SI Newswire Press Releases https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/ Latest Press Releases from SI Newswire IRENA Opens Council Meeting Amid Global Calls for Expanding Renewable Energy https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/irena-opens-council-meeting-amid-global-calls-for-expanding-renewable-energy.97.html <p><a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire">(SI Newswire)</a> Abu Dhabi, UAE, November 3, 2014: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) gathered representatives from over 90 countries in Abu Dhabi to review and recommend actions to scale-up renewable energy around the world. The two-day meeting opened on the heels of the release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recommended the decarbonisation of the world's energy mix by 2100.</p><p>"Any solution to address climate change requires a massive scale-up in renewable energy," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "And as momentum builds around the climate issue, so does the focus on renewable energy - because not only can renewable energy combined with energy efficiency keep the global climate to a two degree temperature rise, it can do so affordably."</p><p>Among the major areas of focus at the two-day meeting, the Council discussed strategies to increase IRENA's engagement in the global climate change effort.</p><p>IRENA's expanding role in the international climate change community came to the fore at the UN Climate Summit in September when countries, international organizations, businesses and civil society rallied in support of two major renewable energy initiatives spearheaded by IRENA, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor and the Small Island Developing States Lighthouse Initiative.</p><p>"Since the establishment of the Agency over three years ago, we have been working closely with our membership to establish the business case for renewable energy," said Mr. Amin. "And now that the economic advantages of renewables are evident for the world to see-and their remarkable socio-economic benefits become increasingly clear-it is imperative for IRENA to participate, even lead, some of the climate action efforts."</p><p>Renewables will continue to play a major role at the UNFCCC high-level climate talks in Lima, Peru next month. This event is seen by many as a precursor to the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015 when the international community will gather to try and reach a global agreement to address climate change.</p><p>Taking the opportunity of the increased participation at the 8th meeting of the Council, IRENA further expanded its permanent representation. In a succession of ceremonies taking place on the eve of the Council, three diplomatic representatives presented their credentials to IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin. They included H.E. Mr. Siray Alpha Timbo, Ambassador of Sierra Leone; H.E. Mr. Conrod C. Hunte, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda's Permanent Mission to the United Nations and; H.E. Mr. Nelson Yemil Chabén Labadie, Ambassador of Uruguay. These representatives join permanent representatives from 23 other countries who have already been accredited to the Agency under the system of permanent representation, which enables Members to participate actively and continuously in IRENA activities.</p><p>IRENA's Council is composed of 21 members elected on a rotational basis from the Agency's growing membership. In just over three years, IRENA membership has grown to 135 Members, reflecting a surging international interest in renewable energy and country commitments to engage in international cooperation. The IRENA Council, which convenes twice yearly, guides the Agency's programmes and activities and helps set the agenda for the annual Assembly in January 2015 (17-18).</p><p><br />About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)</p><p>The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is mandated as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 135 Members (134 States and the European Union). About 40 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. The Agency promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.irena.org">www.irena.org</a><br /> </p><p> </p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/irena-opens-council-meeting-amid-global-calls-for-expanding-renewable-energy.97.html Mon, 03 Nov 2014 08:39:21 -0500 2015 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium issues Call for Abstracts https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/2015-isa-waterwastewater-automatic-controls-symposium-issues-call-for-abstracts.93.html <p><a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire">(SI Newswire)</a> Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA (27 October 2014) - The Program Committee of the 2015 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls (WWAC) Symposium has issued a Call for Papers, inviting authors, innovators, thought leaders and other professionals in the water and wastewater industry to submit abstracts for presentation consideration at the conference.</p><p>The symposium, which will be held 4-6 August 2015 at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA, is aimed at helping professionals in the water and wastewater industries understand how instrumentation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and automatic control applications are vital to the treatment and distribution of water, and the collection and treatment of wastewater.