A change in seasonality in Greenland during aDansgaard–Oeschger warming

first_imgA new sub-seasonal chemical record is presented from the North Greenland Icecore Project (NorthGRIP) ice core during the onset of one of the longest and strongest interstadials of the last glacial period, Dansgaard–Oeschger event 8 (approximately 38 000 years ago). This is the first time that a record of such resolution has been achieved over several metres of deep glacial ice and provides a unique opportunity for using additional parameters to carry out accurate dating using annual-layercounting. The very high-resolution chemical data were used to assess the phasing of various ions and determine changes in the seasonal strength of chemical deposition and the shape of the seasonal cycle. The study shows that a change in seasonality accompanied the dramatic warming transition from stadial to interstadial conditions in Greenland.last_img read more

Bakery set to become star category in Fairtrade

first_imgBakery is expected to be at the cutting edge of the Fairtrade movement this year, as products made with multiple Fairtrade ingredients take centre stage.So-called ’composite’ products, such as baked goods and confectionery, which use more than one Fairtrade ingredient, represent the next stage in the evolution of the brand in the UK. That’s according to Richard Anstead, head of product management (grocery) at the Fairtrade Foundation, speaking ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight from 22 February to 7 March.”Bakery is a key focus for us going forward. We are reaching a tipping point where Fairtrade bakery products are poised to take off in 2010,” he said. “Pioneers such as Kate’s Cakes and The Handmade Bakery Group have led the way, as have KitKat and Dairy Milk in confectionery. They have proved that it is possible to switch to Fairtrade on a large scale. Consumers buying Fairtrade tea and coffee in coffee shops are the same as those who want to buy Fairtrade bakery goods.”Although Fairtrade bakery products have been launched in recent years, they have yet to cross over to the mainstream due to ingredient supply challenges, he said.”The bakery sector has not grown faster because the supply capacity of Fairtrade ingredients was not adequate, but availability of Fairtrade cocoa and sugar is now at an all-time high at an industrial level, and dried fruit and nuts are developing rapidly,” said Anstead. “Development has also been restrained by limits to our resources, but we have recently expanded the team dealing with composite products. There’s a fantastic opportunity there for bakery companies.”last_img read more

