Coach Hurley’s thoughts on St. Anthony High School closing at end…

first_imgJERSEY CITY – St. Anthony High School, a fixture in downtown Jersey City since 1952 and known nationally for having the premier basketball program in the nation, will close at the end of the current school year in June, school officials announced Wednesday afternoon.The school’s administrators, spearheaded by legendary Naismith Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley, met with the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Newark Wednesday afternoon to discuss the school’s financial plight. For the past three years, Hurley has served also as the school’s president.Back in September, the Board of Trustees at the school announced that it would need an endowment of anywhere between $10 million and $20 million to remain open in the future. That number seemed to be nothing more than a pipe dream.But Hurley then said in October that the school needed to raise approximately $1.5 million to operate for the 2017-18 scholastic school year. Vigorous fundraising took place since, but the writing was on the wall over the last few weeks, when Hurley admitted that the school was about $330,000 shy of the initial goal.It was just last week that Hurley told The Hudson Reporter that he was concerned about the school’s future.“The numbers are so large and we’re not moving away from that,” Hurley said. “The length of time we’ve spent doing this [fundraising] and this time, I’m concerned that I didn’t sound too pathetic. I don’t think I did so. But I know the school is important to the kids. It’s just gotten to the point where people are just tired of this story. I think people are tired of hearing about it. When is enough enough?”The most recognized aspect of the tiny Roman Catholic high school on Eighth Street has been its basketball program, run since 1972 by Hurley.Over the years, the fabulous Friars won more than 1,100 games and lost only 109 under Hurley’s tutelage. They also won a record 28 NJSIAA state championships, 13 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions titles and four mythical national crowns (1989, 1996, 2008 and 2011). Eight of Hurley’s teams finished seasons with undefeated records.Hurley gained induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.Some of the players that Hurley produced eventually played in the NBA, like David Rivers, Bobby Hurley (the coach’s son), Terry Dehere, Rodrick Rhodes, Roshown McLeod, Tyshawn Taylor and Kyle Anderson (currently with the San Antonio Spurs).Hurley worked tirelessly over the past year, trying to raise the funds to keep the school open. But the coach and school president wondered what would have happened even if a miracle kept the school open.“What happens next year?” Hurley said. “Do we have to do this every year? Catholic schools just can’t sustain themselves. I don’t want to start fresh next year and go through it all again. We can only get through this year. What happens next year?”It is no longer a concern, as Hurley and the rest of the staff try to figure out where the school’s 160 or so returning students will head in the fall. – Jim Hague ×last_img read more

On baldness

first_imgWith a scientific foresight as clear as an azure sky, coupled with an alimentary canal as clean as the proverbial whistle, Dr Allinson liked his wholegrains and he wasn’t afraid to shout about it. But his genius wasn’t confined to keeping a healthy bowel.On baldness: “The causes of baldness are wrong living, improper foods, too many meals, intoxicating drinks, tobacco, strong tea and coffee, late hours, bad air, vicious sensual habits, or anything that lowers the tone of the system. Rectified spirit of petroleum is said to be one of the best remedies for baldness. It should be scented with oil of bergamot, and rubbed in every third night; at the same time, bad habits must be corrected, and as little head-covering as possible should be worn.”last_img

