‘Candy Corn’

first_imgMany of you will hand out treats like candy corn this Halloween. I’d like to suggest some ‘Candy Corn’ for the garden that will add an incredible array of color and texture and will be beautiful in your landscape.While the ‘Candy Corn’ cuphea won’t satisfy your sweet tooth, it does offer a tasty treat for pollinators, like hummingbirds and butterflies. This shrub, which most of us consider either an annual or returning perennial, offers many backyard wildlife habitat benefits. Each of the long stems bears dozens upon dozens of tubular flowers. The flowers reach 1 to 2 inches in length, starting out a cheerful, bright yellow and maturing to orange-red.Botanically speaking, the ‘Candy Corn’ cuphea, also called “Mexican giant cigar plant,” is known as “Cuphea micropetala.” It is native to Mexico and, with good winter drainage, offers more cold hardiness than many realize. Many gardeners find it to be a returning perennial in zone 7b and worth every penny to grow as an annual in colder regions.You probably already grow a variety of cupheas as annuals, like Mexican heather and firecracker flower. Adding the ‘Candy Corn’ cuphea makes sense and spreads your bloom season out. Here at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia, we find ours starts blooming in early September and offers a wonderful fall display that peaks at the height of butterfly season.Since our ‘Candy Corn’ cupheas are at peak now, you will most likely be planting yours next spring. Select a site in full sun and plant them in well-drained soil. The ‘Candy Corn’ cuphea can easily reach 3 feet tall and wide, so plan on spacing plants 18 to 24 inches apart, planting at the same depth they are growing in the container. Apply a good layer of mulch, water to get them established, then enjoy.In early summer, pinch growth as needed and more branching will follow. Feed the plant in midsummer and again in early fall with a light application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. These species are drought tolerant, but watering during prolonged dry periods will pay dividends come fall.Plan on using them informally in the garden rather than lined up like soldiers. They work well with other hummingbird plants, like firebush and ‘Gold Star’ esperanza. In our Mediterranean Garden, we feature them with the fall-blooming Mexican bush sage, agave and day-blooming cestrum. In our Sun Garden, we have them planted in a sea of orange and yellow with esperanza, ‘Color Guard’ yucca, thornless opuntia cactus and tall, yellow-blooming thryallis.If you are thrilled when a hummingbird comes to your feeder, then you will be ecstatic when they come to the ‘Candy Corn’ cupheas you have placed in the landscape. Even though much of the country is under the grip of the first cold front of the year, make plans now. Locate a source for ‘Candy Corn’ and other cupheas in your landscape next spring. Follow me on Facebook at Norman Winter “The Garden Guy.”last_img read more

Security Gains Should Hinder Insurgent Ability To Regroup In Spring

first_img Insurgents will face a more difficult spring than in previous years as Afghan and coalition forces consolidate and expand on last year’s gains. Much progress has been made by Afghan and coalition forces in securing Afghanistan over the last several months, including dramatic changes in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, said Rear Adm. Greg Smith, communications director for the International Security Assistance Force. “Sixty to 80 percent of the improvised explosive devices they place are found before they explode,” said Smith. “Between 100 to 130 weapons caches are found every week in southern Afghanistan.” Security gains in the south are leading Afghan civilians to return to areas once controlled by the Taliban, said Smith. On 23 January, residents of Arghandab district, Kandahar province, returned to their homes after Afghan and coalition forces cleared the Taliban out of the area. “Helping the residents back into the village is a huge victory,” Capt. Walter Tompkins, commander, Company B, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, was quoted as saying in a 29 January news release from the ISAF Joint Command. Tompkins was among those assisting Afghans in their return to Arghandab. “Not only does it show huge gains in perception of security, but also presents a great opportunity to truly partner with the residents of the village,” Tompkins said. The partnership between ISAF and Afghan forces is one of many concerns the insurgents have as they continue to fight through the winter and into spring, according to Smith. Various intelligence sources and detained fighters indicate that the insurgency is feeling the pressure of the renewed southern offensive. Their finances are dwindling and munitions are becoming hard to acquire. Insurgent groups are also worried about the growth of Afghan forces and the development of Afghan local police. They have also lost access to areas they once occupied and are concerned they will not regain those areas in the spring, said Smith. “The fighting season in 2011 will not be like any previous fighting season for the insurgent group,” said Smith. “The insurgents will be facing 100,000 more Afghan and coalition security forces than they did the year before.” Afghan police will man more than 30 southern districts this spring, whereas there were no police in the same districts last spring. Some areas that were once insurgent strongholds are no longer welcoming the Taliban. These successes, while promising, do not suggest the war is won or victory is near, cautioned Smith. Afghan and coalition forces still need to secure some substantial parts of the country’s south. “Northern Helmand province continues to be the most dangerous area in Afghanistan,” said Smith. By Dialogo February 03, 2011last_img read more

