Latvian pension funds boost returns in second quarter

first_imgThe active funds increased their share of bonds and bond funds to 52%, from 48% in the first quarter, while decreasing the share of bank deposits by 2 percentage points to 5% because of historically low interest rates.The balanced funds likewise raised their bond share, by 5 percentage points to 75%, while cutting their equity and equity fund exposure, from 17% to 14%.The conservative plans remained relatively unchanged, with bonds and bond funds accounting for 78%, and deposits 7%. Like the active funds, they have also kept a sizeable share, of 15%, in cash.Brexit had little direct effect because the Latvian funds have relatively little investment in the UK, instead focusing increasingly on the home market.Latvia accounted for 42% of invested assets, followed by Eastern Europe (23%), and global and international securities (12%).More than 92% of investments went into euro-denominated assets, followed some way behind by the US dollar (6%).Assets accumulated in the 15-year-old second-pillar system breached the €2.5bn mark at the end of June, a year-on-year growth rate of 14.4%, with net investment income accounting for almost €400m.In the voluntary third pillar, the 12-month average fell to 0.52%, from 3.47% in June 2015, with the four balanced funds returning 1.1%, the 10 active plans minus 0.38% and the First Closed Pension Fund 0.75%.The wide range of returns from the active plans partly reflected currency developments over the period, with the two US dollar funds returning 1.23%, while the eight euro-denominated funds averaged minus 0.45%.Over the last three months, the active plans raised their share in equity and equity funds by 4 percentage points to 37%, while the balanced ones increased their bond holdings from 64% to 69%, in both cases at the expense of their cash holdings.Assets grew by 11.3% year on year to €340m and membership by 7.2% to 261,925. Latvia’s mandatory second-pillar pension funds’ 12-month weighted average return to 30 June 30 fell to minus 0.16%, from 2.71% a year earlier, according to the Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia (LKA).The best results, of 1.53%, were generated by the eight bond-weighted conservative funds, followed by the four balanced funds at minus 0.47%, and the eight active, equity-weighted funds at minus 1.54%.However, a market recovery in the second quarter was reflected in the funds’ improved three-month performance, with the active funds returning 0.37% (compared with minus 0.75% in the first quarter), and the balanced funds 0.48% (against minus 0.07%), while the conservative funds’ result was unchanged at 0.57%.The funds’ asset allocation strategies became increasingly more risk averse throughout this year.last_img read more

Well-Safe Solutions invests in new Aberdeen headquarters

first_imgWell abandonment services provider Well-Safe Solutions has made a multi-million-pound investment in new Aberdeen headquarters.Well-Safe said on Thursday that the investment followed a landmark contract win and acquisition of its first asset.According to the company, it invested several million in the HQ building at Gateway Business Park in Aberdeen having already outgrown its current offices.It is worth mentioning that Well-Safe Solutions will decommission twenty-one wells on the Schooner and Ketch fields in the UKCS operated by DNO. The company also recently acquired the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling unit, which will be converted into a P&A unit.Graeme Murray, legal and commercial director at Well-Safe, said: “We are delighted to have found an ideal building that will give our employees a great working environment. It also will give us very quick access to our Dundee marine base, and with the new bypass, will make it much easier for all our employees to travel to and from the site.”The company added that it was gearing up for further contract awards and was in the final process of selecting a number of assets that it would purchase to enhance its complete well plug and abandonment package offering.Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by more than 10.000 industry professionals daily.We had almost 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas.These stats allow our partners advertising on Offshore Energy Today to get maximum exposure to their online campaigns. If you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today contact our marketing manager Mirza Duran for advertising options.last_img read more

