Large sports crowds ‘unrealistic’ this year: WHO

first_imgThe Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2020 European football championships have been postponed until next year, while major football tournaments like Europe’s Champions League and the English Premier League have been forced behind closed doors.”We may have to expect that as things open up, we go from having no-one at the games to maybe 1,000 and 2,000,” said Ryan.”We all want our sport back. We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer.”It’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to be seeing large gatherings like that this year.”Right now, it’s hard to see those fully re-opened venues.” The World Health Organization said Wednesday it was “unrealistic” to expect large crowds at sports events this year in countries suffering from community-level transmission of the new coronavirus.WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said it could be “disastrous” in such circumstances to allow the return of sports matches with tens of thousands of people attending.Asked in a live WHO social media chat when major sports events could come back, Ryan said it was impossible to predict. Topics :center_img “We don’t know,” the Irish epidemiologist said.”Large crowds of 40, 50, 60,000 people — it’s not just the risk of being in the stadium, it’s the risk of going to the stadium, the public transport, the bars and the clubs,” he explained.”Imagine all the problems we have now with nightclubs and bars, and you squeeze all of that together into a four- or five-hour experience, where thousands of people go on the same public transport to a venue, get involved in the social aspects before a game, be involved in the game and then all of the social aspects after.”In the context of community transmission, that could be disastrous.”last_img read more

Polish pension fund sector set for another merger

first_imgPoland’s biggest insurer has struck an agreement to take over pension funds run by one of its biggest banks.Under an agreement reached between state-owned PZU Life and Bank Pekao – Poland’s second biggest bank by assets – PZU’s pension management company is to take over the open and voluntary pension funds run by Pekao Pioneer.The transaction would shrink the number of second-pillar open pension funds (OFEs) to 10, and would be the second in the space of 12 months, following Aegon’s takeover of Nordea’s pension fund in November.Currently OFE PZU “Złota Jesień” is the third biggest by membership and assets, behind those of Nationale-Nederlanden and Aviva BZ WBK. At the end of October, according to the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), it had net assets of PLN23.5bn (€5.5bn) and a membership of 2.1m, accounting for 13% of total industry assets and 13.2% of the total pension fund membership.The Pekao OFE, whose managing company is owned by Bank Pekao and Pioneer Global Asset Management Company, was the smallest in the industry, with asset and membership shares of 1.5% and 2% respectively.In the case of voluntary pension funds, as of the end of March PZU had PLN32.1m in assets and Pekao Pioneer PLN60.2m.The arrangement is expected to be completed by mid-2018, pending approval from the KNF.Pekao’s relatively small share of the OFE market should address one of the regulator’s main concerns – the avoidance of excessive market concentration – when it considers fund mergers.The consolidation became necessary after Italy’s UniCredit sold its 32.8% controlling stake in Bank Pekao in June to PZU and the Polish Development Fund, with the insurer taking 20%.Under Polish law, an entity and its connected companies can only be shareholders in one and the same pension company, and the event of a merger or acquisition of the type proposed the parties have to establish a new entity to remain compliant.Meanwhile, PZU Group’s recent transactions consolidated its position as one of the country’s biggest investment groups, as well as the government’s policy to “re-Polonise” its financial sector.PZU Life accounts for more than a third of gross written insurance premiums, and is the market leader in employee pension programmes, managing 376 of the 1,036 plans of the end of last year. PZU’s investment fund was second with 122.last_img read more