March 12, 2017 Press Release, PSA, Weather Safety Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians to prepare for the coming winter weather, and assured residents that state agencies are taking steps to ensure they and local communities are ready to respond and prepared for the worst.“State agencies are taking proactive steps to ensure Pennsylvania is ready for the incoming winter weather and Pennsylvanians should take their own precautions and prepare for adverse conditions, especially for travel,” Governor Wolf said. “We are preparing for the most significant part of the storm to hit the Eastern half of the state from Monday night into Tuesday’s commute. I ask residents and commercial drivers across the commonwealth to prepare to avoid unnecessary travel on roadways during this time – as to let road crews and emergency responders do their jobs and minimize dangerous travel.”State agencies, including Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, PennDOT, State Police and the Pennsylvania National Guard, are coordinating to ensure resource needs can be met throughout the commonwealth and formulating plans to increase resources in areas forecasted to be hit hardest by the storm.An emergency declaration for the storm has not yet been issued but the Governor will be prepared to do so should agencies need one as they assess needs statewide over the next 24 hours. Travel restrictions for personal and commercial drivers may also be put in place tomorrow evening into Tuesday should they be necessary to minimize dangerous travel.This is a complex winter storm system that will first impact southern and western Pennsylvania by Monday evening. The storm will overspread the state overnight, with heavy and blowing snow at times. Snow will continue throughout the day on Tuesday before tapering off during the evening hours for many. Snow showers will continue for parts of Pennsylvania through Wednesday. With more than a foot of snow forecasted for much of the state, citizens should be aware that hazards associated with this storm include treacherous travel due to heavy and blowing snow, as well as possible utility outages and downed trees.“We are preparing for significant snow and winds and the impacts that those conditions could have on travel and public safety during and after the storm,” said Richard D. Flinn Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “This is the time between now and when the storm arrives for residents to ensure they have emergency supplies and stocking up on anything that they may need over a period of adverse weather.”Flinn said the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA headquarters outside Harrisburg will activate at 10 p.m. on Monday with staff from PEMA and other state agencies, and residents should also do what they can to be ready and have emergency supplies on hand at home. To learn more about how to prepare for winter storms, please visit here.Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles by visiting http://www.511PA.com. PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Locator plow tracking tool is available for all of the more than 2,200 PennDOT-owned and rented plow trucks, with vehicle locations viewable on 511PA.“Our team is prepared and will work around the clock during the storm to keep roads as safe as possible,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “We urge the public to think of safety first and avoid travel during the storm unless it is absolutely necessary.”Drivers can take the following steps to ensure safety for themselves and others during adverse weather:Monitor weather forecasts and postpone travel if necessary, especially over long distances during the storm.Slow down while driving when snow is falling and always wear your seat belt. Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicles you are following.During squalls or whiteouts, do not stop on the roadway. Come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.When encountering plows, stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.When a plow is approaching you, move as far from the center of the road as is safely possible and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.Free emergency preparedness information, including templates for family emergency plans and checklists for emergency kit supplies, is available at www.ReadyPA.org. Follow @ReadyPA on Twitter and like ReadyPA on www.facebook.com/BeReadyPA for more emergency preparedness information. Wolf Administration Prepares for Winter Weather SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Mark Fawcett of NEST, speaking at the EDHECinfra Days 2018 conferenceFawcett said NEST would request regular valuations – monthly or quarterly depending on the assets – with more regular updates expected during periods of stress in the markets.NEST head of private markets Stephen O’Neill added: “We’re long-term investors – our youngest member is just 16 and she could be investing with us for more than 50 years. She’s the perfect person to be entering into private markets. We can be patient with her investments so she’ll benefit from the illiquidity premium you get with these types of loans.“We’ll be careful to manage our exposure to illiquids so that while they’ll play an important role in our portfolio, it won’t be a dominant one. Our positive cashflows will ensure members retain the ability to move their savings around.”Future private credit allocationsThe pension scheme has been building up an allocation to short-dated corporate bonds in anticipation of using some of this to seed the two new mandates in October.Fawcett also hinted that the allocation to private debt could increase. As NEST’s total assets increased – the CIO said he expected assets under management to hit £13bn next year – the cashflows to the new mandates could exceed £500m, he said.However, he emphasised that “we don’t want to force the money on managers or force them to invest” through allocating too much. Investing 5% of NEST’s default funds over 12 months was “a reasonable target”, Fawcett added. “Arguably over time we might be able to have more [in private debt],” the CIO said. “If you look at Australian super funds, they have 30-40% in illiquid assets. I’m not saying that’s where we’re going but we certainly have the capacity to go further.”Fawcett also said NEST could appoint a loans manager, although this was more complex than real estate debt or infrastructure debt.Further readingInfrastructure managers told to ‘raise game’ or miss out on DC pensionsSpeaking at an infrastructure conference last year, NEST’s Mark Fawcett told fund managers to raise their game if they wanted to win business from the UK’s growing DC sector. “Private markets hasn’t really happened for DC schemes to date,” he said. “We’ve been working hard to create a structure where we can invest in illiquid assets. We believe there is an illiquidity premium – this has come down, but if you have the right managers we believe there are additional returns that can be achieved.”The two strategies will be housed in fund structures and will be available to other schemes at each manager’s discretion. However, Fawcett said private debt would not be offered to members as a separate fund choice.Fawcett highlighted Amundi’s credentials in sustainable property and focus on the transition to a low-carbon economy. For infrastructure, he cited the attraction of “helping to finance renewables and lend to social housing projects”.NEST said Amundi and BlackRock were selected for their “innovation and cost efficiency”, setting them apart from “nearly 40” organisations that bid for the mandates.Infrastructure debt NEST has appointed Amundi and BlackRock to run private credit mandates, marking the defined contribution (DC) fund’s first move into unlisted markets.Amundi is to manage a real estate debt allocation while BlackRock has been tasked with infrastructure debt management.The £8bn (€9bn) multi-employer scheme is to allocate up to 5% of its default funds to the mandates, which will mean at least £500m of inflows for the new strategies in the first 12 months of operation, according to NEST CIO Mark Fawcett.At a media event yesterday, Fawcett said NEST had spent several months working with Amundi and BlackRock to establish an appropriate structure for managing illiquid assets in the DC fund. Credit: Schropferoval BlackRock has launched its first sterling-denominated infrastructure debt fund to accommodate NEST’s allocation. Alex Cave, interim head of UK DC at BlackRock, said the portfolio would cover a range of sectors including wind, solar, transportation, social infrastructure, social housing and digital infrastructure.“We believe alternative assets are no longer a nice-to-have but a need-to-have in a portfolio,” Cave said. “Given their low correlation to equities and bonds, coupled with the benefit of providing diversification in a portfolio, alternatives can provide further protection against key risks such as rising inflation.”He added: “NEST is an organisation pivotal to the growth and success of the UK DC market and we are excited to partner with them by providing their members access to this important asset class.“As NEST continues to lead the charge in bringing innovative investment solutions to members, we look forward to continuing to work with them on this mandate and on the evolution of their investment offering built for a new generation of DC savers.”Liquidity and cashflowNEST would manage the cashflows in and out of the funds, Fawcett said, holding regular discussions with each manager to understand deal flow and cash requirements for new purchases.“Because we are so cash flow positive, the challenge is often to put money into the markets [promptly],” he said.Private markets have been a difficult area for UK DC schemes to access due to a regulatory requirement for daily liquidity. However, with NEST’s positive cashflows, the scheme said it was less likely to be affected by liquidity concerns.