Progress pension fund attributes half of annual return to risk hedge

first_imgProgress, the €5.8bn Dutch pension fund of food and cosmetics giant Unilever, has attributed its 15.4% return for 2014 chiefly to its interest and inflation hedges. Commenting on its preliminary figures, it said its combined hedges returned 7.6% over the period, while its return on investments came to 7.8%. Progress employed a dynamic interest and inflation cover, which increased or decreased in line with the pension fund’s coverage ratio. In 2013, the hedge, through interest and inflation swaps, was 69%. Progress said almost all investment classes performed well, particularly private equity and real estate, which returned 28.2% and 18.9%, respectively.The scheme’s fixed income and equity holdings also produced double-digit returns, of 11.7% and 15.4%, respectively.The only exception was the 6% commodities allocation, which produced a loss of 34.8%.The pension fund noted that it outperformed its benchmark by 1.3 percentage points for the second consecutive year.Progress, which used to provide defined benefit arrangements, was closed on 1 April this year.Since this date, Unilever’s Dutch workers have accrued pension rights in a new collective defined contribution scheme called Forward.Both pension funds have outsourced their asset management to Univest Company, Unilever’s global asset manager and provider for the company’s pension funds in the UK and the US.last_img read more

No review needed for Fox Sports 1 ratings home run

first_imgSometimes internal memos get leaked. Or they get posted for everyone to share.Nothing clandestine about how Fox Sports made sure an in-house missive from FS1 chief Jamie Horowitz and right-hand man John Entz got up on its “Press Pass” website Tuesday, based on how the “team” was lauded for having Oct. 10-16 rank as the highest-rated and most-watched week in the history of the channel that was launched three years ago.It was also the first time FS1 had eclipsed ESPN in weekly primetime and total-day audience.There was, of course, all the hopes and dreams of Chicago Cubs fans behind it. The “memo” came a day after a Monday press release touting the Dodgers’ 1-0 win over the Cubs in NLCS Game 2 from Wrigley Field as attracting 7.3 million viewers, according to overnight figures, which set an undisputed audience record for the channel still trying to promote the heck out of the Bayless-Sharpe “Undisputed” show. That game had a 10.8 rating in L.A., and 23.9 in Chicago.Without a release issued since then, we can report the FS1 coverage of Game 3 on Tuesday from Dodger Stadium — the Dodgers’ 6-0 win — had a 4.7 rating and averaged 6.5 million viewers (or 6.85 million when factoring in online streaming and Fox Deportes) to make it the second-most watched telecast in FS1 history. The L.A. market was even better than Game 2 — an 11.7 mark, best for FS1 in its home city.However, with the third presidental debate going up against NLCS Game 4 on Wednesday, the Cubs’ 10-2 win attracted 5.813 million viewers and had a 4.1 rating and seven share. L.A. posted just a 7.8 rating/13 share while Chicago pulled a 21.2/32, which doesn’t even take into account those thousands watching in a local bar.The Thursday night Game 5 will be a test as well for the Chicago market, as it goes up against the Bears-Packers NFL game on the NFL Network and the CBS affiliates.• So why did the Fox Sports 1 pre- and postgame show go on the road to Wrigley Field for Games 1 and 2 last week, but was a no-show at Dodger Stadium for Games 3, 4 and 5? The crew featuring Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas stayed in the friendly confines of the L.A. studio on Pico because it made more sense logistically and financially, according to a Fox source, even if it would have made for a better visual having the guys planted in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and challenging Cubs and Dodgers fans to commingle peacefully.NFL• How Week 7 of the NFL shakes out for the L.A. market — and why Channel 2 will have three games Sunday because of it. Dan Fouts chimes in as well on the Rams’ London excursion.College football• Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Shannon Spake have UCLA’s 1 p.m. Rose Bowl contest against Utah on Fox (KTTV-Channel 11). More on the rest of Week 8 in the L.A. TV market (with USC taking a bye week) at this link.WNBA• Ryan Ruocco, Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe will be the ESPN2 crew calling the deciding Game 5 of the WNBA Finals between the Sparks and Lynx from Minneapolis at 5 p.m. Thursday.