</p><p>Presented by the ISA Water/Wastewater Industries Division, in collaboration with the Florida Section of the AWWA (FSAWWA), the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA), the WEF Automation and Info Tech Committee, and the Instrumentation Testing Association (ITA), the 2015 WWAC Symposium is expected to draw approximately 300 attendees and more than 30 speakers.</p><p>“Instrumentation, controls and automation professionals in the water and wastewater industry know they need to be prepared for the many changes, emerging trends and challenges, and advances in technology,” says Kevin Patel, the Vice President of Dallas-based Signature Automation and General Symposium Chair for the 2015 WWAC Symposium. “WWAC Symposium attendees receive the information they need to stay informed and gain the critical insights and tools required to make their facilities more robust and efficient.”</p><p>Particularly in demand, he explains, are applications that can leverage and share the large amounts of data that are being collected within water and wastewater facilities. “Being able to quickly access and convert data to usable, actionable information is essential in today’s fast-moving work environment.”</p><p>In addition to these applications, other compelling and popular subject areas for abstracts include:</p><ul><li>SCADA security, ISA99, CSET, and mitigating risks</li><li>Control system redundancy and robust design</li><li>Wireless technologies</li><li>New control system technologies Process optimization</li><li>Asset management Integration</li><li>Energy use modeling and optimization with SCADA</li><li>HMI design for operator effectiveness</li><li>Human factors and control room design</li><li>Alarm management and alarm rationalization</li><li>Data reporting and presentation techniques /strategies</li><li>Data management, historians and data retrieval</li></ul><p>Prospective authors are invited to submit a 250-word abstract based on a 30-minute presentation, a six-12-page paper or large-format poster. Papers for acceptance should address topics in automation within the water and wastewater industry.</p><p>All papers are peer reviewed to conform, or to be modified to conform, to ISA Water and Wastewater Industry Division and ISA format, content and quality guidelines. The submission deadline for papers, which must not be product or company specific in nature, is 15 December 2014. For complete guidelines and other important Call for Papers dates and information, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://All papers are peer reviewed to conform, or to be modified to conform, to ISA Water and Wastewater Industry Division and ISA format, content and quality guidelines. The submission deadline for papers, which must not be product or company specific in nature, is 15 December 2014. For complete guidelines and other important Call for Papers dates and information, visit <a href="http://isawwsymposium.com/call-for-abstracts/." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://isawwsymposium.com/call-for-abstracts/.</a>">http://isawwsymposium.com/call-for-abstracts/</a>.</p><p>“I continue to receive feedback that this event is truly one of the best of its kind due to the fact that the attendees and exhibitors are focused on solutions to real-world challenges and what’s actually experienced in on-the-job settings,” Patel reports. “Adding to its value are the training opportunities, and the networking, professional development and continuing education credits (CEUs and PDHs).”</p><p>Two optional training courses will be offered in conjunction with the 2015 WWAC Symposium which is still being finalized. The training courses will be announced soon. Keep checking the symposium website for the latest details.</p><p>The WWAC symposium has continued to see increased attendance and a very broad spectrum of attendees.</p><p>“Our secret is our focus,” says Robert Lindeman, the past-President of ISA who provided the opening remarks at the 2013 WWAC symposium. “The symposium caters specifically to professionals involved with automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water and wastewater sectors. There is no other event like it in North America.”</p><p>For more details on the 2015 ISA WWAC Symposium, including the program schedule, events, networking opportunities and training, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.isawwsymposium.com">www.isawwsymposium.com</a></p><p><br />About the ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium Presented by the ISA Water and Wastewater Industries Division, the ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium helps professionals in the water and wastewater industries understand how instrumentation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and automatic control applications are vital to the treatment and distribution of water, the collection and treatment of wastewater, and the management of storm water. As a three-day event, the symposium features technical speakers, invited speakers, an exhibit hall, plant tour and a general reception. The 2015 symposium will be taking place 4–6 August 2015 at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando, Florida. More information can be found at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.isawwsymposium.com">www.isawwsymposium.com</a></p><p>About ISA</p><p>Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.isa.org">www.isa.org</a>) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.automationfederation.org">www.automationfederation.org</a>).