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Italian roundup: Minibond, Pioneer, BNP Paribas, Prometeia, PensPlan, Fondo Pegaso, Groupama

first_imgItalian asset manager Pioneer Investments has launched a €200m, five-year mini-bond fund to invest in Italian small and medium enterprises (SME).The closed fund, named Pioneer Progetto Italia, will invest in credit securities issued by firms with revenues between €10m and €100m and a minimum rating of B-.In a statement, Pioneer said that the fund would focus on companies with a “stable competitive position, credible growth pans, positive economic and financial parameters and that seek to finance further expansion, including on international markets”.The fund will have an option to continue operating for two years after the end of the five-year term. The minimum deposit is €150,000 and proceeds will be distributed annually to subscribers. There are four financing rounds of five months each until the fund reaches maximum capacity. Eidos Partners is advising Pioneer with the selection of firms that will issue the mini-bonds.Cinzia Tagliabue, chief executive of Pioneer Investments, said: “We believe we can contribute to the development of a direct brokerage network between asset management and investment that supports the Italian system.”Earlier this month, BNP Paribas Investment Partners Sgr, the Italian asset management arm of French bank BNP Paribas, announced that it had completed the first closing of BNP Paribas Bond Italia Pmi, another closed mini-bond fund that will invest in Italian SMEs.In the first round of financing, the fund raised €56m and targets an overall target of €150m. The fund has a seven-year term and the minimum deposit is €1m. Marco Barbaro, CEO of BNP Paribas Investment Partners Sgr, told Italian media that the fund has identified seven potential issuers of credit. Advisory firm Prometeia will assist the subscribers of the fund with further due diligence on the recipients.Pioneer Investments, which is owned by Italian banking group Unicredit, says that the mini-bond market is growing, with 30 funds launched – including one by PensPlan Invest – on the Extramot Pro segment of Borsa Italiana, the Milan Stock Exchange, since the creation of mini-bond by Italian lawmakers at the end of 2011.The market is now worth €12m and consists of securities with a 7-year term and coupons between 3% and 10% (6.5% on average).Mini-bonds were created by the ‘Development Decree’ of 2012 introduced by Mario Monti’s government, as a measure to encourage lending to SMEs.The measure has been the object of a passionate debate within the Italian institutional investor community, with critics arguing that pension funds and other investors should not step in to finance small and medium enterprises to make up for the lacking appetite for credit by the banking sector.In other news, Groupama Asset Management has won one of three mandates advertised by Fondo Pegaso, the second-pillar fund for employees of Italian utility companies.Groupama was awarded a global balanced mandate to manage a portfolio of global fixed income and equities for the €670m fund.last_img read more

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PLSA taskforce urges action to fix ‘inefficient’ UK defined benefit system

first_imgAn industry taskforce investigating defined benefit (DB) pension funds in the UK has pointed to consolidation and a more flexible approach to benefit changes and scheme resolution as potential remedies for a system it says is not “fit for the future”.The taskforce was created in March this year.Announcing its interim report at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) annual conference in Liverpool today, Ashok Gupta, chair of the group, said: “The current state of DB poses a significant risk to members’ benefits for all but the most strongly funded schemes.”He suggested the current system was a risk to the wider economy and a burden on people outside DB schemes. He added that, in 2015, companies paid around £31bn (€35bn) into their DB schemes, with £11bn of this serving as deficit-recovery contributions.“That money could have been spent elsewhere in their businesses – for example, on wages, business investment, dividends or pension contributions to employees in DC schemes,” he said.He said it was “time to act” because the current system “is not fit for the future”, and its inefficiency is affecting scheme members, sponsors and even more people outside those schemes.The taskforce has come up with four main findings:The system is too fragmentedThe regulatory approach to scheme resolution is inflexibleThe approach to benefit design and benefit change is too rigidThe approach to pension scheme risk-bearing is “sub-optimal”It called for solutions to these problems to be investigated, such as scheme consolidation or a more flexible approach to benefit design and benefit changes.Joanne Segars, chief executive at the PLSA, said the taskforce’s work had helped quantify the scale of what was already a known problem for DB schemes.“The system we have is not working as well as it could – it is inflexible and costly,” she said. “It only allows for binary outcomes of complete success or complete failure.”The next phase of work for the taskforce will be to collaborate across the pensions and investment sector with the government, regulators, social partners and industry to develop recommendations to support the sustainability of DB pensions.Its final report is to be published in March 2017.The state and future of DB pension schemes is a hot topic at the moment as a result of high-profile insolvencies and the impact on deficits from low Gilt yields, with the UK work and pensions select committee’s related inquiries into BHS and wider DB pension regulation keeping the matter high on the agenda.The new UK pensions minister Richard Harrington yesterday told delegates at the PLSA annual conference in Liverpool that the government would soon be launching a consultation – a Green Paper – on DB pension schemes.Consolidation was one of the measures he flagged as a possible way of dealing with some of the problems the sector faces.Not everyone agrees, however, that there is a DB affordability crisis.The executive director at The Pensions Regulator recently said talk thereof was overblown and that the pension fund deficit figures often reported in the media were misleading.Earlier this week, the deputy governor of the Bank of England is reported to have told the work and pensions select committee that the central bank’s quantitative easing policy was not materially harming businesses with DB pension schemes.last_img read more

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Ripley County 4-year-old recovering from self-inflicted gunshot wound

first_imgRipley County, In. — Indiana State Police say a 4-year-old boy is recovering after accidentally shooting himself Thursday evening. The report from the police says the incident occurred around 9:40 p.m. in the 1000 block of County Road 625 East.The boy was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and is expected to recover.The investigation is ongoing.last_img

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Baby Jet Promotions secure December 26 for Tagoe bout

first_imgBaby Jet Promotions have confirmed Boxing Day, December 26 to host its forthcoming bout with lead fighter Emmanuel Tagoe on the main bill.Game Boy, as he is affectionately called will be facing Tanzanian Sidicki Mombo in the main even with other exciting undercard bouts being lined up.The boxing syndicate of Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan have secured the RLG Sports Hall of the Accra Sports Stadium as the venue for the bout.Chief Executive Officer of Baby Jet Promotions, Samuel Anim Addo is expected to make official announcements on development and inroads made ahead of the December 26 bout.Meanwhile, Captain  Asamoah is set to arrive in the early hours of Tuesday to join his colleagues for the  first training session of the Black Stars at the Accra Sports Stadiumlast_img

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