Prudential backs Welsh hydro-power plant despite annuity market changes

first_imgInsurer Prudential has committed to fund a £1bn (€1.2bn) tidal power plant, one of hundreds of projects part of the UK government’s national infrastructure plan (NIP).Investing through its wholly-owned asset management arm M&G Investments, the insurer will act as a cornerstone investor in a project looking to build a hydro-power station in Swansea, South Wales.The completed project is estimated to cost £1bn and aims to become part of a network of tidal plants that could produce 8% of the UK’s electricity requirements.It is expected to open in 2018, with construction scheduled to begin early next year. Commitments from Prudential form part of the UK Government’s agreement with six of the largest insurer’s to spend £25bn on UK infrastructure.The agreement between HM Treasury and the insurers was made after clarifications of Solvency II regulations made the allocation to domestic infrastructure possible, the Government said at the time.Much of the £25bn was expected to be come from insurers’ annuity books, as the firms formed a significant section of the UK individual annuity market.Prudential’s move may alleviate concerns insurers would not be able to stand by their commitment.Three months after the £25bn agreement was announced, Chancellor George Osborne launched radical overhaul of the defined contribution (DC) at-retirement market, removing compulsory annuitisation for majority of savers.The change resulted in more than £1bn wiped off the value of insurers listed on UK stock markets, heavily reliant on the individual  annuity business.The £12bn a year individual annuities market was expected to take a significant hit in value with savers now allowed fully withdraw savings as cash, or electing to use income-drawdown.However, alongside Prudential’s investment, Legal & General (L&G) also affirmed its commitment to the plan despite the hit and long-term impact on its individual annuities book.Michael Abramson, head strategic business for bulk annuities at L&G, said the insurer would use its bulk annuity arm to back the commitment as it expected its overall annuity book to grow.The number of insurers using bulk annuity business from defined benefit (DB) schemes to match falling individual writings is expected to grow after the Budget reforms.Legal & General today announced a £129m buy-in with the Unaic Pension Scheme, part of the Unilever group.last_img read more

University officer suspended after signing same-sex marriage petition

first_imgWashington Post 10 Oct 2012Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer was placed on paid leave on Wednesday after school officials learned that she signed a petition challenging a new same-sex marriage law in Maryland. Angela McCaskill, who has worked for more than 20 years at the university for the deaf and hard of hearing, was among more than 200,000 Maryland residents to sign a petition seeking a referendum vote on the measure. The petition succeeded, and enactment of the law was put on hold pending the outcome of the referendum in November. On Wednesday, Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz said he had placed McCaskill on administrative leave. “It recently came to my attention that Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer; however, other individuals feel differently,” Hurwitz said in a statement released to the news media. “I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps.”http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/gallaudet-diversity-officer-on-paid-leave-after-signing-petition-on-same-sex-marriage-law/2012/10/10/bdb1e720-1332-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.htmlFamily Research Council President Tony Perkins had the following reaction: “Until a few years ago, a decision punishing an employee for engaging in the democratic process would have been jaw-dropping. However, Gallaudet University ‘s discriminatory action reflects the troubling trend of intimidation and bullying tactics against those who uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Over the summer, we saw two mayors attempt to block Chick-fil-a location permits simply because the mayors disagreed with the marriage views of Chick-fil-A’s CEO.“A person should no more be punished for signing a petition than they should be for voting. This is a basic citizen’s right to participation in our democratic process. Gallaudet University claims to believe in diversity but clearly their definition of diversity doesn’t allow for dissent when it comes to marriage. ” Gallaudet University ‘s action underscores that far more is at stake in redefining marriage than two people walking down the aisle. Indeed, the very livelihood of business owners and employees is at stake. If marriage is redefined, we can fully expect to see more of these discriminatory actions taken against anyone who espouses marriage as it has always been defined. “The University President should be fired for violating our most basic civil rights. The University’s punishment will no doubt have a chilling effect. If this is allowed to stand, others will follow,” concluded Perkins.last_img read more

Holladay scores biggest win of career

first_imgBy Jerry MackeyWEST LIBERTY, Iowa (July 16) – Saturday’s action at the West Liberty Raceway included a 40-lap main event for the iWireless IMCA Late Models for the Ideal Ready Mix Tri-Track Challenge.The night belonged to Muscatine’s Chad Holladay as Holladay charged in to the race lead at the green flag and went on to lead all 40 laps en route to a very impressive win which saw him lap up to the seventh place finisher.The 40 laps went caution-free as Holladay built a half-lap lead over second place finisher Scott Fitzpatrick.Holladay stated in victory lane, “ This Gheer’d up car was totally awesome and this is the biggest win of my racing career.”Justin Kay nipped Joel Callahan at the finish line for third.The Performance Concepts IMCA Modifieds brought another outstanding field of cars to West Liberty. Kay made a rare appearance in the class and advanced from the 12th position start to take the lead on lap number 10 en route to the feature win.Kay scored the win ahead of Jonathan Houston and Chris Zogg.The Weikert Iron & Metal IMCA Northern SportMod feature belonged to Dalton Simonsen. The season point leader advanced from a fifth row start and took the lead on lap 10 on his way to vic­tory. Jarrett Brown crossed under the checkers in second ahead of Troy Phillpott.David Brandies scored his second feature win in as many weeks at the West Liberty Raceway in the Kile Motorsports IMCA Stock Cars. Brandies got out front early and scored the win ahead of Johnny Spaw and Greg Gill.The Mach-1 Sport Compact feature was another nail biter for the second week in a row. Cody VanDusen took the 10-lap US 6 Bodyworks Sport Compact win ahead of Jason KlerkDerus.On Saturday, July 23, the Muscatine County Fair will be in full swing as the Fair Board will pre­sent racing action with a full program of IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing. Hot laps will get underway at 6:30 p.m.last_img read more