UK companies ask government not to tinker with pension taxes

first_imgCiting changes to the state pension and the rollout of auto-enrolment, Neil Carberry, CBI director of employment and skills, said employers were “craving stability”.“Businesses want to focus on ensuring employees are making the most of what’s on offer, but there is clear concern about regulatory changes eroding incentives to save, which must be avoided at all costs,” he said.The survey notes that, while the current system of pension tax relief may be complex, it is still the best way to encourage pension saving.It adds: “Tax relief up-front on pension contributions not only makes it attractive to save into a pension compared with other savings vehicles, it also makes it affordable for low and middle-income earners to save effectively for retirement when they most need to.”The CBI also called for continued resistance to parts of the revised IORP Directive.It said funding requirements could entail “crippling” costs, hindering companies’ ability to support defined benefit schemes.The CBI’s survey also found that 19% of businesses were ‘very concerned’ about the impact of the IORP Directive, while a further 40% were ‘concerned’.Only 19% of respondents were unaware of the Commission’s proposed recast of the 2003 legislation. The UK government should avoid tinkering with taxation if it wishes to build trust in the pension system, business leaders have warned.Nearly eight in 10 respondents to a joint survey by UK business lobby CBI and consultancy Mercer said changes to pension tax should not be the government’s priority.A similar number of respondents raised concerns about regulation being drafted by the European Commission.The findings of the 2015 pensions survey coincide with a consultation on the future of the UK’s approach to pension taxation, with the government recommending a switch from the current Exempt-Exempt-Taxed model (EET) to a Taxed-Exempt-Exempt (TEE) approach. last_img read more

S&P proposes green bond, ESG assessment tools

first_imgCredit rating agency S&P has developed a tool to evaluate green bonds and a framework for assessing corporate issuers’ exposure to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk.The rating agency is seeking feedback from investors and other bond market participants on proposals for both products.The rating agency placed its green bond evaluation tool in the context of the emergence of a range of green finance instruments and investors’ evolving needs for information about these instruments.The green bond tool will score a given bond issue in at least three areas – transparency, governance and mitigation/adaptation, as relevant – with these scores then amalgamated and weighted to produce a final score. Michael Wilkins, head of environmental and climate risk research at S&P Global Ratings, said: “Our proposed Green Bond Evaluation methodology looks beyond the governance and management of a bond by providing an analysis and estimate of the environmental impact of the projects or initiatives financed by the bond’s proceeds over its lifetime relative to a local baseline.”The rating agency also launched a proposal for an ESG evaluation of corporate bond issuers, based on a new framework and scoring methodology.The assessment would evaluate a company’s impact on the natural and social environments in which it operates, the governance arrangements it has in place to oversee these effects, and potential losses crystallising from its exposure to environmental and social risks.Medium-term focusS&P’s proposal comes after it signed up to an initiative launched earlier this year by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, which aims to “enhance systematic and transparent consideration of ESG factors in the assessment of creditworthiness”.Neither of the two new evaluation tools S&P is proposing are credit ratings, however.The rating agency said its ESG assessments would be “offered separately from our credit ratings to provide greater transparency into ESG risk”.As proposed, its ESG assessments would involve the rating agency ranking corporate issuers on a five-point scale based on its view on the degree to which an issuer is exposed to ESG risk over the medium to long term.S&P would analyse a company with respect to its environmental and social risk profiles, management and governance, as well as its environmental and social risk management.It plans to assign a greater weighting to the medium term, which it defines as the next 2-5 years, because it considers that medium-term risk “is more discernible” and that the impacts of these nearer-term risks are “more assessable in terms of risk to creditworthiness”.last_img read more

