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West Midlands: Birmingham only council refusing to make top-up

first_imgA spokesman for Clancy said he was not refusing to pay but had stated that Birmingham could not find an additional £65m on top of £42m already paid this year towards the pension fund deficit.Clancy said: “The hard-pressed citizens and taxpayers in Birmingham should not be asked to find £65m a year to bail out investment fund managers.”He has published a book on the topic of what he argues are excessive fees paid to investment fund managers, particularly by public bodies.The WMPF said it was now in talks with all participating employers as part of the 2016 actuarial valuation, which reviews and resets employer contributions from April 2017.“As has been widely reported, the vast majority of pension funds are in deficit and face a challenge in generating sufficient investment return and contribution income to pay pensions,” it said.The WMPF said it had flagged up the potential increase in employer contribution rates three years ago, as well as earlier this year, giving employers time to work these into their financial plans.Clancy said the pension fund needed to “stop cosseting the investment fund managers who got us all into this mess in the first place”.He said the pension fund lived in another world, adding: “It needs to get real.”WMPF defended itself, saying it was recognised within the industry as a front runner in promoting transparency in the reporting of investment management costs.The fund said it was “voluntarily embracing and disclosing deeper layers of costs and working with CIPFA and the National LGPS Scheme Advisory Board to develop a code of transparency for asset managers”.Over the last three years, it said it has cut its own ongoing investment management costs by £35m a year, achieved by re-shaping the portfolio to focus on value-added, but without compromising risk and return opportunities.Over the same period, the WMPF said its assets had outperformed, adding more than £2bn in value and reducing the funding deficit by more than £280m. A spat between Birmingham City Council’s leader and the West Midlands Pension Fund (WMPF) over the top-up fee sponsors are due to pay to the scheme and external investment management fees has prompted the fund to defend its management costs.John Clancy, who leads Birmingham City Council – one of several UK local authority sponsors of the scheme – has been reported in the media as refusing to pay next year’s top up into the WMPF, saying he would use the £65m (€73m) to protect services from government funding cuts due next year.Ian Brookfield, councillor and chair of the pensions committee governing the WMPF, said on behalf of the administering authority: “We note the comments by the leader of Birmingham City Council, but his views do not represent the wider political leadership of the West Midlands. No other employer is refusing to pay employer contributions.”One newspaper reported that several Labour councillor trustees of the pension fund were “poised” to reject the £100m top-up fee requested by the fund’s professional advisers.last_img read more

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Uranna sets sail for Punchestown

first_img Steve Massey, spokesman for owners Supreme Racing Club, said: “We were delighted with her run last time out at Fairyhouse. “She travelled really well and just made a mistake at the third-last. She stayed on really well and just missed out on finishing third. “She is entered in the Grade One two-and-a-half-mile and three-mile novice events, while there is also a mares’ novice hurdle race she could go to. “One thing for sure is that she will definitely run at Punchestown – it is just a case at this stage of seeing what else is entered. “She’s in really good form and the better ground will see her improve again.” Likely to join Uranna at the meeting will be the lightly-raced Ask Vic, who is being aimed at the valuable Setanta Sports Handicap Hurdle on May 2. The five-year old was last seen in action when pulling up behind stablemate Black Hercules in a Grade Three at Cork in December. Massey said: “Ask Vic has been a little star for us. Press Association The Willie Mullins-trained mare currently holds a handful of entries at the five-day meeting, which begins on April 28. Having won a Listed event on her penultimate outing, the seven-year old performed with credit when pitched into top-level company for the first time, finishing fourth behind Bitofapuzzle at Fairyhouse. Uranna is expected to improve for the return to a quicker a surface when she lines up at the Punchestown Festival. “She didn’t handle the heavy ground at Cork but before that she was beaten less than a length by Martello Tower, who has since gone on to win the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival. “She needs a few to come out of the race but I am sure she will get a run. “It will be a tough race, but she’ll be on a nice weight and goes well fresh. “The faster ground will suit her a lot better.” last_img read more

