UK’s NEST quits smoking in two-year tobacco divestment project

first_imgThe UK’s largest defined contribution (DC) master trust is giving up on the tobacco industry because it does not think it will be viable in the long term.The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) today announced it would be excluding tobacco from its entire portfolio, a process that it estimated would take up to two years.The auto-enrolment provider’s exposure to tobacco was worth around £40m (€45m) today, it said.In NEST’s view the tobacco sector was a dying industry, facing stricter worldwide regulation, increasingly aggressive legal action by governments, and falling global smoking rates. “In our opinion, tobacco is a struggling industry which is being regulated out of existence,” said Mark Fawcett, CIO of the £6bn pension fund.“We have not taken this decision lightly but we don’t think it makes sense to continue investing in an industry whose business model looks increasingly unsustainable.”NEST has already excluded tobacco from its ESG emerging markets fund and commodities fund, and it said other external fund managers had agreed to support the divestment decision.Sergei Strigo, co-head of emerging markets fixed income at Amundi, said: “We do not see attractive risk reward of the tobacco sector in the emerging market bond universe and the market share is fairly modest in the emerging market debt space.“NEST’s decision to go tobacco-free is consistent with Amundi’s ESG view to cap tobacco companies in our lowest two ratings before exclusion.”Amundi has run emerging market debt investments for NEST since 2016.Other European pension investors have recently announced decisions to divest from tobacco.Earlier this month Sweden’s AP2 said it was doing so as part of a decision to realign its approach with “the underlying purpose” of international conventions. The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control targets a sharp reduction in tobacco consumption and the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.Last month AP2’s compatriot, pension and insurance company Länsförsäkringar, said it had sold all its holdings in tobacco producers, saying they had become an increasingly poor investment choice and had negative social and environmental impacts.In March Varma became the first Finnish pension provider to sign up to the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge, an initiative founded by campaign group Tobacco Free Portfolios.last_img read more

Wiltshire, Alphonso contest heats up Georgetown Court

first_imgTHE Toucan Distributors Junior Skill Level tournament began on Wednesday evening at Georgetown Club, Camp Street with top seed Shomari Wiltshire in excellent form against Michael Alphonso.In the only Category A match of the evening, a cool Wiltshire patiently rallied out an eager Alphonso for a 3-0 victory. Despite Alphonso’s outstanding retrieval, Wiltshire’s accuracy, timing and pace dominated the match for an 11-2, 11-4, 11-0 win.In the Category B matches, a much-improved Mohryan Baksh faced the talented Abosaide Cadogan in a close bout.After an 11-6 defeat in the first game, Baksh made an early bid in the second, pulling ahead, before Cadogan closed the gap; and in a point-for-point battle of exciting cross courts, drives and drops, he succumbed 12-14. Cadogan fought her way through the third to a 3-0 triumph.Lucas Jonas gave an impressive performance against Kirsten Gomes in a 5-game match where he dominated the T and played some magnificent cross courts. Gomes was outplayed in the final game after levelling up 2-2 earlier in the match and Jonas took the win 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8.Brothers Zachary and Lucas Persaud secured victories in Categories C and E respectively, while in Category F, Safirah Summer fought hard against Mathew Spooner in the second game reaching 13-15 but couldn’t hold on and Spooner earned his first win 11-6, 13-11.In Category H, good serves proved the game-changers for the younger players loke Tianna Gomes.Mathew Daby, Solomon Ince-Carvalhal and Shriya Persaud all finished the night without dropping a game.Matches continue tomorrow from 18:00hrs at Georgetown Club.Results for the eveningCategory AShomari Wiltshire trounced Michael Alphonso 11-2, 11-4, 11-0Category BAbosaide Cadogan defeated Mohryan Baksh 11-6, 14-12, 11-9Lucas Jonas beat Kirsten Gomes 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8Category CZachary Persaud whipped Shiloh Asregado 11-6, 11-3, 11-4Rayad Boyce thrashed Aishani Persaud 11-2, 11-5Category DLajuan Munroe trounced Teija Edwards 11-4, 11-4, 11-3Nathan Rahaman bettered Beau Fernandes 7-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-6Category ELucas Persaud whipped Arvin Seelall 11-6, 11-3Dhiren Persaud defeated Angel Rahim 11-7, 11-5Category FChristiana Fernandes mauled Mailia Maikoo 11-2, 11-4Matthew Spooner beat Safirah Summer 11-6, 15-13Grant Fernandes thrashed Noah Rahaman 11-5, 11-8Category GRomero Muniram mauled Abhinav Singh 11-3, 11-7William Escarraga got the better of Brenno DaSilva 11-6, 11-2Category HTianna Gomes demolished Eli Gouveia 11-0, 11-3Mathew Daby trounced Jnae Singh 11-3. 11-5Solomon Ince-Carvalhal smashed Nicholas Sawh 11-3, 11-1Shriya Persaud crushed Nicholas Sawh 11-2, 11-2last_img read more

Serena Williams stops Li Na to reach first Cincinnati final

first_imgSerena Williams staged comebacks in both sets to defeat China’s Li Na 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday and reach the WTA final at Cincinnati for the first time.The world number one, who has claimed 15 titles in the last 16 months and is bidding for her ninth this season, will play either second-seeded Victoria Azarenka or former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.Li ended in unfortunate fashion, double-faulting on a set point in the first and again on match point in the second.Williams claimed her eighth win in nine matches against Li, who had not played in the previous round when opponent Agnieszka Radwanska withdrew to attend a funeral in her native Poland.China’s former Roland Garros winner had a bad day on serve, double-faulting on a set point in the first set and ending the contest after 83 minutes with the same costly error on match point.Williams has won 15 titles in the last 16 months including a personal-best eight in 2013. Her previous best in Cincinnati was a semi-final in 2006 when it was a smaller women’s-only tournament. “When you win a lot you develop a lot of confidence and a belief that you can do well,” said the 31-year-old.“I’ve been training more and enjoying it a lot over the past year and a half.”Williams also won the US Open Series title which gives her a chance at a one million-dollar bonus should she win the US Open which begins a week from Monday.The American admitted to dealing with an abdominal muscle problem this week but did not go into details, saying she did not want to tape it for fear it might hinder her movement.The top seed went up 4-1 in the first set only to be pegged back by Li, who then served for the match but failed. Williams levelled at 5-5 on another of Li’s eight serving errors and then broke again to win the set after 47 minutes. The American then trailed in the second but with Li again unable to serve out. The top Chinese finally went down to defeat after losing serve seven times.The win earned Williams a 60-3 record this season.last_img read more

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