Accounting roundup: ‘illegal’ dividends, PIRC, FRC, s172, EFRAG

first_imgPensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) believes that a growing number of companies are at risk of paying out an illegal dividend to shareholders if they fail to apply the requirements of the UK Companies Act 2006 correctly.The claim comes after it emerged in December that Domino’s Pizza had paid out almost £85m in illegal distributions, including a payment to the company’s employee benefits trust. The distributions spanned a period of 17 years.Tim Bush, head of governance and financial analysis at PIRC, told IPE: “If a company subsidiary that supplies a large part of the group dividend sits below one with a pension fund deficit, then that dividend may well be trapped, as the pension fund has first claim on those profits.”He added that PIRC – which has been locked in a long-running battle with the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) over the law regarding distributions – welcomed the analysis of the issue provided by Domino’s legal advisers, Norton Rose. Bush said: “It is also good to see that where there is a problem the lawyers are explaining the issue regarding the accounts clearly. There has been no need to dispute the lawyers on that. Their analysis is entirely consistent with the position of Mr Bompas QC.”Alongside failures to apply the law on distributions correctly, both PIRC and other pensions advisers have warned over the past year that companies could face a dividend crunch through burgeoning pension deficits.Together with the issue of a simple lack of profits to distribute, companies might also find that a poorly structured pension fund leaves them with cash trapped within the group structure.A trio of top City lawyers told IPE last year that the question of dividend payments was a minefield.Meanwhile, a fresh skirmish has broken out between PIRC and the FRC regarding whether or not there is a specific duty for companies to report their compliance with section 172 of the Companies Act 2006.Section 172 requires company directors to act in the best interests of the success of their company. It says a director must “act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole.”The FRC told IPE in a statement that it needs additional powers to police compliance.In evidence to the UK parliament, the watchdog’s chief executive Stephen Haddrill said a change in the law would reinvigorate section 172.Elsewhere, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has issued a call for pensions professionals to staff a working party on accounting for so-called hybrid pension plans.PensionsEurope told IPE it was keen to take part in the project and urged EFRAG to ensure that the process was transparent.“We hope that EFRAG will accept candidates that represent PensionsEurope’s members in the Advisory Panel,” a spokesperson said.Applications are open until 20 February.last_img read more

Asset management roundup: RWC buys European equity manager

first_imgRWC runs roughly $11.2bn in UK, US global, and emerging markets equity strategies, as well as convertible bonds. It also invests in a small number of Japanese companies through a joint venture with Tokyo-based Nissay Asset Management.  Dan Mannix, RWC’s CEO, said: “We believe that there remains a real demand for exceptional investment teams who are providing something different for investors and we see the competitive environment improving as barriers to entry rise and larger organisation increasingly put the squeeze on their investment teams.”Fidelity backs LGPS cost codeFidelity International is the latest asset management group to sign up to the local government pension scheme’s (LGPS) cost disclosure code.Managers including Investec, Baillie Gifford, Legal & General Investment Management, and Capital International have also signed up to the code, which provides a template for asset managers to break down their fees and disclose aspects such as transaction costs.The disclosure template has already shed new light on the level of costs and charges being paid by UK’s public pension funds since its introduction in May. The LGPS Advisory Board has estimated that total costs revealed by the disclosure code could hit £1bn (€1.1bn).Heather Fleming, head of institutional distribution for UK and Ireland at Fidelity, said: “Providing the necessary tools to easily allow our clients to make informed investment decisions has always been a priority for us. We welcome this initiative and recognise the importance in working together as an industry to provide a unified and transparent approach to the reporting of investment costs.”H20 to buy commodity-focused managerH2O Asset Management, a global macro multi-strategy investment manager, is to acquire Arctic Blue Capital, a systematic commodity-focused manager, from Stable Asset Management. According to a statement, the Arctic Blue strategy was launched in 2008 at Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which manages public pension plans in Québec. After deployment at CIBC and Millennium Capital Partners, it was seeded as a standalone firm by Stable Asset Management in 2014.The deal is a response to “increasing client demand for investment strategies suited to a changing inflationary environment”, according to the statement.H2O currently manages $14.6bn on behalf of clients and will provide infrastructure and operational support as part of the deal, while Arctic Blue will add its flagship fund, the Arctic Blue Original Strategy, and its equity-focused Atlanterra Strategy, to the H2O distribution platform.Arctic Blue will continue to be led by CIO and founder Jean-Jacques Duhot. Cyril Beriot, Head of Managed Accounts at H2O, said: “This deal is timely given current market conditions. We expect the global economy to enter a reflationary phase over the short-to-medium term and our clients will now benefit from a suite of high-quality strategies across all asset classes that are perfectly suited to this new environment.”The transaction is currently pending FCA approval. UK-based boutique RWC Partners has acquired European equity specialist Pensato Capital.Pensato’s seven-person investment team – which runs roughly $280m ($246m) – will all join RWC as part of the deal. Pensato’s funds include long-only and long/short European equity funds.The company was founded by former Fidelity International fund manager Graham Clapp in 2008.Clapp said it was “critical” that the Pensato team was able to spend time analysing companies. He added that “by joining with RWC we have the opportunity to work within a broader organisation that offers the resources and diversification that will help us to develop our strategies and focus purely on generating performance for our investors”.last_img read more