Speech: New Chair of Charity Commission gives first major speech

first_imgGood morningI am delighted to be here with you this morning. It is great to be among so many people involved in such a wide range of charitable endeavours. Thank you for having me here.This is my first substantial speech as Chair of the Charity Commission. I started in the role at the end of February.So it is early days for me. And I don’t come here this morning pretending to have all the answers. I know I have much to learn from you about the charity and voluntary sector.But I am clear on what motivated me to take on the role, and on what I want to achieve in the job.And I’d like to use this opportunity today to set that out. I know this has been a serious speech. But I am not feeling in any way down-beat. I am optimistic.Yes, we have a problem. But I am confident that we also have the solution.I am confident in charities’ ability to rebuild public trust in their organisations, if they set their minds to it.And I believe that you have the potential, to begin reversing the trend of declining public trust and lack of social cohesion we now see in our society.You have the potential to lead this change, because you don’t have to worry about the sometimes conflicting demands of shareholders.As I said at the start, I believe charity – what you in this room here and the other 167,000 charities on our register exist to do – is at the very heart of our society.Collectively, you have crucial importance and amazing potential to help people achieve real impact from charitable endeavour.That’s why I joined the Commission and that’s why I am looking forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.Not as an adversary, nor as a cosy friend, but as your partner. Your partner in a shared, vital mission to rebuild public trust in what charity does and has the real potential to help our society achieve.Thank you Sir Stuart suggested earlier that increased public scrutiny of charities is part of a wider trend. And I agree with him.We need to examine the problem through the same lens that we use to understand the decline in trust in big business and politics.People clearly are less trusting of institutions and of those in positions of authority than they once were. But that’s not because our parents and grandparents were more naïve.It’s because people now have more evidence to prove their suspicions. They are more sceptical of those in powerful roles or in positions that were once associated with respect, because they can see or have experienced directly how those groups really have let them down.The failings may manifest themselves in different ways. And in the worst cases we’ve seen people horrifically abuse and show contempt for the respected position that they hold. But whatever the failing, it adds up to people seeing and believing that those in charge of important institutions are running them in their own interests, for their own benefit.Those organisations have lost sight of their purpose: their purpose which goes beyond making money or gaining power.What we can’t escape, is that the underlying causes of public distrust are the same in the public, private and our own sector.Just as some big businesses have failed the reasonable expectations of the public, so have some charities.And what we need to understand is that, the expectations of you are even higher because you are charities.In this modern world of swift communication and greater democracy, people have been provided enough proof to realise they can’t even rely on those they thought always do better – because they exist for no other reason than to do good.I am not holding charities responsible for failings in other sectors. But nor are they innocent bystanders.The revelations about Oxfam in Haiti and senior staff conduct in other big charities shows that this sector is part of that wider story.And it’s a story that matters more for charities than it does for organisations that measure success by size, or by the bottom line.For example, the brand of a big supermarket will be damaged when the public see its leaders fail. But people will still buy their groceries – at least until something better comes along. The supermarket’s fundamental purpose is not fatally undermined, whilst it still makes a profit.But all a charity has is its purpose. So when a charity’s purpose is undermined, whether through misconduct or other failures, your very reason for existence comes into question.That’s why people are so appalled when charity workers in a devastated country exploit the vulnerable they were sent to help.That’s why people feel betrayed when charities seem to respond to misconduct among senior staff by protecting the charity’s reputation, rather than by rooting out and stopping the bad practice.And that’s what leads people to question very high pay in charities and doubt whether money that’s raised and donated makes it to the end cause.It’s therefore no surprise that the research I’ve already mentioned also tells us that people want more transparency from charities.But again, we need to really understand why they are asking for this.After all, most of us lead busy lives. Few of us are prepared to spend our free time working out which energy tariff is most cost effective for us, never mind want to spend time looking at detailed financial information about charities.So why do people really want more transparency from charities? In my view, their demand for information is a proxy for something far more profound. They want proof that you are who you say you are.The phrase Sir Stuart has used is ‘living your values’. It’s a useful form of words, because it is evocative. But I want to add to it. What I propose we’re talking about here are standards; standards of conduct and behaviour, and standards of competence.I really welcome the NCVO’s decision to ask Dame Mary Marsh to develop a code of conduct for safeguarding in charities. But we must keep in mind that Dame Mary’s important work will be a means to an end, and not an end in itself. People want us to show, not tell.The public want to be able to trust that, no matter how you slice a charity, what you’ll find is a relentless focus on its charitable purpose. And that means demonstrating that the way charities prioritise, behave and conduct themselves is focussed solely on delivering the right results for the people they say they support.I had the pleasure, a few weeks ago, of visiting a charity in Nottingham, my home town.The charity is called ThinkForward, and it works in deprived areas helping young people make the difficult transition from education to employment. It focuses on those young people most at risk of dropping out.I met Sally, an impressive, driven young woman who is a beneficiary of ThinkForward.She told me, in terms, that one of the reasons the charity has made such a difference