Danish labour-market pensions administrator PKA has secured a rescue deal with bank creditors to its troubled private equity investment Genan and put a new chairman in place at the tyre-recycling company.Without giving details of the agreement reached between PKA and the four banks that had lent to Genan and Deloitte – the audit firm involved – PKA’s managing director Peter Damgaard Jensen said: “It is an agreement all parties are satisfied with.”PKA took Genan over last August, raising its stake in the company to 97%, and said it has been trying ever since to find an overall economic solution to secure a future for the business.In September, PKA said it wrote down the value of its investment in the company to DKK250m in the first half of this year, having originally invested around DKK1bn in it. Damgaard Jensen said the deal meant PKA could now “look ahead” and that Genan could concentrate on what it did well.“We at PKA have always emphasised the importance of saving Genan because we believe in the business idea, and because it is the best way to secure our investment and our members’ pensions,” he said.Peter Thorsen, who has a background as a director and investor in a number of Danish companies, is to take over as chairman of Genan, replacing Jens Kampmann, PKA said.PKA’s investment director Michael Nellemann Pedersen will remain on the supervisory board of the company in the transition phase.One of the supervisory board’s first tasks will be to find a new and permanent chief executive to replace CFO Henrik Olesen, appointed interim chief executive on 1 December.Discussions had been held with the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime over the role in Genan of the company’s founder Bent Nielsen, PKA said.Meanwhile, Swedish occupational pension funds AI Pension and PP Pension have announced they are to merge.AI Pension, previously known as Arkitekternas Pensionkassa, and PP Pension, the pension fund for the press and media, are to become one pension fund on 1 January 2016, according to plans by the boards of both pension funds.The decision still requires the approval of both boards and the Swedish financial regulator Finansinspektionen, the funds said.Kjell Norling, chief executive of PP Pension, and Maritha Lindberg, chief executive of AI Pension, said in a joint statement: “There are major changes in the regulatory area, which increases demand and affects our costs negatively.”The merger will allow them to increase cost efficiency, reduce vulnerability, increase quality and improve their competitiveness, the two chief executives said.AI Pension and PP Pension have been operating in the competitive market for ITP1 and ITPK workplace pensions provision since 2007 and 2013, respectively, and no longer have monopolies in the provision of these, the funds said.Both pension funds were the insurer for ITP2 within their industries.In other news, Swedish occupational pensions provider Alecta has reported a 14.9% return for its defined contribution (DC) pension Alecta Optimal Pension over 2014, down from 17.3% in 2013, but revealed solvency had weakened.Alecta’s defined benefit (DB) pension ended the year with a 12.3% return, up from the previous year’s 9.8%.It said the DC return outperformed the benchmark by 1.8 percentage points.But the funding level of the DB pension fell to 143 at the end of December 2014 from 148 12 months earlier.The group solvency ratio also dropped, and stood at 159% at the end of last year, down from 170% at the end of 2013.“The reduction is due to falling interest rates, which led to increased provisions for the guaranteed pensions,” Alecta said.
Italy’s second-pillar pension funds must now make a decisive paradigm shift, improving their internal processes and managing risks as well as competition, the industry’s regulator has said.In its 2014 annual report, pension fund regulator Covip (Commissione Vigilanza sui Fondi Pensione) revealed that, while membership in complementary or second-pillar pension schemes climbed last year, the number of people who had stopped contributing rose by a similar amount. Presenting the report, Covip president Francesco Massicci said: “The present moment calls for a decisive paradigm shift on the part of the funds.” This shift is necessary, he said, in terms of their internal organisational processes, their capacity to manage risks and deal with competition, changing their investment policies towards an allocation that better suits changes in the market and finding a size that is in the interests of all scheme members. At the end of 2014, complementary pension schemes covered 6.5m people in Italy, or 29.4% of workers, he said.This compares with the 6.3m people covered, which was reported a year earlier. Membership in the complementary pensions system grew by 5.4% last year due to the increase of individual membership of PIPs (individual pension plans) and open pension funds. However, the number of pension scheme members who had stopped contributions