Nordic roundup: PFA Pension, AMF, Danica Pension

first_imgDenmark’s largest commercial pensions provider PFA Pension has said a rise of around 14% in Danish share prices in the first three months of the year drove unit-link product returns higher.Reporting initial figures for first-quarter investment performance, PFA Pension said its unit-link PFA Plus product produced returns of 2.8% after costs and including the shared customer capital (KundeKapital) bonus.This compares with a 3.7% return reported for the first quarter in 2013.Jesper Langmack, director at PFA Asset Management, said: “The main reason PFA has done well this year is that it has a large exposure to Danish shares relative to competitors.” PFA’s Danish shares increased by about 14% in the first quarter.Around 17% of PFA’s investments for unit-link products with high-risk profiles are held in Danish equities, with the company’s total Danish equity investments standing at more than DKK12bn (€1.6bn).Investments in corporate bonds also performed well in the first quarter, providing a return of 3.4%, which benefitted customers opting for lower-risk profiles, Langmack said.However, he said that when the market was volatile, as it had been in the run-up to Easter, it was important to look at it closely in order to act fast and take advantage of opportunities.“What was the right strategy in the first quarter is not necessarily the right one for the rest of the year,” he said.Meanwhile, Sweden’s occupational pensions provider AMF reported investments returned 2.2% in the first quarter of this year, down from 3.3% in the same period last year. The solvency ratio increased to 212 by the end of the March from 200 the same time last year.Peder Hasslev, head of asset management, said: “The start of the year was characterised by a degree of caution about where the global economy was heading.”He also cited a continuing expectation that the economy would improve given that geopolitical events had not put a spoke in the wheel.Group profit fell to SEK4.7bn (€520m) by the end of March, down from SEK19.8bn at the same point last year. The company said SEK7.2bn of this decline was due to changes made to the discount rate used to calculate liabilities.Premium income fell to SEK9.6bn from SEK10.2bn, and total assets rose to SEK466bn from SEK426bn.AMF is jointly owned by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.In other news, Danica Pension said reported contributions from domestic customers rose by 11% in the first three months of this year to DKK5.6bn, with business growth helped by sales through the Danske Bank network.The company, which is a subsidiary of Danske Bank, made a pre-tax profit of DKK454m in the first quarter, up from DKK385m in the same period a year before.Managing director Per Klitgård said he was satisfied with the result, and noted in particular that the technical profit had risen to DKK419bn from DKK384m“This emphasises strong development in our business,” he said.Klitgård said the rise in contributions in Denmark was due to a significant level of one-off contributions, as well as a general increase in business.He said Danica Pension’s cooperation with Danske Bank continued to go very well, with contributions through this channel rising by 50% between the first quarter of last year and the latest reporting period.Contributions overall climbed 3% to DKK7.8bn in the first quarter from DKK7.7bn in the same period last year.However, within this, contributions in Sweden and Norway fell by 14%, Danica said, but it attributed this decline to very large one-off contributions booked in the first quarter of 2013.“Danica Pension still expects contributions in the Nordic business to develop positively in 2014,” the company said.Danica’s unit-link pension products made returns of 1.5% to 2.6% in the first quarter, while the traditional with-profits pension product returned 3%.Total assets rose to DKK333bn from DKK327bn.last_img read more

Estime’s breakout performance proves pivotal in SU’s Texas Bowl win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ HOUSTON — It was a haughty proclamation to make about the little guy. Dyshawn Davis and the defense had done their job, forcing a Minnesota punt in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and out trotted Brisly Estime, all 5 feet, 9 inches and 170 pounds, with the game hanging in the balance.“He’s about to take this to the crib,” Davis told his defensive teammates standing within earshot.So Estime, a freshman wide receiver, backed up to position himself under Peter Mortell’s booming punt, brought the ball into his body and froze for just an instant. And he was off.Estime darted straight ahead, past the 20-yard line and out to midfield. He turned to his right, leaving Maxx Williams facing the wrong direction and Damarius Travis in his wake. He headed to the right sideline, where Mortell tackled him the way a punter normally does — awkwardly, but just enough to knock Estime off balance and tumbling to the ground.He brought Syracuse down to the Golden Gophers’ 14-yard line. Three plays later, he stood on the goal line as Terrel Hunt sprinted by for the go-ahead touchdown in SU’s (7-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) 21-17 Texas Bowl victory over Minnesota (8-5, 4-4 Big 10) in front of 32,327 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. With almost a month since Estime last took the field, he was better than ever, slicing up Minnesota on the ground, through the air and on special teams to the tune of 194 all-purpose yards.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Brisly’s as quick as a jitterbug,” head coach Scott Shafer said.And when he bounced through the hole for a 70-yard punt return, he changed the complexion of a game that was sluggish at the start, but a seesaw affair on the back end. It meant the Orange’s two-minute drill would only have to trek 14 yards and gave offensive coordinator George McDonald the flexibility to lead SU to a game-winning score.But it was his play throughout the day that gave McDonald added flexibility and helped the Orange score 21 points in a game that once seemed destined to see some single-digit numbers on the scoreboard.For a time during the season, Estime wasn’t consistent enough to be relied upon. He was playing a new position — H-back — for a new team in an unfamiliar place. Snowy Syracuse is a long way from sunny South Florida.But he was always exciting. He was small, but the plays were always big. Like a 23-yard catch-and-run against Northwestern. Or a touchdown catch on a throw from wide receiver Jarrod West against Wake Forest. And a catch 32 yards downfield against Boston College that was his longest play from scrimmage of the season.“He went out there and showed that he’s very talented and a really bright star for next year,” defensive tackle Jay Bromley said.With a couple extra weeks of practice, he could turn the flashes into a sustainable shine. Most of the time during Syracuse’s extra practice was designated for game planning, but the final 45 minutes were generally set aside to let the younger players get some reps. Estime is part of the game plan, but he’s still a young guy, too. That meant double duty.“He was barely off the field,” center Macky MacPherson said.Maybe it didn’t help him burst past the Golden Gophers’ punt coverage team or on any of his three kick returns that he brought past the 20, but it helped him spend as much time on the field as he had in any game this season and lead Syracuse in receiving.With the Orange trailing by three late in the fourth quarter, Estime hauled in a 21-yard catch, reaching down to make the grab between a pair of defenders to pick up a crucial first down and move SU in range for a potential game-tying field goal.“He’s explosive, man,” running back Jerome Smith said. “Brisly’s explosive.”Still, as much as he was explosive, he was just as combustible. He fumbled his only carry of the game on Syracuse’s opening drive and dropped a touchdown that should have been when he dove into the end zone on the Orange’s next possession. Even after his heroic return, he false started just three plays after to exacerbate Hunt’s heroics.But the good was enough that the bad didn’t matter so much, and enough to show how important a bowl game could be. This game was going to come for Estime one day.It was just the Texas Bowl, but SU was in the spotlight and Estime put on a show.“He really worked his butt off and it showed in that game,” MacPherson said. “It really showed. That was one of the best games from a wide receiver or any athlete I’ve ever seen.” Comments Published on December 28, 2013 at 1:54 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img read more

