AEG’s Don Strasburg Gifts Hundreds Of Free Concert Tickets To Teachers

first_imgIt’s been a particularly tough month for teachers following the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, now one of the deadliest school massacres in history. In the massacre’s wake, a national conversation about gun control—one spurred and led by some of the surviving high school students and teachers as well as victims’ family members—has been reignited. Considering the Parkland shooting’s heartwrenching location, these debates have expanded to include a discussion about the role of educators. In particular, there have been calls to arm teachers and other school personnel—calls that have been rebuffed by educators across the country.As the co-president and senior talent buyer for AEG Live Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, Don Strasburg has built a name for himself as a power player in the music industry. After opening the Fox Theatre and rising to prominence as one of the top promoters West of the Mississippi, Strasburg has become the mastermind and talent buyer behind countless Red Rocks Amphitheatre shows as well as the annual end-of-summer Phish run at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Colorado.On Sunday night, in light of the tragedy at MSD High Schools and its aftermath, Strasburg wrote a simple post on Facebook: “Hey any school teachers friends of mine here? i’d like to stoke some of you with some comp tickets. You sure deserve a lot of love.” In the short time since he wrote his post, the prominent promoter has received and fulfilled hundreds of ticket requests from teachers, with the requests continuing to flood in as the post circulates.As Strasburg explained on the phone:I’ve been thinking a lot about everything that’s going on with teachers and with schools—obviously thinking the same thing that all of the country has been thinking about. Being in a position where we engage a lot with our community, it’s been nagging me: Is there anything we can do? On Sunday night, I had an epiphany that the least we could do is thank some teachers, for god’s sakes. Teachers are underpaid, incredibly talented people who are taking care of the most important thing in any parent’s lives, their children. On top of it now, they have to have some level of concern for their safety, and our dingbat president is telling them they should carry guns to school and become police. I mean, what type of messed up world do live in?I have an eight-year-old son who has fabulous teachers, and I know that they are so important to the most important person in my life. To think about everything they’ve been going through in the past few weeks or months or years, the least thing we can do is reach out a hand and say thank you. You know, reach out a hand and say thank you and give them something to make their lives better, to let them know that we care and we appreciate them.Strasburg’s simple attempt to brighten a few educators’ days seems to be having an impact, both on grateful teachers and others in the music industry who have embraced the idea. For example, Ryan Noel—festival director for Colorado’s Beanstalk Music Festival, tour manager for The Disco Biscuits, and Denver school administrator—was inspired by the message. While he may not have the same extensive resources, yesterday he similarly offered up a number of first-come-first-serve tickets to Beanstalk in June. By phone, Noel illuminated his decision to mirror Strasburg’s actions:I’ve been working in education since I was a junior in college in 2008. I went to Arizona State University. I worked with at-risk youth, helping them after school with mentor sessions, and then I coached basketball for a while. I graduated, moved here to Denver, and same thing, got right back into it and got a Masters in education. I was working at universities and then I got into this elementary school, and I’ve been there for five years.When I saw Don’s post, I know what it’s like to be overworked and underpaid. I mean, that goes across the board in a lot of industries, but it’s especially hard when you’re basically taking care of other people’s children, and the expectations are so high, and you’re frequently not appreciated. It’s just really hard to be an educator these days. Though Beanstalk is very limited on resources, even comping ten passes, it’s the least that I can do for people that don’t get a lot of thank yous and good jobs to make them feel a little bit better for what they’re doing for our community.It’s wonderful to see teachers being appreciated, and hopefully this initial small action will inspire other promoters and artists to show educators the love they deserve. Strasburg offered his thoughts on more people in the music industry taking a page out his book:I can’t keep this going forever, but I’m going to take care of as many people as I can, and hopefully, it’d be wonderful if some other people did it. That wasn’t my original intent—it was just to do something nice and tell a bunch of people who aren’t appreciated nearly enough that they are. If other people want to follow suit, god bless. All the better.last_img read more