climbed last year to around 1.6m people, Covip reported – up from 1.4m in 2013. This puts the percentage of scheme members no longer contributing at 22.3%, up from 22% the year before. The number of complementary pension funds fell by 13 during 2014, totalling 496 at the end of the year, and consisting of 38 company pension schemes, 56 open pension funds, 78 individual pension plans (PIP) and 323 pre-existing pension funds and Fondinps – part of the national social security institution INPS. Almost 50% of all pension scheme members are covered by the 11 complementary pension funds with membership of more than 100,000, Covip reported. At the other end of the scale, there were 268 pension funds, mainly pre-existing funds, which had fewer than 1,000 members, and these covered just 1% of all people enrolled in pension funds. “Therefore, there is still room to increase concentration in the sector,” Massicci said. “Measures to consolidate could help to achieve more efficiently organised structures.”Massicci put much of the growth in pension scheme membership down to sales networks for PIPs, which were spread throughout the country, with sales remunerated based on the volume of products placed on the market. But he said there were signs of new dynamism within company pension schemes, with a significant increase in membership expected in the construction industry as a result of a newly introduced auto-enrolment regime. Total assets within the second-pillar pension system reached €131bn at the end of 2014, up 12% from the year before.Contributions increased by €600m to €13bn, with €5.3bn of this coming from TFR, or severance pay, Covip said, adding that 82% of this TFR money had flowed into company and pre-existing pension funds. “In 2014,” Massicci said, “pension schemes reported positive returns, benefiting from good progress on the main financial market and helped by very expansive monetary policy and the improved economic conditions globally, despite differences regionally.”Company and open pension schemes returned 7.3% and 7.5%, respectively, last year, with new PIPs returning 6.8% for class 2 plans, and 2.9% for class 1 plans. Asset allocation at the pension funds changed little over the last year. Massicci said investment in direct and indirect real estate, and closed-end funds, was done almost exclusively by pre-existing funds, and pointed out that only 35% of assets, or €34.5bn, were invested in Italy, with €28bn of this in government bonds.Investments in securities issued by Italian companies came to only 3% of pension fund assets, with just 0.8% of assets invested in Italian equities.“There is room, therefore, for pension funds to make a greater contribution to the financing of domestic enterprises and, more generally, to medium and long-term investment projects in our country,” the regulator said.
The Marks & Spencer Group’s pension scheme had a statutory surplus of £204m (€279m) as at the end of March last year, an improvement of £494m since the last triennial actuarial valuation.The defined benefit scheme had a deficit of £290m as at 31 March 2012.As a result of the valuation and the reduction in discount rates in particular, annual cash contributions for future service will increase from £42m in 2015-16 to £57m in 2016-17, according to a statement.The pension scheme’s investments in return-seeking assets, which outperformed over the three-year period, were responsible for the improvement. The scheme was also insulated from the effect of falling Gilt rates as it was fully hedged for interest rate purposes.The scheme will continue to pursue a de-risking strategy with no change to the 2012 funding arrangements for past service, according to the statement.In other news, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is seeking to recruit a panel of companies to provide administrative and actuarial services for the fund’s scheme assessment process.The move marks a shift in strategy, with the UK lifeboat fund having so far operated a model of two separate panels for the different services.“The new model,” the PPF said, “will provide greater consistency and efficiency during the PPF assessment period to maximise resources and achieve certainty for scheme members.”The new panel will comprise four companies. The PPF expects to appoint the panel in July with an initial contract of two years.Work is due to start in August, and the deadline for applications is 11 March.Lastly, UK insurance and investment manager Legal & General has completed a second buyout in the US, of approximately $65m (€58) in pension liabilities.Legal & General’s first buyout deal in the US was a $450m agreement with the US subsidiary of Royal Philips in October 2015.Kerrigan Procter, managing director at Legal & General Retirement, said: “The US is a key market for Legal & General, and we are uniquely positioned with our US life assurance business, rapidly growing investment management business and US pension risk transfer operations.”