Teens learn and earn at Harvard

first_imgIn a summer clouded by the lingering bleak teen employment outlook, Harvard University worked hard to break the trend.Last year reflected the lowest teen employment rate in the history of the United States since the post-World War II era, according to a study from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. The summer jobs outlook for 2012 was also described as “not very bright.”In light of this, Harvard employed more than 150 teenagers from Boston and Cambridge to work throughout the University — in its programs, departments, and Schools.To celebrate the end of the season, Harvard Human Resources and Harvard Public Affairs & Communications hosted a party on Aug. 15. Together, teen employees and their mentors shared pizza and their thoughts on the impact of their summer jobs.More than 150 local teens were hired by Harvard for summer employment. On Aug. 15, a pizza party to honor them was held at the Gutman Library.“It’s not just about working, coming in and doing your job, but you’re finding out who you are, what you want to do, and also learning skills that can apply to school,” said Eunice Offre, a recent Cambridge Rindge & Latin School graduate. Offre spent her summer working at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) doing data entry and research. She has worked two consecutive summers at the University and will be attending Colby-Sawyer College this fall.HGSE was among seven University Schools, Central Administration departments, and the Phillips Brooks House Association to hire local students June through August.According to Boston Private Industry Council (Boston PIC) staffers, who recruit, interview, and prepare Boston teens for their summer jobs, the experience is invaluable today — and in the future.“Our students become valued by their managers, feel valued, and it translates into their performance in school,” said Rose Delorme, a career specialist at Boston PIC.It is also a test drive in the work world and an opportunity to build up and support a young workforce. “We are essentially building a strong future workforce together, teaching them skills and instilling a work ethic and the basic foundation for future job success,” said Roselys Esteve, assistant director of the School-to-Career program at Boston PIC.For more than 10 years, Harvard has been working with the city of Cambridge, through the Summer Youth Employment Program, and the city of Boston, through the Boston Youth Fund and Boston PIC, to link local teens with jobs at the University.“This is a long-term partnership,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. “Harvard believes very strongly in providing employment opportunities for local youth in partnership with Cambridge and Boston, and we benefit greatly from these students, too.”Working with Harvard to make the teen employment program a success were Roselys Esteve (from left), Shannon Carter, and Rose Delorme, all of the Boston Private Industry Council. The Boston PIC staffers recruit, interview, and prepare Boston teens for their summer jobs.“I think Harvard is doing an amazing job with this program, remaining committed to the community and investing in the urban youth who are part of tomorrow’s workforce and who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to these kinds of opportunities,” said Esteve.For Harvard, the local teen workers were also a big value add.“We are a small school doing important work, and we wanted students who came prepared,” said Lisa Maxwell, assistant director of employment at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Our students did great work this summer. In fact, all three managers want their students back next year. We struck gold!”last_img read more