A spot to savor in Kresge Cafeteria

first_img Read Full Story The deep pink of watermelon, the sharp crunch of carrots, the cool scent of fresh mint—these are some of the things that Lilian Cheung is hoping people will focus on while eating at the Harvard School of Public Health’s new “Mindful Eating Corner” in Kresge Cafeteria.Cheung, lecturer and director of health promotion and communication in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, and editorial director of HSPH’s Nutrition Source website, came up with the idea to set aside a special spot in the cafeteria for mindful eating to raise awareness of its benefits. Eating mindfully means choosing a healthy mix of foods; savoring colors, smells, and textures; chewing slowly; and thinking appreciatively about how the food was grown and produced. Cheung says eating mindfully can lead to healthier food choices, can reduce the tendency to overeat, and can help people enjoy their food more and feel more satisfied with smaller amounts.“The important thing is to eat beyond just taste,” said Cheung. “With mindful eating, we eat with all of our senses.”Thanks to support from Sebastian’s Café general manager Frances Fahy and Cheung’s nutrition department colleagues, a previously nondescript round corner table in Kresge Cafeteria is now outfitted with a large poster, a table tent, and handouts that explain the basics of mindful eating. One side of the handouts lists the “7 Habits of a Mindful Eater,” such as “Engage in all six senses” and “Eat a plant-based diet.”last_img read more

American Owners of Liverpool Soccer Team Announce Intention to Sell

first_imgBy Dialogo April 19, 2010 The American owners of the Liverpool Football Club, Tom Hicks y George Gillett, in a statement issued Friday, have announced their intention to sell the Premier League club in an operation supervised by Martin Broughton, currently chairman of British Airways. Broughton will supervise the “formal sale process” launched by Hicks and Gillett and will be advised by the bank Barclays Capital, according to the statement. “I will run this sale process in the right way, for the benefit of the club and its fans. Liverpool is one of the world’s greatest clubs, and my aim is to try and ensure that we find new owners who are able to build on the club’s recent improved financial performance in order to help deliver sporting success,” Broughton said. The club did not specify the buyers’ identity, but affirmed that there had been “numerous expressions of interest from third parties.” Since the two U.S. businessmen bought the team in 2007, Liverpool has accumulated debts worth 237 million pounds (270 million euros). Before deciding to sell, Hicks and Gillett tried at the beginning of the year to find an investor who could put up a stake of 100 million pounds. The club’s financial difficulties have led to the indefinite postponement of the construction of a new stadium and to a significant drop in player signings, a policy that has put the fans in opposition to the owners. In the statement, Liverpool emphasized the positive financial results of the Hicks-Gillett era, with an increase of 55% in overall income and of 60% in profits before player trades. On the sports side, Liverpool is not having a good season, and after having been eliminated from the Champions League, is fighting for fourth place in the Premier League, which would give the team access to the Champions League next year.last_img read more

Nicaragua Seeks to Modernize its Naval Force in the Caribbean

first_img Nicaragua is seeking to modernize its Naval Force, to reinforce its control over the area obtained in the Caribbean Sea after the border demarcation with Colombia was approved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), President Daniel Ortega said on August 13. “We are looking for more resources for the Naval Force, since the area we have to cover is much bigger now,” due to the ICJ ruling, which defined the Nicaraguan maritime borders with Colombia in the Caribbean Sea, Ortega stated during a ceremony commemorating the Navy’s 33rd anniversary. By Dialogo August 15, 2013 Ahead of potential fears by countries such as Costa Rica and Colombia, Ortega said that “it is not to harm the sister nations, but to confront drug trafficking and organized crime.” The Nicaraguan maritime territory, which was contained in the 82nd meridian that Colombia recognized as its border, was increased to over 90,000 km2 by the ICJ. center_img The head of state said that the modernization “is a matter of security” for the country, since most of the maritime territory “demands more and better naval means for patrolling the area; means with more autonomy to penetrate the area and conduct surveillance, as well as counter organized crime and drug trafficking.” The Army Commander added that they have visited different factories or shipyards where some vessels are manufactured to evaluate prices. The Naval Force, one of the three branches of the Army, has not renewed its fleet since 2000, according to military authorities.last_img read more

The Red Cross CEO Has Been Serially Misleading About Where Donors’ Dollars Are Going