<br /><br /><br /> </p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/2015-isa-waterwastewater-automatic-controls-symposium-issues-call-for-abstracts.93.html Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:12:01 -0400 Broker Survey: Half of U.S. Professionals Have Offered SRI to Clients, But Major Gender Gap See in Financial Advice https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/broker-survey-half-of-us-professionals-have-offered-sri-clients-but-major-gender-gap-see-financial-advice.91.html <p><a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire">(SI Newswire)</a> COLORADO SPRINGS (October 23, 2014) – When it comes to perceptions among financial professionals about sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, according to the findings of the first annual “First Affirmative Survey on the Views of Financial Professionals About SRI” released today by First Affirmative Financial Network. The major new survey also finds stronger-than-expected acceptance by financial professionals of offering SRI options to investors and a widespread view that the financial industry will need to change to accommodate the needs of “Millennial Investors.”</p><p>Available online at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.firstaffirmative.com/resources-news/news/first-affirmative-survey-on-the-views-of-financial-professionals-about-sri/">http://www.firstaffirmative.com/resources-news/news/first-affirmative-survey-on-the-views-of-financial-professionals-about-sri/</a> and based on 1,913 responses to an online survey of financial professionals not normally identified as SRI practitioners, the survey is being released less than a month before The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing takes place November 9-11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado <a target="_blank" href="http://www.SRIconference.com">(http://www.SRIconference.com</a>), produced by First Affirmative Financial Network.</p><p>Key survey findings include the following:</p><p>* Half (49 percent) of the responding financial professionals said they have offered an SRI option now or in the past to their clients. Of those who have done so, the #1 cited reason was requests from clients.</p><p>* By a margin of more than two to one, survey respondents believe the financial services industry will need to change its ways to meet the needs of younger (Millennial / Gen Y) investors. Half of the survey respondents (49 percent) agreed that “the needs and interests of younger investors will have to be catered to if the industry is to thrive.” Only about one in five (21 percent) believe that “(t)oday’s younger investors are no different than aging Baby Boomers and older investors.”</p><p>* Female financial professionals who were surveyed are much more likely than men to focus on SRI. Three out of five (61 percent) financial professionals who are women say they are now or have in the past offered SRI options to clients, compared to less than half of men (47 percent).</p><p>* Female advisors are roughly twice as likely as men to say that SRI will become a bigger aspect of the industry in the next five years: 29 percent versus 15 percent, respectively. Women also are more likely than men to say that the financial services industry will need to change to meet the need of Millennial / Gen Y investors: 62 percent versus 46 percent, respectively.</p><p>First Affirmative Senior Vice President, Betsy Moszeter, said: “The survey results show that SRI investing has become entrenched in mainstream finance. Having reached the point where one out of two financial professionals have offered SRI options to their clients, it is clear that responsible investment strategies are now a client expectation that advisors need to be equipped to provide. We are encouraged to see that industry professionals are looking ahead and understand that the views and concerns of millennial investors will need to be addressed in coming years, and that business as usual will not be sufficient. That means the sustainable, responsible, impact investing strategies are almost certain to become even more centrally established as a go-to investment choice for millions more Americans in the years to come.”</p><p>“The survey’s findings that women in the financial world are more inclined than their male counterparts to embrace SRI is an important one and it points to where the industry will end up on this question in the long run,” said Christy Aleckson, investment representative of Single Point Financial Advisors in Portland, Oregon. “As more and more women join the ranks of financial professionals over time, the availability of SRI investment strategies for any investor will improve, and the notion of investing for positive impact will become a common practice. It is literally another instance of where women will lead the way and I’m proud to be among the pack,” she said.</p><p>Other key findings from the First Affirmative survey include the following:</p><p>* Women who are financial professionals are more likely than their male counterparts to say that they are “very aware” of SRI: 43 percent versus 33 percent, respectively.</p><p>* Women are more likely than men to say that they are more open to offering SRI options in the next five years: 39 percent versus 30 percent, respectively.</p><p>* Almost a third (31 percent) of survey respondents who have offered SRI options to clients in the past believe that SRI will grow in the next five years. Under half (45 percent) think the extent of SRI investing will stay about the same. The numbers are different—17 percent and 55 percent, respectively—among all financial professionals, including those who have never offered a SRI option to clients. Fewer than 1 in 20 financial professionals (4.4 percent) expect SRI to decline in the next five years.