to her – to her perspective and outlook – is that she believes those running it are genuine, and really care about helping people like her. In other words, for her, they are walking their talk.Sally was an inspiration for lots of reasons. And listening to her brought home to me the immense responsibility charities have.But imagine what might happen in the heart and mind of a young person like Sally if she had a bad experience with a charity claiming to help her. If she had reason to believe those running it were in one sense or another exploiting her.That charity would not just have failed to make an impact for Sally. It wouldn’t just be a case of one less point on the impact measurement scale. It would have done active harm.That’s why it matters so much that charities are relentlessly focused on their mission for the public benefit and on achieving that mission with earnest diligence and while working to the highest standards of conduct and decency. I’ve spent a long time setting out the problem of falling public trust in charities. So let me give you my early thoughts on what we need to do about it.And this is where the Commission as regulator comes in.We’re currently reviewing our strategy; our current strategic plan ends this year. But the fundamental aim of the Commission is already clear to me.To help increase – I would say rebuild – trust in charities as vehicles for charitable endeavour.And the way we will do that, is by understanding and articulating the public interest in charity. Understanding and expressing more clearly why charity matters to people.This is about more than careful and faithful application of charity law. It’s about setting the bar that we believe charities can be expected to reach based on what we know about the factors that drive public trust.Because the Commission’s job is not to represent charities to the public, but to represent the public interest to you.To help you understand what the public expect, and to help you respond.Not to undermine the independence of individual charities. But to help the sector respond to the reasons the public cherish what it is you do. And to hold the sector as a whole, and its leadership, to account against that bar. I am clear, this is the single most useful and supportive thing we as the regulator can do for charities, and the sector.We also have our own challenges at the Commission.First, we are under intense resource pressure. We have seen significant increases in volumes of case work – including most recently around safeguarding concerns. And like other public bodies, we have seen our funding cut drastically – by 50% in real terms over the past 8 years.I am grateful to my predecessor William Shawcross for all of his work for the organisation.During his time as Chair, William led a transformation of the Commission. As a result, the Commission has become more proactive, more robust, more effective at holding charities to account on behalf of the public.And most recently, William was successful in securing additional short term funding for the organisation, which will go some way to helping us manage the increased work load.But we need to do more.In the context of rebuilding public trust, we must be able to do two things:The first is to step in and investigate where there are serious concerns about a charity.It won’t have escaped you that we recently placed several well-known charities under formal inquiry – Oxfam, RNIB, The Save the Children Fund.I am absolutely confident that investigating these charities is merited on the basis of the evidence the Commission holds.In each case we have different but very serious concerns that we must examine within the confines of a formal investigation.But as the regulator that promotes the public interest in charities, we have to do more than just investigate when things go wrong.The second thing we need to do, is help make sure charities get it right before things can go wrong. And, make sure they are better equipped to respond in a way that promotes public trust when, sadly, human or systems failings do occur.And so the very same principle I set out earlier applies to the Commission. We too must be crystal clear about our purposes and aims. And we must be able to demonstrate that everything we do – from registering charities, to providing guidance, to investigating – and how we conduct ourselves, is in single-minded pursuit of our purpose.To help rebuild public trust in charities, so that they continue to inspire charitable endeavour, for the benefit of our society.The Commission’s strategy review continues. We plan to publish our new strategic plan in the summer. Between now and then, I intend to do a lot of listening. First, to the public whose interest we exist to represent. But also, I will listen to charities. To you.Because I believe we can and must work together to ensure that the public – whom we all serve – has well-founded confidence in charities. What drives me, first and foremost, is the importance and immense potential of people’s charitable endeavour for our society.Charity has a meaning and a value that is immeasurable, and lies beyond the sum of what individual charities achieve for their beneficiaries.It’s a value that endures well beyond the reach of any organisational structure.At its heart, charity is about attitudes, behaviours and qualities that unite us and that we can all sign up to.Qualities such as purpose, conviction, selflessness, generosity.Qualities that we admire when we see them in strangers, and that make us feel proud. So much so we look for ways to associate ourselves with people who display them: they are our fellow Brits, our family, friends and neighbours – whatever their race or religion.And they are qualities that make our communities stronger, and better.This potential of charity to build meaning and to contribute to a healthy, successful society is profound.So it must be nurtured and promoted. And many of you do that, every day, as do the thousands of people who work alongside you in your organisations.But we have a problem.Some organisations that act as the vehicles of that charitable endeavour, namely the charities on the Commission’s register, are no longer trusted automatically by the public to foster what it is I’ve just described.And that means all charities can no longer expect the public to give them the benefit of the doubt.That’s not just my opinion. It’s the conclusion of extensive, independent research, the latest of which is underway right now and will be published later this year.I have seen some early findings. And they are sobering.They show that people now trust charities no more than they trust the average stranger they meet on the street.It is vital, in my view, that we understand why that is the case – and work together to change what’s gone wrong so we can put it right.last_img read more

