UK government tells LGPS: ‘Minimal exceptions’ to pooling assets

first_img“Exceptions must be minimal,” she added.Clay acknowledged that long-term, illiquid assets should not (and in some cases could not) be sold, but urged LGPS funds to “bring them under management of the pool as soon as possible”.She added that some schemes had highlighted legal issues with merging or transferring assets from some vehicles, such as life funds, into authorised contractual schemes – the fund structure used by the London CIV and being considered by other pools.However, Clay emphasised that this was not a sufficient barrier to transferring the management of assets or funds to the pools.Any assets not transferred to a pool “need to be kept under review and continually justified”, she said.A number of individual LGPS funds have made investments into private equity projects or funds, or assets focused on their local communities.For example, in February the £2bn (€2.2bn) Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund bought a 20% stake in boutique manager Gresham House to help it establish a UK-focused investment fund.The pension scheme has provisionally agreed to join LPP but has yet to invest significantly in any pooled funds launched by the partnership so far. In a draft version of Berkshire’s annual report for 2016-17, the fund said it would be “uneconomic” to pool asset classes such as the Gresham House investments due to transfer costs and “the inequality created by sharing future returns”.Berkshire said it would consider future investment opportunities as they became available, focusing initially on liquid asset classes such as equities. UK public sector funds must justify any assets they hold outside of new pools once the vehicles are up and running, according to the government department overseeing the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).Teresa Clay, head of local government pensions at the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), said individual schemes should look to move any assets – regardless of liquidity – into the pools “as soon as possible”.LGPS funds must begin transitioning assets to the new pools from April next year. Eight pools have been formed but so far only two are accepting assets: the Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) and the London CIV.Speaking at the annual Local Government Pension Investment Forum in London, Clay said all new investments made by LGPS funds should be made through an asset pool “unless there is a clear case that can be made” for investing through a different route.last_img read more

Angels counting on two-strike approach to maintain offense

The Angels will face another Mariners right-hander on Opening Day, Felix Hernandez. Will the middle of the Angels’ lineup look the same come April 6?“There is a lot of flexibility,” Scioscia said, playing his cards typically close to his vest.While short on specifics, Scioscia had a general suggestion for his middle-of-the-order hitters coming into camp: Put the ball in play more with two strikes.The Angels struck out 40.7 percent of the time on two-strike counts last year. Only four American League teams were worse in that regard. Scioscia elevated the club’s two-strike approach to a point of emphasis coming into camp, as he has in the past with turning double plays and making relay throws to the infield. “If you talk about the whole situational package, it’s been re-emphasized this year because we think that the talent we have really needs to be in tune with that,” Scioscia said. “Last year we really had a great year in the batter’s box. This year we intend to have a great offensive year combining the situational hitting component with the talent that we have.”In other words, Hamilton was a slugger. Joyce, Freese and Aybar — who hit 26 home runs last year combined — are not.In order to maintain the offensive production that carried the Angels to 98 wins last year, there will need to be an additional degree of creativity. Runners will be moving with two strikes. The ball needs to be put in play. This is nothing new for the Angels, of course. It’s an organizational tenet. “From the minors to the bigs, (the two-strike approach) is something that was emphasized throughout my career,” Efren Navarro said. “I really like to work the counts. A lot of my at-bats are 3-2. It doesn’t matter what count I’m in. Being 0-2, the main focus for me is staying up the middle and not trying to do too much. It’s just emphasized for my part.”Navarro only struck out on 29.0 percent of his two-strike counts last year. Only Aybar (24.8 percent) and Albert Pujols (23.4) had a lower rate.Cron led Angels regulars with a .231 batting average with two strikes last year; he struck out 45.5 percent of the time. That’s still high, but less than Hamilton (54.5).Two players who did not come up in the Angels organization — Joyce (40.7 strikeout percentage) and Freese (44.4) — struggled mightily to put the ball in play with two strikes in 2014.“The two-strike approach is very tricky,” Joyce said. “Sometimes when you try to change things, you can get yourself into more trouble.”Clearly the Angels believe that putting the ball in play with two strikes is teachable, and Joyce has seen it done before. He pointed to James Loney, the former Dodgers first baseman who played with Joyce in Tampa Bay last year. Loney had a .240 batting average with two strikes.It’s an easily overlooked statistic, but one the Angels will be looking at closely in 2015.“I’m just trying to make solid contact and take what he gives me. That’s it,” Joyce said. “Stay in the strike zone and take what they give you. It’s a lot easier said than done. You’re not always going to be successful.”AlsoThe Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played Monday for the first time since four batters were hit by pitches, and four were ejected, during a Cactus League game March 23. “I think (the umpires) were a little concerned about this game,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. Mattingly and Chip Hale had an extended meeting at home plate with the umpire crew while exchanging lineup cards. … Two Diamondbacks batters, Tuffy Gosewich and Yasmany Tomas, were hit by pitches. … More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from the 30 MLB Clubs pledged a record donation of $2,643,195 to the Baseball Assistance Team charity during BAT’s spring fundraising tour. … The Dodgers committed more money collectively than any National League team. The Dodgers’ payroll, in excess of $250 million, is the highest in baseball history. TEMPE, Ariz. >> The Angels scored more runs than any major league team in 2014. That’s one reason why general manager Jerry Dipoto felt comfortable trading second baseman Howie Kendrick, who finished the year as the team’s cleanup hitter, to the Dodgers for pitcher Andrew Heaney.But the trade came with a cost. One of the Angels’ top challenges in spring training was to find an adequate middle-of-the-order replacement for Kendrick and outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose future is clouded by a shoulder injury and possible drug suspension.Monday marked seven days until the regular season begins. In a sense, the Angels are no closer to replacing Kendrick and Hamilton’s pop than they were when spring training began. Matt Joyce, David Freese, Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron occupied the fourth through seventh spots in the batting order Monday against Seattle Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker — not unlike the lineups Mike Scioscia has written since Cactus League play began. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error read more