</p><p>* Almost three out of five (58 percent) of surveyed financial professionals not offering SRI options to clients say they have never considered doing so. The #1 reason cited by responding financial professionals who have not offered SRI options to their clients: Lack of information about / familiarity with SRI (71 percent).</p><p>First Affirmative will welcome about 550 investors and investment professionals who invest for positive impact to the 25th annual SRI Conference on November 9, 2014. The full conference agenda is available online at: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sriconference.com/agenda/2014-conference-agenda/">http://www.sriconference.com/agenda/2014-conference-agenda/</a>. Conference participation is open to all SRI industry practitioners, investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations and individuals. The conference experience features an outstanding series of educational sessions and a focused opportunity to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and industry leaders.</p><p>ABOUT FIRST AFFIRMATIVE FINANCIAL NETWORK First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.firstaffirmative.com">http://www.firstaffirmative.com</a>) is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors. First Affirmative produces The SRI Conference (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.SRIconference.com">http://www.SRIconference.com</a>).</p><p>ABOUT THE SRI CONFERENCE</p><p>The 25th annual SRI Conference (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.SRIconference.com">http://www.SRIconference.com</a>), the leading North American forum for investors and investment professionals involved in SRI investing. For more information about the conference or about supporting the conference as a sponsor, please contact Krystala Kalil, at 888-774-2663 or Krystala@SRIconference.com.</p><p>MEDIA CONTACT</p><p>Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.</p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/broker-survey-half-of-us-professionals-have-offered-sri-clients-but-major-gender-gap-see-financial-advice.91.html Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:21:18 -0400 U.S. Insurance Companies' Response to Climate Change Impacts Investment Risks https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/us-insurance-companies-response-climate-change-impacts-investment-risks.87.html <p><a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire">(SI Newswire)</a> WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A new report from Ceres ranks the nation’s 330 largest insurance companies on their response to climate-related risks and finds a profound lack of preparedness. CalSTRS currently holds $4.3 billion of investments in the insurance sector, which represents 2.4 percent of the overall portfolio. CalSTRS believes that climate-related risks and opportunities can affect the performance of its investments.</p><p>The Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations was released today by Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change and other sustainability challenges, ranks property &amp; casualty, health, and life &amp; annuity insurers that represent about 87 percent of the total U.S. insurance market. Ceres found strong leadership on the issue in fewer than a dozen companies nationwide.</p><p>“Environmental, social and governance risks and issues such as climate change are very real for CalSTRS. This new report enables large institutional investors to better assess market exposure to environmental risks through our insurance investments,” said CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes. “More importantly, the report gives us better perspective on how well, or not, insurance companies are responding to climate change risk.”</p><p>The report states, “… insurers are on the veritable ‘front line’ of climate change risks, and there is compelling evidence that those risks are growing. Rising sea levels and more pronounced extreme weather events will mean increasingly damaging storm surges and flooding. Hurricane Sandy alone resulted in over $29 billion in insured losses.”</p><p>“Meaningful change in the recognition of climate risk to the investment portfolio will come from an alignment of interests, and who better to take leadership in this effort than the insurance industry,” added Ehnes. “The foundation of the insurance model is based on risk analysis, so ignoring the risk of climate changes seems most imprudent. Clearly, more action on the part of the insurance sector is needed.”</p><p>The report is based on responses to a climate risk survey developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Ceres ranked companies on climate-related indicators such as governance, risk management, investment strategies, greenhouse gas management and public engagement.</p><p>The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $ 186.4 billion as of September 30, 2014, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California's 868,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.</p><p>Contact: Getchen Zeagler (916) 414-1440 Newsroom@calstrs.com <a href="http://www.CalSTRS.