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Orlando John – Signing NiP, Olofmeister, Rekkles & co is just the beginning

first_imgWhat do Wyclef Jean, Rekkles and Robert Davi have in common? They’re all signed up for representation with the Orlando John agency. The Stockholm based company recently made its first move in esports signing deals with the likes of NiP, Olofmeister, Rekkles, HeaTon and more. Orlando JohnAfter meeting with Orlando John himself we had a chat about the agency’s plans in the space, the deals with NiP and co., and what esports teams and players can get from partnering with talent representation.Esports Insider: Why do esports players and teams need representation?Orlando John: Just like with other sports we at Orlando John feel esports players need representation to maximise their potentials. Whether that’s in commercial ventures or actual player representation for a team switch, or other major changes in their careers, an agency can help.“Our base of operations is Stockholm but it’s just a practical base. I wouldn’t look at cities but as a country Sweden has a lot of top (esports) talent”We agents are there to take that burden off their shoulders so that they can put full focus on what they do best.ESI: Tell us about the story of the Orlando John agency, you now represent the likes of Wyclef Jean but it wasn’t always like this…Orlando: The agency started as a one man organisation. I did everything from putting tours together, promoting shows and booking all the advance around a tour.“Just like with other sports we at Orlando John feel esports players need representation to maximise their potentials”It wasn’t for six years that I started building a proper team and, as of today, we are 13 full time employees with three offices covering most of the world. It has been a interesting journey to say the least. Today we represent talent within film, music, TV and esports that include Grammy winners and top Hollywood talent but for most an esports roster I’m personally very proud of.ESI: Is media training a part of your work with esports players? After all they won’t typically come as ‘refined’ as stars in other more established industries such as music, film and sports..Orlando: We as an agency do not provide media training but we often recommend our clients to find help to this end and we have several specialists within our network.It’s important to mention that this is not unique for just esports profiles. We have both live music and film profiles that often need help with media training. Even some of the profiles who have done it for many years sometimes need some extra help!Three of Orlando John’s esports clienteleESI: What is the local esports scene like in Stockholm? Which cities do you see as leading the way in esports in Europe?Orlando: Our focus as an agency is global. Our base of operations is Stockholm but it’s just a practical base. Our players are spread out with some living in Stockholm but most of them are in other cities and even outside of Sweden.To answer your question, I wouldn’t look at cities necessarily but as a country as a whole Sweden has a lot of top talent. I would say Sweden takes a pretty big part of the lead in the Western world.ESI: You kicked off in esports with some big names as clients – NiP, Rekkles, HeatoN and more…how much legwork went into these deals and can you tell us exactly what you’ll be doing for them?Orlando: We put together a short list of talent that we would like to represent. We picked them based on their games and their position in the market long term.“We also ensure that we’re protecting our clients by advising them what brands or what deals would work best for them in the long term”So far we have signed everyone on our short list and we are naturally pretty happy about this! As an agency we’re responsible for all commercial ventures for our clients. In a nutshell we are responsible for connecting our clients with commercial brands in the form of sponsorship or endorsement deals. A key part of our work involves chasing brands and explaining to them why they should pick an esports profile over another type of profile. That said, we also ensure that we’re protecting our clients by advising them what brands or what deals should work best for them in the long term.ESI: In your view what elements do esports tournaments and events need to add to make them more attractive to a wider audience? Do they need to become more all-encompassing festival type experiences? Esports is entertainment after all…Orlando: The current leading esports tournaments promoters have done a great job already but I feel there is a huge potential audience yet to be reached. They can be reached by getting music, TV and film profiles involved and connecting them to the global esports profiles.“I would love to see a bigger connection between music and esports but I also see a natural connection within the film/TV world”Coming from the music world originally I would love to see a bigger connection between music and esports but I also see a natural connection within the film/TV world. There is a whole list of ideas we at Orlando John have thought about but we won’t disclose them just in case if our potential competitors are reading this!last_img read more

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What an MLB source said about the Dbacks trade h

first_img What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke The Cardinals’ coaching staff became more and more enamored with this third-round pick as the season went on; by the final two weeks, he was basically playing ahead of starter Steve Breaston. With Breaston gone, Roberts’ speed, athleticism and health should give him the No. 2 receiver job ahead of Early Doucet. His poor rookie DVOA rating of minus-39.7 percent can be blamed in large part on last year’s awful quarterback situation. Ten of the 25 incomplete passes to Roberts were marked by our game charters as “overthrown,” including a quick hitch pass behind the line of scrimmage. Even the most ardent Roberts doubter had to see his improvement as the season progressed, as he grew from a guy who couldn’t catch anything in training camp to a player who the team relied on down the stretch. Of Roberts’ 24 catches as a rookie, nine came in the team’s final two games, including a 110 yard effort in a win over Dallas. With good size and speed, Roberts has potential to be a good receiver in the NFL. Getting to that point in year two would really help the Cardinals withstand the loss of Breaston. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments   Share   The Cardinals lost WR Steve Breaston to the Kansas City Chiefs, and their response to his defection may frustrate people.The Cardinals, it would seem, are comfortable with the internal options to replace the former starter, with plans to use Early Doucet and Andre Roberts more.While that may not sound like a good idea, Roberts, in particular, could surprise — in a good way.According to ESPN, the second-year pro is the 13th-most likely player to have a breakout season.last_img read more

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