Blanc-Brude, presenting the survey’s preliminary results ahead of it closing to respondents, added that the most “sophisticated” of respondents within the survey were examining infrastructure for its risk factors. European investors including ATP have employed risk-factor investing in place of traditional asset classes for a number of years, and the notion has been gaining favour among some of Canada’s largest pension investors. Blanc-Brude noted how the understanding of infrastructure had grown beyond focusing on energy assets, among others, to include companies that have “certain types of contractual arrangements with governments”.The survey also found the overwhelming majority of respondents were unhappy with the types of products available to access infrastructure, with only 3% agreeing the market fulfilled investors’ needs.More than 80% said products partly fulfilled their needs as investors, while a further 15% said products were “mostly inadequate”.Another question asked whether respondents – including asset owners and managers – thought the use of closed-end private equity fund structures was justified for infrastructure; three-quarters of respondents agreed the approach was “outdated” and failed to add value.The apparent distrust of products extended to a distrust of assessments conducted by asset managers, Blanc-Brude said.“Only half the [asset owner] respondents said they would trust the valuation their infrastructure managers report,” he said, “which means the other half acknowledges, de facto, that they have no idea what their return is because they don’t trust the evaluation.”In a boost for the infrastructure benchmark being developed by EDHEC, only 6% of respondents said current benchmarks were adequate, while 27% agreed they were inadequate.The overwhelming majority of respondents said they were completely lacking. Sophisticated asset owners and managers no longer view infrastructure as an asset class but rather examine investments based around risk factors, a new survey has suggested.The research, conducted by the EDHEC Infrastructure Institute-Singapore and the G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub, nevertheless found that around two-thirds of respondents viewed unlisted infrastructure as a standalone asset class, while one-third saw its listed equivalent as an asset class.Frédéric Blanc-Brude, director of EDHEC’s infrastructure venture, said he had “some issues” with the majority of the 150 respondents, both asset owners and asset managers, viewing infrastructure as an asset class.“What’s most interesting is to understand how infrastructure investment can contribute to portfolio investment objectives in general, rather than if it’s an asset class in itself,” he said.
Bulgarian finance minister Vladislav Goranov has done a U-turn on a common asset payout pool for second-pillar pension fund retirees by dropping it from his ministry’s recent proposed amendments to the Social Insurance Code (SIC).The minister, however, is not backing down quietly.In statements made at a press conference at the end of May and published on the Finance Ministry’s website, Goranov said that, during the consultation period, “he had observed a wrong interpretation of the legislation proposed in connection with the payment of second-pillar pensions”, adding that the “nationalisation” of pension fund resources was never discussed in the ministry’s proposal.“The attempt to arouse fear among the Bulgarian citizens and to discuss the topic with some arguments whether the private property is protected makes us believe that, behind these motives, there is some other goal of those who are against the amendments to the law,” he said. Goranov was also dismissive about the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision on 27 May to refer the 2015 changes to the SIC to the Constitutional Court over the issue of the rights of the insured members to choose between the second and first pillars.The Supreme Administrative Court ruling, which is not subject to appeal, was admitted as a case by the Constitutional Court on 1 June.Goranov claimed the Supreme Administrative Court “displayed ignorance” of the pension system structure and that he “did not find any contradiction with the Constitution, as the right to choose is at the root of people’s freedoms”.While the Finance Ministry may have removed the most controversial proposed amendment, the other changes still stand and are set to be presented to Parliament before the completion of the asset quality review.These include changes to current asset regulations such as, in the case of second-pillar funds, permitting investments in sovereign bonds without credit ratings (up to 20% of the portfolio), international financial institutions (10%) and IPOs (1%).The limit on REITs doubles to 10%, while direct investment in real estate, currently limited to 5%, will be prohibited altogether because of the inherent risks in this class.The government, however – as the Bulgarian Association of Supplementary Pension Security Companies (BASPSC) has pointed out – has once again ignored its call to introduce multi-funds to mitigate risks for older fund members.The BASPSC has also taken issue with the proposed expanded role of the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), the sector’s regulator.It has objected to the proposed requirement for pension fund companies that want to offer pension payouts to be re-licensed, a condition not applied to life insurance companies that enter this field.According to the FSC, as of the end of March, the second-pillar universal and professional funds had a collective membership of 3.8m and net assets of BGN8.7bn (€4.4bn).The respective figures for the third pillar were 605,705 and BGN851m.
