‘No support’ for solvency agenda in IORP II, rapporteur says

first_imgThe MEP steering the updated IORP Directive through the European Parliament has said there is no support for reviving solvency requirements within the legislation.Brian Hayes, an Irish MEP in the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), was speaking at an Economic and Monetary Affairs committee hearing on the IORP Directive.The parliamentarian is expected to submit his report on the Directive before the summer, but in speaking to fellow MEPs, said reinstating the issue of solvency for pension schemes had no support.Hayes also said the requirement for cross-border schemes to be fully funded would need to be “seriously looked at”, should the EU strive for more than the 86 funds created since the original IORP Directive. Questions around solvency requirements were also raised by MEPs during the session with Hayes and industry representatives, including PensionsEurope chairman Joanne Segars, Clifford Chance pensions lawyer Hans van Meerten and aba chief executive Klaus Stiefermann.Hayes said the Commission and parliamentarians should be “unapologetic” for using the IORP Directive to create a “gold standard” of pensions regulation across the European Union, but stressed he was in favour of leaving implementation to member states.He said: “Rather than seeing this piece of legislation as an imposition, we really should [be] unapologetic in looking for a gold standard of protection across the board.“If we [allow member state implementation] we will not cut across the excellent provisions currently in place, but ensure for other countries and schemes joining, that the standard is in place.”Hayes also said he has seen broad support for the Directive across both the Union and the industry, and said the updates and consolidation of the legislation was “good house keeping”.“Colleagues have alluded to the solvency requirements, but the fact is the issue is off the agenda and there is no support for putting it back on,” he said.“It is crucially important there is a need for this legislation consolidation and a need to get this right.”Responding to questions from MEPs, Hans van Meerten of Clifford Chance, said while Solvency II for pension funds was not necessary, capital requirement harmonisation was required to prevent regulatory arbitratge between member states.He cited examples of Dutch pension funds shifting their location to Belgium in order to work under a less onerous regulatory and capital intensive system, something considered by DuPont de Nemours, Aon, ExxonMobil and Johnson & Johnson.Van Meerten said capital requirements would be forced upon schemes in one form or another so it was better to have these universally applied through the Directive, where the industry could assist in designing them.He also said given the wide legal view on cross-border funds, the Directive should use a ‘level of solidarity’ mechanism to determine if a scheme is truly cross-border or simply being use for regulatory arbitrage.Hayes, who was appointed as rapporteur in January, previously said the new Directive should not “unpick” the current pensions systems in Europe and would not be rushed.last_img read more

ESI in Katowice: Michal ‘CARMAC’ Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL

first_imgOn a cold yet vitalising Friday morning in Katowice Poland, only a few hours before the official opening ceremony, Esports Insider sat down with one of esports’ most relentless and hard working individuals. Michal ‘CARMAC’ Blicharz is Vice President Pro Gaming at ESL. For the past six years, Carmac has lead the Intel Extreme Masters program and has grown the IEM brand into arguably the world’s most prestigious competition holding the longest standing partnership between two brands in the history of esports.ESI: Please tell us about your first experience in esports?Michal “CARMAC” BlicharzMichal ‘CARMAC’ Blicharz: My first real esports experience was when they showed me the demo for, I don’t remember the order, either Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament. I was completely fascinated by the idea of being in a virtual space. You teleport into a completely different universe with somebody else who’s not in the physical space next to you, playing with you, and you’re both trying figuring it out. That’s the very first, let’s say on a micro-level, esports experience I’ve had. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated.The next thing that really fascinated me was the ability to explore the depths of the game and every tiny little thing that could possibly give you an advantage. Exploring it in a way where you’re actively looking for that advantage. “Kids today, they just look at YouTube videos and everything is given to them on a silver platter” The other thing is you explore the depths of a game, but unknowingly, you’re exploring the depths of yourself. It’s one of the most beautiful things in esports because it’s such a great tool for self expression.ESI: Do you think that type of discovery and looking at the depths and finding the limits of your skill cap, does that come from your Judo background?Michal: In Judo, it was different, because I was coached. I was being told what, and how to do things. Obviously, you’re given the tools in Judo, and then you figure out how to combine them to have the best effect that suits you and your particular style and character. In esports, I was developing the tools myself and then figuring out that blend. Nobody had a blueprint and that was what made the ride a little bit more compelling. Not that I dislike Judo or anything, I still practice and it’s a fascinating discipline. I found esports and UT, in particular, a little bit more compelling because it was such a blank slate and you could write anything on it.ESI: What has driven you all these years?Michal: I’m a weird blend of competitive perfectionist and I like to entertain people as well. “I really enjoy creating something that has an effect on other people” What I love the most is actually a good prank, a really good prank that is based on misinformation. If you create a prank, you create an alternate reality in somebody’s mind. They think that something else is happening than what is actually happening and they are completely bamboozled. That’s what I enjoy the most on that spectrum. I love creating experiences for people, be it … to make a little joke, to draw something on a piece of paper that is enjoyable, to maybe record a video of some kind, or design a stadium.ESI: Talking about videos, what was it like to record the No Doubt video for your wife’s birthday?Michal: No Doubt “Don’t Speak” is and inside joke with my wife. I used to troll her by singing it. At the time I lost a bet and as part of losing I received a cap of 25 Euro for getting her a present. I decided to give her one completely for free. I decided to go all out and embarrass myself as much as possible and the guys from the office made, for the amount of effort that we put into that, a fantastic music video.ESI: I’m surprised not many people know about it. I’ve been showing people around the event all weekend, so you might get that question a lot.Michal: Thanks for that.ESI: More than welcome.Michal: People actually think I’m not wearing underwear in the last shot, but I am. I promise I am.ESI: Moving quickly on….can you tell us about the relocation to LA ?Michal: The reason why we went to the US is because I needed to challenge myself in a different environment, in another country before going back home. I wanted to do something good in esports over there and I did. It’s looking good.ESI: IEM ESL and Intel have been together forever, how did the relationship with Intel start and how do you maintain it?Michal: Intel has been a partner of ESL since 2001 or something in one capacity or another. The global partnership with Intel started in, I believe, 2008, 2007 with Intel Extreme Masters when Intel decided to sponsor and improve what we were doing and have stayed around ever since.This partnership has been ongoing on for 12 years now and, by a decade, breaking the record at Intel for a global marketing program duration. They have never had, “a campaign” that is even half this long. It’s unprecedented at Intel to see something go on for this long. You can’t really argue with the results though, can you?At this point, with some people at Intel, all we need is a look and a wink and we both know what’s happening and what we’re doing. It’s a relationship built on trust. Obviously, you can’t work hand in hand with somebody for so long without trust. They trusted us in coming to Katowice for the first time when nobody had done an event dedicated to esports in a venue of this size. “We held hands together and jumped off a cliff”It turned out, we could fly, but it could have been a very different story. It took a lot of bravery on their behalf to trust us. On our end, we’ve accommodated Intel as much as possible. We, let’s call it, pushed the way you do content marketing for brands.People don’t know how much Intel have really done for esports. They’ve been around since starting with the first CPLs. On that note, the budget line item at Intel that is in use for the Intel Extreme Masters is the same line item that used to be CPL’s. If you look at Intel’s involvement in esports, it’s practically from the start and they don’t get enough credit for it.Look at what they’ve managed to build with us, as a brand and a technology company … Obviously, consider my position of where I’m speaking from, but“I see Intel, brand-wise, as an industry leader in esports”ESI: Where do you see all of this going in the next couple of years?Michal: It’s tough to predict because esports moves along with technology and software platforms. I do believe however that it’s going to broaden in scope, with multiple types of esports. Just like in the beginning, there was just wrestling and running in the ancient times, and now it’s riding bikes, driving cars and flying planes. I think esports is going to branch out in to multiple directions. The VR branch, AR branch, mobile branch, and so on and so forth.I feel like the next big leap will come with the next big genre. It seems like battle-royale might be it. The initial signs have been extremely positive. There’s also going to be a battle between the two ideas of open competition preferred by companies like Valve, and a closed ecosystem preferred by companies like Riot. There’s a diversity of thought about this at Blizzard, as far as I know but It will be interesting to see how those approaches clash and to see which one is more viable than the other. “People are trying new things in esports. 20 million dollar franchises as an example”ESI: What did you think when they first announced the $20 million franchise slots?Michal:  They attempted something very intrepid, Christopher Columbus style, “I’m just gonna sail west and see what happens”, Well, he found America. We’ll see if they find a continent or if something else happens.There’s no blueprint for esports. Maybe what Valve is doing is the best way, maybe what they are doing is the best way, maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, or maybe there is another solution altogether. The thing is, we have so many interesting tools and options in esports that we haven’t explored yet. We haven’t reached the limits of the growth of esports. It’s a fascinating time because it’s all developing and it’s all taking shape. It’s kind of like the Big Bang of esports really.ESI: With all that in mind, what is on top of the Carmac wish list?Michal: It’s to be able to see new people emerge and break all of our ideas about how their game can be played and completely redefine the standards of excellence. That would be my one wish because it will make esports so fascinating to watch!The Global Esports Forum The day before this interview, CARMAC delivered a deep dive session during the Global Esports Forum on Enabling Talent Growth via Esports Economies. After drawing parallels between Michael Jordan and Faker he brought up his main point of:“Create a star that inspires other stars”He then asked the room how they would go about it but quickly moved on to explain that training, sports science and knowledge sharing should be the main areas of focus.“You are only as good as your practice partners”“Increasing salary constantly and maxing out players practise time on top of a full time schedule doesn’t necessarily make them better” he added. “Sports science, better accommodation and amenities do. But don’t overdo it. No need for 5 cooks if you have one already.”He ended his deep dive by explaining that the more connexions between players brings about faster metagame changes, fresh ideas and better training. That training doesn’t scale, sports science doesn’t scale but knowledge sharing scales infinitely.“Invest into skill diversity”If you liked this piece, then our interview from IEM Katowice with Hicham Chahine, CEO of NiP, might be another you’ll enjoy. You can read this here.last_img read more

