USF-I Advise, Assist Efforts Intensified

first_imgBy Dialogo December 16, 2010 U.S. troops are re-doubling their efforts to advise, assist and equip Iraqi Security Forces in advance of the December 2011 deadline for all American troops to leave the country, Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan said. Buchanan, the director of strategic effects in Baghdad, said the advise and assist mission in Iraq has gone well since the end of the American combat mission in August. But more needs to be done, he said. “We’ve got a lot to accomplish and we are very much geared to getting everything we can do before American forces depart,” Buchanan said. U.S. Forces – Iraq officials are looking at many different options for the next year, he said. “The big idea is we want to get as much done as we can,” Buchanan said. “We don’t want to start withdrawing forces and closing bases now because that’s going to limit what we do.” American forces will probably stay at the current strength through early summer, Buchanan said. The troops are working to transition the police training capability, for example, to the State Department in advance of the withdrawal. Buchanan said the just-under 50,000 American forces now in Iraq also have two other missions to fulfill: conducting partnered counterterrorism operations and working the transition of the mission in the country to a State Department lead. Terrorism is still a problem in Iraq, with al-Qaida trying to stage a comeback, he said. “They have no support among the people,” the general said. “Their attacks continue. Al-Qaida is determined and they have never changed. But they have been degraded through the combined efforts of the Iraqi and American security forces.” Al-Qaida cannot attract money, Iraqis or foreign fighters to their cause, Buchanan said. Iraqi security forces have the security lead in the country and daily attack levels are at their lowest since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. “The ISF continues to do a good job and they continue to improve,” Buchanan said. Two agreements govern the relationship between the United States and Iraq, the general said. The first is the security agreement signed in 2008. Under that, all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of next year. “U.S. Forces Iraq’s mission will be completed and our troop presence will go to zero,” Buchanan said. “But this isn’t really an end, it’s a transition point based on the other agreement we signed: the Strategic Framework Agreement.” That agreement looks at the long-term relationship between the United States and Iraq in agriculture, economic development, governance, education, science and technology and security. The general called the effort a chance to build an “enduring partnership” that will outlast the presence of American forces in the nation. Morale of American forces in Iraq “is pretty high,” the general said. “They are making a difference, and you can see the effects of that difference day-to-day.” Service members who served in Iraq earlier -– especially in 2006 and 2007 -– see an amazing change in the country, he said. “I feel very optimistic about where the Iraqis are headed, because I know where they’re coming from,” Buchanan said. “I’ve seen their growth in quality and quantity over the years. They are getting better and better. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re not done.”last_img read more

UK regulators disclose combined approach to DC pensions regulation

first_imgHowever, to harmonise the regulatory approach for the FCA’s estimated 2.7m savers in contract schemes, and TPR’s 0.8m in trust schemes, the bodies have published a guide for trustees, advisers and DC providers.The guide is said to detail areas of common ground between the two bodies, as well as explain how both will ensure members are unaffected by the different regimes.Since the FCA’s regulatory approach includes a “multitude of financial services”, it was not deemed feasible to have identical approaches.However, both have identical expectations for scheme quality and member outcomes.“The regulators will take the lead on different kinds of activity, consistent with their respective regulatory remit, strategy and powers,” the report said.“TPR is more likely to take the lead where there are problems with an individual scheme, and the FCA is more likely to take the lead where the issue is caused by the pension provider.”“If there are potential implications for both regulators, they will agree who should take the lead and may undertake a joint investigation if appropriate.”Disjointed regulation between the two bodies has often been highlighted as a concern by think tanks, industry experts and backbench MPs in charge of scrutinising government pensions policy.However, despite this, pensions minister Steve Webb reiterated late last year that he had no plans for combining both bodies, or reforming the current system.Other arms of the government, including the Treasury, supported this view, as well as the former chairman at TPR, Michael O’Higgins, who said any merger would be “unwise”.On the launch of the guide, Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director for DC at TPR, said he saw no reason why the different types of schemes should ever deliver different outcomes.“However,” he added, “joined-up regulation is essential to build equal confidence in both types of scheme, and this guide clarifies the various ways in which we and the FCA work together to improve the quality of all DC schemes.”Director of policy at the FCA, Christopher Woolard, said: “As the new landscape takes shape, it is more important than ever that there be a consistent approach between the two regulators. The guide sets out how each of us will work to achieve that.” UK regulators have moved to tackle concerns of disjointed regulation for defined contribution (DC) pension schemes by publishing a guide highlighting each body’s focus and approach.The DC market is currently split between trust-based schemes, regulated by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), and insurance-based schemes, or contract schemes, which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).This is due to the legacy requirement for the FCA to monitor and regulate all entities that provide financial products, which includes contract DC schemes.A dual approach has led to concerns within the industry of DC savers being treated in a different manner, thus affecting overall member outcomes.last_img read more

Towers Watson’s Mansi promoted to CIO of delegated investment business

first_img“There are significant advantages to be gained by establishing a level playing field between alpha, smart beta and bulk beta investments, as well as by treating risk management as a source of value creation rather than only considering return generation.”Ford added: “In an increasing number of jurisdictions, our clients are asking us to augment their internal resources by taking on the responsibility for implementing part of or their entire portfolio through a delegated or outsourced CIO service.”Mansi was named European delegated CIO in 2011 as part of a move to establish a separate team for Towers Watson’s delegated business.It has since gone on to win clients including the Lafarge UK Pension Plan and the scheme for car manufacturer Jaguar. Towers Watson has promoted Chris Mansi, currently the consultancy’s European delegated CIO, to a global role in charge of all $60bn (€44.2bn) of delegated mandates.Mansi, who has been with the firm for 15 years, has been promoted alongside Craig Baker.Baker was previously global head of research at Towers Watson’s investment division, and has been named global CIO.Chris Ford, global head of investments, said the changes were about providing a competitive advantage to clients.last_img read more