The index shows the latest estimated funding position of DB schemes in the PPF’s universe, on a section 179 basis.Simply put, section 179 liabilities represent the premium a scheme would have to pay an insurer to take on the payment of PPF levels of compensation.Noting that equity markets and Gilt yields were the main drivers of funding levels, the PPF said that, during July, when scheme liabilities had grown by 3.5%, conventional 15-year Gilt yields fell by 24 basis points, while index-linked 15-year Gilt yields fell by 3bps.Meanwhile, scheme assets rose by 2.8% in the month, reflecting the impact of both higher Gilt prices and stock markets.The FTSE All-Share Index has climbed by 3.9% in July.Andy Tunningley, BlackRock’s head of UK strategic clients, said the rise in equities last month has not been enough to combat a further drop in already low yields, and that this had brought the index down to its lowest funding level ever. “The tremors following the UK’s decision to leave the EU continue to be felt,” he said.“The path of future rates is likely to be even lower for an even longer period, confirmed by the Bank of England’s decision to cut the Bank Rate to 0.25% and indications there could be further cuts to around zero.”Recent business activity and sentiment surveys suggest there will be scant economic growth in the UK in the rest of this year, he said.“Covenant risk could increase in this more uncertain environment, with sponsors being less willing or able to increase future scheme contributions,” he said.He said BlackRock’s view had long been that most schemes should be taking less risk and increasing their liability hedge ratios.“Recent political and economic events make this even more critical,” Tunningley said.Last week, the UK’s Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association called on the Pensions Regulator “to take a proportionate and flexible approach” to scheme funding, in the wake of the Bank of England’s monetary easing plan, which sent DB deficits to new highs. The gap between assets and liabilities of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes widened still further last month, with deficits reaching the deepest level recorded as long-term bond yields declined further, according to data from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).The UK pensions lifeboat released its latest PPF 7800 Index bulletin, which revealed that the aggregate deficit of the 5,945 schemes in the index has increased to an estimated £408.0bn (€477.8bn) at the end of July – the highest level recorded by the index – up from a £383.6bn deficit at the end of June.The average funding ratio of the schemes deteriorated to 77.4% at the end of July from 78% the month before.Total assets were £1,401bn at the end of July, while total liabilities were £1,808.9bn, and 5,020 schemes were in deficit and 925 in surplus.
Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) and BlackRock have contributed to a £275m (€318.5m) financing for Trafford Housing Trust, a housing association in Greater Manchester.The specialist insurer contributed £75m to the refinancing package, aimed at repayment of existing debt and further direct development.The loan matures in three tranches in 2051, 2052, and 2056, matching the liabilities PIC has taken on from defined benefit schemes.A spokeswoman for BlackRock said its debt investment was for £75m. In a statement, the investment manager said its involvement – through its BlackRock Real Assets arm – brought a number of benefits for its institutional clients, including stable, long-term cash flows structured on investment-grade quality social housing income.Jonathan Stevens, head of European infrastructure debt at BlackRock, said the financing provides an “excellent opportunity” to invest in UK social housing, providing clients with “an inherently stable, long-term cash flow profile”.Trafford Housing also has a joint venture with L&Q, a London housing association, to develop 500 homes per year.PIC has previously invested around £150m in social housing PFI bonds in Greater Manchester, funding the refurbishment of almost 2,500 dwellings in the city, the insurer said in a statement announcing the Trafford deal. It has also invested more than £600m in social housing around the UK “and expects a strong pipeline of transactions in 2017”, PIC said.Elizabeth Cain, debt origination analyst at PIC, said: “We have ambitious plans to partner with housing associations in 2017 and beyond and look forward to further investments in the sector.”
Pan-European asset manager Candriam increased its voting activity significantly in 2016 as a result of it further widening its proxy voting scope. The €107bn asset manager doubled the number of company general meetings it attended in 2016, to 557 from 258 in 2015, and voted on 72% more resolutions (6,993 versus 4,072 in 2015).A spokesperson explained that this increase was mainly due to the extension of the asset manager’s voting scope to equity strategies outside Europe. It had been already expanding its voting internationally and continued with this in 2016, but last year it also broadened the number of funds for which it carries out the analysis that informs voting, he added.The figures reflected a growing trend on the continent: In a study published yesterday, the French asset management association AFG said that its members’ international voting coverage had increased, with participation at general meetings up 13% in Europe ex-France, and 9% outside Europe. This reflected voting activity being extended to certain fund categories and countries, but also “the opening of this activity to new markets, notably Asian and emerging markets”, according to the trade body. Candriam – which is headquartered in Luxembourg – attended the most meetings in the UK (20%), France (19%), and Germany (14%). It said that the main areas of concern in these countries revolved around the themes of director elections, share capital issues, and remuneration.One-third of the group’s votes against resolutions related to director elections, while a third related to remuneration.The asset manager voted against 37% of pay resolutions, including a proposed €7.2m pay package for the chief executive of carmaker Renault. With 54% of votes cast against, it was the first rejection of a pay package in France, Candriam said.“The board of directors decided to ignore the non-binding vote of shareholders and endorsed the payout, stirring even more controversy,” it added.A non-binding vote on pay was introduced in France in 2014.The three top reasons for Candriam to have concerns about pay last year were poor disclosure (46%), remuneration not being linked to performance (20%), and excessiveness (15%).The company engaged with more companies on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues last year than in 2015, it said. “Social issues” are becoming a more important topic for Candriam’s engagement with companies, catching up with the more ‘historical’ topics of governance and the environment, it added.AFG’s analysis of the 2016 voting season for French asset managers found that, in keeping with the diversification of portfolios, foreign companies represented two-thirds of equities managed by the French asset managers, and accounted for four-fifths of the meetings they participated in.AFG said the increased activity was a good indicator of asset managers’ engagement and that of the institutional investors mandating them. It attributed the developments to a confluence of factors, including a strengthening of corporate governance expertise within asset managers, and greater use of software, data processing tools, and providers such as proxy voting agencies.It also highlighted French asset managers’ push to win business from foreign investors as a factor, saying that non-resident investors “encourage, even demand” extensive proxy voting practices.