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.CalSTRS.com</a><br /> </p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/us-insurance-companies-response-climate-change-impacts-investment-risks.87.html Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:53:37 -0400 Jackrabbit Announces Record Growth, Organization Expands to Meet Increased Demand https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/jackrabbit-announces-record-growth-organization-expands-meet-increased-demand.86.html <p><a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/SI+Newswire">(SI Newswire)</a> Ripon, CA – A robust California almond and walnut harvest provided an ideal platform for Jackrabbit to unveil new products and exceed sales predictions for the 2014 harvest season. The 2014 harvest was the first full season under Jackrabbit’s new private equity ownership. “The Company experienced higher sales than ever, surpassing expectations of the new ownership,” says Danny Thomas, Vice President of Sales for Jackrabbit.</p><p>In order to accommodate the growth in 2014 and projected demand for 2015, Jackrabbit has reorganized and expanded, adding an official Service Department, tripling the size of the Engineering Department, expanding the Supply Chain Department, and hiring two additional Sales Representatives. “As our customer base continues to expand, our organization is also expanding to meet their needs,” explains Bob DeMont, CEO of Jackrabbit. “These additions ensure that we continue our focus on listening to the needs of growers and developing products that help them be more efficient.”</p><p>Growers and Jackrabbit dealers in California now have a Jackrabbit sales contact based on their location. John Krum, (559) 696-5562, will manage sales south of Fresno, Jason Baptista, (209) 595-1114, will manage Madera to Sacramento, and Lloyd Mason, (530) 788-5718, will manage sales north of Sacramento. Pecan and hazelnut growers can contact Danny Thomas, (209) 373.9932.</p><p><strong>About Jackrabbit</strong></p><p>Jackrabbit was founded in 1982 by Earl Anderson, revolutionizing the almond harvest with his Jackrunner shuttle system that radically cuts treenut pick up time. Anderson passed away in 2012 during the sale of the company to a partnership of two private equity companies – Gladstone Investment (NASDAQ: GAIN) and Pegasus Capital Group. </p><p><strong>About Gladstone</strong></p><p>Gladstone Investment Corporation is a publicly-traded business development company that seeks to make debt and equity investments in small and mid-sized businesses in the United States in connection with acquisitions, changes in control and recapitalizations. The Company pays monthly dividends to its stockholders. Additional information can be found at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gladstonecompanies.com">www.gladstonecompanies.com</a></p><p><strong>About Pegasus</strong></p><p>Pegasus Capital Group is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm that invests in companies with at least $2 million of operating cash flow. The firm focuses on acquiring profitable private and corporate-owned middle-market companies that have significant growth potential. Its transactions provide liquidity for individual owners, their families, outside investors and/or parent corporations. Further information is available at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pegasuscapgroup.com">www.pegasuscapgroup.com </a> </p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/jackrabbit-announces-record-growth-organization-expands-meet-increased-demand.86.html Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:13:58 -0400 CEM BENCHMARKING RELEASES DIRECT COMPARATIVE STUDY ON DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION FUND PERFORMANCE AND COSTS https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/cem-benchmarking-releases-direct-comparative-study-on-defined-benefit-pension-fund-performance-costs.62.html (SI Newswire) <p>WASHINGTON, D.C., AND TORONTO, ON, October 14—CEM Benchmarking Inc., an independent provider of cost and performance analysis for pension funds, endowments, foundations and sovereign wealth funds, and NAREIT, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts®, announced a new study by CEM on U.S. pension fund performance and investment costs. CEM’s findings provide direct comparative insights for defined benefit (DB) pension funds that seek to better understand realized investment returns and management fees for 12 different asset classes, including traditional stock and bond funds and alternative assets, including real estate.</p><p>“Concern about the adequacy of pension funding has focused attention on investment performance and fees,” said Alexander D. Beath, PhD, author of the CEM study. “The data underscore that when it comes to long-term net returns, costs matter and allocations matter.”</p><p>The study is based on actual return and fee data provided by more than 300 U.S. DB plans from the CEM database with $2.8 trillion of assets under management. It analyzes the period 1998 through 2011, during which a fundamental change occurred in the DB market, as represented by the pension plans included in the study, which increased their investments in alternative assets – private equity and hedge funds, real estate and other real assets such as commodities and infrastructure – by nearly 400 percent on average. CEM used its extensive databases to examine how this reallocation to alternatives paid off in terms of gross returns and realized returns net of fees charged by investment managers.</p><p>“Many pension plans could have improved performance by choosing different allocation strategies and optimizing their management fees,” Beath continued. “Listed equity REITs delivered higher net total returns than any other alternative asset class for the fourteen-year period we analyzed, driven by high and stable dividend payouts, long-term capital appreciation and a significantly lower fee structure compared to private equity and private real estate funds.”