One fifth of UK schemes in ‘weak’ position by TPR standards

first_imgIn addition, a third of schemes reported pensioner liabilities of greater than 50% of their total obligations. A fifth of UK defined benefit (DB) schemes have been classified as “weak” according to standards set by the country’s regulator, based on covenant strength, demographics, recovery plans and funding targets.According to an analysis of 1,880 DB scheme valuations by consultancy group Hymans Robertson, 21% of schemes fell in the Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) ‘D’ and ‘E’ categories, meaning they had a combination of a weak sponsor covenant, a poor funding position and/or a long deficit recovery plan.Half of the schemes the consultancy assessed fell in TPR’s strongest category (A), meaning their sponsor covenants were considered “strong” or “tending to strong” and they had a short deficit recovery plan with a strong funding target.Hymans Robertson found that 14% of schemes had a weak sponsor that was “unable to support the scheme”, resulting in “immediate concern over solvency”. Just 11% of schemes had a “strong” covenant with “relatively low risk” of the sponsor becoming unable to support the pension fund. “Additional scrutiny and change is on the horizon… and we expect that most trustees and sponsors will have to work harder to demonstrate they have a clear funding plan in place”Laura McLarenIn terms of funding levels, the consultancy reported a median funding level of 89% on a technical provisions basis across the schemes it analysed. The median funding ratio fell to just 59% when assessed with regards to the cost of an insurance buyout.TPR is preparing to roll out a new funding code for DB schemes as part of a range of new powers for the regulator expected to be introduced through government legislation in the near future.The regulator has promised to be “quicker, clearer and tougher” in the wake of recent high-profile scandals, and Hymans Robertson found that more than one in five trustees had or expected to experience regulatory intervention in the near future.Laura McLaren, partner at Hymans Robertson, said: “Additional scrutiny and change is on the horizon in the form of a new DB funding code, as well as stronger regulatory powers for TPR, and we expect that most trustees and sponsors will now have to work harder to demonstrate they have a clear funding plan in place. She said TPR’s most recent analysis of private sector DB funding – contained in its Annual Funding Statement report – was its “clearest to date” regarding the regulatory expectations on pension schemes and trustees.“Trustees and sponsors should make sure they continue to pay close attention for more information on the exact form the regulator’s new framework will take and the additional powers they may have,” McLaren said.“Fairly straightforward steps such as understanding how a DB scheme compares to others and, crucially, how it may be perceived by TPR, will be advantageous. For example, this may allow schemes to prioritise any required changes and identify where they might be taking unnecessary levels of risk.“By addressing these areas early, trustees and sponsors will be in a stronger position and more likely to avoid unnecessary intervention.”last_img read more

​New Amundi fund targets indirect beneficiaries of ‘new silk roads’

first_imgIt would try to benefit from “second and third order effects” of the BRI and similar initiatives aimed at growing trade along the new silk roads rather than focusing purely on investments that could profit from first-order effects, the firm said.Yerlan Syzdykov, global head of emerging markets at Amundi, said: “The Amundi Funds New Silk Road aims at investing in the areas associated with the BRI project, rather than investing directly where the BRI invests.”He said the firm had observed that many BRI projects with potential primary effects may not offer the most attractive investment opportunity.“Hence, we are willing to look beyond China and infrastructure to seek out investment opportunities that we believe will benefit from the expected expansion in trade and associated economic growth along the new Silk Roads,” Syzdykov said.Amundi said the fund’s investment process was “designed to navigate geo-political sensitivities along the New Silk road, integrating top down analysis with stock picking”.The goal was to have a high-conviction portfolio of 60-90 entities, it said, adding that this followed the launch of its New Silk Road cross asset solutions, which had attracted more than €459m since April 2019. Amundi has launched an investment fund that seeks to capitalise on likely beneficiaries of China’s multi-country Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and similar initiatives. China proposed the BRI in 2013, referencing the ancient Silk Road, to act as a catalyst for new trade routes and growth across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Amundi said the new “eco-system” would cover over 65 countries, with €1tn of planned investments in 1,700 infrastructure projects.Announcing the launch of its Amundi Funds New Silk Road, the asset manager said the fund aimed to achieve long-term capital growth above the broader emerging market equity universe.last_img read more