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This story was co-produced with NPR.The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors’ money. “We’re very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that’s donated goes to our services,” Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern said in a speech in Baltimore last year. “That’s world class, obviously.”McGovern has often repeated that figure, which has also appeared on the charity’s website. “I’m really proud” that overhead expenses are so low, she told a Cleveland audience in June.The problem with that number: It isn’t true.After inquiries by ProPublica and NPR, the Red Cross removed the statement from its website. The Red Cross said the claim was not “as clear as it could have been, and we are clarifying the language.”The Red Cross declined repeated requests to say the actual percentage of donor dollars going to humanitarian services.But the charity’s own financial statements show that overhead expenses are significantly more than what McGovern and other Red Cross officials have claimed.In recent years, the Red Cross’ fundraising expenses alone have been as high as 26 cents of every donated dollar, nearly three times the nine cents in overhead claimed by McGovern. In the past five years, fundraising expenses have averaged 17 cents per donated dollar.But even that understates matters. Once donated dollars are in Red Cross hands, the charity spends additional money on “management and general” expenses, which includes things like back office accounting. That means the portion of donated dollars going to overhead is even higher.Just how high is impossible to know because the Red Cross doesn’t break down its spending on overhead and declined ProPublica and NPR’s request to do so.The difference between the real number and the one the Red Cross has been repeating “would be very stark,” says Daniel Borochoff of the watchdog group CharityWatch. “They don’t want to be embarrassed.”Charities are closely scrutinized for how much they spend on overhead rather than programs that serve the public. Studies show that donors prefer to give money to organizations that spend more of their money on services. While there is a debate about the usefulness of overhead spending as a measure of performance, charities regularly celebrate having low figures.The 17 percent the Red Cross has spent on average for fundraising expenses is below the ceilings set by nonprofit watchdogs. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, for example, says that fundraising expenses should not exceed 35 percent of related contributions.McGovern, a former Harvard Business School marketing professor, has faced criticism within the Red Cross for a focus on branding over delivery of services. ProPublica and NPR recently reported that Red Cross officials on the ground after Superstorm Sandy saw disaster relief resources diverted for public relations purposes. The charity has also been facing deficits and layoffs. As a result, McGovern has been pushing to increase the Red Cross’ annual fundraising.The incorrect 91-cent figure has been used by McGovern in at least four speeches and written statements since last year, and other Red Cross officials have used it repeatedly to potential donors around the country.After being contacted by ProPublica and NPR, the charity changed the wording on its website to another formulation it frequently uses: that 91 cents of every dollar the charity “spends” goes to humanitarian services.But that too is misleading to donors.That is because of the unusual structure of the Red Cross. Most of what the Red Cross does is take donated blood and sell it to health care providers. Of the more than $3 billion that the Red Cross spent last year, two-thirds was spent not on disaster relief but rather on the group’s blood business.The charity spent $2.2 billion on the blood business, most of which went to employee wages and benefits. By contrast, the charity spent $467 million, or 14 percent of total spending, on its famous domestic disaster response programs, including the expensive Sandy relief effort.Nonprofit experts say that in combining the blood business spending with disaster relief spending, the Red Cross is painting a confusing picture of its operations for donors.