New rents for Harvard housing

first_imgDue to incorrect information supplied to the Gazette, rental rates that appeared in the original posting reflected last year’s information. The 2013-14 rates are listed below.Harvard University Housing (HUH) manages approximately 3,000 apartments, offering a broad choice of locations, unit types, amenities, and sizes to meet the individual budgets and housing needs of eligible Harvard affiliates (full-time graduate students, faculty members, or employees). Harvard affiliates may apply for HUH online (click on “I Want to Live in HUH”).  The website also provides information about additional housing options and useful Harvard and community resources for incoming and current affiliates.In accordance with the University’s fair market rent policy, HUH charges market rents for HUH. To establish the proposed rents for 2013-14, Jayendu Patel of Economic, Financial & Statistical Consulting Services performed and endorsed the results of a regression analysis on three years of market rents for more than 2,750 apartments.  The apartments included in the analysis were either posted at the HUH Office by non-Harvard property owners or were supplied by a real estate appraisal firm or a local brokerage company in order to provide comparable private rental market listings of competing apartment complexes in Cambridge and Boston. The results of this market analysis and of other market research indicate that HUH 2013–2014 market rents will increase on average 6% across the 3,000-unit portfolio relative to last year’s rents, although within the portfolio rents on some units have been adjusted up or down based on current market conditions. As always, all revenues generated by HUH in excess of operating expenses and debt service are used to fund capital improvements and renewal of the facilities in HUH’s existing residential portfolio.The proposed new market rents noted in this article have been reviewed and endorsed by the Faculty Advisory Committee on HUH* and will take effect for the 2013-14 leasing season.Proposed 2013-14 continuing rents for Harvard affiliatesMost current HUH tenants who choose to extend their lease for another year will either receive a 4% rent increase or will be charged the new market rent for their apartment, whichever rent is lower. Heat, hot water, and electricity are included in all HUH apartment rents; gas and air conditioning are also included, where applicable.  Harvard Internet service is included in most apartment rents.HUH tenants will receive an email from HUH in March 2013 with instructions on how to submit a request to either extend or terminate their current lease.  Tenants who would like additional information or help in determining their continuing rent rates for 2013-14 may call the HUH Leasing Office at 617.495.1459.Proposed 2013-14 rents for new tenants effective for the 2013-14 leasing seasonThe annual market analysis for proposed 2013-14 rents resulted in a recommendation that average rents for affiliates across the portfolio increase 6% relative to the prior year. Because Harvard’s fair market rent policy is applied on a unit-by-unit basis, market rental rates for some unit types and locations will increase and others will decrease, based on current market conditions.10 Akron Street (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,452–$1,772; one bedroom convertibles $1,922–$2,156.18 Banks/8A Mt. Auburn: (all utilities included): one bedrooms $1,870–$2,166; two bedrooms $2,292–$2,368.Beckwith Circle (all utilities included): three bedrooms $2,211–$2,535; four bedrooms $2,606–$2,922.Botanic Gardens (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included):  one bedrooms $1,974–$2,090; two bedrooms $2,364–$2,506; three bedrooms $2,847–$3,051.472–474 Broadway (all utilities included): one bedrooms $1,862–$1,922.5 Cowperthwaite Street (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,526–$1,788; one bedrooms $1,916–$1,932; one bedroom convertibles $1,958–$2,124; two bedrooms $2,222–$2,492.27 Everett Street (all utilities included): one bedrooms $2,054–$2,294; three bedrooms $3,123–$3,384.29 Garden Street (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,444–$1,596; one bedroom convertibles $1,906–$2,112; two bedroom efficiencies $2,038–$2,318; two bedrooms $2,386–$2,448; three bedrooms $2,994–$3,231.Harvard @ Trilogy (all utilities and Harvard Internet included):  studios $1,584–$1,774; one bedroom convertibles $2,166–$2,338; two bedroom efficiencies $2,374–$2,792.Haskins Hall (all utilities included): studios $1,506–$1,630; one bedrooms $1,758–$1,956.Holden Green (all utilities included):  one bedrooms $1,592–$1,930; two bedrooms $1,882–$2,220; three bedrooms $2,544–$2,955.2 Holyoke Street (all utilities included): one bedrooms $1,826–$1,922.Kirkland Court (all utilities included): one bedrooms $1,744–$2,060; two bedrooms $2,298–$2,570; three bedrooms $3,138–$3,309.Peabody Terrace (all utilities and Harvard Internet included):  studios $1,346–$1,784; one bedrooms $1,708–$2,054; two bedrooms $1,996–$2,384; three bedrooms $2,832–$3,099.16 Prescott Street (all utilities included):  studios $1,502–$1,552; one bedrooms $1,818–$1,934.18 Prescott Street (all utilities included):  studios $1,344–$1,394; one bedrooms $1,690–$1,878.20–20A Prescott Street (all utilities included):  studios $1,346–$1,616; one bedrooms $1,848–$2,278; two bedrooms $2,406–$2,510; three bedrooms $2,997–$3,123: four bedrooms $3,338–$3,372.22–24 Prescott Street (all utilities included): studios $1,388–$1,664; one bedrooms $1,784–$1,960.85–95 Prescott Street (all utilities included):  studios $1,504–$1,708; one bedrooms $1,846–$2,144; two bedrooms $2,204.Shaler Lane: (all utilities included):  one bedrooms $1,752–$1,866; two bedrooms $2,148–$2,366.Soldiers Field Park (all utilities and Harvard Internet included):  studios $1,588–$1,744; one bedrooms $1,886–$2,086; two bedrooms $2,254–$2,686; three bedrooms $2,640–$3,333.Terry Terrace (all utilities and Harvard Internet included):  studios $1,588–$1,658; one bedrooms $1,888–$2,060; two bedrooms $2,296–$2,366.9–13A Ware Street (all utilities included):  studios $1,524–$1,614; one bedrooms $1,830–$2,038; two bedrooms $2,270–$2,284.19 Ware Street (all utilities included):  two bedrooms $2,750–$2,864; three bedrooms $3,117.One Western Avenue (all utilities and Harvard Internet included):  studios $1,620–$1,828; one bedrooms $1,836–$2,140; two bedrooms $2,210–$2,598; three bedrooms $2,841–$3,240.Wood Frame Buildings (all utilities included):  studios $1080–$1,496; one bedrooms $1,576–$2,370; two bedrooms $1,916–$3,092; three bedrooms $2,334–$3,486; four bedrooms $3,572.Written comments on the proposed rents may be sent to the Faculty Advisory Committee on HUH, c/o HUH, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue – Holyoke Center 827, Cambridge, MA 02138.  Comments to the committee may also be sent via email to [email protected]  Any written comments should be submitted to either of the above addresses by Feb. 15, 2013.The comments received will be reviewed by the Faculty Advisory Committee, which includes: David Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America in the Faculty of Divinity and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Howell Jackson, James S. Reid Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Jerold S. Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design, Graduate School of Design; Jennifer Lerner, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Daniel P. Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; John Macomber, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School; and Lisa Hogarty, Vice President, Campus Services (Chair), Harvard University.*In keeping with the University’s fair market rent policy that was established in 1983 by a faculty committee chaired by Professor Archibald Cox, the rents for HUH are set at prevailing market rates.  The original faculty committee determined that market rate pricing was the fairest method of allocating apartments and that setting rents for HUH below market rate would be a form of financial aid, which should be determined by each individual school, not via the rent setting process.  Additionally, the cost of housing should be considered when financial aid is determined.last_img read more

