FTK to hit Dutch pension funds’ coverage ratios, consultancies warn

first_img“If the Ministry of Social Affairs is to adopt the recommendations of the ultimate forward rate committee, the new discount rate would be slightly lower than the current one and result in a lower coverage ratio,” he said.However, he said he could not confirm whether a lower discount rate would lead to new rights cuts.“So far, we haven’t conducted exact calculations about the effects on the funding of a new curve,” he said.“In the new situation, for example, the current three-month average of the discount rate would be abolished.”Krijgsman pointed out that Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, had said no rights discounts needed to be applied at the end of 2014, and that, under the new FTK – still scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2015 – cuts could be spread out over a 10-year period.Driessens’s response came on the back of calculations of the average coverage ratio, which were, according to Aon Hewitt, stable at 109% in April but so far have not improved in 2014.The company said liabilities increased by 1.9% in April in the wake of falling interest rates, which caused the three-month average of the discount rate to fall.On the other hand, the assets of Dutch pension funds grew by 1.4% on average, largely thanks to a 1.7% increase in fixed income holdings, but also due to a value increase of equity investments of 0.3%, according to Aon Hewitt.Mercer, which linked its calculations to the most recent figures of supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) also concluded that average funding had hardly changed, estimating a 0.1 percentage point drop to 110.4% in April.According to Krijgsman, the 30-year swap rate dropped from 2.55% to 2.45% in April, while the three-month average of the discount rate fell from 2.66% to 2.6%.Dennis van Ek, principal and actuary at Mercer, added that, based on the actual market rate at April-end, the average coverage ratio of Dutch pension funds would have been 104.8%. Aon Hewitt has warned that a number of Dutch pension funds will find themselves with insufficient financial buffers when the new financial assessment framework (FTK) is enacted if their coverage ratios fail to improve significantly in the coming months.Frank Driessen, chief commercial officer for retirement and financial management at the pensions adviser, said: “This would threaten to erode their indexation potential and might even lead to new rights discounts.”Driessen also argued that the lower discount rate for liabilities under the new FTK would generally hurt schemes’ funding. Edward Krijgsman, team leader for monitoring at Mercer in the Netherlands, agreed.last_img read more

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Strict implementation of drug master plan needed to eradicate drug trafficking – NANA Director

first_img– says community, civil society must also get involvedWith Guyana considered a drug transhipment point in South America, only the strict implementation of the Drug Strategy Master Plan will suffice to eradicate the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking in Guyana.NANA Director, Major General (ret’d) Michael Atherly, at the opening of the drug treatment courtThis was emphasised by Director of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA), retired Major General Michael Atherly during the opening of Guyana’s first specialised drug rehabilitation court. According to Atherly, many factors, including those outside of Guyana, can help to explain Guyana’s drug problem.“National considerations also take into account several international deliberations, including treaties, strategies and best practices. Guyana is located within the hub of the transhipment routes for cocaine-producing countries in South and Central America to the North American and European markets.”“Drug cartels operating there seem to feel that profits gained from these markets overshadow the risks associated with production and trafficking. Accordingly, Guyana is not spared the distressing consequences of this problem. The drug problem must, therefore, be countered relentlessly.”NANA headquartersAtherly emphasised the need for all stakeholders, including communities, civil society, and the Private Sector, to be involved in eradicating the drug scourge. In addition, he cited the master plan, which the Government launched back in 2016.“The National Anti-Narcotics Agency believes that strong anti-narcotic efforts and demand reduction measures can and must go hand in hand with policies focused on rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users into society, in full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity.”“I would like to take this opportunity to reemphasise the need for vigorous implementation of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan. This plan is aimed at guiding and monitoring the actions of Government departments and their stakeholders, to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs, as well as the resulting harm from their abuse.”Earlier this year, a United States (US) State Department report had declared that while Guyana has a comprehensive drug demand reduction strategy, the use of drugs like marijuana and even cocaine is a growing problem.This information is contained in the 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which has a section dedicated to Guyana’s profile. Notwithstanding the trafficking, the report noted that the actual consumption of these drugs is a growing problem.According to the report, marijuana is the most commonly used drug. The document also noted reported seizures of synthetic drugs like Methylene-dioxyamphetamine (MDMA), most commonly known as “ecstasy”, and detailed Government’s response to the scourge.“The Government of Guyana’s National Drug Abuse Control Unit trains public health officers, teachers, social workers, and civil society groups as part of the Government’s supply reduction strategy,” the report states.“The Guyanese Government has a drug enforcement presence at its international airports, post offices, and to a lesser extent at seaport and land-border entry points. Control agencies reported several interdiction efforts and drug-related seizures and convictions during the first nine months of 2018”, the report details.The report also noted that during the first nine months of 2018, authorities seized 164.9 kilograms of cocaine and 889 kilograms of cannabis. It also states that local authorities initiated 358 prosecutions and convicted 24 individuals for drug trafficking.The report expressed faith in Guyana’s demand reduction strategy, noting that it adequately addresses drug rehabilitation. It named the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Social Protection as the relevant Ministries responsible for addressing demand reduction.“Non-governmental organisations also offer rehabilitation services, with the Government providing financial assistance. The Georgetown Public Hospital provides free rehabilitation services for drug users. The University of Guyana has a demand reduction curriculum in place through OAS/CICAD funding.”“The Government of Guyana conducts anti-drug awareness sessions in secondary schools, and has plans to create drug treatment courts. As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States supports Guyana through targeted training for law enforcement and maritime officers,” the report had declared.Being positioned on the South American continent with strong ties to the Caribbean region, Guyana has long been identified as a transhipment point for drug trafficking activities. It was against this backdrop that the US established an office of its Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) here back in February 2016.last_img read more

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