Sweden’s AI Pension fund for architects and engineers made an overall loss last year as it increased technical provisions, despite lifting investment returns to 13.2% from 8.2%.In its 2014 annual report, the pension fund — previously known as Arkitekternas Pensionkassa — reported an annual loss of SEK54m (€5.8m), down from a profit of SEK1bn the year before.The fund said: “First and foremost, the result was affected by the increase in technical provisions, but also by a good return on capital.”Fixed-income investments returned 8.8% over the year, up from the loss suffered in 2013 of 1.9%, while equities produced a 21.7% return, down from 27.9% the year before. Property generated 15.6%, up from 9.1% and hedge funds produced 1.5%, down from the previous year’s 6.0%, according to the annual report.Premium income increased by 10% to SEK237m from SEK216m.Total assets grew to SEK6.24bn at the end of 2014 from SEK5.54bn, the published data showed.AI Pension said its financial position remained strong, even though the solvency ratio had fallen as a result of the continuing decrease in interest rates to 141% at the end of 2014, from 152% a year before.The funding level for defined benefit plans was unchanged at 131% while funding for defined contribution products had increased to 111% from 106%, it said.The pension fund explained that its council had decided on a new funding policy during the year for both AI ITP and AI Life pensions, with the change prompted by the new interest rate curve to calculate technical provisions.It decided the new curve would be used for both pension types.For AI ITP, the normal funding level was increased to 130% from 120%, with the calculation changing from one based on a fixed interest rate assumption of 3% to floating interest rates.This meant it was now necessary to have a higher level of normal funding as well as a broader funding range, the pension fund said.Within AI Life, the normal funding level was revised down to 105% from 110%, with the the funding range unchanged at 100-115%, it said.AI Pension in February announced its intention to merge with PP Pension, the pension fund for the press and media, by early next year, but was later forced to abandon the proposal due to time constraints.
Dan Duquette did as well as you could reasonably expect in his introductory press conference after the public-relations disaster that was the Orioles’ general manager search over the last few weeks.The new vice president of baseball operations — a Massachusetts native — recalled his days of imitating Brooks Robinson and the 1966 Orioles in his backyard as a child. In fact, the Hall of Fame third baseman was the first major league player Duquette met many years ago during a trip to Fenway Park.In laying out his vision for returning the Orioles to the glory days, he referenced the philosophy of Harry Dalton, who served as general manager during Baltimore’s most prosperous time from 1966 through 1971.“Aggressive scouting will build you a winning ball club; aggressive international scouting, I believe, will build you a championship ball club. You weave that in with a sound player development operation.”It sounded heartwarming — even a little romantic — before the familiar warning signals that we’ve heard time and time again from others who’ve tried and failed in turning around an organization stuck in baseball purgatory for the last 14 years.Duquette stopped short of repeating the infamous “grow the arms, buy the bats” mantra of former front office head Andy MacPhail, but the former Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox general manager made it clear the development of pitching would remain the organization’s top priority. It’s a fair and prudent strategy, but much like his predecessor, Duquette couldn’t resist referencing the “behemoths” of the American League East in what’s become a tired excuse for those wanting reasons to believe in the Orioles again.Denouncing the inflated payrolls of your divisional opponents might be tolerable if you were being left at the altar every season with 85 to 90 wins, but it smells of excuse-making when you’re not even allowed in the church after failing to approach the 80-win mark in seven years.But that critique aside, Duquette’s stated commitment to improve scouting and player development is a much-needed strategy for an organization poor in both areas. Despite what many will tell you, finding and developing your own talent and spending money at the major league level do not have to be mutually exclusive. The latter, of course, is dependent on majority owner Peter Angelos, which won’t instill much faith in anyone with ties to the Orioles.“When you don’t have the resources that the top two clubs have, you have to work harder and you have to work smarter,” Duquette said. “You have to do a better job in scouting and you have to do a better job in player development. If you can build up the inventory of your farm system and you’ve got core players coming to your major league team, you’ve got something to talk about. The team that has the best farm system is the team that competes, year in and year out.”Working harder and smarter than the competition sounds great, but how much can the organization really improve with holdovers such as John and Dave Stockstill entrenched in the front office with no track record to support it?And that’s overlooking the fact that Duquette hasn’t worked in a major league front office in nearly a decade. Though claiming he’s maintained contacts throughout the game, how “wired in” will he be to the everyday happenings of baseball circa 2011?With the ever-increasing dependence on statistically-based talent evaluation — more commonly referred to as sabermetrics — how far has the Orioles’ head man fallen behind during his absence from Major League Baseball since 2002?“Your [former] manager here, Earl Weaver, knew the value of on-base percentage way ahead of the sabermetricians,” said Duquette, who added that Weaver’s book on baseball strategy will be required reading throughout the organization. “In fact, I would call that the groundwork for today’s stats. [Weaver] knew the value of scoring a run. He knew the value of how precious each out is, and he was able to impart that on his ball club.”For Duquette, there’s little time to get acclimated to his new surroundings as he must balance finding a scouting director and a minor league pitching instructor with a thin free-agent market that opened for business last week. It’s not exactly an easy task for a man who’s just now moving into his office at the Warehouse.Continue >>>
