As of the end of March 2016, Polish equities accounted for 76.5% of the PLN143.1bn (€33.3bn) investment portfolio, despite the legal minimum equity requirement’s falling to 35%, from 55% in 2015.Foreign equities and other foreign securities accounted for a further 7%, and around 11% of the shares listed by the 50-odd foreign companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) were taken into account.Although the total foreign investment limit increased from 20% in 2015 to 30% in 2016, the continuing ban on OFEs using derivatives, even to hedge their currency risk, has in practice restricted the appetite for this asset class.Bank deposits, at 7.1% of the portfolio, constituted the only other significant investment.As a result, the OFEs’ returns have mirrored the WSE’s recent performance.The benchmark WIG index fell by 9.3% over the 12 months to end-March, following an 11-month bear run that only reversed this February.If the WSE maintains this trend, subsequent returns will show a marked improvement.A further positive development for the OFEs’ otherwise barren investment landscape is the amended legislation on covered bonds and mortgage banks that came into effect on 1 January.The amendments, aimed at regenerating Poland’s moribund mortgage-backed securities market, include making the issues a permissible investment for OFEs.Meanwhile, the recently published results coincide with the current four-month transfer window for workers deciding whether to opt into or out of paying their 2.92% contribution into either an OFE or the first-pillar Polish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).The Polish Chamber of Pension Funds (IGTE) recently launched an Internet-based campaign entitled ‘Add an OFE’.Its focuses include the risk diversification provided by the second pillar, and benefits that OFE investment provide for the Polish economy and industry.As of the end of March, the OFE system had 16.5m members, of which around 2.5m had elected in the first window, in 2014, to continue contributing into the second pillar.Since the window opened on 1 April, only around 10,000 workers have changed their contribution destination, the vast majority in favour of an OFE.Many are reportedly younger workers previously unaware of a privately run pensions saving alternative to ZUS. Poland’s second-pillar pension funds (OFEs) generated poor results over the last year, with all the 12 funds recording negative returns.According to the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), the weighted average 12-month return, as of the end of March 2016, fell from 2.52% in 2015 to minus 6.63%, while the three-year return plunged from 25.13% to 6.34%.The constraints imposed on the funds by the 2014 pension reforms were largely to blame.The OFEs were banned from investing in domestic and foreign sovereign bonds, which, in 2013, accounted for more than half of the aggregate portfolios, while the lack of suitable alternative investments converted them to equity funds.
If Dare Ogunbowale gets his way, there will be no music blaring over the speakers this week at the University of Wisconsin football team’s practices in advance of UW’s game at Northwestern this Saturday.The fifth-year senior running back is not trying to take the fun out of practice. Rather, the Badger captain is looking for ways to make sure No. 8 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) is ready for the different atmosphere at Ryan Field, the home of the Wildcats (4-4, 3-2).Football: Wisconsin survives Halloween scare from Nebraska in 23-17 overtime winThe last two times Nebraska visited Camp Randall Stadium, the University of Wisconsin football team imposed its will in the Read…“It’s kind of a dry type of field for a college football game,” Ogunbowale said.Ryan Field is “dry” in the sense it may not be as loud as another stadium. It only seats about 47,000 fans, a considerably smaller stadium than other capacities throughout the Big Ten. Therefore, Ogunbowale said, the absence of music during practice this week may help the UW offense find ways to create their own juice to make sure they are hyped to play come Saturday, regardless of the atmosphere.“Offensively, we got to start learning how to have our own energy,” Ogunbowale said. “When you’re playing at Camp Randall, we don’t have to worry about that because we have such a good atmosphere with the fans bringing energy for us.”Ogunbowale said the Wisconsin defense does a great job of generating its own energy because of guys like fifth-year senior outside linebacker Vince Biegel, who said the absence of music this week is a good idea.“Northwestern’s stadium poses different challenges that we’ve seen up to this point,” Biegel said. “It’s a little more of a quiet stadium. The crowd isn’t as much of a factor as we’ve seen previously.”Especially coming off the high of a prime-time win over then-No. 7 Nebraska in front of an electric home crowd. With the transition to the more laid back Ryan Field, it will be necessary to create the energy instead of feeding off of it, redshirt junior tight end Troy Fumagalli said.What Wisconsin doesn’t want is a repeat of 2014, when it stumbled to a 20-14 loss during an 11 a.m. kickoff under overcast skies and a half-full stadium.“We turned the ball over more than we should,” Fumagalli said. “It was a typical Northwestern game at 11 a.m. We came out in a sleep. What’s good is it’s in a lot of our minds.”Wisconsin has not won at Northwestern since 1999. UW head coach Paul Chryst was part of several of those losses as an assistant, but this will be his first time going to Evanston at the helm.Each of those losses, Chryst said, have come because of what has happened between the lines on the field and not in the stands.“Every stadium is different, and I think that’s what’s kind of cool about going on the road,” Chryst said. “It’s another experience, and no one place is like the other.”Rankings hold little importanceThe Badgers rose to No. 8 in both the coaches and the Associated Press poll this week after defeating Nebraska, but on Tuesday, the College Football Playoff Committee will release its first set of rankings.The release of the rankings will be televised by ESPN in an hour-long special beginning at 6 p.m. When asked if he’d be watching, Ogunbowale said he didn’t even know there was a show about the rankings.“I doubt that many guys will watch the show,” Ogunbowale said. “I’ll probably be watching Family Guy.”That mentality derives from that of Chryst’s, who has emphasized to shut out outside noise, such as rankings.“I think they matter to a lot of people, and there’s a lot of potential with it,” Chryst said. “I think for our team, or for any team, what really matters is what you do that week. The discussions don’t help you play the game. You got to play your season out.”Injury reportSophomore nose tackle Olive Sagapolu (right arm) will miss his third consecutive game this week. Chryst said there was no timetable for his return, but that when the injury occurred, the coaching staff knew it would be some time before he’d be back.The following players are questionable for Saturday: T.J. Watt (left shoulder), Austin Ramesh (right shoulder), Natrell Jamerson (left leg), Jacob Maxwell (right shoulder) and Griffin Grady (left shoulder)