“It probably has the effect of making the Red Cross look better than it actually is,” says Jack Siegel, a lawyer who runs the consulting firm Charity Governance.If the Red Cross split its blood business from the rest of the charity, “their ratios would look worse. So they don’t want to do that,” says Borochoff of CharityWatch.The Red Cross manages to hit its 91 cents target with remarkable consistency. Year in and year out, overhead and fundraising costs amount to about nine cents of every dollar spent. That also raises the eyebrows of experts.“The simple-minded question is: how is it possible with different donations, changing revenues from blood business and different disasters, that every single year it is an average of 91 cents of every dollar spent?” asks Rob Reich, a nonprofit expert from Stanford University. “It seems to fly in the face at the very least of common sense.”Other figures the Red Cross frequently cites also appear to be unreliable.The Red Cross says that it served 17.5 million meals and snacks during the Sandy relief effort. It has used that number in responses to inquiries from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.But multiple current and former staffers and volunteers raise questions about the accuracy of those numbers.During major disasters, the Red Cross often counts meals that are prepared as meals served, according to 11 people ProPublica spoke with. (Most spoke to ProPublica on the condition of anonymity because they still worked for the Red Cross or feared alienating the charity.) That difference is important because large volumes of meals that are prepared are ultimately not served, but rather thrown out because of poor planning and the chaotic nature of disasters.One former staffer, from a chapter in Massachusetts says, “The idea that the numbers are based on people getting the meals is ludicrous,” adding that “there’s no mechanism to report how much is actually served.”The Red Cross told ProPublica and NPR that it stands by its public “meals served” numbers and says it has a policy in place to count them. It provided us with forms volunteers are required to fill out to track meals.“If we become aware of anyone who failed to follow written Red Cross policies and procedures, we retrain them,” the charity said.But Richard Rieckenberg, a top Red Cross official during the relief effort, says, “The issue is whether or not they were carrying out this policy during Sandy.”“Sandy was different,” he says. “I was only asked how many meals were prepared each day and so I began to think that [headquarters was] not interested in the actual meal count.” He says that in the early days of Sandy, the wasted meals amounted to 30 percent.Others were even more blunt. “They just want to know how many meals are made. Whatever they make is the number that gets reported,” says an official involved in the Sandy effort to feed, house and shelter people. This official said this had been “business normal” for years.Red Cross volunteers and staffers say over-counting meals served is commonplace partly because disaster responders are less experienced than in the past.An internal Red Cross “Lessons Learned” presentation previously reported on by ProPublica and NPR notes that the charity’s efforts after Sandy and Isaac were  hindered by “lack of trained managers and leaders.”The presentation also says that food waste was ” excessive” because of “kitchen manager inexperience,” “political pressures,” and “poor communication.”One volunteer during the Sandy response says he was “instructed to count every snack set out as served, and we just opened a box, and that was how many were served that day.”“The problem is that it is so hard to count waste. They probably never got an accurate count so they went with what they ordered,” says Sharon Hawa, a former Red Cross staffer who worked on feeding Sandy victims.Hawa says that she still loves the Red Cross, which she described as indispensable. “Whether it’s 17 million or 17,000 [meals served], I think as a country we should be proud that there’s an organization that can provide that level of care.”Read about how the Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac in PR Over People: The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster.Can you help us with our Red Cross reporting? Learn how to share a tip or email justin@propublica.org.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

