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Bulgarian Parliament adopts pension committee report

first_imgBulgaria’s ad-hoc pensions parliamentary committee has recommended lower fees, improved investment and ownership disclosure and shored up resources for the pensions regulator.The eight-member cross-party committee, whose report was adopted by Bulgaria’s National Assembly (parliament) on 14 May, was set up in February in the wake of the backlash following the government’s controversial changes to the Social Insurance Code at the end of 2014.These changes included giving members of the universal and occupational pension funds one, irreversible choice of moving fully to the first pillar.Over two months, the committee held 10 meetings, with hearings from Ivailo Kalfin, deputy prime minister for demographic and social policies and minister of labour and social policy, finance minister Vladislav Goranov, the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), the Bulgarian Association of Supplementary Pension Security Companies (BASPSC) and the National Revenue Agency (NRA), the country’s tax and social security contribution collector. The meetings were open to the public, media and stakeholders.The committee recommended that pension returns, currently published annually, should be reported monthly.In the current dispute between the FSC, the industry’s regulator, and BASPSC over yield-calculation methodology, the report did not side with either party but recommended the regulator and market participants (pension companies, asset management and investment firms) reach a consensus shortly.The issue of beneficial owners and related parties has also been controversial and was highlighted by the European Commission (EC) in a recent report on Bulgaria.While the Social Insurance Code restricts individual shareholders’ investment to a single pension company, and bars pension funds from investing in securities issued by the owner of the pension company, or companies related to the owner, the ownership structure is not always transparent.As the EC noted: “The current legislation, while generally sound, has shortcomings in the area of related-party and connected exposures, which involve a significant risk for the profitability of the funds, their clients’ future pensions and, more broadly, the efficient allocation of resources in the economy.”The committee acknowledged that the current law needs to be amended and proposed that its members draft a legislative initiative.The committee’s proposal to reduce fees by some 40% echoes similar recommendations made by the FSC in 2012.The report noted that fee income continued to rise, increasing by nearly 15% year on year in 2014.It reasoned that, after 12 years of operations, the pension funds and companies were stable enough to weather the reduction, while pension fund members’ accounts, and eventual pensions, would increase.Other proposals included improving transfers from the NRA to the pension funds, and strengthening the FSC’s supervisory capacity, including more human resources, training programmes, new IT systems and an electronic platform for the funds and other supervised entities to submit information.Sofia Hristova, chief executive and chairman at Allianz Bulgaria Pension Company, told IPE that while she would have welcomed more specific and precise findings, the committee has helped the pensions industry highlight issues that have been stifled for many years.“The public is already much more aware of the gist of pension reform discussions among the industry, legislator and supervisor,” she said.The committee did not make recommendations concerning the recent changes to the funds’ mandatory status.These are the subject of a number of proposed amendments made by the Finance Minister in late January, which have still to be debated by Parliament.last_img read more

Tired Seniors

first_imgAs a coach I was always disappointed when a senior decided not to compete in a spring sport their senior year.  This was especially true of those who had been on the squad since their freshman year.  Now was the time for them to be the team leader.There were three main reasons that these seniors would give for not competing in their spring sport as a senior.  The most common one was that they needed to work to raise money to go to college.  I never bought this because it would have taken a $50 an hour job to make any kind of dent toward this goal. We are only talking about a 3-month period of time.  The second excuse was that they were tired and just wanted to finish their senior year without extra work.  How can an 18-year old be tired?  The final excuse was that they wanted to try another sport before they graduated.  This usually meant that a friend was involved in that other sport and they just wanted to be with them.Why did I write this blog?  Just a pet peeve of mine, and the years have not changed the situation.  A lot of these kids not only quit their sport, they wind up not going to college after all.last_img read more