Kingston to Kingston: Alpha Institute Music Students and Teachers Reflect on…

first_imgWATCH MME 2020 EXCHANGE KINGSTON, JAMAICA The Alpha Institute in Kingston, Jamaica hosted three members of Kings Highway, a Boston, MA-based Caribbean Jazz outfit, during the first half of the exchange in February. Later in March, Alpha Institute music students Patrick Garrell and Rohan Mitchell, along with senior music instructor, Clayon Samuels, traveled to the USA for an extraordinary week of high school, college and university music classes, performances, concerts and networking. Organized by March for Music Education founding partner Kings Highway, the visit to the USA created a dynamic platform for music educators and students on both sides of the border to explore, compare and develop their craft. The visitors from Jamaica spent their first full day at Berklee College, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Berklee alumni have won 294 Grammy Awards, 95 Latin Grammy Awards, 19 Emmy Awards, 5 Tony Awards and 5 Academy Awards. The team from the Alpha Institute attended classes in jazz theory and Pro Tools and a performance class focused on Red Hot Chili Peppers. They also tried augmented reality for the first time and presented a songwriting project that earned cheers from Berklee students and plaudits from Berklee Professor Sarah Brindell. Alpha’s senior music instructor, Clayon Samuels, was equally impacted. “I was inspired by the way Sarah led her class. This class changed my whole outlook on creativity and song writing. It was magical because oftentimes the boys at the Alpha Institute complain about English class not knowing that they will need the writing skills one day to execute a good song idea.” “I want more Alpha students to experience what I did because it helped me put things into perspective. And it can help others,” said Patrick Garrell. Kingston, Jamaica – The March for Music Education recently completed the March for Music Education Exchange (MMEX). It was an epic journey that brought music educators to Kingston and sent two Alpha Institute music students and their instructor to Massachusetts and (Kingston) Rhode Island in the United States. Of course, any trip to the United States is not complete without a concert featuring a recent Grammy winning artist. March for Music Education Exchange resident musician, Professor Mark Berney, of the University of Rhode Island (URI), and Kings Highway trumpet player, made sure the team from Alpha didn’t just watch 2020 Grammy winning trumpet player Brian Lynch. Indeed, during the visit to URI, Alpha was also treated to a Brian Lynch masterclass with URI students. Professor Berney noted how the learning went both ways. “The last night at Beehive was special,” recalled Alpha student Rohan Mitchell. “The whole energy. The whole of the guys coming together. The whole love and the respect that we share for each other. It helped boost the performance.” Canton’s Director of Music Ensembles, and King’s Highway trombone player, Brian Thomas, said, “Canton students learned some of the technical aspects of playing Jamaican music and how Jamaican music was influenced by the major cultural and historical event of Jamaica gaining independence.” “The experience at Canton allowed me to use the tools I learned in college,” Mr Samuels said, “to teach others about Jamaican culture and in the process helped to bring out another side of me that I did not know fully.” “The day will go down as one of my most memorable days as a teacher,” Mr Thomas recalled. “I enjoyed watching the power of music show itself as my students in Canton instantly connected with Clayon, Patrck and Rohan. While I’ve had the opportunity to regularly experience that through my own musical opportunities, it was amazing to see my students have the same experience.” The mission was not lost on Patrick or Rohan. “As a university professor, one of my main objectives is to promote diversity of all kinds, including cultural and musical diversity,” he said. “Now I have students who have become more interested in traveling abroad and making more cultural and musical connections.”center_img Rohan Mitchel added, “The March for Music Education Exchange experience told me to get up and not to get lazy or complacent. I believe that this opportunity should be provided to every musician who wants to take their career to another level.” The end of the exchange marked the beginning of new opportunities, new projects and a new mindset, one that is sure to help Alpha students and their instructor weather the challenges brought by travel restrictions and social distancing. The March for Music Education is looking forward to creating more opportunities for music students and educators in and outside of Jamaica. “King’s Highway and Alpha joined to become one,” said March for Music Education Exchange resident musician and Kings Highway drummer Nathan Sabanayagam. “With a solid three days of school visits and music under our belts, this show was a celebration and culmination of the entire cultural exchange.” Performance is a critical part of music education particularly for vocational students like those at Alpha. Accordingly, the visit to the USA started and ended with performances. The first performance, held at La Fabrica, a small venue on Massachusetts Avenue, put Alpha in front of local ska and reggae music fans for the first time. The appeal of ska caught Mr Samuels’ attention. “The idea that musicians outside of Jamaica would take Jamaican culture,” said Samuels, “and immerse it into their own and the whole love for it was a surprise to me.” “The experience helped me to find a different side of me I didn’t know about musically,” said Alpha Institute’s Mr Samuels. “I learned there is no limit to learning. The March for Music Education experience inspired me and encouraged me to learn about what more that I can do at Alpha and with music in general.” The following day, at Canton High School, Jamaican music was the main topic at three performance classes — orchestra, concert band and jazz ensemble. In each class of over 40 students, Canton musicians performed their traditional repertoire and also ska music. Alpha students and their instructor discussed with Canton students the roots of ska and its links to American jazz. At the end of the day, a massive jam session gave everyone the opportunity to apply what they had learned — and they learned more than just music. The final performance brought together a host of personalities from the past three days. Held at The Beehive, a hip hub for hundreds of live music fans in Boston, the Kings Highway/Alpha connection brought out Chris Wilson from Heartbeat Records, Shema McGregor, daughter of Freddie McGregor who is now working with the Wailers and Canton High School students who turned out to support their friends. Berklee Professor Sarah Brindell took the stage as did Dion Knibb, son of Skatalites founder Lloyd Knibb. At The Beehive, the musicians made the night their own. “The Alpha students showed the Berklee students how to dive into improvising and developing a song without fear or inhibition, without crippling self doubt,” said Professor Brindell. “They showed the Berklee students how to find a creative flow.” “We wanted to create a personal experience that would allow for musicians and educators to learn and grow, both in their craft and personally,” said MMEX organizer and Kings Highway band leader, Alex Beram. “We saw Patrick, Rohan and Clayon engaged from the first moment; curious, active, excited, challenged. They met other music students and educators from all over the world, not only creating lasting bonds and friendships, but quickly assessed their own strengths and weaknesses in light of that.”last_img read more