Tocolo Cantina: Upscale Mexican in Garden City

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Chef Alexis Samayoa worries that patrons will expect stereotypical Mexican food when visiting his restaurant in Garden City, Tocolo Cantina. Busy Long Islanders, he fears, will favor a quick and easy taco or burrito over his upscale fare.Samayoa recently opened his 98-seat hotspot in hopes that locals have discovered a sense of pleasure in eating, especially flavors from south of the border. But, as I walked in and found a table in the dining room adorned with retro wood paneling, green copper and tile, I realized that a glimmer of the chef’s New York City inspired food flair has found its way to the isle.The Yucateco ($12), a mango, habanero chile, red onion and red bell pepper guacamole, which hit the table first, was split with a friend over homemade chips. They are warm and magical. A pleasant surprise to start the evening.A large, 10-seat-wide bar stood against the opposite wall, stocked with an abundance of tequila, mezcal, gin, vodka and other spirits, making the restaurant seem even larger at first glance from my corner booth. I skipped the margaritas after only sips and traded in for the chef’s special “happy juice,” a sweet sangria that hits the mark.One party at the center communal table seemed to be having a similar epiphany with pitchers in abundance. The manager tells us the cork board panels above are meant to counter the noisy buzz, which tends to fill new restaurants. The steady flow of wandering nomads from Westbury Plaza can surely be counted on to test their new soundproof ceiling.Tangy arugula ($11) and tenderly sweet green kale salads ($12) are placed on the table by our waitress, who remained attentive throughout the meal with tidbits of information about co-owners Lloyd Rosenman, Todd Birnbaum and Coby Rejwan, whose earlier years in northern California inspired the photography on the walls.I can see the chef spotted me from the open kitchen already and watches as I bite into one of a pair of lamb tacos ($12)—perhaps my favorite dish of the evening. I ask the waitress for the recipe, but am told it may be too difficult for the average home cook to prepare. Alas, the secret remains just that.The chicken ($9) and al pastor ($9) tacos are also nice, but the latter is better and more flavorful. I am still reeling from the lamb tacos and the slice of pineapple which topped the al pastor tacos minutes into the next entree. Every ingredient is chosen specifically for its ability to enhance its counterparts and the pineapple, which burst with flavor in my mouth, was imported from Hawaii for its intensity.Samayoa attributes years of tutelage under WD-50 chef Wylie Dufresne, and Empellón’s Alex Stupak, for the bold splashy tastes and presentation on display at his restaurant.And so, I’m expecting a scallop ($14) and snapper ceviche ($14) next, to match the previous dish’s efforts but am underwhelmed by their subtlety despite the array of beautiful colors that fill the plate. The prickly pear crunch is a bit off putting for non-native eaters alongside the tender scallops, which are in the dishes defense, cooked perfectly, but yearning for the bite that tends to accustom bolder ceviches. The snapper is acidic and has a kick—balanced only by slices of cool avocado.I could forego the fact that the blue corn tortilla quesadilla ($11) with chihuahua cheese, green chillies and salsa pasilla (a smoky, somewhat fruity Oaxacan sauce), didn’t have chicken in it after biting into some of the better and more authentic quesadillas I’ve had in my life. Perhaps Tocolo Cantina is Long Island’s most authentic Mexican restaurant?A somewhat messy dish followed by another messy fundidos tray was enough for me to be covered in a bevy of sauces. Not an unpleasant experience.The rest of my party made haste of the larger plates, setting their sights on dessert even after being delivered a platter of hanger steak ($28) and fideos ($28), what seems to be a Mexican paella of fried noodle, chorizo, clams and shrimp. I pick the shellfish off for myself, nearly mistaking the large shrimp for prawns.No one said no to the tres leches cake ($8), a delicate dessert with tender mango and kiwi sprinkled over its top, or the churros ($8). With the check were two complimentary hot chocolate shots, not meant to be an actual gulp, but a sweet end to a filling feast.Tocolo Cantina, 920 Old Country Rd., Garden City. 516-222-0060. tocolocantina.comVERY GOOD LOCALE Quite large, and inviting 98-seat restaurant that caters to larger parties with booths that ring around the corners of the restaurant and two larger communal tables for parties. Seats are available at tables for smaller parties of two. Full wheelchair access.PRICE POINT Prices range from $8-$12 for small plates and $18-$31 for larger entrees. All desserts are fixed at $8 each.RECOMMENDATIONS Yucateco, snapper ceviche, quesadilla, lamb tacos, al pastor tacos, pollo asado, parilla, churros, and tres leches. To drink: “happy juice” sangria, Mango Habanero Margarita and Smokey Y El Bandito.HOURS Lunch: Sunday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner: Sunday to Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 3 to 11 p.m.RATING Excellent, Very Good, Good, Decent, Not Worth Visiting.last_img read more

