SPMS, the €10.2bn Dutch occupational pension fund for medical consultants, has started implementing a new risk management framework for its investment portfolio.The rules govern who is responsible for setting levels of risk, how those risks are measured, who provides advice and who monitors risks.The scheme said the framework included risks such as interest rates, counterparties, liquidity, and currency, and these were assessed against policy, procedure and reporting criteria.In its annual report for 2017, the pension fund also detailed a new “three-line defensive model”. Jeroen Steenvoorden, director of SPMS, said that the first defensive threshold comprised the scheme’s administrative bureau, while the second line of defense was made up of the scheme’s financial risk manager and a new manager for non-financial risks.The third protective layer still had to be established, he said, and would be based on additional regulation in the wake of the IORP II pensions directive, as well as guidance from regulator De Nederlandsche Bank.Steenvoorden added that SPMS had professionalised its compliance function through the appointment of a full-time manager for non-financial risks, who has replaced the three part-time compliance officers on the board and the administrative bureau.However, the pension fund also emphasised that it did not plan to reduce investment risk for the time being, arguing that a reduced risk exposure could mean a lower pension result as well as a contribution increase for members and employers. The pension scheme planned to consult its accountability body first, it said.The scheme has also decided to carry out an extensive asset-liability management study, which it said it would evaluate every six months.SPMS posted a net investment result of 5.2%, in part due to a 5% result from its currency hedge of the dollar, sterling and the yen. This more than offset a 3.6% loss incurred on its interest rate hedge.The scheme’s European and emerging markets equity exposures generated 12.8% and 25.6%, respectively, while US equity gained 5.8%. Nevertheless, the pension fund decided to increase its US holdings from 37% to 43% of the equity portfolio, citing diversification reasons.The pension fund said it also wanted to reduce the retail stake in its property portfolio in favour of logistics assets, with target allocations for retail and logistics at 32% and 21%, respectively.Last year, SPMS started building an infrastructure debt portfolio, with an initial investment of €250m in three funds. Steenvoorden said he expected that the portfolio would meet its strategic allocation of 5% at year-end.In 2017, SPMS’s funding improved by 8 percentage points to 126%. It rose further to 127.1% at May-end.The pension fund granted its fixed indexation of 3%, but refrained from paying an additional bonus as deemed its funding level insufficient.
Naomi Cowan (second left) at Kanye West’s October 18 Sunday Service concert at Emancipation Park in Kingston. From left is Jesse Royal, Carlene Davis, Jamaica’s Entertainment and Culture minister Olivia Grange, Kanye West and Tommy Cowan. KINGSTON, Jamaica – Hours before she headed to Emancipation Park in Kingston with her family for Kanye West’s Sunday Service show on October 18, singer Naomi Cowan heard of a shooting incident near her office, a five-minute walk from the venue.By that evening, her concern had given way to hope as she was in the massive crowd that watched the rapper and his gospel group turn in a mesmerizing performance.It was enough to wash her blues away.“All he’s doing is telling people to be fearless, telling them how to be creative,” said Cowan. “He was using contemporary sounds and R&B riffs but the message was so strong you could not help but be a part of it,” Cowan said.Cowan was accompanied to the event by her parents, veteran artist manager/producer Tommy Cowan and his wife, singer Carlene Davis. Several Jamaican gospel singers also attended, as did Jesse Royal, a key figure in the roots-reggae revival and the country’s entertainment and culture minister, Olivia “Babsy” Grange.The Kingston show was a pop up gig for the controversial West who recently embraced Christianity. He is currently promoting Jesus is King, his first gospel album, released in October.Cowan has done a handful of gospel songs but made her mark in 2018 with Paradise Plum, a catchy dance track that did well on regional charts in the United States.While her day started ominously, she credited West and his Sunday Service singers for making it worthwhile in the end.“I had a fantastic time and I’m so full of gratitude. I really was on Cloud Nine and so thankful for life,” she said.West has held several Sunday Service shows in the US since its launch in January. His Jamaican leg was not without incident, as Grange issued a statement ordering the rapper to stop selling merchandise bearing Jamaica’s national emblem.