• Thanks again to Rowe for giving us more insight into her recent cancer battle and how working WNBA games has contributed to her recovery process. Rowe goes from this game to covering Arkansas at Auburn on Saturday.Soccer• The Galaxy’s regular-season finale against FC Dallas at the StubHub Center (Sunday, 1 p.m., FS1, with John Strong, Brad Friedel and Julie Stewart-Binks) is an exercise in getting ready for the start of next week’s playoffs — and the postseason is hardly new for the franchise that has qualified in 18 of their 21 seasons, for an 86 percent rate. Dallas, meanwhile, is trying to secure the No. 1 spot in the West as well as capture the Supporters Shield.Most interesting to Galaxy fans, who already know the team is locked into the third spot in the Western Conference and will have a home single-elimination game, is who they will play either Wednesday or Thursday next week.That feeds into how ESPN will cover “Decision Day” as they’re calling it. All 10 league matches are played at the same time Sunday, and ESPN has Seattle-Real Salt Lake (Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman), while ESPN2 will do a “whiparound” coverage of all games in progress with Max Bretos, Alejandro Moreno and Brian Dunseth also starting at 1 p.m.Also• Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon hit the 15-year mark for ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption” on Monday. Their reward: More years of doing this. Said Kornheiser: “The fact that ESPN would give me yet another extension at my age indicates one of two things: One, they have never actually seen me on television. Two, they feel they are saving money on health insurance because they think I will have all my expenses covered by Medicare. Either way I am thrilled to be doing PTI with Wilbon and scaring the children.”• Bottoms up to FS1’s Katie Nolan for her performance on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History,” trying to explain how President Teddy Roosevelt helped progress the sport of football. This lesson might have been punctuated by interesting the fact that Roosevelt’s actions led to the creation of the NCAA governing board (which did not mandate helmets until 1939), but, hey, why ruin a sloppy story?At least Nolan ended her rather rudimentary lecture while under the influence to host Derek Waters and all the young male viewers who have fantasized what it would be like to be in a room where she might be tipsy and loose-lipped: “There was a national standard for what football was … and it was great … and it was all great because of Teddy Roosevelt … and like, nobody knows that. They just think, ‘Teddy Roosevelt, oh, President’ or ‘Teddy Roosevelt, oh, you mean Franklin?’ because we’re young and dumb and nobody reads a goddamn book anymore.”Or, they just get learned from “Drunk History.”More media notes going into the weekend at www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth. The fulcrum of the Cubs-Giants NLDS Game 4 — combined with the centrifugal force of the Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Games 1 and 2 contests that could have easily been on Fox’s over-the-air channel but were instead relegated to an outlet trying to up its saturation from just seven of every 10 TV homes (still behind ESPN and ESPN2, pretty even with ESPNEWS and ESPNU and a bit more than NFL Network, MLB Network and WGN) — made this a simple physics equation.Mass appeal is the byproduct of energy and force-fed programming.Valuable live games like MLB playoffs have a buzz factor that permeates other parts of the day and night programming. Or, in realistic terms, there are examples for those who, once they find FS1 on the menu for a Dodgers game, they just keep it there all day and let it keep running for the fear they’ll miss the next contest.(Also, for what it’s worth, the memo cites having “our L.A. neighbors at USC” on the channel in helping the cause. But the last Trojans’ game on FS1 was Sept. 23. Games subsequently against ASU, Colorado and Arizona were on national Fox, Pac-12 Network and again national Fox. If the reference was to UCLA, well, the Bruins have yet to be on FS1).After weaving in more data that had to do with other chat shows on the channel surrounding the MLB games, Horowitz urged the staff to join them at the Fox Lot 101 multipurpose room to celebrate with “bagels, donuts and coffee!” Those bastards know how to party. Pass the lox, for cryin’ out loud.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Smart phones could be used to detect earthquakes

first_imgThe cellphone in your pocket could soon save you from an earthquake. Researchers have shown that it is possible to use GPS data from smart phones to detect tremors, potentially providing an early warning system to those who have not yet been hit.”What’s really nice about this work is they are using sensors that people carry around anyway,” says geophysicist Kristine Larson of the University of Colorado, Boulder. “It could be very, very useful.”In the moments before an earthquake, a few extra seconds can mean the difference between life and death. With a little bit of warning, people can take shelter, nuclear power plants can take last-minute precautions, and natural gas utilities can shut down pipelines. Japan has an early warning system that relies on more than 1000 seismometers throughout the country, which saved lives during the magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake that hit in 2011. A similar system exists in Mexico, and another is under study in California. But such systems are expensive and time-consuming to install and maintain, making cellphones an attractive alternative, especially for earthquake-prone countries in the developing world.