2-year-old falls to her death on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

first_imgA family from Indiana is mourning the death of a two-year-old girl after the child fell several stories from a cruise ship Sunday.The incident occurred on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.According to the report, the child’s grandfather was holding the child up to an open window when he somehow lost his grip and the child fell 11 stories down. Elmer Roman of the Puerto Rican Department of Public Security told CBS News that the child first hit an awning before eventually landing on the pavement at the dock.“It’s a very grave scene, very regrettable and tragic,” Roman said. “One of the grandfathers, whom it would appear was playing with the little girl, lifted her out of the open window and lost his grip.”Roman also reported that a homicide team was investigating the incident and they plan to interview the family and view security footage of the scene to conclude.Royal Caribbean has since released a statement on the tragedy saying:“We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We’ve made our care team available to assist the family with any resources they need. Out of respect for their privacy, we do no plan to comment further on the incident.”last_img read more

Lincolnshire women golfers win national final

first_img Lincolnshire golfers Sheila Mason and Jackie Scott are national champions – winning the final of a women’s competition which raises funds for the charity, the England Golf Trust.Sheila and Jackie from Belton Park Golf Club, romped to victory in the England Golf Trust National Pairs, scoring an impressive 47 points in the betterball final.They were three points ahead of their closest challengers at Kings Norton Golf Club, Worcestershire: Janet Davies and Elizabeth Campbell of Bramley, Surrey.The competition was designed to raise funds for the Trust, which provides grants and bursaries for young men and women in education or aged up to 21. The 2018 tournament attracted an initial entry from 140 clubs, which held qualifying rounds, and donations of over £5000.“It’s been an amazing day,” said Sheila, who put their success down to their preparation with a practice round on the day before the competition.“We’re extremely pleased. It’s so rare to get the opportunity to play in a national competition,” added the 17 handicapper.Jackie took up golf just two years ago and plays off 28. She remarked: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I never dreamed I could do anything like this, so it’s wonderful. There’ll be no stopping me now!”The two women will be returning to their club to spread the word further about the England Golf Trust and its work to support young people who need financial help to play the game. Caption: Jackie Scott (left) and Sheila Mason with the England Golf Trust National Pairs trophy. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography). 22 Aug 2018 Lincolnshire women golfers win national final center_img Tags: England Golf Trust, Womenlast_img read more