Jouko Pölönen, Ilmarinen’s chief executive officer, said: “In the second quarter, Ilmarinen’s investment portfolio yielded 5.9% and solvency strengthened to 124% as the equity markets recovered rapidly from the dramatic stock price plummet caused by the corona pandemic earlier in the year.”Equity investments ended the six-month period with a -4.2% return and fixed income investments finished with a -2.9% return, he said, while alternative assets turned out to be the best performers generating a positive result of 10.6%, and real estate returned 1.8%.The total result for the pension fund – which is the largest of the four mutual pension insurance companies in Finland’s earnings-related pension scheme – was -€1.1bn, compared with the €931m profit registered at last year’s halfway point.Total assets fell to €48.8bn at the end of June from €50.5bn the end of last year.Pölönen said “strong development” in cost-effectiveness had continued in the first half and operating expenses financed using loading income declined by €7m from the corresponding period last year.Commenting on the pandemic, Pölönen said Finland had been successful in limiting human suffering during the first wave of the pandemic, but acknowledged that the virus continued to spread globally, with a “worrying growth trend” in infection figures in some European countries.“A key factor in terms of future development is how well a resurgence of the virus can be prevented without extensive lockdown measures, which would exacerbate the economic crisis and unemployment,” said Pölönen.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. Ilmarinen reported a 2% loss on its investment portfolio in the first half of this year, and the Finnish pensions insurance company warned full-year contribution inflows would be much lower than last year because of effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.Releasing its January-to-June financial report, Ilmarinen said premiums written fell to €2.7bn from €2.9bn in the same period last year, as a result of an increase in temporary layoffs and a temporary discount to the statutory TyEL contributions from employers.Commenting on the outlook for the full year, the pension provider said: “Owing to growing unemployment and the temporary discount on employers’ TyEL contributions, premiums written will fall considerably year-on-year.”Investment returns ended the first half in the red for the Helsinki-based institution, despite having rebounded between April and June.
According to a report in the Trinidad and Tobago newspaper, Newsday, Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, has declared one tourist is more valuable than a barrel of oil.Speaking at the Stakeholders’ Appreciation Cocktails for the 2017 Stay to Get Away campaign held at the Chaquacabana Resort and Beach Club, Chaguanas recently, she said her ministry is in the process of setting mandatory standards for the sector.Regulator for tourism sectorCudjoe said consultations are being held on a regulator for the tourism sector –Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Regulatory and Licensing Authority. She said, however, the Tourism Industry Certification program had not lapsed and would continue until the authority comes on board. Cudjoe said the difference is moving from voluntary standards to mandatory standards.“We cannot for one moment believe in 2017 that we could stand up next to a Barbados or a Bahamas or a Jamaica without having very basic mandatory standards to guide the industry. If we are serious about tourism and growing and having proper quality of our product you would get on board.”She said there have been stakeholders who have been “very loud and clear” about not wanting a regulatory authority but she said Government is serious about implementing mandatory standards.“Because there is absolutely no way we are going to continue to call for more marketing, (say) market Trinidad and Tobago and then when the tourists get here what about the quality of our product? That could redound all our marketing efforts to naught. We go out there and say ‘come, it’s nice, it’s perfect’ and when you get here you have problems at certain hotels where I won’t call by name (but) they wouldn’t clean a room for a couple of days.”Much to be doneShe referred to travel site Tripadvisor and the types of comments about this country and said, “We cannot be serious about improving our numbers and our profile and going out and market and there is much to be done.”Cudjoe said some people were waiting for oil prices to go back up and will do so until they are grey but “we have to play with what in front of us.”She said tourism can positively impact different sectors and bring in foreign exchange. “One tourist is more valuable than a barrel of oil.”Tourists more predictable than oilShe explained a tourist has to eat and spend money and is therefore more predictable than a barrel of oil.Cudjoe said the ministry plans to extend to a bigger market in the Caribbean and will continue regional advertisements and a more aggressive marketing strategy.She also cautioned new tourism stakeholders they must ensure safety and security, preserve the environment and maintain an international standard.Read more on Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Tourism: https://www.caribbeannationalweekly.com/caribbean-breaking-news-featured/tt-tourism-minister-racks-59000-phone-bill-four-days/