously held a similar role at Union Investment.In his new role, Reitz is responsible for Universal’s digitisation strategy and “the implementation of new technologies, solutions and relevant services”, the company said. He will also seek to partner with financial and regulatory technology companies as part of the firm’s newly created emerging technology team.Universal said the appointment was the “next logical step” in its long-term corporate strategy to reach €500bn in assets under management by 2023.Fitch Ratings – Mervyn Tang has been named head of ESG research for the credit rating agency’s sustainable finance group. Based in Hong Kong, Tang will oversee a newly formed research team that will primarily focus on thematic and cross-sector ESG research using both internal and external datasets. Fitch said this research would complement the recently launched entity and sector level ESG research and analysis now being produced globally by Fitch’s credit rating analysts. Tang re-joined Fitch Ratings in March, having been at MSCI since 2017 where he was head of fixed income in their ESG research department. During his first period at Fitch, Tang was a director in its sovereign group in Asia-Pacific. He has also worked as an economist at the Bank of England and an equities analyst at Citigroup. Söderberg – Swedish pensions adviser and business insurer Söderberg & Partners has hired Roland Goldman, the former chief executive of risk manager Mandema & Partners, as director of mergers, acquisitions and franchise development. Goldman has been tasked with expanding Söderberg’s service provision in the Netherlands by attracting companies for partnerships, joint ventures and takeovers.Söderberg entered the Dutch market in 2017 through a partnership with Floreijn, an adviser on employee benefits. Pensions adviser Montae has also joined the group. BSPS, ATP, Varma, EIOPA, ASR, DNB, GAM, Detailhandel, Edmond de Rothschild, ICG, MN, Amundi, Invesco, Fidante, Universal, Fitch, SöderbergBritish Steel Pension Scheme – The £11.2bn (€13.1bn) pension fund for Tata Steel’s UK workers has appointed Keith Greenfield as its first independent chairman.He took over on 1 April from Allan Johnston, who has served as a trustee since 1994 and has been chairman of the trustee board since 2007. Johnston will remain on the board as a trustee.Under Johnston’s leadership, the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) successfully negotiated a “regulated apportionment agreement” with the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) in 2017, restructuring the scheme to keep the bulk of its membership out of the PPF.last_img read more

Irish regulator announces pension scheme engagement programme

first_imgIreland’s Pensions Authority has announced an engagement programme with the country’s pension schemes to assess how they are meeting their governance and risk obligations.Focusing initially on large multi-employer schemes – both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) – the supervisor’s programme will include:Completion of a questionnaire;Meeting(s) between trustees and the regulator, based on the completed questionnaire;A findings report including the regulator’s observations and, where appropriate, recommendations for improvement.The questionnaire will help the regulator assess a scheme’s governance standards and how these may affect good member outcomes. It will also, where appropriate, enable the assessment of how well a scheme meets the proposed requirements for master trusts published in June 2019, and other requirements of the IORP II directive, once this has been transposed into law.Grace Guy, the regulator’s head of supervision and enforcement, said: “The Pensions Authority is committed to improving member outcomes by implementing a forward looking and risk-based approach to supervision. This will involve more direct engagement with trustees involving dialogue and scrutiny about how well they are exercising their responsibilities to their members.”The programme will later be extended to all schemes.The Pensions Authority has previously held direct engagement meetings with trustees of schemes and said any feedback has been restricted to the pension scheme itself, although issues of general concern to the sector as a whole have given rise to alerts circulated by the regulator.Roma Burke, partner at LCP Ireland, said: “If feedback is amalgamated and shared in the engagement programme, it should help all pension scheme trustees to better understand what is expected of them.”Burke said that as the regulator is targeting larger schemes with this exercise, there is a good chance that these schemes have more resources to better address governance and risk management.“The Pensions Authority is committed to improving member outcomes by implementing a forward looking and risk-based approach to supervision”Grace Guy, head of supervision and enforcement, The Pensions AuthorityAccording to the OECD working paper on pension fund governance, good governance can spare pension schemes the costs of over-regulation, Burke said.She said: “I hope the supervisory approach adopted by the authority will be dictated by its assessment of a pension scheme’s risk profile – schemes judged to pose less risk could be subject to a lighter supervisory approach.”However, according to Burke: “The challenge for the regulator is also to implement a proportionate approach for smaller schemes who may simply not have the same resources available.”last_img read more