Press release: Ploughshare Innovations relocates to a new science park at Porton Down

first_img The new building is a state-of-the-art facility and we are looking forward to being at the heart of the science park, forging links with the other businesses here to help develop new technologies and grow prosperity for the region. Our move to Porton Down puts us closer to our main source of innovations, enabling us to maximise MOD’s investment in science and technology research. Ploughshare’s move to the Porton Science Park will benefit the site, the region and the wider UK economy. The company, which licenses defence and security technologies and creates start-up businesses, will now be able to support and collaborate with the other exciting new science and technology companies based at the science park. Ploughshare has already created 12 start-ups and has plans for more. Now, with the new Porton Science Park, it is envisaged those new businesses will also locate themselves in the park, which will create more local jobs and retain investment in the region.The strong links Ploughshare has with the neighbouring Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which is part of MOD, will provide a unique resource for the new science park tenants. Ploughshare has worked for many years with Dstl and understands the organisation, has excellent relationships with senior staff, and strong links with their world-class scientists and experts.James Kirby, CEO of Ploughshare Innovations said: As the commercialisation arm for Dstl, Ploughshare has a unique set of skills and experience in identifying new markets for novel defence and security-related technologies. The team includes professional commercialisation managers who are experienced in creating investible business plans and have already helped a number of organisations to improve their market position and gain commercial advantage. With their defence and security-related intellectual property portfolio, strong links with scientists at Dstl and across MOD, and their relationships with investment communities, Ploughshare brings a wealth of experience that is much valued by new start-up businesses.Porton Science Park provides a science incubator and grow-on space for science and technology businesses for the region. Situated alongside the established research institutions of Dstl and Public Health England (PHE), it is in the ideal location to play a critical role in the strategy of Wiltshire Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership to become a world-class cluster of expertise in the life science and defence technology sectors.center_img Visit the Ploughshare Innovations website.last_img read more

Watch Omega Moos Reunite At Recent Umphrey’s McGee Afterparty In Detroit [Video]

first_imgOn Friday, 1980s tribute band Omega Moos reunited for a special late-night show at The Magic Stick in Detroit, MI, following Umphrey’s McGee‘s performance earlier in the evening at The Fillmore. The supergroup which includes Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss and bassist Ryan Stasik, as well as keyboardist Jamie Shields (The New Deal) and drummer Nick Blasky, worked through a plethora of favorite ’80s covers.The quartet opened their one-set show with a cover of Billy Idol‘s “Rebel Yell”, followed by takes on The Police‘s “Masoko Tanga”, Sugarloaf‘s “Green Eyed Lady”, Gary Numan’s “Cars”, and The Human League‘s “Don’t You Want Me”. The band pushed things late into the night as they continued with takes on Duran Duran‘s “Girls On Film”, Corey Hart‘s “Sunglasses At Night”, Foreigner’s “Double Vision”, Loverboy‘s “Working For The Weekend”, and Kool & The Gang‘s “Ladies Night”. The four-piece brought the late-night party to a close with a cover of The Romantics‘ “Talking In Your Sleep”.Luckily, a fan has shared footage of the entire show which you can enjoy below:Omega Moos – 2/22/2019 (Full-Show Video)[Video: shinepigeon]Umphrey’s McGee heads west this weekend with performances at Oakland, CA’s Fox Theater (3/1); Los Angeles, CA’s Wiltern (3/2); and Phoenix, AZ’s M3F Fest (3/3).  For ticketing information and a full list of Umphrey’s McGee’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.Setlist: Omega Moos | The Magic Stick | Detroit, MI | 2/22/2019Set: Rebel Yell, Masoko Tanga, Green Eyed Lady, Cars, Don’t You Want Me, Girls On Film, Sunglasses At Night, Double Vision, Working For The Weekend, Ladies Night, Talking In Your Sleep[H/T JamBase]last_img read more