</p><p>Highlights of the study, “Asset Allocation and Fund Performance of Defined Benefit Pension Funds in the United States Between 1998-2011,” include:</p><p><strong>Listed equity REITs were the top-performing asset class overall</strong> in terms of net total returns over this period. .Private equity had a higher gross return on average than listed REITs (13.31 percent vs 11.82 percent) but charged fees nearly five times higher on average than REITs (238.3 basis points or 2.38 percent of gross returns for private equity versus 51.6 basis points or 0.52 percent for REITs). As a result, listed equity REITs realized a net return of 11.31 percent vs. 11.10 percent for private equity. Net returns for other real assets, including commodities and infrastructure, were 9.85 percent on average. Net returns for private real estate were 7.61 percent, and hedge funds returned 4.77 percent. On a net basis, REITs also outperformed large cap stocks (6.06 percent) on average and U.S. long duration bonds (8.97 percent).</p><p><strong>Many plans could have improved performance by choosing different portfolio allocations</strong>. CEM used the information on realized net returns to estimate the marginal benefit that would have resulted from a one percentage point increase in allocation to the various asset classes. Increasing the allocations to long-duration fixed income, listed equity REITs and other real assets would have had the largest positive impacts on plan performance. For example, for a typical plan with $15 billion in assets under management, each one percentage point increase in allocations to listed equity REITs would have boosted total net returns by $180 million over the time period studied.</p><p><strong>Allocations changed considerably on average from 1998 through 2011</strong>. Of the DB plans analyzed by CEM, public pension plans reduced allocations to stocks by 8.5 percentage points and to bonds by 6.6 percentage points while increasing the allocation to alternative assets, including real estate, by 15.1 percentage points. Corporate plans reduced stock allocations by 19.1 percentage points while increasing allocations to fixed income by 10.5 percentage points (consistent with a shift to liability driven investment strategies), and to alternative assets by 8.6 percentage points. For the DB market as a whole, allocations to stocks decreased 15.1 percentage points; fixed income allocations increased by 4.3 percentage points; and allocations to alternatives increased by 10.8 percentage points. In dollar terms, total investment in alternatives for the 300 funds in the study increased from approximately $125 billion to nearly $600 billion over the study period.</p><p><strong>Download the CEM study</strong></p><p>To learn more about the CEM Benchmarking study, download a pdf of the study itself and watch a video of study author Alexander Beath discussing the research, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reit.com/investing/industry-data-research/research/cem-benchmarking-defined-benefit-pension-fund-research">click here</a>.</p><p><strong>About CEM Benchmarking and its pension fund research</strong></p><p>Of the $19.8 trillion of retirement assets in the United States at the end of 2013, $7.2 trillion was held and managed in traditional defined benefit pension plans, including endowments and foundations. Millions of Americans rely on returns from these investments for current or future retirement incomes. The investment allocation decisions of DB pension plan managers are thus of the utmost importance.</p><p>The results of the study are derived from CEM’s unique database which contains detailed information regarding asset allocation, investment performance and investment expenses for more than 900 large, global institutional investors. The study used realized investment performance information, rather than performance data as measured by broad asset class benchmarks. CEM analyzed the performance of a broad set of asset classes, both gross and net of fees; portfolio allocations and how they changed over time; and how these portfolio allocation decisions and asset class returns affected actual pension fund performance.</p><p>Editors’ Note: NAREIT provides media resources on REIT Basics, a Glossary of REIT Terms, as well as other industry data and information on the value that REITs provide to investors, the economy and our communities on REIT.com. NAREIT also makes economists and other industry experts available for commentary on industry trends and research.</p><p>NAREIT is the worldwide representative voice for REITs and listed real estate companies with an interest in U.S. real estate and capital markets. Members are REITs and other businesses that own, operate and manage income‐producing real estate, as well as those firms and individuals who advise, study and service those businesses. NAREIT is the exclusive registered trademark of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc.®, 1875 I St., NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006‐5413. Follow us on REIT.com. Copyright© 2014 by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc.® All rights reserved.</p><p>This information is solely educational in nature and is not intended by NAREIT to serve as the primary basis for any investment decision. NAREIT is not acting as an investment adviser, investment fiduciary, broker, dealer or other market participant, and no offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security or real estate investment is being made. Investments and solicitations for investment must be made directly through an agent, employee or representative of a particular investment or fund and cannot be made through NAREIT. NAREIT does not allow any agent, employee or representative to personally solicit any investment or accept any monies to be invested in a particular security or real estate investment.