Panama Combats Human Trafficking

first_imgBy Roberto López Dubois / Diálogo February 03, 2017 The country of four million people is visited by more than 13 million travelers every year. A decade from now, it is likely that about 33 million people will visit Panama each year, according to statistics from Tocumen, S.A., the international airport’s management company. While thousands of travelers arrive daily at Tocumen International Airport, in 2016 almost 20,000 people illegally passed through the country’s Darién jungle on their way to North America. Human trafficking networks take advantage of this massive movement of travelers to bring young people into the country. Most are women who have been tricked and taken from their environments to be enslaved, some to work as domestic workers, and others in prostitution. In the past 48 months, Panamanian authorities dismantled 12 human trafficking networks and freed 120 kidnapped victims, according to Rodrigo García, secretary general of the national coalition of institutions that combat this scourge in Panama and president of the Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking, to Diálogo. “The alleged perpetrators were turned over to the court system for processing, and the young people received humanitarian aid to move on with their lives,” García said International networks The tentacles of these transnational crime networks reach into their victims’ countries of origin and into their neighborhoods. They know their immediate environment and they use this information to trick their victims with offers of a career in the arts in countries like Panama, where the dollar is used as legal tender. The young people enter the country as tourists, but once in Panama the traffickers confiscate their identity documents and force them to engage in prostitution to defray the cost of transportation, room and board, and other costs the traffickers incurred on their behalf and for which they are charged extremely high sums of money. Local organizations Trapped in a foreign country without legal status, the women have no other choice but to submit. The trafficking networks offer these women’s sexual services on the internet. They often meet clients in places provided by the traffickers, who charge their victims for the use of the facilities. Panamanian law facilitates the prosecution of this type of crime and the country recently began drafting legislation “which will allow for streamlining the work of people who prosecute this crime,” García explained. The country is working “on the construction of a shelter that will give the victims the support they need after their rescue, while the authorities investigate their case,” he said. International cooperation According to García, international cooperation is very important, and the regional coalition comprising the Central American countries, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, plays a big role. “Investigative units are represented in this coalition, which allows for direct communication and facilitates investigations in the different countries. This makes the combat against these multinational networks more effective,” García said. He added that some South American countries, such as Peru, are interested in forming a coalition in the southern region of the Americas to confront this scourge. Professional immigration service “An important step in the fight against immigration-related crimes is to give the same status to immigration officers as to other members of Panama’s security services,” Miguel López Cedeño, deputy director of the National Immigration Service, told Diálogo. Immigration officers now have the same training as members of the security forces and are paid the same, providing them with a stronger sense of belonging, which allows for a more efficient fight against crime. Likewise, the institution’s technological platform has been improved with information technology used in the United States, “which allows for more effective checks of travelers coming to Panama. By these means, the immigration authorities can streamline their exchange of information with other countries, which allows for a more efficient fight against crime,” López said. Immigration officers have also received training from the United States Embassy in Panama, which keeps personnel constantly updated. Panamanian authorities qualify the country’s efforts to slow transnational crime as positive. They also stressed the importance of working with their counterparts from other countries to stop criminals trying to use the region for illicit activity.last_img read more

