Many people are only slowly beginning to realise the harm low to negative interest rates are causing and, without a lobby, the concerns of savers and pension funds are hardly taken seriously, the head of the board of trustees at Swiss multi-employer pension fund Profond told delegates at a trade fair in Zurich yesterday.All of Swiss pension funds’ assets have been affected by the low to negative rates environment, said Olaf Meyer, criticising central banks’ monetary policy as “politically motivated redistribution” of financing from the private sector to governments.Prices have become political prices rather than market prices, he said, adding: “We’re no longer operating in a market system.”He said Swiss Pensionskassen were faced with low yields in listed and unlisted assets, a domestic currency that had become a burden and a large gap between members’ pension expectations and the yields attainable via traditional investment strategies. Picking up a point made earlier by Dewet Moser, alternate member of the governing board of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), that real interest rates were still positive, Meyer said it was very difficult to explain this to individuals who tend to think in nominal terms.“That’s something we have to live with,” he said.As to how Pensionskassen can respond to the rates environment, there are two main choices, according to Meyer – adjusting investment activity (by buying real assets and hedging exchange rates, for example) or adjusting benefits.The latter is already happening in Switzerland to an extent that has not been seen for a long time, he said.By way of conclusion, Meyer noted that unlisted assets had become more attractive and that a failure to change investment strategy would entail lower benefits at most Pensionskassen.Monetary policy needs to become a more substantial part of Pensionkassen’s new investment strategies, he added.Meyer’s presentation came after the SNB’s Moser acknowledged that negative rates were a burden for Pensionskassen but also argued that the direct negative effect was limited.He defended the removal of the cap on the Swiss franc/euro exchange rate in January 2015 and the introduction of a -0.75% deposit rate the following month, saying the negative rate was working even though it is “not a magic cure”. As for the impact on Pensionskassen, he said he understood negative rates were a burden but that he could not offer any prospect of relief, as they were unlikely to disappear any time soon.When the Swiss central bank set interest rates at -0.75% in February last year, the country’s pension funds called for an exemption, asking to be granted accounts at 0% interest with the SNB instead – the request was denied.Moser yesterday said the international low-rate environment was the bigger challenge for Pensionskassen than the domestic situation but that, together, these still only represented “the tip of the iceberg”.Far more important, according to Moser, are aspects such as increasing life expectancy, investment regulations and the conversation rate applied by pension funds (Umwandlungssatz).He called for political solutions, saying Swiss occupational pension provision needed to be reformed.He declined to comment on the nature of such reform, however, saying later that, although he deliberately mentioned the need for reform, he could not elaborate, as this was not a matter for the central bank.The call for reform is by no means new in Switzerland, and the topic is the subject of much debate – and some concrete action.A reform package is in the midst of going through Parliament, with Altersvorsorge 2020 (AV 2020), as the package is known, having most recently been part of a three-day debate in the lower chamber earlier this month. The relevant committee, the commission for social security and health, is due to discuss AV 2020 again on 12-13 May.
Image source: Jan De NulJan De Nul has just released the latest update on their underwater breakwater project in Benin, saying that the season’s goal was successfully completed.“Our vessel Pompei installed a total of 440,000 tonnes of rock in 132 days. Now getting ready for another 400,000 tonnes,” said Jan De Nul in its announcement.The stone installation works were kicked off in December 2018 in Avlékété.During the first phase, a submerged dike of 2 kilometers will be installed. Another two rock installation campaigns of 2 kilometers each will follow, one in Avlékété and another in Djégbadji.After the installation of the submerged dikes, Jan De Nul’s trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHDs) will reclaim sand to restore the affected beaches.Works will be completed in 2021.BackgroundThe Beninese Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development recently kicked off the coastal protection works near the mentioned coastal villages – part of the town called Ouidah.At the beginning of 2018, the Ministry awarded Jan De Nul Group for its in-house developed design of a submerged dike installed off the coast to protect the coastline against the impact of the Atlantic Ocean.Jan De Nul’s design includes a submerged dike at about 150 meters off the coast. The dike has a wave damping effect, which means that the waves of the Atlantic Ocean are broken before they reach the coast.A wave-free climate develops between the submerged dike and the coast. This will significantly reduce the impact on the beaches, as a result of which the sand will move less and the erosion will decrease.
Perhaps the biggest heavyweight title fight in the United States since Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in 2002 will take place on Dec. 1 when WBC champion Deontay Wilder battles lineal champ Tyson Fury at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.Negotiations started in earnest after talks between Wilder and unified titleholder Anthony Joshua stalled out. When Fury dispatched Francesco Pianeta by unanimous decision in August, Wilder entered the ring, and the fight was made official. – The Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury clash plays a bigger role in the heavyweight division than most think. MORE: Join DAZN and watch more than 80 fight nights a yearWilder (40-0, 39 KOs) last fought in March, when he mounted a comeback and knocked out Luis Ortiz to score the biggest win of his career. The Alabama native has been looking for a career-defining outing, and he believes a win over Fury is just what he needs.Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to win the IBF, WBA (super) and WBO belts. He vacated the belts in 2016 after it was revealed that he had failed a drug test. The Englishman returned in June after a two-year layoff to sort out personal issues and beat Sefer Seferi, who refused to come out for the fifth round. Can Wilder rise to the occasion and deliver in what will be his biggest test? Or will the “The Gypsy King” take down “The Bronze Bomber”?(All times Eastern.)Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury date, start timeDeontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will meet on Saturday, Dec. 1. The fight card will begin at 9 p.m.How to watch Wilder vs. Fury liveYou can watch Wilder vs. Fury on Showtime PPV.Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury recordsDeontay Wilder: 40-0 with 39 knockoutsTyson Fury: 27-0 with 19 knockoutsWilder vs. Fury fight cardDeontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight titleJarrett Hurd vs. Jason Welborn for Hurd’s IBF/WBA Junior Middleweight titleLuis Ortiz vs. Travis Kauffman; HeavyweightsJoe Joyce vs. Joe Hanks; HeavyweightsAlfredo Angulo vs. TBA; Super MiddleweightsJulian Williams vs. Javier Francisco Castro; Junior MiddleweightsMark Barriga vs. Carlos Licona for vacant IBF Strawweight titleChris Arreola vs. Maurenzo Smith; HeavyweightsRobert Guerrero vs. Adam Mate; WelterweightsMarsellos Wilder vs. David Damore; CruiserweightsIsaac Lowe vs. Luis Rafael Baez; FeatherweightsJesse Rodriguez vs. Alex Aragon; Junior FlyweightsAnthony Yarde vs. TBA; Light HeavyweightsWilder vs. Fury latest news – Why hasn’t Deontay Wilder become the biggest boxing attraction in the United States? Sporting News’ combat sports editor Andreas Hale gives the biggest reason.- Tyson Fury has a chance to regain the heavyweight title. Here are six of the greatest heavyweights to win back the gold.- Fury has risen to the top of the mountain and been to the depths of despair. We chronicle the uneven journey to this point.- Who wins: Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury? Our team Sporting News Boxing team give their picks.- SN talks with the top names in the sport on who they feel walks out of LA the WBC heavyweight champion.- Saturday night is the moment Wilder has been waiting for.- Even though they are battling for heavyweight supremacy, Wilder and Fury are more alike than people think.- SN takes a delve into why Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury is a must-see fight.