</p><p>All REIT data are derived from, and apply only to, publicly traded securities. While such data are believed to be reliable when prepared or provided, such data are subject to change or restatement. NAREIT does not warrant or guarantee such data for accuracy or completeness, and shall not be liable under any legal theory for such data or any errors or omissions therein. See <a target="_blank" href="http://reit.com/TermsofUse.aspx">http://reit.com/TermsofUse.aspx</a> for important information regarding this data, the underlying assumptions and the limitations of NAREIT’s liability therefor, all of which are incorporated by reference herein.</p><p>Performance results are provided only as a barometer or measure of past performance, and future values will fluctuate from those used in the underlying data. Any investment returns or performance data (past, hypothetical or otherwise) shown herein or in such data are not necessarily indicative of future returns or performance.</p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/cem-benchmarking-releases-direct-comparative-study-on-defined-benefit-pension-fund-performance-costs.62.html Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:38:17 -0400 PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending October 12th 2014 https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/pira-energy-groups-weekly-oil-market-recap-for-the-week-ending-october-12th-2014.55.html (SI Newswire) <p>NYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that PIRA's restructured U.S. gasoline balances provide greater clarity and insight. In the U.S., large crude stock build, small product stock draw, and widening commercial stock excess. In Japan, crude stocks build despite higher runs. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:</p><p><strong>PIRA's Restructured U.S. Gasoline Balances Provide Greater Clarity and Insight</strong></p><p>PIRA’s restructured gasoline balances are in response to the steep decline in volume and the relevance of finished gasoline stocks and imports. The changes to the EIA’s finished balance came about as a result of the decline in MTBE and the rise in ethanol, as the oxygenate of choice. We have compiled a total gasoline balance, but one that also separates the major sources of gasoline supply, namely refinery output, ethanol input, and total gasoline imports. In contrast, the EIA’s refinery and blender production of gasoline is a combination of refinery production, imported blending components, and ethanol.</p><p><strong>Large U.S. Crude Stock Build, Small Product Stock Draw, Widening Commercial Stock Excess</strong></p><p>U.S. crude stocks built, but less than the build for the same week last year, so the crude stock deficit increased. The four major refined products built as opposed to a draw last year, so the deficit for this group narrowed. In combination, crude and the four major refined products are in deficit -17.8 million barrels. All other product inventories drew less than last year’s draw, widening out the year-on-year excess.</p><p><strong>Japanese Crude Stocks Build Despite Higher Runs</strong></p><p>Crude runs rose and imports were sufficiently high to build crude stocks. Finished product stocks also rose slightly. Gasoline demand was fractionally lower and stocks built slightly. Gasoil demand was strong and stocks drew. Kerosene demand was surprisingly strong and yield declined, such that stocks built only fractionally and less than would have been expected. Refining margins remain soft with all the major product cracks weakening modestly.</p><p><strong>World LPG Prices Plummet</strong></p><p>Prices of LPG fell by 10% or more in most key markets last week amid broader energy and financial market weakness. U.S. LPG stocks continue to build to ever higher record levels. Strong price competition by naphtha in Asia has led to subdued petrochemical purchasing, while an unplanned cracker upset in the Netherlands has left the NWE butane market looking long. Perhaps the only bright spot is increased propane demand in Europe in a tighter prompt market, as U.S. arrivals of the product have remained low.</p><p><strong>Ethanol Prices and Margins Decline</strong></p><p>The descent in U.S. ethanol prices continued though Thursday October 2, driven by building inventories and falling consumption. Cash margins for ethanol manufacture declined for the seventh consecutive week to the poorest level since the beginning of February.<br /><br /><strong>Ethanol Output Increases</strong></p><p>U.S. ethanol production rebounded to 901 MB/D the week ending October 3 from a six-month low 881 MB/D during the preceding week as some plants completed their maintenance turnarounds. Stocks were down 177 thousand barrels to 18.7 million barrels.</p><p>The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap - which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pira.com">Click here</a> for additional information on PIRA's global energy commodity market research services.</p><p>PIRA Energy Group 3 Park Avenue, 26th Floor New York, NY 10016 212-686-6808</p> Industry https://sinewswire.streetinsider.com/r/industry/pira-energy-groups-weekly-oil-market-recap-for-the-week-ending-october-12th-2014.55.html Tue, 14 Oct 2014 07:04:09 -0400