​Denmark roundup: LD awards global equities mandate to GuardCap

first_imgDanish pension fund manager LD Funds has selected Canadian-owned London-based manager GuardCap to run a global equities mandate, it has announcedKristoffer Birch, LD Funds’ head of equities, said: “We have lacked a manager who can give us exposure to quality companies with high growth and high earnings, which both perform well in growth environments with low interest rates as we have now – and at the same time can protect the portfolio in crises.”GuardCap, which says it focuses solely on concentrated, bottom-up, strategies, was up against 33 other Danish and international asset managers in the EU procurement process, LD Funds said.Birch said it had also found GuardCap compelling because it had integrated ESG analysis and active ownership into its stock analysis and selection. The mandate award was the result of a tender launched in March, originally for an expected sum of DKK400m (€54m).Even at that stage, LD Funds did not know exactly how much its external managers would be required to invest on its behalf, because one of the two pension funds it runs – the holiday allowances fund  LD Feriemidler – depends on choices made by employers contributing the allowances.However, since March, LD Funds’ operating environment has changed significantly, with parliament having voted to disburse two thirds of the DKK100m of holiday allowances now rather than on retirement, in order to combat economic effects of the pandemic.LD Funds now manages DKK35bn in the mature fund, Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsmidler, and DKK40bn in LD Feriemidler.The Frederiksberg-based pensions manager said it now had only one more equities mandate left to award in the series of tenders it has been conducting over the last year.Equities and alternatives weigh on PFA’s H1 returnDenmark’s biggest commercial pension provider PFA has said its overall return on investments for the first half of this year was dragged down by losses on equities and alternative investments, including real estate.The pension fund reported a 3.4% investment loss for its market-rate pension clients and a 0.8% loss for those with average-rate products, with total assets for the parent company rising to DKK599bn from DKK593bn at the end of 2019.Allan Polack, PFA’s group chief executive, said: “We have had a strong focus on limiting the negative return for customers, when the COVID-19 pandemic seriously shook the markets, and since then we have been part of the upturn, so the losses have largely been made up.”PFA reported a total investment loss in absolute terms for the period of DKK2.2bn, with listed foreign equities ending with a negative 7.7% return after currency hedging and Danish listed equities returning -0.9%.“The return on investment was primarily brought down by negative returns on shares and alternative investments, while there have been positive returns on interest-rate hedging,” the firm said in its report.Real estate and alternatives ended the period with negative returns of 1.2% and 5.7% respectively, it said.Polack said: “Having a negative return is never satisfactory. On the other hand, it has been an extreme situation and we must also be pleased that the financial markets recovered quickly.”At the holding company level, PFA reported a rise in total assets to DKK721bn at the end of June from DKK688bn at the end of 2019.PBU: 90% of members value responsible, sustainable investmentIn a new survey Denmark’s Pædagogernes Pension (PBU) says that in a new survey, 90% of its members said it was important for their pension fund to be invested responsibly and sustainably.The member-owned pension fund for education practitioners – mainly kindergarten staff – said the poll ranked child rights as the highest specific priority for members, with 33% putting the issue at the top of their list, followed by climate, with 16% of respondents giving that the highest priority.Sune Schackenfeldt, PBU’s chief executive, said the fund was actively working for a global transition to an economy less dependent on fossil fuels – which focused on renewable energy and green technology – while simultaneously trying to create the best possible return for scheme members.“It is therefore very positive that [members] share the social and climate ambitions we have,” he said.last_img read more

New coach preaches what he knows best

first_imgMichael Cooper built his reputation as a defensive stopper — the type of player who shut down the other team’s top scorer night in and night out.Larry Bird went so far as to call him the best defender he ever played against.Changing of the guard · Senior guard Heather Oliver brings veteran leadership back to the Women of Troy. Oliver will have to step up her offensive production after Camille LeNoir and Nadia Parker graduated. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily TrojanBut for all the superlatives heaped upon him as a player, the most important one was winner. Cooper won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and now brings his winning pedigree to a USC women’s basketball team that is on the cusp of success.For the Women of Troy to reach their goal, Cooper said the team has to play at the same level of defense his Lakers did.“That was always our battle cry or mission,” Cooper said. “Defense wins championships, offense wins you some games.”Entering his first season as coach of the Women of Troy, Cooper inherits a talented but injury-prone squad that made a surprise run to the Pac-10 Championship last season. Two key performers from that team — high-scoring guard Camille LeNoir and center Nadia Parker — are gone, but the Women of Troy return three other players who earned All-Pac-10 honors last season.Senior Heather Oliver and sophomores Briana Gilbreath and Ashley Corral spearhead the attack for USC. The trio accounted for almost 40 percent of the team’s offense last season and will need to take on even bigger roles to replace the void left by the departures of LeNoir and Parker.Still, Cooper is counting on the entire team to contribute.“This isn’t going to be a one-or-two player team,” he said. “Our success is going to be dictated by how we play as a team.”Two other players who should play a significant role for the team are senior Hailey Dunham and junior Kari LaPlante.“It’s a big year for us, trying to get to the tournament,” Dunham said. “We haven’t made it in about three years, so I’m hoping to do it in my last year.”LaPlante might be the most important player on the team this season. Cooper said it will be important for the 6-foot-5 center to stay on the court and out of foul trouble for a USC team that is short on size.“It’s going to be a mental challenge for me that I’m willing to take,” LaPlante said. “I’m up for it [and] ready to battle with those girls.”Despite their issues, the Women of Troy have the pieces in place to make another run at the Pac-10 championship — provided they can stay healthy.Injuries have plagued the team for several years now and have already factored into this season. Redshirt sophomore Stefanie Gilbreath and freshman Vicky Tagalicod both suffered torn ACLs this fall and will have to sit out the season. For Gilbreath, it will be the third consecutive season she has missed with a knee injury.In Gilbreath and Tagalicod’s absence, USC will look for contributions from two players who have never suited up for the Women of Troy. Highly touted freshman Christina Marinacci comes to USC as one of the top recruits in the country and should help the team get past its injury woes.“Marinacci is definitely going to be an important factor for us,” Cooper said.Another former top recruit, redshirt junior Jackie Gemelos, should finally be healthy enough to deliver on the enormous promise she showed as a prep athlete. Gemelos arrived at USC four years ago as the top recruit in the country but has suffered four knee injuries in that time span. She should be ready for action sometime in January.“Jackie’s a heck of a player,” Dunham said. “I remember playing pickup games with her a couple of summers ago before she got injured and she’s a great passer.”If USC can overcome some of the challenges it will face this year, the team has a good chance at its first NCAA tournament berth since the 2005-2006 season.The Women of Troy have already hurdled perhaps their biggest obstacle of the season — adjusting to a new coach and a new system.“Usually teams kind of butt heads with a new coach, but we really bought in from the start and we’re ready to win some games,” Dunham said.The team has devoted three quarters of its practice time this fall to shoring up the defense.“Defense is something we struggled [with] last year,” LaPlante said. “We were at the bottom for giving up points.”Expectations for the team this season are modest. The Women of Troy sit well outside the preseason polls, although they did receive a handful of votes in the AP poll.“Obviously people are picking us nowhere near the top so we have nothing to lose,” Cooper said. “We’re just asking all the people to come out and be supportive of us and see a new product that is going to be out there.”USC will get its first chance at a victory on Friday when it hosts No. 11 Xavier in the season opener for both teams. The Women of Troy also take on Fresno State this Sunday at the Galen Center.last_img read more