Dialogue and Civil Discourse program to host conversation on mask-wearing, personal liberty

first_imgThe Dialogue and Civil Discourse program at Saint Mary’s will be hosting “Beyond the Mask Debates” this Wednesday on the O’Laughlin Patio at 6 p.m. The event will discuss the balance between public health and personal liberty surrounding wearing a mask.The Dialogue and Civil Discourse program was introduced to the Saint Mary’s community in 2017. Professor Zwart, associate professor and chair of the department of philosophy, and a few of her students formed the idea of a program that would focus on helping students have productive conversations about controversial issues with family and friends after seeing the results of the 2016 presidential election on relationships.After receiving a grant from Campus Compact in 2017, the course PHIL 291: Dialogue and Civil Discourse began. This one-credit course meets once a week and focuses on helping students develop skills to engage in conversations with others who have different views on social and political issues, such as abortion, the Second Amendment, kneeling for the anthem and racial justice, Zwart said.“I’ve had students tell me that they have learned skills that help them have productive conversations with family members for the first time in months, or that help them get through Thanksgiving dinner without tension,” Zwart said.The program has six student leaders involved in all aspects of the project. Junior Vanessa Hawkins is a leader in the project, and as expressed in her biography on the project’s GoogleSite, she said she understands the difficulty in expressing one’s beliefs and listening to others’ viewpoints on controversial topics.“I think the Dialogue and Civil Discourse project will have a large impact on the Saint Mary’s campus because we can promote and educate others about useful skills when engaging in difficult conversations,” Hawkins said.The event Wednesday on the topic of mask-wearing will be facilitated by Hawkins and senior Mia Marroquin, Zwart said.(Editor’s Note: Marroquin is the Saint Mary’s News Editor for The Observer.)“I have found that by vocalizing my beliefs about mask-wearing I can listen for my own inconsistencies,” Hawkins said. “My hope for this discussion is that others begin to recognize inconsistencies in their beliefs and behaviors related to mask-wearing.”It is expected that students will have differing opinions on the topic, Zwart said, but that is what makes the conversations interesting.“We’ll try to avoid the binary debate of ‘mask’ or ‘no mask’ and think critically about when the public good justifies some sacrifices of personal freedoms,” Zwart said.Students are not expected to do anything in particular to prepare for the event. The program will provide some context about mask-wearing debates and make connections between mask-wearing, public health and personal liberty.The project’s first event Sept. 22 was open to first-year students and was centered around building a strong community from the start.The group was small — only 7 students plus Zwart and two student leaders — but Zwart said the conversation was very thoughtful.“I appreciated the student leaders’ willingness to share their own experiences, including what they wish they had known as first-year students, and what they have learned since about productive dialogue, listening and engaging on social media,” she said.In years to come, Zwart said she hopes to see the program become more popular around campus. It has already grown since the one-credit class started in 2017, with a student leadership program and first-year workshops during orientation and the first year common course, SPLL 101.The project collects anonymous data from students who voluntarily fill out surveys throughout their involvement. The project is still collecting enough data to see if any evidence of larger change is reflected from students, but Zwart said she has already seen changes within different individuals.Soon, the program will reach faculty and staff through other programming.“I would love for this program, especially through the work of the student leaders, to set a tone on campus that we can be curious about others’ views, while still being passionate in our own convictions,” Zwart said.Tags: campus compact, Dialogue and Civil Discourse Program, mask wearing, personal libertylast_img read more