Hawk in Jan. 1 photo was misidentified

first_imgA Cooper’s Hawk, while larger in size, has distinctly shorter outer tail feathers compared to the other feathers in its tail, presenting a rounded fan shape the bird in the photo lacks.Both species are avid bird hunters and often are spotted in winter near backyard bird feeders preying upon feeder attendees.Juveniles of both species are brown-backed and have the breast markings of the bird in the photo and a yellow eye.Adults are rusty colored on the breast and have a slate-gray back and eye color, varying from orange to fire-red being more red in birds several years old.Robert P. YunickNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The fine Jan. 1 photo of a hawk in Photos of the Week is unfortunately misidentified. It’s a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, not a Cooper’s.The two are related and similar in appearance, but differ in size, head shape and most importantly in tail shape. The bird in the photo has all its tail feathers approximately the same length, such that if the tail were folded it would present a square profile at the tip.last_img read more

Australian officials warn against travel to new coronavirus hotspots

first_imgAustralian officials tried to contain a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus on Monday, telling residents in the cluster hotspots to avoid travel outside their suburbs in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city.Victoria state of which Melbourne is the capital has recorded double digit rises in new COVID-19 infections, accounting for nearly 90% of the 126 cases detected nationally over the past week.”At the moment the recommendation is simply an advisory, a strong advisory, where what we don’t want is people to come from those areas to other parts of Victoria, or interstate,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio. “If you are coming from interstate and you have family in one of those areas, we would prefer you not to come and visit that area and potentially take the virus back.”The Victorian government has said it would reimpose restrictions on social gatherings after the surge in new cases it says has been caused by family get-togethers attended by people with mild symptoms.Officials have also criticized people who have gone shopping while awaiting COVID-19 test results.New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, told residents to avoid travelling to hotspots in neighboring Victoria as the winter school holidays approach. Topics :center_img “We’re asking people to consider their trips to Melbourne as community transmission at the moment is higher than what they would like,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.Despite the spike in cases in Victoria, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged states and territories to continue removing the bulk of social distancing restrictions by the end of July.”We have to ensure that we can run our economy, run our lives, run our communities alongside this virus,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.Australia had reported nearly 7,500 coronavirus cases and 102 deaths as of Sunday. last_img read more

Gov. Wolf: Congress and USDA Must Take Action to Help Food Security During COVID-19 Pandemic

