The Dutch pensions industry has criticised the regulator’s controversial decision to lower the ultimate forward rate (UFR), part of the discount rate for liabilities, from 4.2% to 3.3%. The Dutch Pensions Federation said it was “very disappointed” by the move, with its director, Gerard Riemen, arguing that defined benefit arrangements would “no longer be sustainable” over time, assuming interest rates remained at their current level or similar levels.PMT, the €65bn pension fund for the Dutch metal industry, said the UFR’s adjustment had reduced its coverage ratio by more than 3 percentage points, to just over 100%.Director Guus Wouters said the amended rate would also threaten PMT’s five-year pensions contract, designed to increase premium stability at the scheme. The €43bn PME scheme said the new UFR would knock 2.4 percentage points off its coverage ratio, lowering it to 100%, while tacking on a full year to a recovery plan already approaching 10 years.Director Eric Uijen added: “The measure will further delay indexation and increase the possibility of future rights cuts.”PME also echoed PMT’s assertion that the new rate would make pensions accrual more expensive. Frank Eldersson, director of pensions at the regulator, defended the new rate, claiming it was more balanced and fairer for all generations, and that it accounted for “as much market information as possible”.The UFR will be based on a 10-year running average of the 20-year forward rate.That average currently stands at 3.3%, but it is expected to fall over the next few years.Eldersson said the new UFR stood to reduce coverage ratios by 6 percentage points at pension funds with predominantly younger participants but just 3 percentage points for average funds and 2 percentage points for funds with older participants.The Pensions Federation, however, predicted that, if the UFR remained at its end-of-May level, it would cut funding by 15% on average – from 7% for younger schemes to 23% for older ones – by 2020. It also argued that the new rate would increase pension funds’ susceptibility to rate changes, and risk destabilising the new financial assessment framework (nFTK).The Federation said the regulator’s decision to opt for a more market-based rate, “just when the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme is strongly affecting interest levels”, made little sense. The regulator acknowledged that the new rate could affect contributions next year, predicting an increase in cost-covering premiums of 4-5%, if calculated using current interest rates.It said it expected the impact on contributions, using expected returns, to be half as big.The Pensions Federation added that it feared annual pensions accrual would be squeezed where pension funds had capped the premium level.
Houston-based oil and gas services company Helix Energy Solutions returned to profit in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year. Looking ahead, Helix expects to see improved results amid increased activity in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Siem Helix 2; Source: Flickr; Author: kees torn – under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseHelix on Tuesday reported a net income of $1.3 million for the first quarter of 2019 compared to a net loss of $2.6 million for the same period in 2018 and a net loss of $13.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2018.The company recorded revenues of $166.8 million for the first quarter 2019 compared to $164.3 million in the same period last year.In the Well Intervention segment, revenues decreased $7.3 million, or 6%, in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018. The decrease was primarily due to higher rates in the Gulf of Mexico on higher integrated services revenue and higher IRS rental unit utilization in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2019, which were offset in part by higher revenues in the North Sea in the first quarter of 2019.Robotics revenues increased $11.9 million, or 44%, in the first quarter of 2019 from the first quarter of 2018 due to higher overall vessel and ROV utilization, including a higher number of trenching days year over year. Vessel utilization was 88% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 56% in the first quarter of 2018. ROV asset utilization increased to 39% in the first quarter of 2019 from 30% in the first quarter of 2018, and the first quarter of 2019 included 133 trenching days compared to 44 days in the first quarter in 2018.Owen Kratz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helix, stated, “Our first quarter results for 2019 reflect improved financial performance both year over year and sequentially. Our Well Intervention segment results improved quarter over quarter despite the seasonal slowdown in the North Sea, and our Robotics segment continues to benefit from improved asset utilization and a lower cost structure.“As activity levels increase in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, we expect to see improved results in 2019 and believe we are positioned to deliver improved results in a challenging market,” Kratz concluded.Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by over 10,000 industry professionals daily. We had nearly 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas and allows our partners to get maximum exposure for their online campaigns. If you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today contact our marketing manager Mirza Duran for advertising options.
The St. Louis 7th Grade Lady Cardinals took a fall against Greensburg’s A team last night. It went down with a 36-6 defeat, but they gave their all for the first game.Our leading scorer was Grace Laudick with 6 points. Defensively GiGi Dreyer and Sydney Schutte both pulled down 6 rebounds a piece.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Erin Trenkamp.The St. Louis 8th Grade Girls Basketball team opened their season with a road win against Greensburg Thursday night by a final score of 31 to 18.A buzzer beater 3 point shot at the half by Hailey Mohr ignited a balanced scoring attack and a solid defensive effort by the Lady Cardinals.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Mike Burkhart.
Mary Kelly, a distinguished artist, scholar and educator, will join the USC faculty this fall as a Judge Widney Professor. According to USC News, Kelly will be the first fine artist and the first woman to be honored as a Judge Widney Professor. Named after USC’s founder Judge Robert Maclay Widney, the title is reserved for exemplary individuals from the arts, sciences, humanities, business and leadership fields. Kelly is known for her project-based work surrounding topics such as sexuality, identity and historical memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations. According to USC News, her works have influenced the evolution and critique of conceptual art. Her early arts, which explores the mother-child relationship through a series of works focused on war, and her most recent work on intergenerational history have driven and informed discourse surrounding feminism and postmodernism art. As a Widney Professor of Art, Kelly will join the Roski School of Art and Design faculty to mentor and educate Roski students. Previously, she held a 21-year tenure as a distinguished professor of art and critical theory at the University of California, Los Angeles. Kelly’s work has been exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles, MOCA Chicago, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Generali Foundation in Vienna, the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Whitney Museum in New York and more. Her work as also been featured in international exhibitions such as The Whitney Biennial, The Biennale of Sydney and documenta 12. Kelly is acclaimed for her theoretical writings on art. Her published works include Imaging Desire and Post-Partum Document. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and honorary doctorates from the University of Wolverhampton, in England and Lund University in Sweden.