Dutch consolidation forces Pensions Federation to cut jobs

first_imgThe Dutch Pensions Federation will have to make several of its employees redundant after cost-cutting efforts failed to achieve the results it hoped for. In its annual report, the Federation recorded a funding gap of 6%, citing falling revenues due to the declining number of pension funds in the Netherlands.It said a reorganisation set in motion last year had failed to rein in staff expenses.“Therefore,” it said, “the process will continue into 2015.” A spokesman for the industry organisation declined to specify how many jobs would be at stake.Last year, the Pensions Federation spent €230,000 to “streamline” its organisation.In its annual report, it said it was unable to estimate how much more it would spend on further reorganisation this year. It reported revenues of €5.9m last year, when the number of affiliated pension funds dropped from 258 to 240.However, membership fees fell at a lower rate, as the contribution level is based on assets under management, which has not decreased over the period.The Federation said it was also investigating whether its members needed guidance for their remuneration policy for board members, pensions providers and asset managers.last_img read more

Lawrence Nickell, 80

first_imgLawrence Nickell, 80, of Cross Plains passed away at 6:05pm Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Dearborn County Hospital in Lawrenceburg. He was born at Mize in Morgan County, Kentucky on July 1, 1936 the son of Virgil and Virginia Wood Nickell. Survivors include two sons Terry (Margie) Nickell, and Danny Nickell both of Cross Plains; one daughter Beverly (Ed) Hunt of Morrow, Ohio; 9 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; two brothers Clayton (Kay) Nickell, and Henry Nickell both of Cross Plains; three sisters Dorothy (Bill) Knigga of Florida, Lucille Nickell of Pleasant, and Nancy Nickell of Washington, Indiana. He was preceded in death by his parents. Mr. Nickell was an Army veteran of the Korean War where he served with the 19th Quartermaster Company.   For service to his country Lawrence received the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Ribbon, and the United Nations Service Medal. In civilian life Lawrence worked as a welder for over 30 years for Armco Steel. After retirement he did “house call” welding jobs in the Cross Plains community, drove a bus for the South Ripley schools, and enjoyed his horses. Lawrence was active in the Ripley County Republican party and served terms as a Ripley County Commissioner and also on the Ripley County Council. He was a member of the Versailles Masonic Lodge, the Versailles American Legion, and the Indianapolis Valley Scottish Rite. Lawrence’s wishes were to be cremated and a memorial service will be held on Friday, February 3rd at 7pm at the Bear Creek Baptist Church in Friendship with Rev. Sherman Hughes officiating. Visitation will be from 5pm until time of services. Memorials may be given to the Friendship Fire Department in care of the Stratton-Karsteter Funeral Home in Versailles.last_img read more

LA Lakers take steps back with 109-97 loss to Dallas

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One of the more popular people in Los Angeles took his dream job fielding no expectations on how short or long his rebuilding project would take.With Luke Walton guiding the Lakers to their best start in three years, however, he liked the early returns on his players’ work ethic, team mindset and ability to collect some upset victories. Nonetheless, Walton still held concerns, mindful that his foundation has not yet had time for the cement to dry.Hence, the Lakers’ 109-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Staples Center should not be that surprising. Walton found the team “played a little soft in the first half.” Lakers forward Julius Randle decried the team “didn’t have a killer instinct.” In other words, the Lakers (4-4) snapped a three-game winning streak and an unbeaten mark at home because of usual growing pains attributed to young teams.“We have to forget about it,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “The wins that we got, we talked about it that day, got over it and prepared for the next one. It’s the same thing with these losses. If we lose, get over it and prepare the best way you can for the next one.” “That’s a very well-coached and disciplined team that runs sets every time they’re down court,” Walton said. “It’s definitely harder to guard.”Meanwhile, the Lakers also took a step back offensively after previously ranking third overall in total points per game (110.3) and featuring five different players that have led the team in scoring.Jordan Clarkson (22 points), Nick Young (20 ), Lou Williams (15 points), Randle (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Russell (12 points, seven assists, five rebounds) still gave the Lakers some balanced offense. But Walton found the Lakers’ ball movement stopped against Dallas’ zone defense. Young faded after scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Russell also went scoreless in the first half and took only one shot, though he attributed that more to defensive coverages.“If they’re open, I try to make that pass,” Russell said. “If not, I try to attack.”The Lakers will try to do the same thing, intent on making Walton happy with their progress despite their latest hiccup.center_img Despite the Mavericks (2-5) nursing key injuries to Deron Williams (left calf strain), Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) and Devin Harris (right toe strain), Walton considered Dallas “more dangerous for the short term” because the depleted rotation provided a “great opportunity for players that are hungry to play and earn minutes to prove they should be getting in the rotation.”Walton still remembered how the Lakers lost Game 6 in their first-round matchup against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 playoffs despite Raja Bell’s one-game suspension. It still stayed fresh in his mind that the Lakers upset the Golden State Warriors last year when he served as an assistant there while Kobe Bryant sat out with an injury.This time, the Mavericks gave the Lakers problems by exposing something still prevalent during their recent progress. The Lakers allowed five players to crack double-figures, including Harrison Barnes (31 points), Seth Curry (22 points), Justin Anderson (11 points) and Dwight Powell (10 points). The Lakers committed 16 turnovers. And the Lakers decried the absence of forward Larry Nance Jr. because of a concussion.“He does all the little things and we could’ve used that tonight,” Randle said. “We can definitely take that for granted.”Nonetheless, those developments exposed the Lakers’ early weaknesses thus far. They entered Tuesday’s game allowing 108 points per contest and ranking last in the NBA in turnovers (18).last_img read more