But that does not mean the risk of a market shock has vanished, some experts say – quite the contrary.If the Fed continues to ‘taper’ as planned, the US will have ended its easing programme completely after the summer.At a recent press meeting in Amsterdam, Asoka Wöhrmann, co-CIO at Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, said: “This autumn, the Americans will be all tapered out. Then the market will ask ‘what’s next?’“Quite possibly, the next step will be an interest rate rise. That would actually be the first ‘normal’ monetary action the Fed would take, but even so, it’s something the market is not accustomed to anymore, so this will once again trigger a panic reaction in the markets.”He added: “This will lead to a steepening of the front end of the curve and have a huge impact on the dollar. There will be a lot of volatility in the fall of 2014.”In addition, he expects an uncoupling of European Central Bank (ECB) and Fed strategies.“The ECB will have to step up its accommodative measures even as the Fed tapers its quantitative easing programme,” Wöhrmann said. He fully believes the ECB can and will take the necessary steps.“The credit crunch in Europe’s periphery will be the single most important hurdle to European growth in the next two years,” he said.“The ECB has no choice but to take action – it is crucial to revitalise small and mid caps in peripheral Europe.”The ECB has several means at its disposal other than ‘classic’ monetary easing, which would not work because of the divergence within the European Union between the periphery and the core countries.“The ECB might buy corporate bonds or further relax collateral – this will happen,” Wöhrmann said.“And if the euro should rise above $1.40, then the ECB will consider a negative overnight rate.”Wöhrmann sees the intended European banking union as a landmark step.“All the rest will follow,” he said.But Dominic Rossi, CIO at Fidelity, is not so sure.“I would add that the ECB is in the midst of a policy error,” he said.“They should be much more accommodative already. One clear sign of that is the euro – the currency needs to fall.“I take issue with the ECB failure to act. They could do more, they should do more, and they should do it now.”According to Rossi, “there is no guarantee that, in six months’ time, the ECB will not continue to make the same mistakes”.Wöhrmann is a bit milder in his judgment.“Because of the divergence within the monetary union, the ECB is in a very difficult position, indeed,” he said.“Conventional monetary policy will not work, as any accommodative measures aimed at aiding the periphery will anger the stronger core countries, particularly Germany.“Really, the ECB’s only option is to adopt a form of ‘QE light.”The ECB might leverage instruments including ABS, corporate bonds and covered bonds to revitalise small and mid-cap companies in the periphery.“The ECB must do more, and I have no doubt they will,” Wöhrmann said.“Europe cannot afford the social unrest that would surely result if they don’t.” Once the US Federal Reserve is all “tapered out”, the market will be asking what comes next, industry experts have warned.The Fed’s announcement last year that the time had come to phase out quantitative easing triggered a collective knee-jerk reaction in the markets.The panic has since subsided, and investors are getting used to the idea of ‘tapering’, as the Fed has dubbed the gradual withdrawal of its unprecedented accommodative measures.In a recent statement, Alan Brown, senior adviser at Schroders, said: “With each new round of tapering, the effect on the market further diminishes.”
Source: SigedisIn other news, Belgium’s larger house of parliament has voted to allow those who work for longer than 45 years to accrue additional pension rights. At the moment, workers can only accrue a maximum of 45 years’ worth of pension rights.The reform will take effect from January and follows through with a recommendation of the Pension Reform Commission 2020-2040, a panel of experts appointed in 2013 by the then government.Bacquelaine said: “Our pension system must encourage the pursuit of professional activity but must also better reward the work done. From now on, all years of actual work will be taken into account in calculating pensions.” The online service was introduced in January 2016. Initially it allowed users to consult their career data and find out when they could claim their pension. Since December 2016 those accruing occupational pension rights have been able to look up the second pillar entitlements they had built up. The equivalent is now possible for the unfunded state pension. Steven Janssen, managing director of Sigedis, which is responsible for the second pillar part of mypension.be, said the evolution of the state pension functionality on the site had encountered issues relating to pre-2016 reform that introduced changes to the state pension age. “It introduced an element of individualisation so there was a fair amount of confusion among the populace,” he told IPE. “As a result it was decided to focus our efforts on the pension age.”Also, changes to how the state pension was calculated were being introduced at the time, so those behind mypension.be decided it was not worth trying to model something that could soon be redundant. Announcing the fresh changes, the Belgian pensions minister Daniel Bacquelaine said: “Until recently, citizens were often unaware of the reality of their pension rights and had to turn to different services depending on their professional status. The implementation of the pension engine has significantly improved a citizen’s digital information about pension rights, regardless of the occupational scheme to which he is affiliated.”He noted that the mypension.be platform had been visited more than 6.7m times as of 20 November. The federal pensions service today announced there had been almost 500,000 unique visits to the website since the changes were announced less than a week ago.What’s the background? The mypension.be website is the outcome of collaboration between several federal pension organisations and Sigedis. Sigedis is a non-profit organisation created in 2006 by the Belgian government to collect declarations from all second pillar pension providers for the purpose of maintaining an occupational pensions database. The database, DB2P, became operational in January 2011. It is the data engine behind the mypension.be portal and other outputs, such as pension institutions’ individual benefit statements and letters to pensioners (see below for a workflow depiction).More than 200 providers declare information to the database. An English-language domain name was chosen to avoid having to register domains in all three of Belgium’s official languages (Flemish, French and German). The Belgian pension portal mypension.be is expanding, the country’s pensions minister has announced.From now on, users will be able to consult the website to find out the estimated amount of their state pension. From March next year they will also be able to use the website to calculate the impact of new rules allowing people to buy back years spent studying to count for their pensionable service.The mypension.be platform will also evolve to allow individuals to check the effect certain career choices would have on their pension. This feature is to become available from 2019.
Nigerian international Francisca Ordega has joined Spanish side Atletico de Madrid Femenino from Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League.The Super Falcons striker who turned 24 earlier this week will play for the Spanish giants until March 2018 when the new National Women’s Soccer League season starts.FICHAJE 📝 La nigeriana @OrdegaF llega para reforzar la línea de ataque 🏧🔴⚪️👉 https://t.co/b6jZBhciqw¡Bienvenida! 😊🙌#BienvenidaOrdega pic.twitter.com/Tcg1B8WFdO— At. Madrid Femenino (@AtletiFemenino) October 20, 2017Ordega is expected to strengthen Atletico Madrid’s attack as they seek to retain their Primera División title.The three-time African champions expressed her excitement as she spoke with Atletico Madrid’s official website:“For me it’s an honour and I’m very happy to be here. Atletico Madrid is a great club, internationally recognized, and I really want to start,” RelatedSuper Falcons Forward, Francisca Ordega Joins Oshoala In ChinaMarch 20, 2019In “Nigeria”Francisca Ordega gets off Washington Spirit’s disabled listAugust 28, 2017In “Nigeria”Debut watch: Ebere suffer Super Cup defeat as Ordega feature in Atleti’s drawOctober 30, 2017In “Europe”