There has been a 60% increase in the number of defined benefit (DB) pension members looking to ascertain the value of their benefits as new freedoms are applied to defined contribution (DC) schemes.Data from consultancy Mercer showed that, during each month of 2014, around 1,500 people made enquiries into the value of their benefits.However, in March 2015, some 2,500 people contacted the consultancy looking for a cash-equivalent transfer value (CETV) in the run-up to freedoms that came into force on April 6.The UK government has consulted on whether to ban DB-to-DC transfers but decided to allow them to continue as long as members obtain independent financial advice. It banned transfers from funded and unfunded public sector pension schemes.Many consultants raised concerns over an influx of DB members leaving their schemes to DC options to access their pension entitlements as cash following the scrapping of rules to buy an annuity.Matthew Demwell, partner at Mercer, said the current rate would lead to around 4% of DB members being administered by the firm seeking a CETV quote.“It’s clear these changes have appealed to a number of people,” he said.“However, these are just quotations. It remains to be seen how many people will actually accept the quotation and transfer out of their defined benefit scheme.“This certainly represents an opportunity for employers and trustees to reduce the sometimes crippling burden of pension costs, but, clearly, to ensure people have enough in their retirement, the process must be carefully managed.”In other news, JLT Employee Benefits has predicted the level of deficit contributions from FTSE 100 schemes will spike in 2015, given the number of triennial valuations being finalised and the continued low interest rate environment.Around 30 firms in the FTSE 100 are set to have the valuations this year, and, with low interest rates pushing up liabilities, many companies could see trustees demand higher cash contributions, the consultancy said.Companies contributed £14.1bn (€19.1bn) in the last accounting year.Approximately £6.9bn of that was purely for deficit recovery, but the figure was lower than the £9bn reported the year previous.However, total IAS 19 deficits in FTSE 100 companies came to roughly £80bn at the end of 2014, £26bn higher than at the end of 2013.Charles Cowling, director at JLT Employee Benefits, said: “We expect to see some difficult negotiations between trustees and employers, and, inevitably, there are going to be demands for increases – potentially significant increases – in employers’ funding contributions.”
Water polo is a sport I had never watched until last August. Lacrosse is something I had never seen in person until March. These two teams are currently dominating the nation. USC’s women’s water polo and women’s lacrosse team are a combined 35-0 this year.Despite their success, these sports are flying under the radar. Their success comes during a school year in which the football team had another tumultuous year that ended with mixed emotions — the hiring of head coach Clay Helton to go along with a great victory over UCLA that won the Pac-12 South for the Trojans before falling in the championship game to an underrated Stanford team and a season-ending loss in the Holiday Bowl.USC basketball was relevant for the first time in ages, winning 21 games, beating UCLA three times and earning a spot to the NCAA tournament where they lost in the first round.Those will be the storylines from this year that will be remembered even though there are other athletes who are equally deserving of attention and praise, if not more so given their record of success.Fans should be watching these teams compete. I am one of the fans to blame as well. As previously mentioned, I hadn’t watched either sport until this year, but I can assure you, even someone who knows nothing of either sport will be entertained.The competitive spirit and drive to greatness of these athletes is something to behold, and to have two programs dominating the competition at the same time is incredible.Women’s water polo is No. 1 in the country and has been for several weeks. Women’s lacrosse has been steadily climbing up the rankings and has now broken into the top five.The sports should be celebrated regardless of the outcome of the rest of their season as we celebrated a football and basketball team who had less dominating regular seasons and subpar postseasons. The lacrosse and water polo teams have the opportunity to do something special and cap potentially undefeated seasons with conference and national titles.Should the water polo team put themselves in a position to end an undefeated season with a national championship, it would be the fourth for the team under the guidance of head coach Jovan Vavic who has also led the men’s team to nine national titles. Entering this season, the water polo team has played in the NCAA tournament 12 straight seasons and finished in third for the second straight year. Prior to that in 2013, the Women of Troy won it all.The success of this program is well documented and should not come as a surprise to anyone, but this season has the potential to be one for the record books should the team finish their regular season on Friday without losing a game all year. The team is currently 20-0 and a win against Cal on Friday would put them at 21 wins — the same number as the men’s basketball team put up. The NCAA tournament is approaching soon after in May.For the lacrosse team — a program in just its fourth year since its inception — the road to success is much shorter. After making their first NCAA tournament appearance last year and losing to perennial powerhouse Duke, the Women of Troy came back with a vengeance this season that has included avenging their previous loss to the Blue Devils.As the Women of Troy have blazed through MPSF play, consistently putting up double-digit scores, critics could have said that the competition was below them and they should have been beating these teams. The Trojans 14th and 15th wins of the year came recently against the No. 12 and No. 6 team in the country.The lacrosse team has similarly not dropped a game this season and is poised to have a legitimate shot at taking home a national title.The harsh reality of the situation is however, if these teams fail to win it all, their masterful seasons will most likely be forgotten. Even if they do win the national title, there won’t be nearly the celebration that would have occurred had the football or basketball team gotten just as close.Part of the reason is the school calendar in saying that the tournaments for lacrosse and water polo are just not as convenient for students to keep up with as March Madness or the College Football Playoff, and while that is certainly true to an extent, the fact of the matter is that the sports are just not as popular.While they deserve credit and accolades to be poured upon them, there isn’t the same buzz surrounding these programs as there should be. It remains to be seen what the final storyline will be for these programs, but surely a dedicated slice of students will be paying attention regardless of what happens.As Trojans, aren’t we all in the pursuit of perfection? We should be celebrating the athletes that have come the closest to achieving it.Hailey Tucker is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs every other Wednesday.
What if you could peek into other people’s closets and find items for yourself to wear to work? How about trading the work clothing that you no longer wear for “new” things for your wardrobe? Maybe you like to help women in Thurston County who are re-entering the workforce and need clothes to wear for interviews and work? An opportunity awaits!In Lacey on Saturday, August 11th, a group of local business women are partnering with the Olympia-Lacey Church of God to host a free community event for women. This new event, called theWomen’s Workwear Swap & Shop, will be a win-win situation for working women, where ladies can bring good-quality work clothing in, donate it, and walk away with “new” items for themselves – all for free.“Ladies will bring their clothing donations with them if possible, and all extra clothing will be donated to the Downtown Olympia non-profit called The Wardrobe,” says co-organizer Krista Dunk of Koinonia Business Women. She adds, “In a down economy, this event is going to be a blessing to a lot of people in our area. Those who don’t have any clothing to contribute can still come and get several outfits for themselves.”To add to the event’s atmosphere, participants will also enjoy helpful talks by local professionals, vendor booths for shopping, free resume review, professionally-taken head shot photos, free chiropractic scans, and door prizes.Event organizers are seeking women’s work clothing donations beforehand. For full details, please visit www.KBWomen.com/swap. Event hours: 10am – 2pm. Location: 5005 Lacey Blvd, Lacey. Facebook20Tweet0Pin0