Collectum – Anders Moberg is stepping down from his role as chief executive at Collectum, the administrator of the Swedish white-collar occupational pensions system. He is joining AFA Färsäkringar as chief executive, replacing Maj-Charlotte Wallin. Collectum is looking for a replacement.JLT Employee Benefits – Teresa Beach has been appointed COO. She joins from Amey, a UK-based public service and infrastructure management business, which she joined as interim solutions director. Before then, she spent four and a half years at insurer Catlin, first as head of business transformation, and then as group head of business change.Financial Reporting Council (FRC) – Anthony Appleton has been appointed director of Accounting and Reporting. He joins from BDO, where he is a director in the financial reporting advisory team. He has been a member of the FRC’s Accounting Council since May. He will take up his position at the FRC in January. SPP, Kempen, The 300 Club, Philips Pensioenfonds, Collectum, JLT Employee Benefits, Financial Reporting CouncilSPP – The Swedish pension and life insurance arm of Storebrand, the Norwegian provider, has hired Filippa Bergin to head up its sustainability business. Bergin, who is married to Peter Norman, the minister for financial markets in Sweden, has previously worked for non-profit organisations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International, and also has experience in the financial services industry. She joins SPP on 18 November.Kempen – Robert-Jan Tel has started as director of international non-listed real estate at investment bank Kempen, in a new position, shared with Remco Rothkranz. Tel left the €14.5bn Philips Pensioenfonds, where he has been head of non-listed real estate investments, overseeing the construction of a €600m portfolio.The 300 Club – Stefan Dunatov, CIO at Coal Pension Trustees Investment (CPTI), has joined the 300 Club, made up of leading investment professionals from across the globe. Before joining CPTI, Dunatov was a director at Deutsche Asset Management, portfolio strategist at Equitas and economist at HSBC. He has also been an adviser at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
The UK government has announced an exemption to withholding tax on the interest from private placements, spurring a £9bn (€11.4bn) commitment from insurers and asset managers.Six investment companies, backed by the Investment Management Association (IMA), have committed to providing finance to corporate private placements and infrastructure projects.In yesterday’s Autumn Statement – the chancellor George Osborne’s economic update to Parliament – it was announced that the government would provide an exemption from withholding tax on interest from qualifying private placements. “[This will] help unlock new finance for businesses and infrastructure projects,” the government said. A withholding tax is deducted from interest payments made to lenders of finance or on dividend payments.While details on which private placements would qualify for exemption will be released next week, it is understood third-party funds and pension fund investors would also be exempt.The six organisations funding the £9bn commitment include asset manager Allianz Global Investors (Allianz GI) and insurers Aviva, Friends Life, Prudential, Legal & General and Standard Life.The chancellor said the exemption signalled the potential beginnings of an enduring private-placement market in the UK.UK private-placement issuers accounted for around 21% of the global market at the end of October 2013, according to S&P.This saw around £7bn issued to a mixture of US and UK lenders.On the back of the announcement, Allianz GI said it was prepared to invest upward of £3bn in UK infrastructure debt over the next 3-5 years.This is in addition to the £600m the company is already on track to invest by the end of 2014.Deborah Zurkow, Allianz GI’s CIO for infrastructure debt, said: “Introducing a new tax exemption for private placements will act as an important step in helping unlock further international investment into UK infrastructure.”Insurer Aviva also announced an immediate commitment of £500m to UK infrastructure debt projects, in addition to £500m allocated last year.This will be done via Aviva Investors, the insurer’s asset management arm.Friends Life, which this week agreed to be taken over by Aviva in a deal worth more than £5bn, is also party to the agreement.It said the tax exemption would allow the company to continue its infrastructure and private-placement business, adding to the £1.5bn already invested.Daniel Godfrey, chief executive at the IMA, added: “This measure is a significant boost to the development of the UK private-placement market.”Yesterday’s Autumn Statement also announced a commitment to investigate the possibility of creating a long-term investment fund backed by tax revenues from shale-gas extraction in the North of England.The government said it would legislate in the next Parliament, from May 2015, for a fund to “capture the economic benefits of shale gas for future generations, and ensure revenues are invested in the long-term economic health of the North to create jobs and investment”.
