News in brief: 26 November

- Retailer C&A’s Dutch pension fund, Provisum, had a funding ratio of 146.2 per cent at the end of October 2021, up from 145.3 per cent at the end of September.

The policy funding ratio, which is the average of the funding ratio over a 12 month period, was 140.3 per cent at the end of October. Another indicator of the fund’s health is the Required Own Equity (VEV). This is the capital that a pension fund must have. If a pension fund has a lower policy funding ratio than the VEV, then there is a shortfall and a pension fund must draw up a recovery plan. The VEV is approximately 115 per cent. The policy funding ratio is currently above the VEV so there is no shortage.

- BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has launched the BNP Paribas Social Bond fund, investing in bonds aimed at financing projects with positive social impacts.

The fund is classified as Article 9 under SFDR and launches during a period of record growth for the sustainable bond market, in particular social bonds. The launch is in line with BNPP AM's Global Sustainability Strategy, of which achieving equality and inclusive growth is one of three priority areas, alongside accelerating the energy transition and protecting the environment. Managed using a rigorous proprietary methodology, bond and issuer selection are aligned with BNPP AM's sustainable investment standards, drawing on the expertise of its bond management teams and its Sustainability Centre. The fund combines BNPP AM’s long-standing expertise in green bonds (BNP Paribas Green Bond fund was launched in 2017) and its in-depth knowledge of social issues, with the BNP Paribas Inclusive Growth fund launched earlier this year.

- Achmea has announced its intention to repurchase and acquire ordinary shares in its share capital for an amount of approximately €131m.

It is the intention of Achmea to buy out minority shareholders Fundo de Pensões de Grupo Banco Comercial Português as well as Stichting Beheer Aandelen Achmea. The proposed share buyback will simplify the shareholders' structure. Achmea Group’s solvency ratio was robust at a level of 211 per cent at the end of the second quarter of 2021. This share buyback will have an impact of 2 percentage points, leading to a pro forma solvency ratio of 209 per cent.

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