Pensions watchdog warns about climate risk in rebuke of HSBC banker who downplayed danger

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-pensions-regulator-says-pension-schemes-should-not-ignore-climate-change-2022-05-23/

Excerpt:

UK pension schemes should not ignore climate change, a senior executive at The Pensions Regulator said on Monday, the first watchdog to weigh in after a top HSBC banker was suspended after playing down the financial risks of climate change.

Regulators across the world have been putting pressure on the financial services industry to take climate change into account when calculating risks to their business models.

Stuart Kirk, a senior HSBC banker in charge of sustainable investments, had said at an industry event last week that central bank policymakers and other global authorities were exaggerating the financial risks of climate change. read more

The bank has since suspended him pending an internal investigation, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Publication Date: 23 May 2022

Publication Site: Reuters

Architect of Allianz fraud made $60 mln as he lied to investors, U.S. says

Link: https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/architect-allianz-fraud-made-60-mln-he-lied-investors-us-says-2022-05-17/

Excerpt:

The star portfolio manager at the centre of a fraud at the U.S. funds unit of Allianz SE (ALVG.DE) relied on the German insurer’s good name to lure investors and thrived from a lack of oversight as he pocketed $60 million in pay, U.S. authorities said.

Gregoire “Greg” Tournant, a citizen of France and the United States, was indicted on Tuesday for securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice in a scheme that ran from 2014 to 2020. read more

It was a major development in a two-year saga that has haunted and embarrassed Allianz, one of the globe’s biggest financial firms, and began after the $11 billion in funds managed by Tournant collapsed as markets roiled with the outbreak of the coronavirus in early 2020.

U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday said Tournant faked documents, fabricated risk reports, altered spreadsheets, and lied about the investment strategy.

Author(s): Tom Sims, Alexander Hübner and John O’Donnell

Publication Date: 18 May 2022

Publication Site: Reuters

Three States, D.C. Sue Google Claiming Location Tracking Violates Users’ Privacy

Link:https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/01/25/650651.htm

Excerpt:

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Monday over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade users’ privacy.

“Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access,” Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine’s office said in a statement.

Yet Google “continues to systematically surveil customers and profit from customer data,” the statement said, calling the practice “a clear violation of consumers’ privacy.”

Author(s): David Shepardson and Doina Chiacu

Publication Date: 25 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Insurance Journal

Study suggests Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may only partially protect against Omicron

Link:https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-partially-protective-against-omicron-bloomberg-news-2021-12-07/?fbclid=IwAR0rKPM8dNsMnI_iQ0Hbph-KLY0HiI-PzeLmdYGWWoeFdYKsU07SuDjnuNg

Excerpt:

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus can partially evade the protection from two doses of Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and partner BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the research head of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa said on Tuesday.

Still, the study showed that blood from people who had received two doses of the vaccine and had a prior infection were mostly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help to fend off infection.

Author(s): Michael Erman

Publication Date: 8 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

UPDATE 2-Canada Pension Plan Investment Board eyes assets in shift to clean energy

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/cppib-results/update-2-canada-pension-plan-investment-board-eyes-assets-in-shift-to-clean-energy-idUSL2N2N70WU

Excerpt:

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is hunting for investments in the world’s transition to renewable energy as it aspires to be a global leader in sustainability, the head of the company told Reuters on Thursday.

…..

The pension manager last month announced it was creating a new investment group that would generate investment opportunities in renewables, conventional energy and new technology and service solutions.

CPPIB’s exposure to renewable energy producers rose to C$7.7 billion at March 31 2021, from C$6.6 billion at March 31, 2020, according to a spokesman for the firm.

Author(s): Maiya Keidan

Publication Date: 20 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Households including most U.S. children to get monthly stimulus payment

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/households-including-most-us-children-get-monthly-stimulus-payment-2021-05-17

Excerpt:

A poverty-fighting measure included in the COVID-19 relief bill passed this year will deliver monthly payments to households including 88% of children in the United States, starting in July, Biden administration officials said on Monday.

The Democratic-backed American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, expanded a tax credit available to most parents.

Those people will get up to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, in 2021, subject to income restrictions. The benefit will reach 39 million households, many automatically and by direct deposit every month, starting on July 15.

