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The study, commissioned by non-profit The Sunrise Project, attributed the higher costs primarily to reduced competition to underwrite government bonds in six states furthest along in restricting financial firms or considering doing so. The restrictions would mean fewer banks seeking to underwrite municipal bond issuance, a common way for cities to raise money. According to the new study, taxpayers in six states - Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Missouri - could have faced up to $708 million in additional interest charges on municipal bonds over the past 12 months. The study based its analysis on a recent Wharton School of Business paper that found Texas taxpayers could have faced up to $532 million in additional interest payments because of restrictions introduced in that state. Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes and Ross Kerber; Editing by Aurora EllisOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
It said 80% of its close to $8 trillion in assets are in its index funds, which primarily attract retail investors. Vanguard's biggest competitors, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) and State Street Corp's (STT.N) asset-management arm, rely more on institutional investors including pension funds and foundations. Many retail investors are also interested in matters like climate change, but prioritize them less in building retirement portfolios, said Rosenbluth and other industry analysts. A FINRA Investor Education Foundation study of retail investors last March found only 9% of respondents held ESG investments. A big factor behind this gap is retail investors' lack of familiarity or knowledge about ESG products, the study found.
The funds, which reflect a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, are also set to lag the performance of non-ESG funds for the first time in five years, data shows, after the fossil fuel shares they typically shun soared. "They (ESG funds) are subject to the same market movements," she added. Reuters GraphicsHowever, non-ESG funds have also suffered withdrawals, losing $420 billion in the first 11 months of 2022, the data shows. Reuters GraphicsUNDERPERFORMINGAfter several years of outperform - thanks partly to large holdings of U.S. technology stocks - ESG equity funds, which make up the bulk of assets in the sector, have fallen back to earth. ESG equity funds have lost 18% to end-November, versus a 15.8% fall in non-ego equity funds, based on Refining Lipper data.
"We will not allow unethical individuals to ruin Kenya's reputation through doping," Kenya's minister for sports, Ababu Namwamba, said on Twitter on Friday. This week Kenya's government wrote to World Athletics to try and ward off a potential ban. A spokesperson for World Athletics confirmed to Reuters receipt of the letter. Fifty-five Kenyan athletes are currently banned and eight provisionally suspended, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body formed by World Athletics to combat doping in the sport. Kenya is a 'Category A' country under World Athletics' Anti-Doping Rules, which means its athletes must undergo at least three no-notice, out-of-competition urine and blood tests ahead of major events.
Two health workers at the hospital in western Uganda have died from Ebola in this outbreak. Nationwide, 15 health workers have tested positive and six have died. Intensive care staff work maximum eight-hour shifts and personnel from Ebola-free regions are rotated in, he said. "There are facilities where doctors and health workers are still touching patients without gloves because they (gloves) are not there," Nahabwe said. Case numbers remain low compared with a 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed at least 11,300 people.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government and Tigrayan forces signed a ceasefire on Nov. 2 to end two years of fighting that have killed thousands, shattered infrastructure and uprooted millions from their homes. The ICRC described the delivery into the regional capital Mekelle as the first international aid into Tigray since a previous ceasefire broke in August. We have discussed, agreed and signed," Abiy told Ethiopia's national parliament in his first comments on the ceasefire since it came into force. Abiy said on Tuesday that a territorial dispute between forces in Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara region should be resolved legally and through discussion. Authorities in Amhara last week welcomed the ceasefire agreement but made no mention of the disputed territory.
At the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, companies and country delegates are discussing ways of enhancing the market for green bonds, or bonds that are linked to projects deemed environmentally beneficial. POPULAR DESPITE THE 'GREENIUMS'Also known as "use of proceeds bonds," green bonds involve a company or government raising money for projects considered environmentally beneficial. SUSTAINABILITY-LINKED BONDSSustainability-linked bonds, or SLBs, comprise a newer and smaller market than green bonds. SOCIAL BONDS, SDG BONDS, AND MOREBeyond bonds focused on environmental outcomes, lie pools of money for related goals around social equity or fair living standards. Social impact bonds, or impact bonds, differ from social bonds in linking financial returns to the desired outcome.