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) believes the European Commission has made a major concession in addressing investor concerns over International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).In a letter dated 17 May addressed to the European commissioner responsible for financial markets, Jonathan Hill, the LAPPF writes: “Your written answer to Syed Kamall MEP (E-106071/2015) confirms our belief on both points of law relevant to the endorsement criteria for IFRS – ‘the target’ (being a true and fair view of assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss) and ‘the purpose’ (being for creditor and shareholder protection).”The letter continues: “[It] represents a significant change to the landscape of accounting standard setting. Our evidence is that accounting firms, standard setters and regulators have been working on assumptions contrary to that.”This latest development in the long-running war of words follows a bid by commissioner Hill to reassure investors over the financial stability impact of IFRS, including the new financial instruments accounting standard IFRS 9. In a letter dated 10 May seen by IPE, he wrote: “We have analysed EFRAG’s advice, and we are satisfied the standard has been properly assessed against the endorsement criteria of the IAS-Regulation.“In particular, we believe the issues you previously raised in your letter to me of 23 September 2015 have been adequately addressed.”The spat over the purpose of and basis for financial reporting in the EU between some long-term UK investor interests and the wider accounting establishment dates back to the 2008 financial crisis.Since then, concerns have mounted that accounts prepared under IFRS – particularly by banks – could be defective.The LAPFF is among those long-term UK investors that have been vocal in their criticism that IFRS accounts let potentially insolvent financial institutions pay out dividends and bonuses.These investors have argued that dividends paid on the back of unrealised profits ultimately rebound on to shareholders and creditors.In December last year, the LAPFF called on the European Commission to clarify its position on IFRS 9.In particular, the LAPFF believes EFRAG has issued defective endorsement advice on the standard.The LAPFF first contacted the European Commission about the issue on 23 September.The local authority pension funds body warned that the EU Commission could in future face legal action were IFRS 9 to be endorsed.Meanwhile, this latter exchange of correspondence in the dispute leaves the LAPFF holding its line that IFRS 9 fails to meet the EU’s endorsement criteria.LAPFF chairman Cllr. Kieran Quinn wrote in the 17 May letter: “Given that, the only way IFRS 9 could ever comply with the criteria of EU law, having been designed on different premise, would be by accident.”The letter also reveals that the LAPFF continues to believe the EU’s advisory body on accounting matters, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), has misapplied the EU’s accounting endorsement criteria in its formal advice to the Commission.Cllr. Quinn said: “The EFRAG has instead operated by taking the assertions of the International Accounting Standards Board as if it defined the purpose of accounts, rather than the rule of law.”Of particular concern to the LAPFF is the EFRAG’s continued support in its 15 September 2016 advice for IFRS 9, despite the fact it could mean banks pay out dividends based on what the LAPFF calls “unreliable level 3 numbers (mark-to-model asset values)”.This means, the LAPFF argues, that the profit or loss and financial position (net assets) will not be correctly stated either.It also dismisses the EFRAG’s suggestion any deficiencies in IFRS 9 could be fixed through a footnote disclosure. “[W]ords might accompany the numbers as a note to the asset valuations,” it said, “but, whatever that note is intended to do, it does not compensate for the asset value, and the profit or loss and the financial position being wrong in the first place.”The LAPFF argues that, although the purpose of accounts is creditor and shareholder protection, commissioner Hill has, in his latest letter, applied a far looser criteria of the Capital Maintenance Directive (2012/30/EU), not the Accounting Directive (2013/34/EU).Moreover, the Capital Maintenance Directive requires shareholders to pay back illegal dividends.The European Union’s endorsement criteria for accounting standards are set out in the accounting directive.The IASB’s efforts to replace its existing financial-instruments accounting literature with IFRS 9 has proved to be controversial.In March, it emerged that the European Systemic Risk Board has not yet undertaken a study of the financial stability impact of the new standard.