A survey of SPW’s participants suggested that more than 50% would appreciate assistance from their pension fund with their financial planning – in particular regarding their pension itself.Schuyt said: “We consider helping making choices about their financial future also as a way of complying with our [duty of care] as a pension fund.”However, he emphasised that the assistance was only going to provide an insight “as pension funds are not allowed to offer advice”.Bringing together the figures about the expected pension benefits with details of superannuation and savings, as well as the desired lifestyle after retirement, would provide the participants with an overview of their future income.Combined with expected expenses after retirement, participants are supposed to be able to draw up a balance sheet.The program has been available for SPW’s participants since last month. According to Schuyt, 8% of participants who have logged in since then have already checked the program.Next week, SPW will alert 11,000 of its participants aged over 50 to the new program.“This development matches our goals,” commented Raoul Willms, who is responsible for marketing at APG. “We are working on several projects to improve the insight into and overview of the financial position of our clients’ participants.”Last year, ABP and APG presented a model for the visualisation of an individual’s pensions pot, showing how much pension capital participants were accruing.“We hope that other pension funds will also use the instrument,” said Schuyt. “An additional advantage would be that more schemes would contribute to the development costs.”Depending on users’ responses, SPW would decide which additional options are to be developed.Schuyt said: “We expect, for example, that adding the partner’s details would be the first wish for many participants, as financial planning is usually carried out on a household level.”SPW has outsourced its administration, communication, asset management and board support to APG. SPW, the €12.3bn Dutch pension fund for the country’s housing corporations, has developed an online program to provide its participants with an insight into their overall financial position.The program – developed by pensions provider APG and Ortec Finance – not only comprises information from the national pensions register, but also enables participants to add information such as their savings and other annuities.APG said that its main client, the €409bn civil service scheme ABP, as well as BpfBouw, the €57bn pension fund for the building industry, had also shown a serious interest in the program.“Our aim is to improve the bond with our participants,” explained Jim Schuyt, employer chairman of SPW. “We would like that eight out of 10 participants and at least nine out of 10 employers would join us.”
Ethos Services/Ethos Foundation – The Swiss proxy voting service Ethos has confirmed two new chairs for for the two parts of its business. Rudolf Rechsteiner was elected to chair the Ethos Foundation, while Beth Krasna was appointed chair of Ethos Services.The pair replace Dominique Biedermann, who previously held both roles but chose not to stand for re-election. He has worked for Ethos – which is wholly owned by Swiss pension funds – for 21 years.Biedermann had been criticised recently because his wife Yola is head of Ethos’ corporate governance department. The perceived “shortcomings in corporate governance” had led one pension fund to quit Ethos. It has indicated it could reverse this decision after Beidermann’s exit.Invesco – The Atlanta-headquartered investment management group has boosted its Nordic sales team with the appointment of two senior sales managers. Stefan Behring has been appointed head of Nordics institutional sales and Matthias Hagen will join on 18 June as head of retail sales.Invesco said the hires further cemented the expansion of both the institutional and retail arms in the region. Behring joins from JP Morgan, where he was client adviser and executive director, while Hagen joins from Goldman Sachs, where he was executive director for third party distribution for the Nordic region.BpfBouw – The €56bn pension fund for the building sector has appointed Annemarie de Beun as co-head of its administrative bureau. David van As, who has headed the bureau since 2011, is to become general director.De Beun, who was the bureau’s secretary, is to continue as operational manager. She joined BpfBouw in 2017 from the €8.8bn pension fund for disabled workers in a sheltered environment (PWRI), where she was temporary director since the departure of Frans Prins at the end of 2016.Martin Currie – Julian Ide has joined the active equity specialist as head of distribution and strategy with a brief to broaden the company’s global distribution capability across geographies and solutions. Ide was formerly CEO of Source ETF, which was bought by Invesco last year, and also previously led Old Mutual Global Investors as chief executive.Martin Currie said that Ide, who has also held senior positions at Credit Suisse and ABN Amro, will have “responsibility for developing our forward strategy” alongside