first_imgGov. Wolf: Congress and USDA Must Take Action to Help Food Security During COVID-19 Pandemic SHARE Email Facebook Twitter April 28, 2020center_img Press Release,  Public Health Governor Tom Wolf today sent a letter to the members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation urging Congress to take legislative action to ensure access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to those who need it now and during the recovery months that will follow.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) received a similar letter requesting reconsiderations for interpretations of SNAP made by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), which denied Pennsylvania’s request to allow college students to be counted towards their household’s benefit and determined that time-limited pandemic unemployment compensation would be counted as income, potentially disqualifying households that would have otherwise qualified.“Many Pennsylvanians are now experiencing extremely challenging economic situations due to the pandemic,” Gov. Wolf wrote. “Pennsylvania needs to have every tool possible to support our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why we are calling on Congress to take swift action to ensure access to SNAP so Pennsylvanians have enough food throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate that Congress and the USDA have provided some flexibility for the SNAP program, but more must be done to help Pennsylvanians weather the difficult weeks ahead.”The Wolf Administration has submitted numerous SNAP-related waivers for Pennsylvania to the FNS. Pennsylvania has been permitted to waive certain regulatory requirements to provide flexibilities for the commonwealth’s administration of SNAP and provide emergency allotments to some current SNAP households.These waivers allow for eased access and increased benefits for families that rely on the program; however, more must be done. FNS has denied waivers that would have permitted Pennsylvania to:Allow for low-income households with a student who is attending an institution of higher education to receive additional SNAP benefits. Current SNAP rules do not allow college students to be counted when determining a household’s monthly SNAP benefit. Now that students are home, these families may not have the financial or food resources to support additional family members now at home.Make additional SNAP payments to all enrolled households. Pennsylvania previously requested authority to issue an extra payment equal to one month’s benefit to all SNAP households. FNS interpreted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to mean an extra payment that would bring households up to the maximum monthly benefit. However, this interpretation means that households currently receiving the maximum monthly benefit – 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s SNAP households – received no extra assistance. Broader issuance of emergency payments would help to further shift some demand from the emergency food system and into grocery stores, directly supporting Pennsylvania’s struggling retail and agriculture economy.The Department of Human Services (DHS) has also requested clarifications on operational adjustments necessary to administer SNAP during the pandemic. The federal government has not directed states on how to verify for reductions in income, as opposed to outright job loss, due to the COVID-19 health emergency. This guidance is necessary so applications may be properly processed.The Wolf Administration has also requested that Pennsylvania be permitted to exclude Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from the SNAP grant benefit calculation. This is not counted as income for Medicaid or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, but is for SNAP. Counting this short-term payment as a regular payment would create an administrative burden that could result in households being removed from SNAP for a short period, only to be eligible again when payments end. This would create unnecessary confusion and loss of benefits for houses that were eligible for SNAP prior to losing their employment.“SNAP is the nation’s single-most important food security program – it provides nine meals for every one meal provided by a food bank,” said DHS Secretary Miller. “As we navigate this difficult time, we must be sure that we are able to fully leverage the SNAP program to help Pennsylvanians feed themselves and their families. It is critical that Congress and the USDA recognize the potential for SNAP to help stabilize both households in need and grocery stores and retailers and support access to SNAP for those who need it most.”DHS is continuing to process applications for SNAP and encourages people and families who need assistance to apply online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Emergency applications for SNAP can be expedited in five days, and all Pennsylvanians who are in a difficult financial situation due to the economic challenges of this pandemic should apply to see if they are eligible for assistance.Pennsylvanians who need help feeding themselves or their family can also find and contact their local food bank or pantry through Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania to access food resources in their community.Visit pa.gov for a “Responding to COVID-19” guide or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.View the governor’s letter to the congressional delegation as a PDF here or on Scribd.View the governor’s letter to the USDA as a PDF here or on Scribd.View this information in Spanish.last_img read more

​Pension funds score victory with BP climate change resolution

first_imgThe resolution was driven by the £170bn (€139.8bn) “Aiming for A” investor coalition, led by charity fund manager CCLA, and including the LAPFF and church investment bodies such as the Church of England Pension Board.“Aiming for A” was launched in 2012 as a new investor initiative to engage on climate and carbon risk with the ten largest extractives and utilities companies in the FTSE 100. Its name is taken from the highest rating (A) of CDP – formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project – an NGO that rates the performance of global companies on climate and environmental matters. In the run-up to BP’s AGM, more pension funds and managers declared their support, including APG, the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), Schroders, AXA Investment Managers and, in its first public declaration of voting intentions, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global.Edward Mason, head of responsible investment at the Church Commissioners, said: “The ‘Aiming for A’ coalition’s engagement with BP has prompted an unprecedented response by an oil and gas major and its institutional investors.“BP’s commitment to increased disclosure on its climate change strategy will set a new standard and is a significant development in the relationship between institutional shareholders and the oil and gas industry on sustainability.” Paul Dickinson, chairman, CDP argued that ensuring management took account of climate issues was part of “sound financial management”.“For institutional investors this was not just a vote about climate, but about transparency, accountability and financial logic.”He added: “Today was a landmark day. Investors and companies around the world were watching. And the hard work continues.”Earlier this week the UK’s Wellcome Trust, the country’s largest charitable trust, had also pledged its support for the resolution, with director Jeremy Farrar arguing that wholesale divestment of fossil fuel companies was not necessarily the best way to help reduce carbon emissions.In a blog on the Trust’s website, Farrar argued that the institutional community’s influence was most powerful when boards heard similar messages from numerous shareholders.“Divestment would remove a strong voice that takes climate seriously from these coalitions of persuasion, with no likelihood that those to whom we sell our shares would engage the same way.”The “Aiming for A” coalition said it will continue to attend AGMs this year to ask questions of the other UK-listed companies with whom it is engaging.The board of Royal Dutch Shell has recommended that investors back a similar resolution at the company’s AGM on 19 May. BP’s shareholders have voted overwhelmingly for a resolution at its AGM calling for increased disclosure on the company’s climate change strategy.At least 98% of shareholdings were approved the resolution ‘Strategic resilience for 2035 and beyond’, which BP’s board endorsed earlier this year after it was filed by a coalition of institutions that included several of Sweden’s AP funds and the UK’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF).As a result, the company’s annual reporting will now be significantly expanded, with additional transparency around operational emissions management; asset portfolio resilience against 2035 scenarios; low carbon energy R&D and investment; executive incentivisation during the low carbon transition; and public policy activity relating to climate change.Over 50 institutions worth €209bn co-filed the shareholder resolution, including eight pension funds with assets of over $15bn (€12.3bn) such as Ilmarinen, the UK local authority schemes for Greater Manchester, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and three AP funds.last_img read more