This acknowledges that most dispersion between emerging market stock returns is due to country factors. It has certainly been true in the past that one characteristic of emerging market stocks was the generalisation that they were more highly correlated to their local stock market than their global sector allocation.While this tendency has grown more muted over the last couple of decades, the dispersion across emerging markets in the immediate aftermath of the US election was quite striking. Russian stocks climbed 20% between 8 November and mid-February, while Polish and Egyptian equities were up about 12% over the same period. Mexican stocks fell 12%.Are emerging markets riskier than developed? Economist and entrepreneur Jerome Booth always likes to proclaim that the difference between the two is that, in emerging markets, risk is acknowledged and discounted, while developed markets suffer from a misperception of risk.From a developed market investor point of view however, as Subramaniam points out, single-country emerging market portfolios can remain riskier than their developed market counterparts by one important measure: currency risk. MSCI finds that in many countries, over 40% of market volatility arises solely from currency effects.Yet what Subramaniam does not point out in his article is that developed markets also see tremendous volatility from similar sources. The Brexit vote caused sterling to fall almost 20% against the dollar and has every chance of falling much further. The long-term survival of the euro is also at risk with political uncertainties sweeping across Europe.While currency risk is inherent in any emerging market transaction, it is also present in a developed market transaction outside the home market. The management of this risk is primarily through diversification across the universe of emerging markets. But as the divergence between developed and emerging markets grows stronger, the rationale for having separate passive global emerging market mandates may become weaker.Subramaniam argues that the divergence in results across emerging markets suggests that, as emerging markets mature and both country and currency effects widen, institutional investors can implement more active mandates to take advantage of the differences. Provided, that is, they are willing to accept the risks.Perhaps the greater problem investors have faced in emerging markets, however, has been the volatility associated with large scale flows into and out of global emerging market exchange-traded funds, which have pushed markets both up and down. For long-term institutional investors, perhaps such volatility should be discounted – and investment decisions made on assessments of fundamental valuations rather than fund flows. That would suggest treating major emerging markets such as China and India as separate investment destinations in their own right, much as Japan has been considered for the past three or four decades.What is clearer is that passive global emerging market allocations based on a market cap weightings give institutional investors excess volatility associated with fund flows rather than fundamentals. Perhaps it is time for a more intelligent approach. MSCI in a recent note raised the issue as to whether it is time investors re-examined their approaches to investing in emerging markets.Raman Aylur Subramanian of MSCI’s equity applied research team makes the point that institutional investors face at least three choices in their allocations to emerging markets. They can allocate to an integrated, global equity approach (active or passive). They can adopt a dedicated emerging markets allocation. Or they can make active allocations to particular countries within emerging markets.There is a long-term structural change in the world which can be seen as the narrowing of the arbitrage between emerging markets and developed. There are many different manifestations of this, including the rise of the domestic consumer within emerging markets, and the increasing role of trade flows within emerging markets, compared with trade flows between emerging markets and developed.Then there is what MSCI themselves raise in Subramaniam’s article, namely the convergence of return and risk profiles between developed and emerging markets. Combined with the dispersion between countries within emerging economies, this means that some institutional investors are reconfiguring mandates to take more active views on individual countries.
Derisking transactions covering some £590m (€670m) of pensioner benefits at four schemes have been announced.The £3bn Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF) sealed a £490m buy-in with Legal & General Group, covering all members that retired since it completed a £1.5bn longevity insurance transaction in 2014.Andy Waring, chief executive of the MNOPF, said: “Securing the benefits of our members has always been a significant part of the MNOPF journey plan. Our next milestone is to promote and grow the [defined contribution] Ensign Retirement Plan, so that we can provide the same security in retirement for the next generation of maritime employees.”Separately, three defined benefit (DB) pension schemes linked to Italian tyre company Pirelli Group concluded a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), covering around £100m of benefits. The transaction means that the three schemes are completely de-risked, according to a statement from PIC. Last year Pirelli’s main UK DB schemes completed longevity swaps worth £600m with Zurich Assurance.LGPS launches investment management consultancy procurement frameworkUK local authority pension funds and their fledgling asset pools have finalised a new framework for the procurement of investment management consultancy services.It is a restructuring of the first national framework of its kind, launched in 2013. According to a statement, since then 27 local government pension scheme (LGPS) funds from across the UK had joined the original seven founder authorities participating in the framework. A total of 34 contracts have been agreed under the framework with savings estimated to reach over £3.6m.The organisation overseeing national LGPS frameworks said the 2013 concept was “fully refreshed and restructured” to meet the current and future needs of the LGPS, including the pooling arrangements.Nigel Keogh, National LGPS Frameworks operations and development manager, told IPE that the new framework included different “lots” because the asset pools would have different requirements to individual funds. The previous framework only had one lot. The new framework is split into lots for investment consultancy services; manager search, selection, monitoring and review services; and investment management consultancy-related specialist services. The new framework was the outcome of collaboration between Brunel Pension Partnership, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cheshire Pension Fund, the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, Merseyside Pension Fund, Norfolk Pension Fund, Northamptonshire County Council and West Sussex Pension Fund.It was supported by the National LGPS Frameworks team, and procurement and legal specialists from Norfolk County Council.Frameworks for transition management and implementation services are due to be ready soon. Minimum standards for professional trustees New standards outlining what is expected of professional trustees were published for consultation today.They have been drawn up by the industry-led Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) to establish minimum requirements for professional trustees of occupational pension schemes.The group has set out standards in six areas that all professional trustees are expected to meet:Fitness and propriety;Integrity;Expertise and care;Impartiality and conflicts of interest;Professional behaviour;Systems and controls.Specific guidelines were set out for professional trustees who were also the chair of a scheme, and for those who were the sole trustee of a scheme. Topics range from having the skills to lead, negotiate and reach a consensus to providing strategic direction and actively challenging advice.Andrew Bradshaw, chair of PTSWG, said: “With the growing influence of professional trustees, it is important that the industry adopts a recognised set of professional standards. ”The challenge for the PTSWG has been to produce a set of universal standards which recognise the wide range of business structures and services that professional trustees and their firms now provide. We very much hope that the standards strike the right balance and look forward to hearing the views of professional trustees and the wider industry during the consultation period.”The consultation will run until 2 March 2018. After the standards have been published the PTSWG will develop an accreditation framework, which professional trustees will be expected to meet.
European pension funds should re-evaluate their equity holdings in the light of US president Donald Trump’s escalating war of words with China over trade tariffs, commentators have warned.Markets around the world tumbled earlier this week following president Trump’s announcement that he was considering adding tariffs on a further $200bn (€170bn) of Chinese goods following China’s retaliatory imposition of levies on $34bn of US goods.On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed down by almost 300 points – wiping out any gains over the year. Asian markets rallied on positive US housing data, having seen the main markets in Singapore and Japan fall by 1% and 0.8% respectively a day earlier.“This is certainly something that pension fund investors should be aware of and concerned about,” said Alastair George, chief investment strategist at Edison Investment Research. George has advised caution “for some time”, he said, not just because of the burgeoning trade dispute but because markets were likely to trade sideways following moves by the US and Europe to wind down monetary stimulus programmes.“At this stage you’re talking about running a defensive portfolio position – not that you fear a calamity, but because you have relatively little upside,” he said. How US, Chinese and European equities have performed this year. (Total return, priced in dollars)Source: FE Analytics“If the markets trade sideways, then whether you are worried about a trade war or a peak in the economic cycle your response would be broadly similar in terms of your equity allocation: avoid globally traded commodities, the resources sector and emerging markets.”Last week, the US president announced a 25% tariff on $50bn of Chinese products ranging from cars to agricultural products, taking effect from 6 July. The US has also threatened imposing tariffs on products imported from Canada and the European Union.China, meanwhile, has threatened a 25% tariff on imports of US coal, oil and gas.