Property analyst Michael Matusik lists Brisbane acreage home

first_imgThe property at Huntingdale Street, Pullenvale, covers 1ha.Property analyst Michael Matusik has listed his Brisbane acreage home for the first time in a decade and a half. The massive 1 hectare property at 188 Huntingdale Street, Pullenvale, has a five-bedroom house with two bathrooms, a double garage, and an inground pool and gazebo. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow much do I need to retire?00:58 Richlister’s best property advice ever More than $9m splashed on bare block MORE: Growth star suburbs revealed Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:36Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:36 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhat do QLD buyers want?00:36 The property has a pool and gazebo. Open plan living.“We have bought a nice renovated cottage from the 1890s in the Houn Valley. Life will continue – work wise for both of us. Julia runs Julia’s Pantry – a bespoke food business – and I can work anywhere. I am also starting backyardhome.com.au in the new year.”“We are motivated and we will sell our home this side of Christmas.”The home was listed by Benjamin Smith and Kel Goesch of Brisbane Real Estate Indooroopilly as a “spacious family hideaway”.“This home captures the very essence of a hinterland hideaway and practicalities for everyday living,” was how it was described. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours agoThe standout feature of Queenslanders – large verandas. Great spot to enjoy a quiet cuppa in the morning.The house has a downstairs retreat that could become self contained accommodation, with soaring ceilings and polished timber floors in the main living area, a chef’s kitchen with stone bench tops, enormous walk in pantry and preparation area, ducted airconditioning and a wood burning fireplace.A standout feature was the large wraparound verandas, perfect for summer entertaining.It also had “town water”, rainwater tanks, a vegetable garden, a chicken coop and a dog enclosure. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK “We are reluctant downsizers,” Mr Matusik told The Courier-Mail. “We love where we live. It is in the bush, very secluded and yet five minutes to Kenmore and 30 minutes to the airport.”“Our kids are long gone and we are rattling around this place. We make set plans and we said by mid-50s – very soon – we will move to a different place and climate.”“We go to Tasmania three to four times a year. Our eldest daughter owns Small Fry in Tassie with her partner (been there eight years now) – and so we are moving to Tassie.”last_img read more

Landmark mansion sold off-market

first_img MORE: Top glamping resort sold in multimillion-dollar deal 113 Commodore Drive, Paradise Waters sold for $5.5 million.A historic Surfers Paradise mansion regarded as an architectural landmark has changed hands in a multimillion-dollar deal.An unnamed local buyer paid $5.5 million for the riverfront residence at 113 Commodore Drive in an off-market sale handled by Michael Kollosche and Jay Helprin in June. The grand mansion boasts wide main river frontage.The property was sold by Flora and Sep Abedian, the brother of Sunland Group founder Soheil Abedian, following a seven-year tenure. The Abedians previously put the property to auction in 2017 when it was passed in at $6.1 million before being taken off the market 10 months later. The three-level staircase inspired by the Vatican.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa7 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoThe 1489 sqm property also enjoys one of the largest water frontages in Paradise Waters, looking across to the grounds of The Southport School and north to the Southport skyline.The property’s historical importance was recognised in 2015 when it was opened for public viewing as part of the inaugural Gold Coast Open House program celebrating important architectural landmarks. The late Keith Williams, pictured with wife Thea, built Sea World and developed Hamilton Island.The historic house was built in the late 1980s for Keith Williams, the legendary entrepreneur who built Sea World and developed resorts at Hamilton IslandGold Coast construction figure Ron McMaster built the Williams family home which was later owned by Dreamworld founder John Longhurst.Features include a three-level staircase inspired by the Vatican, arched windows, wrought iron chandeliers and Roman bath-style pool. TRENDING: Tammy Hembrow splashes big bucks on Gold Coast mansion Speedy sale: Palm Beach property ‘on steroids’ Beachside pad where the Caribbean meets Gold Coast glamour The residence is considered an architectural Gold Coast landmark.Mr Helprin said the sale price reflected the home’s stature and was indicative of buyer confidence at the top end of town.“We’re seeing significant strength in the prestige market,” Mr Helprin said. “Three of the last four recent transactions on the waterfront have been locals with cash.” A grand Broadbeach Waters mansion at 327 Monaco Street sold for $5.7 million on July 11 while a vacant 1013 sqm lot with 26.4m of main river frontage at 85 Commodore Drive fetched $3.1 million in May. Both sales were handled by Kollosche agents.last_img read more

