The €2bn pension fund of Dutch financial regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) plans to fine-tune its policy on responsible investment, aiming for an investment portfolio with a 30% outperformance on ESG.In its annual report for 2018, Roeland van Vledder, the scheme’s chairman, said it also wanted to reduce the portfolio’s carbon footprint by 10% relative to the benchmark, and would exclude controversial weapons and tobacco from its investment universe.He said the board was convinced that the measures would contribute to maintaining its strong funding position: at the end of March its coverage ratio was 122.8%.The DNB pension fund reported an overall loss on investments of 0.4% for 2018. DNB’s office in AmsterdamThe scheme replaced a number of long-duration bonds with short-duration bonds in order to limit exposure to a relative drop in fixed income markets.Despite the loss, the DNB scheme was able to grant its participants full inflation compensation for the first time in 10 years.Indexation in arrears for pensioners and deferred members ranged from 4.75% to 8.54%, depending on whether they were linked to the salary or the consumer index.It follows a liability-driven investment policy, with 75% of the interest rate risk on its nominal liabilities covered by investments in fixed income and interest rate swaps. The DNB scheme simplified its investment portfolio in 2017, reducing the number of asset classes and switching to passive management.The board said it would carry out an extensive evaluation of its pensions administration after provider TKP announced plans to cease its advisory services, as the DNB scheme, given its scale, no longer fitted in its long-term strategy.Last year, the pension fund replaced BNY Mellon with KAS Bank as custodian, and at 2017-end Cardano became the manager of its matching portfolio.In addition, the DNB scheme’s board said it intended to simplify its pension arrangements in order to ease implementation and communication, as well as reduce costs. A simplified pension plan would also make adjusting to a new pensions system easier, it said.The pension fund reported administration costs of €295 per participant. It spent 16bps on asset management and 2bps on transactions.The DNB scheme has 2,065 active participants, 1,755 deferred members and 1,480 pensioners. A gain of 2.5% from its liability-matching portfolio of predominantly short-duration German and Dutch government bonds and interest swaps – which made up 60% of the overall portfolio – could not compensate for a 2.9% loss from its return-seeking holdings.Its equity allocation lost 4.3%, while its global property REITs allocation declined by 0.3%.
CHAMPIONS Ivory Coast twice pegged back DR Congo to earn a 2-2 draw and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.A clever throw-in routine was finished off by Neeskens Kebano’s low drive to put DR Congo 1-0 up but Wilfried Bony equalised with a powerful header.DR Congo regained the lead just two minutes later when Junior Kabananga headed in.Ivory Coast salvaged a point when Serey Die’s 20-yard shot was deflected in.Salomon Kalou was denied a late winner for Ivory Coast when he volleyed in superbly but the goal was ruled out for offside.The result leaves Group C congested – at least until yesterday’s late game between Togo and Morocco.Ivory Coast teetered on the brink because of some poor defending.They failed to pick up the runs of Kebano and Kabananga for the DR Congo pair’s goals and were also fortunate when Firmin Ndombe Mubele’s shot clipped the post after he had easily held off two defenders.But in Bony they had a serious aerial threat and the on-loan Stoke forward gave a warning when he headed over from a long ball over the top by Serge Aurier. Soon after he powered in a downward header from a corner for his side’s first equalizer.The Ivorian’s second leveller had an element of good fortune as Die’s drive was diverted in off a defender.A tight offside decision then went against Kalou, who had brilliantly volleyed in from Aurier’s free-kick. (BBC Sport)
New Barcelona signing Alex Song says he had no hesitation in leaving Arsenal and he expects to now win trophies in Catalonia.Song, 24, was speaking at the Camp Nou after completing his €19 million move from Premier League side Arsenal.“I am very happy to be at Barcelona, to be a Barca player,” Song said at a press conference. “It is a big day for me and my family. I said yes to Barca because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.“I will try to do my best. We will aim to win trophies because this a team of champions.”Reports in the UK had suggested that the move had damaged Song’s relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, but the player said there were no hard feelings on either side.“I want to thank Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for letting me come here,” Song said. “I wanted to make the move and I am happy to have taken this decision. I have no problems with Wenger.” Song reportedly slept Sunday night at the house of another former Wenger protege, Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas, before being presented to the Camp Nou fans ahead of Monday evening’s Gamper Trophy game against Sampdoria, which the Serie A side won 1-0.“(Fabregas) has told me many things about Barca, but he did not need to convince me,” Song said. “I know all about them, I have seen them on the television. When you move to a new place you have to adapt and Cesc will help me. The style of play is similar to Arsenal.“The Camp Nou is a magical stadium, I have had an opportunity to see its fantastic atmosphere.”Song, who has signed a five-year contract and will wear shirt number 25, is now available for Thursday evening’s Spanish Supercopa home first leg against Real Madrid.“It is a game with lots of rivalry, very important for Barca,” he said. “I am especially excited to be able to play in it. I would like to play against Madrid, if the coach thinks it is right. I respect Madrid, but I think Barcelona play better football.” It will not be easy to gain a place in Barca’s starting line-up, said Song, who had praise for the team’s current ‘pivote’ Sergio Busquets and added he was happy to play in different positions as required by coach Tito Vilanova.“I did not come here to take Busquets’ place,” he said. “He is the best defensive midfielder in the world. At Arsenal I have played centre-half and in midfield. I am ready to play wherever the coach needs me.”Song said his two young sons were also very excited about their father’s move.“Both are big fans of (Lionel) Messi,” he said. “When they play in the garden they pretend to be him. Messi is the best player in the world, he has an impressive talent and it is a pleasure to be able to play with him. I am very happy.”Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said that Song had been Barca’s first choice to fill the gap in midfield left by Seydou Keita’s departure and it was unlikely there would be any further new arrivals at the club this summer. “He was top of our list of potential signings,” Zubizarreta said. “He is good on the ball, good tactically and physically strong. The deal with Arsenal has gone through quickly. We now have the squad we wanted.”