Good neighbours

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

PREMIUMJakarta sees fewer cases of dengue fever

first_imgFacebook Topics : Log in with your social account Forgot Password ? LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Google Linkedin The Jakarta Health Agency is expecting fewer cases of the mosquito-borne dengue fever this year.Heavy rain has continued to batter Jakarta in the past couple of weeks as the rainy season continues. This is also the time when dengue-bearing mosquitos are most active.According to Jakarta Health Agency head Widyastuti, 434 dengue fever cases have been reported in the capital as of Feb. 17. Of the figure, 120 were found in East Jakarta, 108 cases in South Jakarta, 106 in West Jakarta, 69 cases in North Jakarta, 27 cases in Central Jakarta and four cases in the Thousand Islands.”Dengue fever is endemic to Jakarta, which means it will always see new cases every year,” Widyastuti told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a national meeting between the Health Ministry and local agencies on Wednesday. “We hope to keep the cases under control this year.”The city… #dengue dengue-fever dengue Jakarta-Health-Agency #Jakarta rainy-season #rainy-seasonlast_img read more

Franco-Dutch mouse takes on Netherlands Railways

first_imgANNOUNCEMENT by Compagnie Générale d’Entreprises Automobiles on July 4 that it had acquired a 70% stake in the independent Dutch operator Lovers Rail confirms beyond all doubt that the French company is seeking to become a major player in providing contracted rail passenger services across Europe.From humble beginnings running branch line services in Brittany and the trams in Rouen, plus some contracted freight services on the French national network, CGEA’s rail activity has grown rapidly with the acquisition of two large commuter franchises in Britain (Connex South Eastern and Connex South Central). Owned by a large utilities group, CGEA also has a majority interest in Deutsche Eisenbahn Gesellschaft in Germany and is busy looking for opportunities elsewhere – among the more unlikely targets is Gabon State Railways, which is due to be concessioned by the end of this year.The CGEA-Lovers tie-up gives the Dutch company the financial clout to invest in more rolling stock so that it can compete more effectively against Netherlands Railways under the embryonic Dutch open access regime. It has recently secured permission from the Department of Transport to operate on the Leiden – Den Haag CS (17 km), Utrecht – Hilversum (17 km) and Amsterdam – Haarlem (14 km) routes. It proposes to run half-hourly services on all three routes from June next year and it also plans to continue the Amsterdam – IJmuiden service it has run this year.Lovers also had permission this year to run tourist specials from Amsterdam to Lisse for the Keukenhof bulb fields using historic rolling stock – but this attempt failed as no suitable trains were available.Last year Lovers had sought permission to run a Randstad Express service from Utrecht to Hilversum, Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Leiden, Den Haag and Rotterdam, but the request was turned down because Railned said there was no spare capacity on some sections of the route.To attract passengers to its services Lovers says it will provide audio-visual travel information on board, advanced seat reservations, carriage of bicycles for ’hardly any extra charge’, plus cheaper tickets for standees. The seat reservations and standee arrangements seem strange, as no trip on the three routes takes longer than 20min. Tickets and reservations will only be available from stations along the Lovers routes, and NS has no plans for through ticketing.Whether these offerings will suffice to woo passengers off NS services will only be known in the course of time. At the moment NS runs a 10min interval service offering 2500 seats /h in each direction between Amsterdam and Haarlem; on the Hilversum route it has a 15min service with 800 seats/h each way; between Den Haag and Leiden there are 12 trains and 3300 seats/h each way. Lovers’ routes are short and isolated, which will not help in making efficient use of rolling stock – it is currently hunting for a fleet of 1·5 kV trains able to run at 140 km/h. It may in the future try and bridge the gaps in its licensed routes and so work towards its objective of a Randstad Express route. It seems that Transport Minister Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebink is desperate to have some competition to prove that third parties can do as well as NS or better. Yet a majority of Dutch MPs opposes the introduction of competition on the core network, mainly because NS makes up losses incurred by running local trains with the profits from its main lines, and the fear is that NS will reduce or withdraw local services if its profitable traffic is creamed off by competitors.Last month CGEA told the Dutch media that it ’did not think this little mouse will grow into a big tiger, but we will certainly try to offer competitive service at a better price.’ olast_img read more

Industry-wide schemes plan €4.4bn merger

first_imgThe €1.3bn timber sector fund has been searching for a merger partner for several yearsMeubel would also keep its two-tier board structure, which would be extended with an employer seat on behalf of Houthandel, according to Lex Raadgever, chairman of the timber trade scheme.Representatives of Houthandel’s participants would also be appointed to Meubel’s accountability body (VO), which represents the scheme’s members.Both pension funds have outsourced their pensions administration to IT firm Centric, having both been forced to replace Syntrus Achmea following the provider’s decision in 2016 to cease services to industry-wide schemes.Meubel’s assets are managed by SEI and Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance (SAREF). BlackRock is the scheme’s fiduciary adviser and Cardano runs its liability-driven investments.BMO Asset Management and SAREF are Houthandel’s asset managers.Meubel’s De Bruijn said that asset management at the merged scheme would be restructured. However, she could not yet provide clarity about the effects for both pension funds.Houthandel had already been considering a merger with the sector scheme for the trade in building materials (Hibin) in 2017, as both employer organisations were discussing a merger. However, as the envisaged co-operation didn’t materialise, the merger between the two pension funds was also called off. The €1.3bn Dutch sector scheme for the timber trade (Houthandel) is to join the €3.1bn industry-wide pension fund for the furniture sector (Meubel).Both schemes and their respective unions and employer organisations have signed a declaration of intent that would result in Houthandel’s liquidation, they announced today.Houthandel and Meubel have been in negotiations since early last year, with the latter wanting to grow, whereas the former reported that it was too small to carry on independently.If regulator De Nederlandsche Bank approves the collective value transfer, Meubel’s membership will grow to 127,000. Petra de Bruijn, chair of Meubel, said that it was exactly the right moment for the value transfer, as the funding of Houthandel (109.3%) and Meubel (108.6%) were almost equal.The pension funds said the merged scheme would retain a single pension plan, while offering choice on the contribution level, accrual rate, and the amount of salary exempt from pensions accrual.last_img read more