Luck on bidder’s side despite mixing up auction time

first_img MORE: Buyers cash in on Brisbane homes Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow much do I need to retire?00:58 Auctioneer Paul Curtain outside 88 Raven Street, Camp Hill“I thought the auction started at 10,” Mr Balderston said afterwards.At 9.06am, and with nothing but a vendor bid of $800,000 and some creative talk passing from the lips of Place Bulimba joint-managing director and auctioneer Paul Curtain, the auction was paused.While the crowd of 40 waited, a sales assistant called the absent bidder.“How far away are you?” she asked. The main front bedroom. Three level extension hides behind historic Queenslander This four-bedroom house at 88 Raven Street, Camp Hill, sold at auction for $895,000.Ben Balderston was about to order coffee from a Stones Corner cafe before heading to the auction of 88 Raven Street at Camp Hill on Saturday when his phone rang.Four kilometres away, Place Bulimba lead agent Joanna Gianniotis was trying to give away a bottle of French Champagne to the first person to bid on the four-bedroom worker’s cottage on 607sq m but no-one was taking the bait.That had a lot to do with the fact that one of her star bidders wasn’t there. This home will have you climbing the walls Anna Spiro passionate about magical Birkdale housecenter_img The investment property, which had been rented out for the past four years for $615 a week, was owned by a software engineer who was watching from the main front bedroom as Ms Gianniotis put down the bottle of champagne and started working the crowd to gauge the level of interest from the three registered bidders who were in attendance. The rear deck.“I thought it was about to be passed in,” the owner said.Mr Balderston, a local investor who was interested in land banking the property, had abandoned his coffee and was racing down Old Cleveland Rd to get to the auction.At 9.13am he arrived, brushing past onlookers and registering to vote over the front fence just as Mr Curtain recommenced the auction after finally gaining a bid of $805,000 from a family of four who were looking to move closer in to the city.The crowd had thinned to half by this time but those remaining saw a robust auction of 35 bids as the family struggled to shake their new competition. Mr Balderston stands on the road after arriving at 88 Raven Street, Camp Hill. You can register to bid at any time before the hammer falls at an auction.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa7 hours agoParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus8 hours ago“There’s strong demand for bigger blocks,” Ms Gianniotis said after the auction. “ And a lot are first-home buyers recognising the value of the land.” SEE WHAT ELSE IS FOR SALE IN CAMP HILL At $895,000 the family bowed out of the auction and the property sold to Mr Balderston, but they did not leave empty-handed.“I always give away a bottle of champagne to the first bidder at my auctions,” Ms Gianniotis said. Champagne has been part of Joanna Gianniotis’s auction campaigns for 18 years.Mr Balderston may have missed out on his flat white coffee but there was a bottle of champagne for him also as the winning bidder.“Lucky I rocked up,” he said.The house was one of more than 50 to go to auction across Brisbane on Saturday. FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK MORE PROPERTY STORIESlast_img read more

Maryland: New Bill Amendment Jeopardises US Wind, Skipjack Projects

first_imgThe Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has adopted a bill amendment that obstructs installing offshore wind turbines within 24 nautical miles (approx. 44 kilometres) from the coast of the State of Maryland, endangering the US Wind and Skipjack projects which were recently awarded Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits from the Public Service Commission.The amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018, introduced by Representative Andy Harris, blocks the use of federal funds to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans for wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from Maryland coastline. This is the distance at which the turbines would not be visible from the coast, according to Harris.“Ocean City’s economy heavily relies on its real estate and tourism sectors, and there has not yet been a proper examination on whether construction of these wind turbines will have a negative economic impact on the community. If construction of these turbines too close to the shoreline will reduce property value or tourism, then the turbines may cause more issues than they solve,” Andy Harris stated.US Wind had already modified its initial plan after Ocean City Council expressed its concern over visual impact. The developer agreed to move the beginning of its offshore wind farm up to five miles eastward, which would reduce the visibility of any structures by more than 35%. Turbines were initially proposed to be installed 12 to 15 nautical miles offshore.Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack wind farm is proposed to be set up from 17 to 21 nautical miles offshore.Harris further added that neither US Wind nor Skipjack had provided evidence that their projects will bring the positive benefits outlined in the Offshore Wind Energy Act (OWEA), which guarantees that ratepayers across Maryland cannot be asked to contribute funds to a proposed project that does not ensure positive economic, environmental and health benefits to the state.On the other hand, after Maryland PSC approved the projects’ ORECs, Liz Burdock, Executive Director of the Business Network For Offshore Wind pointed out that the offshore wind farms would have a positive economic and environmental impact: “The award of these projects is the launching point for great economic growth for Maryland: its businesses, and its citizens. Maryland continues to lead–achieving the first commercial scale offshore wind projects in the United States, as well as reaping the environmental benefits of this largescale, clean, renewable energy”, Burdock said in May 2017.Offshore WIND Stafflast_img read more