“Europe is very exposed as it is very open [to trade],” said Tapan Datta, head of global asset allocation at Aon. “There are a lot of European industrials that would be impacted – but at the margin the move will boost some US stocks.“Over the course of these things, there will always be some winners and it is likely that some US stocks will win [over the short term].”Datta added a note of optimism, however: “It is still too early to get alarmist that the markets will tank.”In a note published on Wednesday, State Street Global Advisors lauded the “stellar first quarter results” of S&P 500 companies, which were now on track to “post a nearly 25% increase in earnings compared to last year”.The S&P 500 is approximately 4% up year to date.Pal Sarai, managing director and head of client consulting for EMEA, Australia and Asia at consultancy Bfinance, said the events unfolding in Washington and Beijing could prove to be a “major geopolitical risk that may derail the nascent global economic recovery”.Insuring against equity risk has come to the fore recently, he added: “There has been a trend in recent months towards strategies that may protect against equity market falls, and this could support the continuing appetite for such strategies.”Two UK public sector schemes – for the counties of South Yorkshire and Worcestershire – have employed significant equity protection strategies in recent weeks.Ultimately, the escalation of the trade dispute between the US and China should “have investors worried”, added Seema Shah, senior global investment strategist at Principal Global Investors.“Recall that the original tariffs on about $50bn-worth of Chinese imports motivated sharp declines in equity markets, despite not being expected to have a meaningful impact on the global economy,” she said. “The latest ratcheting up in the trade dispute may trigger even more severe market turmoil.”Trading blows: Who said what, and when, in the war of words US president Donald Trump and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau at the G7 gathering earlier this monthJanuary: US imposes tariffs on steel products from India and ChinaFebruary: Anti-dumping duties levied on iron and aluminium from ChinaMarch: US adds to tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminiumApril: China retaliates, imposing tariffs on US products such as cars and aircraft; Donald Trump threatens more tariffs on $100bn of goodsMay: “Ceasefire” announced by China and US8 June: Trump criticises France and Canada over trade ahead of G7 meeting in Quebec15 June: US imposes 25% tariff on $50bn of Chinese goods; China retaliates with levies on $34bn of US products19 June: Trump threatens 10% tariff on additional $200bn of US goods; China said to consider levying oil, gas and coal imports
The implementation of over-the-counter derivatives contracts, concluded with UK-based parties and extending beyond the Brexit date, could also become stuck, he warned.“These counterparties would possibly no longer have the required authorisation to offer investment services to EU counterparties, or conduct investment activities related to these derivatives contracts,” Hilbers said.Meanwhile, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it continued to prepare for a range of scenarios, including a hard Brexit.The FCA is to be tasked by the UK’s treasury department with amending and maintaining EU rules and technical standards after the UK’s membership ends on 29 March 2019. This is in line with the EU (Withdrawal) Act, recently passed by the parliament, which allows the transferral and conversion of EU law to UK law and gives ministers powers to make amendments as necessary.The FCA said its work would “sit underneath the EU regulations and directives and provide technical detail of how those requirements must be met”.Last March, the UK and the EU agreed on a transitional period from 29 March to December-end 2020.During this time, EU law would remain applicable to the UK, with firms, funds and trading venues continuing to benefit from passporting between the UK and EEA as they do today, according to the FCA.“Obligations derived from EU law would continue to apply, and firms must continue with implemention plans for EU legislation that is still to come into effect before the end of December 2020,” the FCA added. Dutch supervisor DNB has urged pension funds to prepare for a so-called ‘hard’ Brexit, as the preliminary agreement for a transition period after the UK leaves in March is not yet legally binding.On DNB’s website, Paul Hilbers, director for financial stability, said that if the UK and the EU failed to reach an agreement on their future relationship, the transitional arrangement could be cancelled.He warned that a hard Brexit could come without equivalence certificates for the UK, which are necessary for companies and financial institutions to access each other’s markets.DNB’s financial stability director explained that pension funds ran the concrete risk of loosing acces to infrastructure in the UK, such as central counterparty (CCP) clearing.