CEO Willie Watt.Natixis Investment Managers – The asset management arm of the French corporate and investment bank has appointed Sebastian Römer as head of sales for central and eastern Europe (CEE). He also has a brief to focus on Germany, Austria, Switzerland.Römer joins Natixis from PIMCO, where he was responsible for institutional clients in Germany. He previously worked for private equity firm Apax Partners, and started his career at McKinsey & Co in Zurich.Gresham House – Heather Fleming has joined the specialist alternatives asset manager in a newly created position of head of institutional business. Formerly at Fidelity International as head of institutional distribution for UK and Ireland, Fleming will initially focus on Gresham’s British Strategic Investment Fund, with a further remit to look into developing the company’s institutional offering and fundraising capabilities.The British Strategic Investment Fund was launched last year with the Berkshire Pension Fund as a cornerstone investor. Berkshire also owns a 20% stake in Gresham House.Nuveen – Rune Sanbeck has joined the investment management arm of TIAA, the US asset manager, as head of international advisory services for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).Reporting to John Panagakis, the firm’s global head of international advisory services, Sanbeck will lead Nuveen’s push across the EMEA region. He joins the firm from Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he was head of the Nordic region for institutional business, iShares and retail. Fulcrum Asset Management – The multi-asset investment group, which oversees £4.4bn of assets, has appointed Chris Gower as director of global consultants and pension funds. Briefed to bolster Fulcrum’s relationships with consultants and pension funds on a global basis, Gower joins the firm from First State Investments where he had served as EMEA head of client and consultant relations. He had previously worked for HSBC Global Asset Management, Lane Clark & Peacock and Aon Consulting.Schroders – The global investment manager has moved to bolster its solutions business with the appointment of Patrick O’Sullivan as a strategist based in London and the transfer of solutions manager Edward Studd to New York.O’Sullivan, previously a portfolio strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, will report to Neil Walton, head of investment solutions. Studd, who will work under Seth Finkelstein, head of US portfolio solutions, will focus on developing risk-managed solutions for North American pension clients.Sycomore Asset Management – Francesca Mozzati has joined the boutique investment house as head of institutional sales. She will be responsible for developing the company’s presence in southern Europe, with a particular focus on Italy. She was previously part of the marketing team at French bank BPCE, and has also wored at Natixis where she was head of equity sales for Italy for 12 years.Research Affiliates – The smart beta and asset allocation company has bolstered its social responsibility and governance team with the appointment of Alex Edmans, a professor at London Business School, as an adviser. In his new role, Edmans will work in particular on developing implementation tools for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) strategies.Edmans will retain his affiliation with the London Business School and remain as editor of The Review of Finance and a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research think-tank.BNY Mellon – The investment services giant has hired Stephan Koschmieder has joined the company as head of business development for the Germany, Austria and CEE region. In this newly created role, based in Frankfurt, he is responsible for growing the company’s custody, depositary and fund accounting services.He was previously at Euroclear where he worked for 11 years, latterly as director and unit head for sales and relationship management. BNY Mellon also recently hired Katherine Starks as head of asset servicing for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the CEE region. Dennis Presburg, head of asset servicing business development for northern Europe, said increasing BNY Mellon’s presence in Germany was a “key strategic priority” for the group. Hermes Investment Management, Ethos Services, Invesco, BpfBouw, Martin Currie, Natixis Investment Managers, Gresham House, Nuveen, Fulcrum Asset Management, Schroders, Sycomore Asset Management, Research Affiliates, BNY MellonHermes Investment Management – Magnus Kristensen has moved to the fund manager, which was partially sold to Federated Investors in April this year, as director of business development for the Nordic region.Kristensen joins from Jyske Bank, where he had numerous responsibilities, including overseeing client acquisitions and maintenance, as well as leading a team of client relations managers.Hermes, which has £33.6bn (€38.2bn) of funds under management and was formerly majority owned by BT Pension Scheme, said Kristensen would help to expand the business throughout the Nordic region, a core market for the company.