The truce has raised hopes humanitarian aid can start moving back into a region where hundreds of thousands face famine. Representatives of Ethiopia's military and government and forces from Tigray are in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to discuss how to begin implementing the ceasefire, with the talks set to last three or four days. Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray authorities, said the talks were to figure out implementation of the agreement. In a statement on Monday, the AU said it expected the outcomes of the talks to "include modalities for silencing the guns, humanitarian access and the restoration of services in the Tigray region". The ceasefire agreement says Ethiopia's army will safeguard the country against "foreign incursion" but analysts are worried about whether Eritrea - the TPLF's sworn enemy - will listen.
LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - It started out simply enough: British pension schemes were looking for a way to match their assets to future pension payments. But the strategy gradually became riskier, according to interviews with pension scheme trustees, consultants, industry experts and asset managers. Globally, investors are worrying about other financial products predicated on low interest rates, now that rates are rising. Nearly two-thirds of Britain's defined benefit pension schemes use LDI funds, according to TPR. "When people talked about interest rates, all they obsessed about was interest rates falling," said David Fogarty, an independent trustee at professional pension scheme trustee provider Dalriada Trustees.
Take Five: Calm or calamity?
  + stars: | 2022-10-14 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +5 min
Traders are back on Japanese yen intervention watch, while the U.S. earnings season and a congress of China's ruling Communist Party kick off. Growing expectations of a government u-turn on most of its unfunded tax cuts should end much of the pain. The carnage in British gilts has exposed vulnerabilities in the pensions sector, shining a light on financial stability risks. The IMF warns of "disorderly asset repricings" and "financial market contagion." A market slide has moderated stock valuations, but a downgrade in the earnings outlook could dampen equities' attractiveness.
But it is unclear how many lenders are tapping the facility and whether pension funds are willing to shell out additional fees for what is a temporary solution, sources told Reuters. Banks are reluctant to increase their lending to LDI funds through the repo facility, according to one official at a European bank. BRIDGING THE GAPLDI is an investment strategy sold by asset managers like BlackRock, Legal & General Investment Management and Insight Investment to pension schemes to help them match their assets and liabilities. Governor Andrew Bailey has rejected calls to continue buying bonds from pension funds which say they still need support beyond Friday. "It's a bridging tool that they can still use to keep the dialogue with the market and the pension funds going."
While estimates of how much pension funds need to sell vary they are in the hundreds of billions of pounds, and it is not known how much funds have already raised in cash. Tuesday's BoE intervention was targeted at buying index-linked bonds, a far smaller market than gilts, dominated by pension funds and which suffered another significant selloff this week. He estimates pension funds could sell assets totalling around 300 billion pounds as they adjust hedging positions, although it is not clear how much they may have sold already. He estimated 100 billion pounds could come from gilts and the rest from assets such as global credit, global equities and asset-backed securities. "The bottom line is a lot of schemes need to rebalance their portfolios," he said.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Register"We have announced that we will be out by the end of this week. "My message to the funds involved and all the firms involved managing those funds: You've got three days left now. Investors are nervous that Friday's halt to the BoE's bond-buying might come too soon for some pension funds. But a BoE spokesperson said it had been made "absolutely clear in contact with the banks at senior levels" that the Friday deadline would hold. On Wednesday, it said it was "closely monitoring" liability-driven investment (LDI) funds, which are key to pension funds, ahead of Friday's deadline.
Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, speaks during the Bank of England's financial stability report news conference, at the Bank of England, London August 4, 2022. And what they can't allow is for the bond market to be overly volatile," said Iain Stealey, CIO of fixed income at JPMorgan Asset Management. U.S. and German 30-year borrowing costs are up just 16 and 33 bps respectively , this month and the contrast highlights the scale of selling gripping Britain's bond market. The unprecedented bond market moves triggered hefty collateral calls on hedging strategies that many funds are still struggling to meet. Bond market volatility has also raised doubts about whether the BoE can press ahead with its plan to sell some of its bond holdings, a process known as quantitative tightening (QT).