Andrew Benton has left State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) barely 18 months after joining the $2.7trn (€2.3trn) fund manager, IPE has learned.Benton, who joined in March 2017 as head of UK institutional business, departed last week, according to sources close to the firm.SSGA declined to comment and Benton could not be reached by IPE.Benton joined the firm to replace Mark McNulty, who had held top roles at SSGA from 2006 until the end of 2016. Benton had previously led international sales and client service at Baring Asset Management. State Street has reshuffled its European leadership over the past 12 months, bringing in Miles O’Connor – former head of institutional for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Schroders – to a newly created sales role in January this year.In July 2017, the company announced that Mike Karpik, who had led its asset management arm in the EMEA region since 2012, would leave after a 19-year State Street career. He handed the chief executive role to Cuan Coulter, former chief compliance officer for the global State Street Corporation.On Friday, the company announced its profit had risen 13% in the third quarter of the year, with total revenue increasing by 3.7% to $2.95bn. Credit: Garrett A WoolmanState Street Corporation’s headquarters, Boston, Massachusetts
Bill Gross, once dubbed the ‘Bond King’ and one of the world’s foremost fixed income investors, has announced his retirement from Janus Henderson Investors after more than 40 years in investment.Gross planned to focus on managing his personal assets and private charitable foundation, Janus Henderson said in a statement today.The manager currently runs more than $1.6bn (€1.4bn) at Janus Henderson, but once oversaw more than $200bn while at PIMCO, the investment house he co-founded in 1971.Dick Weil, CEO at Janus Henderson, said: “I have known Bill for the past 23 years. Bill is one of the greatest investors of all time and it has been my honour to work alongside him. I want to personally thank him for his contributions to the firm.” Bill Gross“I’ve had a wonderful ride for over 40 years in my career – trying at all times to put client interests first while inventing and reinventing active bond management along the way.“So many friends and associates at my two firms to thank – nothing is possible without a team working together with a common interest. I’ve been fortunate to have had that.“And thank you to all of my past clients for their trust and support. I learned early on that without a client, there can be no franchise. I’m off – leaving this port for another destination with high hopes, sunny skies and smooth seas!” Janus Henderson’s global macro fixed income team will take over management of the global unconstrained bond funds, with Nick Maroutsos, co-head of global bonds, becoming portfolio manager from 15 February “to assist with the transition”, the company said. The US and Ireland-based versions of the fund will be renamed as “absolute return income opportunities” funds on the same date. Gross joined Janus Henderson – then Janus Capital – in 2014 after an acrimonious exit from PIMCO . He left as chief investment officer in September 2014 after falling out with senior colleagues and later sued the company for $200m. The parties settled the lawsuit for $81m in 2017.The global unconstrained bond strategy run by Gross underperformed its benchmark since he joined, according to Janus Henderson. It lost 3.5% net of fees over the course of last year compared to a 2.1% increase in the strategy’s benchmark, the three-month dollar Libor.Similarly, his “total return” strategy – which invests solely in US securities – lost 0.8% in 2018, while its benchmark, the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate index, was flat. However, since launch to 31 December 2018 the strategy outperformed by 89 basis points net of fees. Bill Gross’ statement
The select committee’s report today said that as pensioners’ incomes had been brought back in line with those of working people, according to an inquiry by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, it was no longer needed.“The triple lock for the state pension should be removed,” the report said. “The state pension should be uprated in line with average earnings to ensure parity with working people. However, there should be protection against any unusually high periods of inflation in the future.”The move follows similar calls made by the OECD in October 2017. At the time, the institution said: “Indexing the state pension solely to average earnings would be fairer, while it would still allow pensioners to benefit from improvements in living standards.”‘Important first step’John Taylor, president-elect at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), said the institution supported the peers’ recommendation.“The introduction of the new state pension in 2016 restored the level of the state pension in relation to wages and means that the triple lock should no longer be necessary,” he said.The peers’ report said that maintaining the triple lock indefinitely would be unsustainable, something echoed by Frank Field, an MP who represented Labour at the 2017 election but is now independent. Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee in the lower house of parliament, told the Lords that he still supported this notion, but was quoted as being “worried about its political ramifications”.Taylor at the IFoA said: “It should now be a priority to ensure the state pension remains sustainable and affordable over the long term. Removing the triple lock would be an important first step in ensuring the sustainability of the state pension for future generations.”The peers’ report called on the Treasury to generate and publish data on intergenerational fairness. It also recommended the government create intergenerational impact assessments for all draft legislation indicating how it will affect different generations. A committee of peers in the House of Lords has called for the removal of the triple lock on the UK state pension, saying keeping it active indefinitely was unsustainable.In a report published today, entitled Tackling Intergenerational Unfairness, the Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision called for the measure to be withdrawn.The triple lock was a mechanism introduced by the UK’s coalition government of 2010-15. Its application means the state pension must be raised annually according to whichever was highest of wages, inflation or 2.5%.Each of the main political parties pledged to maintain the triple lock before the snap election of 2017, although the ruling Conservative party proposed to scrap the 2.5% lower limit after 2020. However, following its poorer-than-expected showing at the polls, the party was forced to abandon this idea in order to secure parliamentary support from Northern Ireland’s DUP.