Publication Date: 17 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

US birth rate lowest since 1979 as pandemic-led stress rises

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/cdc-says-us-recorded-lowest-number-births-last-year-since-1979-2021-05-05/

Excerpt:

Birth rate in the United States fell 4% in 2020 to about 3.6 million babies, its sixth straight annual decline and the lowest since 1979, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC did not attribute the overall decline to the pandemic, but experts have predicted that pandemic-led reasons including anxiety will hit the country’s birth rate.

“The recent decline in birth rates reflects both a longer-term downward trend in birth rates that was apparent prior to the pandemic and pandemic-related reduction,” Lorna Thorpe, director of epidemiology at the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, said.

Author(s): Bhargav Acharya

Publication Date: 5 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

All eyes on Chile´s Pinera as congress approves a fresh pensions drawdown

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/all-eyes-chiles-pinera-congress-approves-fresh-pensions-drawdown-2021-04-23/

Excerpt:

Chile´s Congress on Friday approved by a large majority a move to allow citizens to withdraw a third tranche of their privately held pensions to assuage economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers in the country´s lower house approved the measure with 119 to 17, with 3 abstentions, prompting cheering and applause. Senators greenlighted the move earlier this week.

Previously, Congress approved two withdrawals of 10% from pension pots in July and December, with the help of members of President Sebastian Pinera’s Chile Vamos coalition who defied instructions to vote the initiatives down.

Author(s): Aislinn Laing

Publication Date: 23 April 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Doctors issue warning over rise in French COVID-19 intensive care patients

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-idUSKBN2BK0HK?taid=6060e754bd33910001906bc9

Excerpt:

The number of COVID-19 patients in France’s intensive care units has risen to a new high for this year, health ministry data showed on Sunday, as doctors warned a third wave of infections could soon overwhelm hospitals.

There were 4,872 ICU patients being treated for COVID-19, close to a November peak during France’s second wave of the virus, though well below a high of about 7,000 in April last year. The number of new infections fell, however, by around 5,600 to 37,014.

A group of 41 hospital doctors in the Paris region signed an article in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche warning that they might soon have to start choosing between patients for emergency treatment.

Publication Date: 28 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Australia gets a $156 billion pension merger as new laws spur consolidation

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-pensions/australia-gets-a-156-billion-pension-merger-as-new-laws-spur-consolidation-idUSKBN2B70QC

Excerpt:

The mega-merger reflects the rapid consolidation of Australia’s A$3 trillion pension industry after a 2018 inquiry found fees charged by some managers were unjustified and eroded workers’ savings, and that many funds were not putting customers’ interests ahead of their own.

The government has since made it mandatory for funds to put member interests first, triggering a wave of mergers as fund boards determine that scaling up results in a better deal for people’s savings.

“The due diligence process we have undertaken demonstrates a strong business case for merging with achievable efficiencies and savings,” said QSuper Chair Don Luke and Sunsuper Chair Andrew Fraser in a statement.

Author(s): Reuters staff

Publication Date: 15 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Pandemic led to U.S. housing boom, reduced credit card debt, New York Fed says

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-report/pandemic-led-to-us-housing-boom-reduced-credit-card-debt-new-york-fed-says-idUSKBN2AH28Z

Excerpt:

The coronavirus pandemic changed the way U.S. consumers use credit, as lower interest rates spurred a boom in home buying and refinancing and virus-related shutdowns led to a drop in credit card use and an increase in paying off debt, according to a report released on Wednesday by the New York Federal Reserve.

Total household debt last year increased by $414 billion to $14.56 trillion at the end of December, the New York Fed found in its quarterly household debt and credit report.

Author(s): Jonnelle Marte

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Deal reached to cut Puerto Rico bond debt, pensions a sticking point

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-puertorico-bankruptcy/deal-reached-to-cut-puerto-rico-bond-debt-pensions-a-sticking-point-idUSL1N2KT1WO

Excerpt:

Puerto Rico would substantially reduce its core government debt load under a new deal announced on Tuesday, but obstacles remain for the U.S. territory’s exit from bankruptcy. The island’s federally created financial oversight board said its agreement with certain bondholders was a major step toward resolving the bankruptcy, which began in 2017 in an effort to restructure about $120 billion of debt and other liabilities, including unfunded pensions.

“I’m hopeful that people over time will understand this is likely to be the most fair and confirmable resolution to exit bankruptcy,” Natalie Jaresko, the board’s executive director, told reporters.

The deal will be included in a plan of adjustment the board expects to file in March in federal court, with the hope of court approval in the fall.

Author(s): Karen Pierog

Publication Date: 23 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters