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  • CU growth: NAFCU’s No. 1 priority in 2019

    first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Ensuring credit unions can continue to grow and thrive in the competitive financial services industry is NAFCU’s mission, and the association’s 2019 priorities – unveiled today – will guide its efforts to obtain a regulatory environment in which growth is the priority.“Our commitment to serving you and representing you before policymakers as your Washington Watchdog is personal,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “For me, the NAFCU Board and staff, this means we will stop at nothing to ensure a legislative and regulatory environment that promotes health and viability for your institutions.”NAFCU lobbyists are on Capitol Hill today for the swearing in of the 116th Congress. The association will meet with new and returning lawmakers to share its 2019 priorities and pursue opportunities to work on legislative solutions to some of the industry’s most pressing issues.last_img read more

  • ​Denmark rejects Swedish-style pensions competition

    first_imgExperts in Denmark have been scrutinising the Swedish pension system for guidance on invigorating competition in the domestic retirement income industry, but concluded that copying their neighbours would be a bad idea.Prompted by the Danish Competition Council saying in 2017 that it would analyse the free movement of labour-market pensions in Sweden as part of its wide-ranging work on competition in the home pension sector, industry association Insurance & Pensions Denmark (IPD) commissioned its own report into Swedish freedom of choice in pensions.Now published, that study by independent consultant Ole Beier Sørensen – a former chief pension researcher at ATP – lists several reasons why Denmark should not follow Sweden’s example.“The Swedish model and the associated experiences are interesting – for good and for bad – but they cannot be transferred to Danish conditions without profound changes in both the overall pension system structure and the pension policy objectives,” he said. Free choice, according to his analysis, is not a prerequisite for competition and innovation, and does not necessarily lead to such effects.Beier said the free choice in Sweden had led to a broad shift from guarantee-based traditional insurance with the ‘old’ providers, towards fund or unit-link insurance with commercial providers, particularly bank-run firms.“An extensive distribution network and a broad customer interface appears to be a crucial competitive parameter,” he said, adding that the dynamics of relocation appeared to be somewhat provider-driven rather than customer-driven, and that more comprehensive considerations of the content and quality of the schemes did not seem to dominate.The Danish pension market was competitive, Beier said, adding that there was a trend towards lower costs and more individual choices.Compared to Sweden, what had happened in Denmark showed such results could be achieved in a traditional framework based on compulsory membership of collective schemes where important design and coverage issues were decided collectively, he said, adding that there could be significant benefits associated with this.“A combination of regulation and voluntary industry initiatives has ensured customised options for free choice, lower costs, increased dynamics and increased transparency,” he said.Commenting on the research, IPD’s new president Laila Mortensen said: “The Swedish experience of giving extensive freedom of choice is not necessarily good.”Meanwhile, in the Competition Council’s 342-page report Competition in the Pensions Market, the panel – which oversees the Danish Consumer and Competition Authority – includes several pages of commentary about the Swedish system.The report said: ”Sweden has historically had a greater degree of individual freedom of choice in the pension schemes than Denmark. This applies both to the possibilities of moving occupational pension schemes and to determining how pension savings should be invested.”“An extensive distribution network and a broad customer interface appears to be a crucial competitive parameter”Ole Beier Sørensen, independent consultantHowever, it pointed to waning enthusiasm for such freedom particularly in the premium pension system, for example. Although two thirds of Swedish savers had made active allocation choices when the system was launched in 2000, it said, this proportion had fallen to 8% among new savers in 2003.The council also noted that the premium pension fund options actively selected by savers had higher levels of costs than the default option, which also produced a significantly better return.Noting that in Sweden’s four large collective agreements on occupational pension schemes, savers are allowed to move all or part of their pension scheme between a number of pension companies. The council’s report said that in practice most savers that have moved their pensions from AMF had done so following prompting by a professional – mainly from the saver’s bank.Figures released separately this week by the pension fund AMF in its 2019 transfer report show that every fourth occupational pensions transfer takes place without the customer’s knowledge, and that in one in three cases, the individual’s savings ends up in an unwanted product.Johan Sidenmark, AMF’s chief executive officer, said the right to be involved in choosing their pensions manager was basically very positive, giving individuals more influence over their future and encouraging pension firms to improve.“On the other hand, it is a major point against it that so many move or are moved without being aware of it, year in year out, and that so many end up in savings that don’t match the characteristics they want,” he said.This was not sustainable and threatened to undermine confidence in the whole occupational pension system, Sidenmark said.last_img read more

  • Ironic. Obama helps the pro-life cause in US

    first_imgChecking out the Knight LifeFamily Research Council 19 January 2016It may be the most radical abortion president in history who’s creating the biggest pro-life swing in America. Apparently, the last seven years of President Obama’s extreme policy has done more to change people’s minds on life than anything could. Under this administration, Americans are finally realizing that this debate is not about making abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” but taking innocent children’s lives at the expense of taxpayers, freedom, and women’s health.And at this week’s March for Life, the crowds will just be proving what polling already has: that Americans are more skeptical of abortion than ever. According to a new survey from the Knights of Columbus, an overwhelming majority of Americans (81 percent) support significant restrictions on abortion. And that includes women (at 82 percent)! Unlike the president, eight in 10 think abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy (which is well shy of the 20-week ban Congress has been working to pass). Another six in 10 think abortion is morally wrong — including, believe it or not, a third of “pro-choicers.”Americans have consistently opposed taxpayer-funded abortion — and this poll was no different. Seven in 10 people want out of their forced partnership with groups like Planned Parenthood. By a 25-point margin, Americans (55 to 30 percent) agree that abortion does a woman more harm than good. “It’s time,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson, “for a new conversation on abortion — one that begins with this consensus in favor of restrictions: a consensus that American women and men have already reached — and that includes a majority even of those who call themselves ‘pro-choice.’”To the delight of groups like FRC, these major shifts in public opinion are already fueling a powerful wave of pro-life legislation at the state level. In 2015, 57 laws on everything from clinic safety standards to conscience rights went into effect. And it isn’t just conservative states riding the wave. Thirty-one states, Guttmacher Institute pointed out, “spanning all regions of the country,” passed at least one pro-life law in the last five years. That’s because (unlike President Obama), most Americans have limits. And restricting abortion may be “extreme” to President Obama — but thank goodness it isn’t to the country he leads.http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA16A20&f=WU16A07Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

  • LeBron James joins Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard for a UCLA workout, sparking offseason intrigue

    first_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years As of Wednesday morning, the tweet was retweeted more than 5,000 times, liked more than 20,000 times — and shared by many other accounts. There was also another interest in the photo: the size of Leonard’s hands.center_img While the workouts tend to be innocent, the forthcoming free agency of 2019 — in which Leonard and Durant are expected to be available and the Lakers could put out a case for either of them — has raised the alert level to high for any potential signs that James could “recruit” another star to Southern California.The topic was intriguing enough to hit the morning talk show chatter. Shannon Sharpe of FS1’s Undisputed didn’t make much of it, but did stop to imagine: “LeBron, KD and Kawhi? Boy, somebody will be in a heap of trouble.” Despite the trappings of imagination, the UCLA workouts tend to lack true innuendo, with many superstars with past histories getting together to play ball under the direction of Rico Hines. Earlier in the week, Durant played with former teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden on the UCLA court.Still, Leonard is expected to be a big target for the Lakers next summer. The Riverside native is rumored to have Los Angeles aspirations after playing the first seven years of his career in San Antonio. Disagreements with the Spurs led to his trade to Toronto this offseason, and he has one more year on his deal. The Lakers, who could have a max slot to offer alongside James, could position themselves to scoop up the 27-year-old two-time Defensive Player of the Year next summer.Durant, who has a player option next summer, is also a potential free agent. But it remains to be seen if he is willing to leave Golden State, with whom he has won the last two NBA titles while facing James in the Finals.Related Articles It’s a Lakers’ dream: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant playing together in L.A.For at least one day, it happened.The three best small forwards in basketball gathered at UCLA for a workout, one of the private sessions that go on during the offseason that annually draw some of the NBA’s biggest names. Marc Spears of The Undefeated sent out a tweet of James (Lakers), Leonard (Toronto Raptors) and Durant (Golden State Warriors) standing together, apparently drenched in sweat after a workout, along with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman and several coaches. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more