Now Pensions overhauls investment strategy, predicts cash withdrawal

first_imgNow Pensions has become the first master trust to announce changes to its default investment strategy after the recent Budget reforms to defined contribution (DC) schemes.The fund is anticipating its membership to take advantage of the new freedoms and withdraw pensions savings entirely as cash.In March, chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced reforms that meant the majority of DC savers did not have to purchase an annuity.This meant DC default investment funds, which previously tailored strategies based on a combination of cash withdrawal and annuitisation, needed to re-evaluate at-retirement asset allocation based on member preferences. Now Pensions, wholly owned by Danish provider ATP, operates one investment fund for all its nearly 350,000 members.It has now completely removed its annuity-matching investment strategy.The fund originally comprised three strategies – diversified growth to build assets, retirement protection to annuity match and cash protection, which was invested in money market funds and short-dated fixed income.However, after assessing its membership – and due to its belief that annuity purchases will be unlikely – the master trust has stripped out the latter two strategies and replaced them with a ‘retirement countdown’ strategy, which mimics cash protection.Now Pensions said members would remain in the diversified growth strategy until 10 years before the selected retirement age, and then shift into retirement countdown.DC providers have been analysing the impact of the Budget reforms on asset allocation as the removal of compulsory annuitisation comes into effect in April 2015.Most default investment strategies currently have around three-quarters of near-retirement assets invested in annuity-matching products, namely Gilts.However, predictions of the fall in demand for annuities have been as high as 75%.Many default investment strategies will reassess, taking account for larger cash withdrawals and a growing demand for income-drawdown products, where assets remain invested in growth strategies, albeit with lower volatility.Now Pensions has become the first major master trust to announce its new strategy, after the government confirmed its plans on Monday.Chief executive Morten Nilsson said the provider looked at predicted fund sizes and expected the majority of assets to be withdrawn as cash.“The new lifestyle investment strategy therefore focuses on funding for cash but gives consideration to those that want to take an alternative route,” he added.“As the market evolves, we’ll continue to keep our investment strategy under review, adapting our approach to make sure our members are well served.”last_img read more

Torres still one of the best – Benayoun

first_imgYossi Benayoun believes “the real Fernando Torres” will emerge once the misfiring Chelsea striker puts his recent dry run in front of goal behind him. Press Association He added: “You can understand it is not easy, from being the top striker at Liverpool – he was unbelievable, you gave him the ball and you knew he would score. “But he had a bad time in the beginning at Chelsea. When he came in, he was on the bench, then on the pitch. He did not get the confidence when he came in. And with the £50million above his head, it is not easy for any player.” Like Torres, Benayoun has struggled to reach the same heights since moving from Anfield to west London, and he added: “You do not change so quick from being the best player, one of the best in the world, to a player that some people say is not good enough for Chelsea. “He has had good spells, bad spells, and has 15 or 16 goals already. That is not bad, but hopefully he will finish with 25.” In three and a half years at Liverpool, after being signed from Atletico Madrid by Benitez for a fee of £20m, Torres scored 81 goals in 142 matches before moving to Stamford Bridge on the final day of the 2011 winter transfer window for £50m on a five-and-a-half-year deal. He has scored 25 goals in 134 appearances for Chelsea – 15 of them this term. Torres netted seven times in six games in December, but his only goal since was the equaliser which forced Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford. Benitez has praised Torres’ work-rate and attributed his barren streak to the role he has to perform as a lone striker, but the Spain international could be removed from the firing line for the Brentford encounter, with Demba Ba and Victor Moses available. center_img Torres has one goal in 13 matches after Thursday night’s Europa League last-32 first-leg 1-0 win at Sparta Prague. While many Chelsea supporters have lost faith in Torres, Benayoun, like interim manager Rafael Benitez, has backed his former Liverpool colleague. He said: “For me, he is still one of the best strikers in the world. He just needs to believe in himself. It would be good to get his confidence back and be his old self. Hopefully he will get a few more soon and you will see the real Fernando Torres.” last_img read more