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Previous studies of crowdsourcing earthquake early warning systems have relied on phones’ accelerometers, which estimate the phone’s movement, rather than GPS tracking, which locates the absolute position of the phone using satellites. Scientific GPS stations have already been used to detect earthquakes, but the new study found that even consumer devices with GPS could be useful for crowdsourcing warnings. And as more and more of our devices integrate GPS navigation, including vehicles, increasing amounts of data could boost the sensitivity of such efforts.To understand whether smart phones and other consumer devices could detect quakes with GPS at all, researchers tested the sensitivity of such devices. Cell phones typically use a coarser method of positioning than do the most sensitive scientific instruments, which take advantage of more information encoded in the GPS signal. The scientists studied the accuracy of cellphone GPS by shaking a phone and comparing its recorded displacements with a more accurate scientific device. And by monitoring the phone for movement while holding it stationary, they measured the chance for false alarms. The researchers determined that consumer GPS devices could detect earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above, allowing possible warnings for people located away from the epicenter of the most destructive quakes, they report today in Science Advances.Next, the researchers tested the concept using a computer simulation of a magnitude-7 earthquake near Oakland, California, on the Hayward fault, a likely spot for future tremors that runs through the San Francisco Bay Area. By simulating the typical response of cellphones to shaking, they estimated the signals in cellphones near the epicenter. In the researchers’ system, a quake “triggers” a phone if it and four neighboring devices all record simultaneous movements greater than 5 centimeters. To weed out coincidences, the system only issues an alert if more than 100 devices see such triggers. Assuming data from 0.2% of the population—less than 5000 people—the system was able to detect the simulated earthquake within 5 seconds, a speed that would have allowed a few seconds of warning before the strongest shaking began in San Francisco and 10 seconds before it began in San Jose, providing time for children to get under their desks and for trains to put on the breaks.The researchers then tested their system with real data from the Tohoku quake. The team used an array of 462 GPS stations spread across Japan to approximate the data that would come from cellphones. Although these scientific instruments are more precise than cellphones, they record lower quality data as well, which is similar to data from consumer devices. In this scenario, the researchers set the bar for detection so that the chances of a false alarm would be about one in 2 million. The system would have detected the earthquake 77 seconds after it began, which would have allowed a warning of about 10 seconds before the earthquake reached Tokyo. What’s more, it would have allowed several minutes’ warning before the accompanying tsunami. Although scientific detection systems might provide even faster warnings, these systems might be useful in places without warning systems.As technology advances and more devices integrate GPS tracking, the system will become more useful, says study author Benjamin Brooks, an earthquake scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. “It’s not really just about smart phones, it’s about all sorts of Internet-connected devices that have positioning associated with them. … We think the numbers are going to be so large that you could be very liberal with your criteria for using a specific device.” Detection with cellphones is difficult because users are constantly moving them around, but with enough data, the system could rely on devices that weren’t in motion before the quake, improving warning capabilities.However, computational earthquake seismologist Jesse Lawrence of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, points out a few challenges to the approach. Using GPS drains phone batteries, so data collection might need to be restricted to times when phones are recharging, meaning that few phones will be operating during the day. And the software has to deal with phones behaving unpredictably during an earthquake, such as falling from a table onto the floor. Because of that, Lawrence says, “the way that they’ve done the simulations, I would argue, doesn’t really match real world.” But he is optimistic about the possibilities for this technology in the future. “It’s great research, and this is the first step.”last_img read more