EIOPA PEPP proposal triggers concerns about reporting burden

first_imgThe PEPP is a new type of product that can be provided by pension funds, insurers, asset managers and banks. PensionsEurope said that in certain countries, the reporting requirements set out in the proposed templates were very different from current national requirements, “thus leading to additional reporting requirements and information flows for pension funds”.It also said “a proper assessment is missing from the analysis” with regard to the potential impacts on the market uptake of PEPPs.“Certain providers might have much higher costs than others and would therefore not enter the market because of the high costs implied by the adaptation of overlapping reporting obligations among PEPP and local products through which providers may develop PEPPs,” it said.For its part, InsuranceEurope called on EIOPA to further clarify and streamline the quantity of information that would need to be reported. It said insurers were concerned that EIOPA’s outlined approach could turn out to be burdensome, costly and disproportionate, despite EIOPA indicating it had opted for “reduced” reporting rather than “detailed” reporting.Cost cap a bigger issueHaving closed last month after a four-week extension due to the coronavirus pandemic, the consultation in question is EIOPA’s second public consultation on the PEPP since the regulation introducing the product was adopted in April last year.Although the subject matter it covers is important, other issues, such as that of the fee cap on the basic PEPP, loom larger. ICI Global, the international arm of US asset management trade association the Investment Company Institute, has previously described the cap as the biggest impediment to the introduction of PEPP and said that EIOPA must exclude certain costs from it if the PEPP were to have any chance of success.According to Simone Miotto, senior policy adviser at PensionsEurope and a member of EIOPA’s PEPP experts panel, EIOPA is due to publish its technical advice on the PEPP to the Commission by mid-August and most likely its final decision will consist having an all-inclusive approach on the fee cap, with the cost of the guarantees as only exemption.He told IPE: “If so, this would be a major challenge for any kind of provider, as the PEPP regulation requires to provide personalised advice before concluding the contract and in some other occasions during the life-cycle of the product. Good quality advice comes with a cost.”To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. EIOPA’s proposal for the information to be provided to supervisors by potential pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) providers does not reflect sufficient analysis of the reporting standards’ potential impact on providers or market uptake, according to PensionsEurope.The industry association was commenting on EIOPA’s consultation paper on draft technical rules about the format of information submissions from PEPP providers to national supervisors and about the cooperation and exchange of information between national supervisors.The consultation paper set out templates for reporting information such as costs, benefit payments, switching requests, and assets. EIOPA’s stakeholder groups have said the templates EIOPA has suggested “require an extensive level of details to be provided”.Commenting on the consultation paper and annexed impact assessment, PensionsEurope said that “all in all, we believe [they] do not analyse and detail enough the impacts that these new reporting standards would have on the different eligible PEPP-providers”.last_img read more