Judy Shelton appears headed for confirmation to a Federal Reserve seat

first_imgDemocratic senators accused Shelton of backpedaling from earlier statements she had made on those issues.McConnell’s move drew an angry rebuke from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), ranking member of the finance committee, who called it “an effort to sabotage what little economic recovery we have by installing an unqualified, political pick.”“Her ideas are so wacky and outdated, giving her authority over the dollar would be like putting a medieval barber in charge of the” Centers for Disease Control, Wyden said in a statement. “Shelton’s views are so extreme, Senate Republicans have long refused to confirm her.”- Advertisement – Her co-nominee, St. Louis Fed executive vice president Christopher Waller, faced a much easier time and gained committee approval by an 18-7 vote. However, it is unclear whether his name will be presented with Shelton at a full Senate vote expected to take place around the middle of next week. “I’ve had an opportunity to talk to Judy Shelton and I’m going to be supporting her,” Murkowski told reporters Thursday afternoon, according to reports in various news outlets.Shelton’s nomination had been stalled in the Senate even though the finance committee cleared her by a narrow party-line 13-12 vote in July. Several key Republicans had been wavering in their support, and it appeared for some time that the nomination would not clear before the current congressional session ended.At the contentious July hearing, senators grilled Shelton over her views on Fed independence, her support of the gold standard and her wavering over whether bank deposits should be insured.- Advertisement – Judy Shelton appears now to have enough Republican support for her controversial nomination to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors to get through.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he will advance Shelton’s name to the Senate floor after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters she now will support the economic advisor to President Donald Trump, CNBC’s Ylan Mui reported.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

East Syria air raids kill 12 pro-Iran fighters: Watchdog

first_imgThe Jewish state has carried out hundreds of strikes targeting regime and Iranian-backed forces, notably in Deir Ezzor.The Israeli military rarely claims responsibility for such attacks but has vowed to prevent Iran gaining a foothold in the war-torn country or delivering advanced weaponry to Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.Iranian and Iraqi armed groups backing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad have deployed across swathes of Deir Ezzor, a large desert province bordering on Iraq. The Observatory said the latest strikes came after Afghan forces brought in reinforcements from near the Iraqi border to a large Iranian base near the town of Al-Mayadin on the Euphrates river.Two waves of similar strikes in May killed 12 pro-Iranian fighters, according to the Observatory.Syria’s complex, almost decade-long war has killed over 380,000 people, devastated the country’s infrastructure and forced millions of people to flee their homes.Topics : At least 12 pro-Iranian fighters died in strikes by unidentified aircraft on eastern Syria late Saturday evening, a war monitor said. “Eight air strikes before midnight on Saturday night targeted a base of pro-Iranian forces in rural eastern Deir Ezzor [province], killing 12 Iraqi and Afghan fighters and destroying equipment and ammunition,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.The Observatory did not identify the aircraft responsible, but its head Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP that Israel was likely responsible.last_img read more

Escape to North Korea: Defector at heart of COVID-19 case fled sex abuse investigation

