It also manages a separate CHF4bn portfolio for seven closed pension funds with no active members.In this portfolio, the share of domestic bonds stood at 36% – twice as high as in the larger portfolio.A 2.9% return on domestic bonds helped the performance reach a positive 2.1% for 2015 for the retiree portfolio.This return was further aided by a large exposure to domestic real estate, which, at 20%, was almost three times that of the open portfolio.According to Publica, domestic real estate was the best-performing asset class in 2015 at 6.3%.The pension fund noted that, despite last year’s loss, it has still outperformed its benchmarks, Pictet’s BVG indices, by 20bps between 2000 and 2015, with a 2.9% average return.Meanwhile, Swiss companies saw their pension funding decline over the last year as discount rates fell and returns were only just positive, according to the quarterly Willis Towers Watson Swiss Pension Finance Watch.Year on year, funding levels came down from 96.5% to 94.8% after an even lower drop at the end of September to 92.4%.According to Willis Towers Watson, the fact the discount rate remained steady in the last quarter helped prevent a further decline in the funding level.This development was aided by the fact that the overall average return in Swiss company pension funds stood at approximately 1% at year-end.The consultancy’s calculations are based on the returns of Pictet’s BVG-40 pension index with a 40% equity exposure.Other Pictet BVG indices with different underlying asset allocations estimated a much lower return for 2015 at less than 0.5%. Publica, Switzerland’s largest public pension fund, has reported a 2.5% loss on its open portfolio for 2015.In a statement, it cited the negative impact of a 14% exposure to emerging market debt and equities, with director Dieter Stohler also pointing out that emerging market currencies devalued by approximately 11% against the Swiss franc over the period.He said the fund’s decision, however, to hedge developed-markets fully had boosted Publica’s overall return by 130 basis points.Publica manages the open portfolio – by far the largest component of the scheme, with more than CHF32bn (€26bn) in assets – on behalf of 14 other pension funds, including its own.
Mountains of dirt, unattended for weeks, have again raised concern about a potential sanitation crisis that looms over the nation’s largest food market of Red-light, just outside Monrovia.The Red-light Market plays host to ninety percent of Monrovia’s food and other critical needs from rural Liberia, though the market and its surroundings could never be mistaken for anything that Mary Broh might be associated with.Mr. Davidson B. Mulbah, 44, a prominent resident of Paynesville City, in which the Red-light Market is located, told the Daily Observer Friday that the garbage crisis at Red-light can only be tackled by a radical approach.He added that residents and business people of Red-light Market have suffered to long over the years, from the unbearable stench of rotten garbage, which are dumped right on the main route leading into Liberia’s hinterland.Resident Mulbah also pointed out that the Red-light Market is one of the entrances to the Monrovia, which is Liberia’s capital.“The scene of the rotten garbage is indeed unpleasant and the endless odors highly unacceptable by all standards,” John Belleh, a trader at the Red-light Market, stated.“I personally want to stop speaking to the media. Why? Because, we have spoken and complained through several media outlets and nothing has happened,” trader Belleh bellowed out at our reporter, who had gone out to speak with those doing business in the squalor.He, however, suggested that the current strategies being used by sanitation companies must be revisited and a better crafted one that would swiftly enhance the collection and disposal of trash from the garbage ridden market, be put into place.“In order to ensure a better and healthy environment,” Mr. Belleh noted, “stakeholders in the sanitation sector must graduate from the cosmetic solution to a more robust one. That is the only way, this thing of garbage crisis will be solved.”He further argued that ad-hoc solutions to the sanitation crisis at the Red-light Market are no longer realistic and therefore, efforts should be aimed at sustainable strategies.“We cannot afford and tolerate our food-stuffs being contaminated by both water and air-borne diseases simply due to poor urban sanitation management at the Red-light Market in Paynesville,” trader Belleh stressed.He also underscored the need for Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other sanitation stakeholders to translate their various conferences’ documents into practical working instruments that would address current challenges in that sector.Mr. Belleh said that mosquitoes, rats, cockroaches and other poisonous animals such as snakes and scorpions are common place in the heart and outskirt of the Red-light Market in Paynesville.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)