Source: Mercer, JLT Employee Benefits, PPF “Holding cashflow generative assets, such as government bonds, credit and private market debt, can help protect pension schemes during an equity shock like the one experienced in January,” he added. “We find that for cashflow-negative schemes with funding gaps to close, equity shocks can be very problematic if the scheme is relying on disinvestment to fund cash outflows.”Tunningley highlighted that hedging opportunities were available for some pension funds regardless of the future path of equity markets.“For those looking at reducing funding level risk, market conditions today look particularly favourable,” he said. “Linker dealing spreads are tight, repo can be accessed readily and cost effectively, meanwhile 10-year swap rates are back to pre-Brexit levels. Whether or not volatility persists in global markets, these are attractive opportunities for UK pension schemes.” DB funding estimates from consultants were less emphatic.JLT Employee Benefits estimated that the combined DB deficit across the private sector fell by 17% during January, from £150bn to £124bn.According to Mercer, the DB schemes attached to FTSE 350 companies were only marginally better funded at the end of January than they were at the start, as the combined deficit shrank from £76bn to £73bn.The FTSE All Share index fell 1.9% in sterling terms in January, and lost 4.1% this month up until 12 February.The yield on UK 10-year gilts rose from 1.19% on 1 January to 1.51% at the end of the month. It has since risen to 1.6%, its highest level since April 2016.How UK DB pension deficits have changed since 2015 The aggregate funding position of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes improved in January despite the equity market volatility that hit investors towards the end of the month.Data from the Pension Protection Fund showed the aggregate shortfall across 5,588 schemes halved during the first month of 2018 to £51bn (€57.5bn). Schemes were on aggregate 97% funded, compared to 94% at the end of December.Combined assets fell by 0.9%, but rising government bond yields pushed down liabilities by 3.9%.Andy Tunningley, head of UK strategic clients at BlackRock, said schemes had on aggregate 10% less in equities than five years ago, meaning they were better protected from stock market volatility.
(REUTERS)-Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, with Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth after being penalised for swerving into rival Lewis Hamilton who came home in fifth.Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas finished second after overcoming a first-lap collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, while Canadian teenager Lance Stroll was third for his first podium after being pipped on the line by Bottas.Ferrari’s Vettel got a 10-second stop-go penalty, which saw him drop from second to ninth, after he steered into race leader Hamilton under safety car conditions after a red-flag stoppage.“Nothing happened, did it?” Vettel said to Sky Sports. “He brake-checked me as well, so what do you expect? I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose but for sure it was not the right move.“I got damage, he risked damage,” added the German. “After the incident, we were side by side, I raised my hand and showed him that I wasn’t happy with that.”Vettel reacted incredulously when he learnt of the 10-second penalty on lap 32, while Hamilton, whose hopes of victory were later ended when he had to pit due to a loose head rest, complained over his radio that the sanction was insufficient.“I don’t really care about (what happened),” Hamilton responded. “It’s done and dusted and we move on.“I think it’s just not driver conduct. It’s dangerous driving and to get a 10-second penalty for that…“I don’t need to say anything else.”CRAZY RACEVettel leads the overall standings on 153 points ahead of Briton Hamilton on 139 and Finland’s Bottas with 111.Australian Ricciardo’s first victory since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year lifted him to fourth on 92.“I can’t really believe it,” said Ricciardo. “It was a crazy race. We knew the podium was a chance after the restart, then we heard of the problems with Lewis and Seb.“(I didn’t think I’d win) for all my money, but this was the race we expected last year, all the safety cars and chaos. We had to stay out of trouble and certainly pulled it off today.”The 18-year-old Stroll’s previous best had been a ninth-placed finish on home soil earlier this month, but he kept his nerve under pressure to become the youngest Formula One driver to make the podium in his maiden season.The anticipated Mercedes dominance was tested early on when Bottas came off the kerb and collided with Ferrari rival Raikkonen, forcing both Finns into the pits.While Raikkonen was ultimately forced to retire later in the race, Bottas staged a remarkable comeback, emulating his fine performance on the Sochi street circuit to battle back to a podium position before overhauling Stroll on the line.Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth, equalling his career-best performance, although he may rue missing out on the podium after clashing with Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, whose retirement ended his 37-race streak of consecutive finishes.Ricciardo’s Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen, the pacesetter during practice on Friday, was forced to retire for the fourth time in the last six races with engine trouble on lap 11 after the Dutchman attempted to attack Perez and take third.
Last January, researchers suggested that the wrinkles that form on fingertips after a long soak might help humans and other primates better handle objects in wet conditions. A new study has failed to reproduce those results. Researchers had 40 volunteers—sometimes with dry hands, other times with wrinkly, wet ones—grab 52 items (including small and large glass marbles, rubber balls, and brass weights), one item at a time, with their thumb and forefinger and then pass each object through a 5-by-5-centimeter hole. In some tests, the hole was 45 cm above the table top; in the others it was 75 cm. On average, volunteers with wrinkly fingers completed the task no more quickly than their dry-handed counterparts, researchers report this week in PLOS ONE. Results of two other tests—one designed to test feeling in the skin of the fingertip on the index finger, the other designed to assess sensitivity of nerves in the underlying tissues to vibration—suggested that water-wrinkled fingers were no more or less sensitive than dry, smooth ones. Altogether, the researchers contend, the work suggests that skin puckering doesn’t provide any evolutionary advantage. Maybe wrinkling is just an odd side effect of extended immersion, they say. Although the new study’s test of dexterity wasn’t quite the same as the one used by the team reporting last year’s findings (those tests used fewer objects overall and included glass marbles and lead fishing weights), the new research used twice as many volunteers and therefore might be considered more reliable.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)