South Africa, UK to double trade

first_img18 July 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron, kicking off his first working visit to sub-Saharan Africa in Pretoria on Monday, committed to doubling bilateral trade with South Africa by 2015. Speaking after a meeting with President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings, Cameron also pledged an additional €52-million aid package for refugees in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. With trade between South Africa and the UK valued at around R60-billion, Cameron noted that engagements between Britain and South Africa were more critical than ever. He described the relationship between the two countries as “cordial and strong”, saying there was room to make it even stronger through increased trade and investment.‘We are seeing a booming Africa’ “There is a huge opportunity for trade between Africa, South Africa and the United Kingdom … we are seeing a booming Africa, and I want Britain to play a crucial role in that development,” Cameron said. “Our engagements are more important than ever before.” Zuma said that while trade between Britain and South Africa continued to grow, there was room for improvement. “I want to say our relations are strong,” Zuma said. “We are happy to take our relations forward, and we will improve as we go forward.” Zuma said that, apart from trade matters, his discussion with Cameron also dwelt on the leadership crisis in Libya and the political situation in Zimbabwe.Different stances on Libya Although the two countries agree that a solution is needed to resolve the Libyan crisis, they have different approaches, with Cameron standing firm on British support for the Nato air strikes while Pretoria emphasises a negotiated settlement. “I think all of us feel we need to resolve the Libyan question. The people of Libya have to decide how they go about ensuring democracy in their country,” Zuma said, adding that the African Union was willing to engage further with the European Union on an appropriate solution to the crisis. “The Prime Minister and I agree that a solution is needed, but we differ on how to go about that,” Zuma said. “What is important to us from the African Union perspective is that any product in Libya should be preceded by negotiations and an end to the violence and the killing of civilians – that is our position.” Cameron is set to visit Nigeria next. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Crowdsourcing the Preservation of U.S. War Papers

first_imgRelated Posts curt hopkins 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has joined forces with crowdsourcing document outfit Scripto , open source document transcription tool, to transcribe and share a piece of U.S. history thought to be lost. The project “Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800” seeks to transcribe and digitize copies of papers from a formative part of American history, previously thought to be lost to fire. Projects like these rarely suffer from a surfeit of funding, so using Scripto to coordinate a crowdsourced transcription has made the project possible. The collection consists of 45,000 documents consisting of hundreds of thousands of individual pages from the records of what later came to be known as the Department of Defense. Volunteers register to become a Transcription Associate and then can browse to select whichever document they wish to transcribe or search the collection if they have particular interests. In addition to making it financially feasible, letting the public take a hand in such a project has the benefit of bringing history close to the volunteer and turning that volunteer into an evangelist for the importance of history to contemporary life. Also, it gives the historians involved a sense, as the documents are transcribed, for what the public finds the most compelling. The project is funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission of the National Archives and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities.Truman building photo from Wikimedia Commons Tags:#crowdsourcing#web center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

CWG scam: ED to question Suresh Kalmadi and aides at Tihar today

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate will question former Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and two of his associates at Tihar Jail on Friday, for the second time in connection with the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act case registered against them.The ED had questioned Kalmadi, former joint director general (sport) ASV Prasad and deputy director general (procurement) Surjit Lal on June 3 but Friday’s questioning would be more comprehensive.”The previous interrogation was preliminary in nature. Based on that, we have prepared a comprehensive questionnaire which they would be asked to answer. It includes their foreign visits and monetory transactions, especially those in foreign currencies,” an official said. Kalmadi would be quizzed about various investments and transactions he made in his personal as well as professional capacity. The ED believes that he was responsible for all transactions.last_img read more