Three takeaways from Lakers star LeBron James’ return

first_img NBA All-Star 2019: Jazz president, coach blast selection process after Rudy Gobert left off roster Here are three takeaways from James’ return.He is not back to 100 percentNo one who watched James on Thursday would think the 34-year-old was back to 100 percent after missing 17 games with a groin injury. Related News LeBron loves spacing and also creates itJames loves to play with shooters for a couple of reasons. For one, good 3-point shooting teams have a leg up in today’s NBA, and two, when shooters space the floor, there is more room on the inside for James to get to the basket.But, while James loves to play on teams with spacing, he also creates it on his own. His return game was a perfect example. James always demands a bigger defender and can drag that defender away from the basket simply with his presence.In doing that, the paint is easier to exploit and there will almost always be an extra defender with an eye on James. The defense completely changes because he’s on the court. LeBron James made his triumphant return Thursday against the Clippers as the Lakers defeated their city rival 123-120 in overtime at the Staples Center.James scored 24 points while adding 14 rebounds and nine assists in the win. First of all, James started off the game passing up shots rather than attacking the rim. Throughout the first half he had open looks and open lanes and never really attacked.James clearly wasn’t confident in his legs as he never really drove to the basket throughout the first 24 minutes of play. That is understandable. This type of injury takes time to completely heal and James clearly isn’t his old self yet.Best thing for Brandon Ingram?James getting hurt may have been a good thing for the Lakers. While that might be a little bit cliche, it is undeniably true for Brandon Ingram.In the five games before James’ return, Ingram averaged 23.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists. The 23.2-point average was the best over a five-game stretch in his career and his 16-for-20 shooting night in a loss to the 76ers on Tuesday was his best performance of the season.The Lakers will be better if Ingram can create opportunities on his own and he is looking more than confident enough to get into the lane and score, while drawing fouls in the process. He had 19 points, four rebounds and four assists in the game Thursday.last_img read more