“This facilitates an effective dialogue, ultimately resulting in considerably higher returns than the MSCI World Index, against comparable or even lower risks,” said Akkerman.The management, focussing on absolute returns for the long term, delivered cumulative returns of no less than 80% during this period, said Akkerman.That exceeded the equity benchmark by 30 percentage points, he added.Roelie van Wijk, chief executive of Aegon subsidiary TKP Investments, discussed a recent initiative by TKP, the €16bn transport scheme Vervoer and asset manager Robeco, to begin a dialogue with Dutch companies on social issues, the environment and corporate governance.Currently, the three investors are attempting to engage with energy giant Shell over its gas field in the Dutch province of Groningen – near which a number of earthquakes have recently occurred – about its risk assessment of the gas extraction project, as well as the potential consequences for company and the local population.According to Van Wijk, Shell is reluctant, and TKP, Vervoer and Robeco are intending to increase the pressure, preferably together with other institutional investors.“We want to prevent that nasty things happening,” she explained.Van Wijk added that an earlier engagement with retailer Ahold has lead to a more generous and stable dividend policy.Two other pension funds, meanwhile, highlighted other ways of promoting sustainable investments.Progress, the €5bn fund for employees of Unilever, said it had committed a further €250m in an Aegon fund of Dutch mortgages.Martin Sanders, CIO of Unilever, said the allocation combined attractive returns with social support.He stressed that the risk profile of the investment was excellent, following the mandatory 30-year pay off period and stricter conditions for borrowers, and concluded that a growing number of non-bank lenders would lead to lower costs for consumers.With an estimated annual return of 4%, the asset class was also suitable for matching liabilities, said Sanders, who added that the returns were exceeding the current government bond yield by around 200 basis points. Asset manager MN added that it was to invest another €250m in sustainable rental properties in the Netherlands, completing the transaction for the €53bn metal scheme PMT, which already has a €1.5bn allocation to Dutch direct real estate.By investing an additional €130m in improving thermal insulation and boilers in its existing stock, the pension fund would contribute to employment, a reduction in carbon emissions as well as cost reduction and increased living comfort for its tenants, argued Gerald Cartigny, deputy CIO at MN.He added that the rental increase for the tenants would be no more than 55% of the achieved reduction of energy costs.Cartigny estimated the returns on its sustainability project would be 5% to 6%. Pension funds should assess a company’s corporate social responsibility policy ahead of building significant stakeholdings, the chief executive of Dutch manager SPF Beheer has argued.According to Albert Akkerman, the asset manager’s approach of thoroughly screening firms ahead of engagement and only increasing the stake after a successful dialogue had paid off.The chief executive was referring to the €3bn compact strategic equity portfolio, consisting of merely 70 companies, that SPF has been managing for the €14bn railways scheme (SPF) over the past four years.Speaking during a meeting of CIOs in Amsterdam on socially responsible investment (SRI), he said that the scale of the stake allowed for good access to the companies’ top echelons.
The 73-year-old Scot shocked the football world in May 2013 when he announced his decision to stand down as United boss after 26 years in charge – having delivered the club’s 20th top-flight league title and 37 other trophies. David Moyes was appointed as Ferguson’s successor but his reign lasted just 10 months before he was sacked in April last year as United failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 1995-96 season. Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he would have stayed on longer as Manchester United manager had it not been for the death of his sister-in-law. Dutchman Louis van Gaal was charged with the task of bringing the glory days back to Old Trafford when he took over after last year’s World Cup, but Ferguson has revealed had it not been for the death of his wife Cathy’s twin sister, Bridget Robertson, he could still be in the hot seat. “I definitely would have carried on,” Ferguson told the Daily Telegraph. “I saw she (his wife) was watching television one night, and she looked up at the ceiling. I knew she was isolated. Her and Bridget were twins, you know?” Ferguson, who remains at United as a director, had planned to retire in 2002 but his wife convinced him to carry on. She did not try to persuade him to do the same in 2013, however. Ferguson added: “But when I told her this time I was going to retire she had no objection whatsoever. I knew she wanted me to do it.” Press Association read more
Press Association Flags flew at half-mast, video tributes were played, players from both Everton and opponents Manchester United wore black armbands and there was a pre-match period of appreciation for the 69-year-old, who died suddenly overnight in a Southport hospital. Applause rang out from all four sides of the famous old ground well before the start of the scheduled minute’s applause and continued after it, interspersed with chants of ‘One Howard Kendall’. The sadness was tinged with a touch of humour with one banner hanging from the upper tier of the Bullens Road stand reading ‘Howard Kendall’s Blue & White Undies’, a jovial touch the former boss would have appreciated. Kendall’s legacy at the club cannot be under-estimated as having won the title with the club as a player in 1969 as part of the famous ‘Holy Trinity’ along with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey undoubtedly his best achievements came when he returned to Goodison Park in 1981 as manager. Within three years he had won the First Division championship, repeating the feat in 1987, while also winning the FA Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup in the club’s most successful era in which the Toffees became a powerhouse of British football. A statement from the club read: “It is with great sadness that Everton Football Club has learned of the passing of Howard Kendall. “The most successful manager in the history of the club and one of the greatest players to pull on the Everton jersey, he passed away in hospital in Southport this morning at the age of 69, surrounded by loved ones. “The thoughts of everyone associated with the club are with Howard’s family at this difficult time and it would be appreciated if everyone could respect their request for privacy.” Although he is best remembered for his time at Everton, County Durham-born Kendall also had spells at several other clubs. A midfielder, he played for Preston in the 1960s, and Birmingham, Stoke and Blackburn in the 1970s, prior to a stint as player-manager of the Ewood Park club from 1979 until 1981. He returned to Goodison Park in May 1981 as player-manager, before hanging up his boots. After initially failing to spark an upturn in fortunes, a late goal in a League Cup tie at Oxford proved the catalyst and they reached the final of that competition before winning the FA Cup. The following season they won the league title, finishing 13 points clear of runners-up Liverpool, and the European Cup-Winners’ Cup, defeating Rapid Vienna, while losing the FA Cup final to Manchester United. Liverpool pipped them to the title and FA Cup the following year – before Kendall’s Toffees regained the Championship. He left in 1987 to manage Athletic Bilbao and further management spells followed at Blackburn, Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City, Notts County, Sheffield United and Greek sides Xanthi and Ethnikos Piraeus – as well as two more stints at Everton. Goodison Park said goodbye to one of its most favourite and certainly most successful sons with the passing of former player and manager Howard Kendall. read more