Busy day ahead in the EPL

first_imgThe Foxes are level on points with the league leaders ahead of today’s action and Claudio Ranieri’s side visit struggling Swansea today.Man United are without the injured Wayne Rooney as they host West Ham while Arsenal take-on Sunderland and Spurs visit West Brom.Elsewhere, basement side Aston Villa visit Southampton and Watford entertain Norwich.The late game of the day is at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea will be hoping to continue their recovery in form against Bournemouth. Injury-hit Manchester City have a chance to put some space between themselves and the rest of the table when they face Stoke in the opening game of the day in the Barclays Premier League.City face a Stoke side that will be high on confidence after booking their place in the League Cup semi-finals.Leicester, Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham will all be looking to keep pace with City in the three o’clock matches this afternoon…last_img read more

New coach Valverde’s poise to be tested by Barcelona pressures

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp Luis Enrique wasn’t far off with his nine over the past three years, while Tito Vilanova also won La Liga with a club record 100 points in his only season in charge in 2012/13 before having to resign to due ill health.Indeed, the only time Barca went against the grain of appointing someone from the outside in Gerardo Martino in 2013/14, it resulted in the Catalans’ only trophyless season in the past 10 years.That mistake could have been avoided if weren’t for Valverde’s loyalty.Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was keen to hire his former teammate when Vilanova was forced to resign weeks before the new season.However, in keeping with Valverde’s character he felt he couldn’t turn his back on Athletic having just been hired weeks before.His second spell with the Basque giants came to an end just last week and has once again proven his credentials as a boss capable of maximising the return from the resources available to him.Valverde’s only major silverware has come in two spells in charge of Greek champions Olympiakos.Yet, he has inflicted pain on his new employers in the past.Athletic thrashed Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate to win the 2015 Spanish Super Cup.And even his former connections at cross-city rivals Espanyol couldn’t dissuade the Barcelona board despite the fact he was the coach when they famously denied Barca the title with a last-minute equaliser in 2007.Valverde’s calm is what they believe is needed to ease some of the tensions that bubbled between a star-studded squad and Luis Enrique in his final year in charge. Madrid, Spain | AFP |  In the worst kept secret in European football, Ernesto Valverde was officially named Barcelona coach on Monday.Valverde follows in a long and famous line of former Barcelona players to manage the club.However, unlike two of his more recent predecessors, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, Valverde is little known outside of Spain having had a far less distinguished playing and managerial career thus far.Central to Valverde’s candidacy is the fact he played for Barcelona under Johan Cruyff, winning a Cup Winners’ Cup and a Copa del Rey in his two seasons at the Camp Nou from 1988 to 1990.That was the highlight of a playing career that also took in spells at now dissolved Basque club Sestao, Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Mallorca.Cruyff is still revered in Catalonia as the patriarch of Barcelona’s style that has made them world renowned even 21 years since the Dutch great, who died in 2016, left as coach.One of the sticks with which Luis Enrique was beaten during his third and final season which only delivered the Copa del Rey was his insistence on making Barca a more direct, counter-attacking force.That was in an attempt to get the best out of a star front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.However, that came at a cost of losing control in midfield, a key tenant of Cruyff and Guardiola’s principles.– Emphasis on youth –Restoring balance to the Barca midfield will be one of Valverde’s most important tasks, as will another of Cruyff’s legacies in ensuring there is once more a steady flow from the club’s youth academy into the first-team.“Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way,” said president Josep Maria Bartomeu, announcing the appointment.The youth element is a fundamental part of the job in Bilbao as the club only fields Basque players.And Valverde has proven adept at harnessing young talents such as Inaki Williams and Aymeric Laporte into the first team over the past four seasons during which Athletic have qualified for Europe every year.Knowing what you are getting yourself in for when it comes to the unique pressures put upon a Barca coach is key to being successful in the role.Guardiola showed that better than most in winning 14 trophies in four years.last_img read more