President Trump Signs Executive Order Against Social Media Outlets

first_imgIn terms of the original tweets regarding the mail-in ballots, the president tweeted this follow-up on Thursday:So ridiculous to see Twitter trying to make the case that Mail-In Ballots are not subject to FRAUD. How stupid, there are examples, & cases, all over the place. Our election process will become badly tainted & a laughingstock all over the World. Tell that to your hater @yoyoel— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020 President Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday afternoon, two days after Twitter issued a fact check on two tweets the president authored.The executive order removes liability protection for websites such as Facebook and Twitter, opening such platforms to lawsuits.Mr. Trump has relied on Twitter as a frequent communication tool since before his 2016 presidential campaign. He has also used it to make official announcements.“There’s nothing I’d rather do than get rid of my whole Twitter account,” Trump said Thursday, shortly before signing the order.On Tuesday, Twitter flagged several of the president’s tweets about mail-in ballots for potentially misleading information.In response, he tweeted:….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020 Trump’s order directs federal agencies to reexamine some of the legal protections that social media companies currently have under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from liability for content posted by their users.Specifically, the executive order requests clarification from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the conditions under which restricting access to content is determined to be done in “good faith” and protected by the law.The order also directs federal agencies to stop paying in order to advertise on platforms that “violate free speech principles” and reestablishes the White House “Tech Bias Reporting Tool.” That means complaints can be collected from users and forwarded to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC could then report publicly on the complaints and possibly pursue lawsuits against the companies.last_img read more

Cricket Australia  cut 40 jobs as part of post-Covid-19 restructure

first_img…Former England batsman Graeme Hick, Australia’s national team batting coach since 2016, is among those to have been made redundantCRICKET Australia has announced a series of measures designed to offset the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, including 40 job cuts.The financial implications of the global crisis are believed to be less severe than first feared. Kevin Roberts, who resigned as the national governing body’s chief executive on Tuesday, had initially suggested that the organisation could run out of money by August. In April, the majority of staff were placed on furlough leave on reduced pay, retaining just a skeleton staff.Even so, however, Cricket Australia is looking to reduce its costs by AUD40m (£22m) by cutting administrative, travel and marketing costs, as well as reducing management pay and bonuses and restructuring plans for some representative and junior national age-group teams.“Throughout Covid-19, the need to work closely with the cricket community and to move quickly as circumstances have changed has never been more important,” said Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia chairman.“With increasing clarity about the impact of Covid-19, we have managed the financial impact on our organisation, our people, our partners and players. There will still be painful decisions for some parts of our organisation, but we have worked hard to carefully develop plans to protect our investment in community cricket and high-performance cricket, while ensuring the game’s financial sustainability.“We recognise that this is a difficult time for Cricket Australia employees, particularly for those staff members affected by these redundancies and their families.However, our responsibility is clear: to navigate a path for cricket through this period of uncertainty and disruption to ensure we come out the other side sustainable in the short term and prosperous in the long term.”Former England batsman Graeme Hick, Australia’s national team batting coach since 2016, is among those to have been made redundant. The number of those departing is thought to be smaller than originally expected – a result of an improved outlook around Covid-19.Eddings did confirm, though, that the country’s major domestic competitions – Sheffield Shield, Marsh Cup, Women’s National Cricket League, Big Bash and Women’s Big Bash – will continue in their current formats.Australia A tours have been paused for the next year, while there will be no Cricket Australia XI fixtures. The Fox Cricket National Premier Cricket T20 and Toyota Second XI competitions have also been shelved for next season.Australia remain hopeful that India will travel for a tour which would include a four-match Test series.On Tuesday, however, Eddings admitted that the prospect of this year’s T20 World Cup going ahead as planned in the country was unlikely.“While it hasn’t been formally called off this year, or postponed, trying to get 16 countries into Australia in the current world, where most countries are still going through Covid-19 spiking, I think it’s unrealistic, or it’s going to be very, very difficult,” he said.Interim chief executive Nick Hockley added: “We are confident that our actions today, along with support of the board, states and territories, fans and partners, are the right steps to ensure we can manage the continued uncertainty while doing all we can to deliver on the domestic and international program.“With cost savings at the tail end of FY20 and a clear FY21 plan, Cricket hopes to be able to avoid further changes post Covid-19.“This is a difficult day for cricket. But by pulling together and with more positive signs for the upcoming summer, the Australian Cricket family can emerge from this pandemic stronger for it.”(The Cricketer)last_img read more

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