first_imgRather than make his way through China, as the vast majority of North Korean defectors usually do, Kim headed south via the porous sea border toward the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.”After passing through barbed-wire fences, I encountered minefields, which I bypassed and came to a reed field near the Han River where I stayed hidden for about three hours,” he said in the video, adding that he was living off mere bread crumbs.He started swimming, following the lights on the southern bank of the river. When he finally made land, he let out a cry for help, and was found by a unit of South Korean soldiers.Little is known about how Kim made a living in South Korea, but a source with knowledge of his background told Reuters that he owed 20 million won ($16,800) to at least one fellow defector from Kaesong.”He had expressed his wish to become a security lecturer for students, like many other defectors do, but it never happened, partly because of the pandemic,” the source said on anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.According to police, a female defector in her 20s filed a complaint on June 12, accusing Kim of sexually assaulting her at his home. They interviewed him once on June 21, and he denied the accusations.The investigation gathered steam when one of Kim’s acquaintances reported to police on July 19 that he threatened the woman and planned to flee to the North, a police official said.A warrant for Kim’s arrest was issued two days later, but according to North Korean state media, he had already arrived there.By July 24, North Korean authorities had found him in Kaesong, and said he displayed COVID-19 symptoms. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the city be locked down and declared a state of emergency, state media reported on Sunday.South Korean health officials said there was no sign that Kim was infected with the coronavirus before he left the South, and at least two people who were in close contact with him have tested negative.  Topics : Last week, a 24-year-old defector returned to North Korea the way he left in 2017, authorities say, but with a coronavirus pandemic raging in the background this time, his illicit trip drew far more attention.South Korea has identified the man only by his surname, Kim, and said he was the “runaway” who North Korea accuses of illegally crossing their shared border last week with symptoms of COVID-19.Facing a sexual assault investigation, Kim evaded high-tech South Korean border control systems by crawling through a drain pipe and swimming across the Han River to the North on July 19, the South Korean military has said. He appears to have spent several days there before being caught.center_img South Korean military chief Park Han-ki told parliament on Tuesday that Kim, who is 163 cm (5.35 ft) tall and weighs 54 kg (119 lb), cut his way through barbed wire fences installed at the end of the pipe leading to the river.A Seoul official told Reuters that Kim is believed to have taken a similar path when he defected to the South in 2017, and authorities say he scoped out the area earlier in July, apparently in preparation.Kim’s story as a defector begins and, so far, ends in the city of Kaesong, a North Korean border town that hosted a now-shuttered inter-Korean factory park and liaison office.When that industrial project was shut down amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in 2016, the economic shock prompted Kim to try his luck in the South in 2017, he said in a YouTube video filmed with a fellow defector in South Korea in June.last_img read more

Mandatory tendering for fiduciary contracts becomes UK law

first_imgUK-based fiduciary managers and investment consultants are now legally obliged to provide clearer information about fees and costs charged to pension funds, after last year’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruling was made law yesterday.The CMA concluded a 15-month investigation into the markets for investment consulting and fiduciary management in December, recommending that fiduciary providers should provide “more information on their fees and performance” to enable trustees to make a more informed choice.John Wotton, chair of the CMA’s investigation, said: “Our investigation found that many trustees lack the information needed to assess and compare investment consultants and fiduciary managers, meaning they may not be getting the best value for their members’ money.”In addition, the new rules require pension scheme trustees outsourcing 20% or more of assets to a fiduciary manager to conduct a competitive tender for the mandate, including at least three providers. Schemes that have already employed a fiduciary manager without a tender must do so within the next five years. Investment consultants that also provide fiduciary services must separate advice material from marketing, using wording provided by the CMA in its rules . John Wotton, CMAOn fees, the CMA’s order stated that fiduciary managers must issue fee statements to clients “in good time, on a regular basis and at least annually”, setting out cost data “in a comprehensible form” so trustees could understand and act on the information.All those affected by the new rules have six months to comply, or the CMA could take them to court.Celene Lee, senior investment consultant at pensions consultancy Buck, said: “The more rigorous selection process for appointing a fiduciary manager as outlined by the CMA today will not only help to solve this problem on competitiveness, but is likely to lead to trustees questioning what an appropriate exit strategy might look like and have full understanding of it before fully engaging with a fiduciary manager.”Patrick McCoy, head of advisory at XPS Pensions Group, added: “Some investment advisers may not be very incentivised to explain the new CMA requirements clearly to their clients and so it is the responsibility of the industry to ensure trustees are aware of the requirements for them to run a competitive tender process and look for someone who can help them, conflict free.”Richard Dowell, co-head of clients at Cardano, said the legal text was “of vital importance to help raise standards in the industry and improve the pension outcomes for thousands of trustees and scheme member beneficiaries”.last_img read more