Compounding the pain, providers of so-called liability-driven investment strategies (LDI) are demanding more cash to support new and older hedging positions. The cash buffers now required are about three times bigger than previously requested, according to four consultants advising pension schemes, as market players seek bigger cushions against more volatile moves in bonds. Estimates of how much pension funds need to sell range but are in the hundreds of billions of pounds, although it is not known how much in assets schemes have sold already. "We are definitely not there," he said, referring to whether funds were close to raising the required cash by selling assets. He estimated 100 billion pounds could come from gilts and the rest from assets such as global credit, global equities and asset-backed securities.
Although the maximum auction size was raised to 10 billion pounds in Monday's operation the BoE bought only 853 million pounds' worth of debt. read moreThat left its total of bonds acquired since the launch of the emergency programme at less than 6 billion pounds, compared with the 50 billion pound maximum it could have bought. The BoE said in its statement earlier on Monday that it was prepared to deploy unused purchasing capacity in the remaining auctions this week. The BoE also said it would launch a temporary expanded collateral repo facility to help banks ease liquidity pressures facing client funds caught up in the turmoil, which threatened pension funds. The sharp sell-off in British government bonds after Kwarteng's "mini-budget" sparked a scramble for cash by Britain's pension funds which had to post emergency collateral in LDIs.
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/IllustrationLONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Borrowing costs for UK firms are soaring, with sterling corporate bond prices headed for their biggest monthly fall since the 1990s as fallout from the British government's "mini-Budget" grows. That, according to Vanguard credit portfolio manager Sarang Kulkarni, in turn helped ease conditions slightly in the investment grade bond market. Yields and bond prices move inversely. The sterling corporate bond market, much smaller and less liquid than the equivalent euro or U.S. dollar markets, is driven largely by moves in UK gilts, which have slid in value in recent days. He said that liquidity in the corporate sterling market - not great at the best of times - was looking "almost non-existent" right now.
An employee is seen walking over a mosaic of pound sterling symbols set in the floor of the front hall of the Bank of England in London, in this March 25, 2008 file photograph. Yet the rapid rise in yields investors now receive for owning UK bonds hasn't helped sterling much. Pound slumps and UK borrowing costs surgePredicting the short-term direction of currencies is notoriously hard. Against the euro the pound is only at two-year lows, although it is down 3% since Friday. "People will look at the UK and think that that's not a market that is stable," said Payne at Janus Henderson.
Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng's plans will require an extra 72 billion pounds ($79 billion) of government borrowing over the next six months alone, and - a particular concern for investors - cement permanent tax cuts costing 45 billion pounds a year. But to bond investors, they bring the prospect of more persistent inflationary pressures - at a time when inflation is already near a 40-year high - as well as tighter Bank of England (BoE) policy. Government borrowing is likely to total 218 billion pounds this financial year and 229 billion pounds in 2023/24, Citi predicted, and it expects benchmark 10-year British government bond yields to rise to 4.25%. Adding to the pressure, on Thursday the BoE confirmed it planned to reduce its own 838 billion pounds of gilt holdings by 80 billion pounds over the coming year. "That is a strong indication that domestic and overseas investors are losing confidence in the UK's inflation-fighting credibility," he said.
Few think another G7 central bank would be bold enough to intervene directly as Japan did on Thursday. But they say markets should prepare for more verbal intervention and more aggressive rate hikes as policymakers try to thwart the U.S. currency's ascent. The dollar surge follows aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, recession fears and geopolitical uncertainty following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The yen, its central bank sticking to ultra-loose policy even as others raise rates, has been the biggest loser. Richard Benson, co-chief investment officer at Millennium Global Investments, said aside from the SNB, which intervenes regularly, another central bank intervention was unlikely.
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