The use of pension protection schemes (PPS) within calculations for the holistic balance sheet (HBS) has caused disagreements among Europe’s pension funds.A consultation from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) on the HBS closed last week, with respondents generally rejecting the idea.However, in its consultation, EIOPA raised the debate over whether pension protection schemes should form part of the balancing items for potential solvency capital requirements – minimum funding levels of risk management tools in four of the proposed six models.The UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) said, in principle, a PPS could be considered as impacting on sponsor support and thus used as a balancing item for the HBS. However, it said, in its case, it should not be used if the HBS is used for solvency or funding purposes.“[The PPF] steps in to compensate members when their pension schemes have insufficient funds to pay the pensions promised following a sponsor’s insolvency,” the fund said.“The trustees should not be running the scheme finances taking into account any compensation payable following the scheme’s disappearance, and to include the PPF on the balance sheet would run the risk trustees and employers came to target PPF levels of compensation.”The scheme also said that, where a PPS was used as a balancing item, a separate minimum level of funding with financial assets or sponsor support should be required.“We would be concerned the incentive for trustees and sponsors to properly fund their pension scheme would be reduced if there were no minimum funding requirement and the scheme’s HBS always balanced,” it added.However, the German pension fund association (aba) and the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) disagreed with the PPF over additional minimum-funding requirements.The aba said a PPS should be included as a balancing item, as it could be seen as collective sponsor support.“In the case of a strong sponsor or a sponsor backed by a pension protection scheme, the pension promise is safeguarded,” it said. “That is the rationale for treating these security mechanisms as balancing items. Thus, an additional separate minimum level of funding with financial assets should not be required.”Aon Hewitt, which took views from consultants across its European offices, said it was unconvinced a PPS should be used as a balancing item at all, unless it covered 100% of benefits.“To do so would create the possibility pension schemes would be under-funded in the event of employer insolvency, and this would then put pressure on the financing of the pension protection scheme itself,” Aon Hewitt said.Towers Watson’s UK office responded by siding with the PPF, but added that it should not come within EIOPA’s remit.“The protection of the PPS will require a separate minimum funding level based on financial assets/sponsor support to protect the viability of the PPS,” it said.“However, this is something that is best determined by the relevant individual member state and its national competent authority.”Consultation respondents also criticised EIOPA over conflicting views in its consultation and called for delays until all key factors were decided by the Authority.
Published on September 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: email@example.com | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments I won’t let Syracuse get away with this one. It wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be right.To sit here and say the Orange deserved that season-opening win Thursday night against Wake Forest simply isn’t true.Would you disagree?Well, consider this: The team that racked up 406 yards of offense (or 107 more than its opponent), ran 26 more offensive plays and forced six three-and-outs in the first half alone left the Carrier Dome 0-1.That team which was forced to finish the game without its starting quarterback looked up at the scoreboard in disbelief as it read Syracuse 36, Wake Forest 29. SU was nothing but lucky to steal that win away from the Demon Deacons on a night when the visitors were far and away the better side.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Honestly, I do not know,’ Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock said of the fourth quarter. ‘All I know is there was a lot of ‘ifs,’ ‘ands,’ and ‘buts,’ and ‘shouldas,’ ‘couldas,’ ‘wouldas’ that were not to our advantage late in the game.’In Whitlock’s list, the ‘ifs’ and the ‘wouldas’ are the most relevant. If starting quarterback Tanner Price hadn’t gotten hurt, Wake Forest woulda won.Plain and simple.Price crumpled to the Carrier Dome turf after Orange defensive end Chandler Jones rolled up onto his knees, forcing redshirt junior Ted Stachitas into duty.The fact that Stachitas is most famous for being the quarterback to succeed Tim Tebow at Nease High School in Florida puts the magnitude of the change into context.When Price left the game on his team’s opening drive of the fourth quarter, everything changed.The previously unstoppable Wake Forest offense sputtered with Stachitas under center. His four possessions at quarterback resulted in a punt, an interception, the end of regulation and a turnover on downs to end the game in overtime. Sixteen total plays with 29 net yards and zero points on the scoreboard.‘I think it was a big momentum shift, it was hard to get the momentum to slow down at all,’ Whitlock said of the injury to Price. ‘I think it was a big part of the game.’Prior to the injury, Price abused the Syracuse defense to the tune of 289 yards and three touchdowns through three quarters and three minutes. He and wide receiver Chris Givens toyed with the Orange secondary, hooking up six times for 162 yards and two scores.The shortest reception was 13 yards, and every single one resulted in a first down or touchdown for the Demon Deacons. Givens finished the game with 170 receiving yards — he later caught an eight-yard pass from Stachitas — good enough for fifth-highest total in the country among wide receivers for Week One.Both of his touchdowns exposed flaws in the Orange defense. The first — a 60-yard bomb in which he beat the double coverage of Phillip Thomas and Keon Lyn. The second — a quick pass out to the left sideline that he took 22 yards to the end zone after running right by SU cornerback Kevyn Scott.‘I think the coaches did a great job preparing me for this game with film study, and I was really comfortable with what we were doing offensively,’ Price said.It showed as he picked apart a defense that ranked No. 7 in the country a season ago.But Stachitas was visibly uncomfortable. As the momentum began to swing in SU’s favor, he looked rushed in the pocket. He forced his second pass to Givens, and it was picked off.On the final play of the game, he flung a desperation heave toward Givens in the back right corner of the end zone, but Scott’s provided good coverage and Givens couldn’t haul it in, giving Syracuse the win.SU head coach Doug Marrone will tell you the team ‘accomplished a lot in this game.’ He said as much in his postgame press conference.It was the first time the Orange won back-to-back season openers since the 1999 and 2000 seasons. And the first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 2003.Yet Marrone also points out how easily the game could have gone the other way.‘We didn’t make plays early in the game, and we were very fortunate to win that game,’ he said.If Price stays in, the Demon Deacons probably keep rolling, and the SU head coach is suddenly forced to explain why his team can’t win at home for a second consecutive year.But it didn’t happen like that. Somehow, Syracuse won when it shouldn’t have.I’m left wondering just how much a team can accomplish in a game it was lucky to winMichael Cohen is the sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13. Facebook Twitter Google+