Facebook370Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Adopt-A-PetMeet Rory! He is lovely, 17-pound, 7 year-old Dachshund in search of a loving forever home where he can be part of the action! Rory simply adores humans, and is a sweet mature gentleman! He does well on a leash and knows his commands for “sit” and “wait.” When you visit Rory he will give you adoring glances and bring you a toy! Rory absolutely loves to play with toys! He will need a grain-free diet to keep him healthy and monthly flea treatments for an allergic reaction to fleas. He has a sincere desire to find his people, and does well with other dogs and children. Rory is a terrific companion and family dog!If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment to meet Rory in person, please contact the adoption team at Shelton Adopt-a-Pet. Emails are the preferred method of communication.Adopt-A-Pet has many great dogs and always need volunteers. To see all our current dogs, visit the Adopt-A-Pet website, our Facebook page or at the shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton. For more information, email [email protected] or call 360-432-3091.Hours of Operation: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
By John BurtonThe Rohallion Estate in Rumson is for sale and neighbors fear the property could be bought and subdivided for development.RUMSON — A group of area residents are hoping they can muster enough support to preserve a borough property that they believe has historical significance.The group, who met for the first time on Thursday, July 26, has begun hashing out ideas to save the Rohallion Estate, 45 Bellevue Ave., a sprawling 5-acre property with numerous large specimen trees and an expansive multistory home nestled in the center.The 10 members of the group walked through the palatial home and grounds. “Rumson starts losing its estates, it starts losing its validity,” fears Bob Baxter, a North Rohallion Drive resident and a member of the group.“I grew up here,” around the estate, said Nick McCabe, another area resident. “And I can’t tell you how beautiful it was.”McCabe’s parents bought their property, about 3 acres on North Rohallion, in the 1950s from the then-owners of estate.The fear for some is that the 5-acre tract will eventually be purchased and subdivided for development, possibly putting at risk the home, designed by the iconic late 19th and early 20th century architect Stanford White, who was responsible for the original Madison Square Garden.“We’re looking at a little piece of our heritage disappearing,” Baxter said.The Rohallion Estate on Bellevue Avenue in Rumson.The group is only in its infancy, but participants are discussing the possibility of raising the money needed to purchase the property, or if the property can be purchased by local or Monmouth County government to use for something appropriate. “You could do so much that wouldn’t be invasive,” McCabe said.“You could look at it as a park,” Baxter suggested.Another possibility would be to find a private buyer to consider using the location for a business that would work in the existing residential neighborhood, such as a bed-and-breakfast or even a catering facility.Edward Dean Adams commissioned White to design a country home in 1887, with the architect using a Normandy chateaux as his model, according to a history written by Derrill W. Hart.Khaled Mostafa is the current owner, according to borough tax rolls. It has been on the market for the last couple of years, said Pauline Poyner, with Coldwell Banker real estate agency.Borough tax records indicate it is assessed for $3,250,000, and the real estate listing puts the selling price at about $4.5 million, down from the original price of just under $5 million.Mayor John Ekdahl said borough officials “actually gave some thought to (purchasing) it before we built the new municipal building,” on East River Road a few years ago.The estate sits on a sprawling 5-acre property with numerous large specimen trees.However, when officials looked at the building, they found it would have been difficult – if not outright impossible – to reconfigure it for the borough’s uses and meet current requirements. “The layout just wasn’t appropriate to an office setting,” said Ekdahl.“At the end of the day I would love to see some public elegant use,” McCabe said.But the trick, observed, Jamie Wark, a Linden Lane resident who is part of the group, is “to figure out ways to make it financially feasible.”Group members said their next task will be to put together a plan to present to interested parties to begin the conversation about saving the location.Baxter was not deterred by the challenge.“We’re going to save it,” he said. “And, more than save it, we’re going to reinvent it into something that we all can be proud of.”The location, which is zoned for residential use that needs a minimum 1.5 acres for development, is adjacent to Rumson Country Day School, a private school.Any future subdivision of the property could prove problematic, Ekdahl speculated, given the location’s wealth of “some magnificent trees,” and the borough’s tree protection ordinance.The mayor shared group members’ appreciation of the site. “It was probably the most magnificent property in Rumson for years, or decades,” he said.