Don’t Be Cajoled Into a Constitutional Convention

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York On Nov. 7, the voters will make an important choice on whether to hold another state constitutional convention, which if approved would take place in April 2019. Voters beware, many of the groups advocating in favor of this ballot proposition are representing narrow interests, masked under the thin veil of good government.Our state’s constitution requires that every 20 years, voters get the opportunity to choose whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. During the past 112 years we have held four conventions (e.g., 1894, 1915, 1938 and 1967) and their accomplishments are debatable. However, there is one indisputable fact that ties them together, they were carbon copies of a typical legislative session, driven by politics and tilted to benefit the political elite.Unlike in years past, there is no pressing public issue that is creating a wave of support for a convention. In fact, the most recent Siena College poll shows that more than 71 percent of New Yorkers have no idea there is even an upcoming vote.Leading up to the Convention of 1894, the country was mourning the loss of President James Garfield, who was killed by an angry campaign worker who did not receive a government job. New Yorkers felt there was work to be done especially in passing civil service laws to end patronage and nepotism. In 1938, New York was recovering from a world war and the Great Depression, and many felt it was crucial to rebuild the national infrastructure and strengthen our laws.Advocates for a convention will tell you that the only way to pass ethics reform is to have a convention, because the legislature can’t get it done. Not true, this year the legislature proposed an amendment that would to take away the pensions of legislators convicted of a felony. Many of these same proponents believe we need radical changes to our constitution, pushing to abolish the State Senate on the grounds that the Republicans who control the Senate with a group of independent Democrats are an impediment to getting progressive laws passed. Again, an empty argument. This month the legislature enacted, without a costly convention, an important progressive judicial reform that will raise the age of adult criminal prosecution from 16 to 18 years of age.There is another group who wants to abolish the state, in a plan that is a better fit for a mini-series on AMC. A disparate group of land owners, who want to keep their tax dollars, seek to abolish the government and form regional frontiers with a figurehead, played by Pierce Brosnan, in the role of Governor for the regions.All of these groups fail to recognize that past conventions have been riddled with rigged agendas and political patronage. In fact, in 1938 lobbyists were allowed stand on the convention floor and debate proposed amendments. Anyone who tells you that this will be a people’s convention is delusional. In 1967, 80 percent of the delegates were politically connected and 45 percent were current or former public officials who were able to collect a second salary, allowing them to double dip to boost their state pensions.Constitutional conventions, which run concurrently with a regular legislative session, are not cost-effective. Not only are the delegates well paid, they get to hire staff. There are 204 delegate spots and they all need help. Administrative, legal, and research are just some of the staffing positions that have been filled in past conventions. Then you add per diems, food, transportation, lodging, and printed materials to the bottom line. You can even hire a special consultant or two.The only stimulus for the economy is that the lobbyists can charge their clients another fee to represent them at the convention.Thankfully, there is an alternative to this government boondoggle. During the last century, New Yorkers have amended their constitution 200 times by public referendum. Voters have shown time and time again that they can make intelligent choices and as such there is no reason to have a convention. The voters have elected 218 state officials, including the Governor, to represent their interests. The current democratic process allows the people to engage their government at the ballot box.If the pro-convention advocates really want to change our laws, they can take a drive up to Albany like the rest of us and spend some time advocating for real reforms.Anthony Figliola is Vice President of Empire Government Strategies and co-author of Patronage, Waste and Favoritism – A Dark History of Constitutional Conventions.RELATED: Should Voters OK Referendum for a NY Constitutional Convention?last_img read more

3 ways leaders can boost workplace optimism in summer

first_imgAs summertime gets into full swing it can be incredibly hard to keep your workforce optimistic and motivated. Most of your employees have dreams of the beach and sunny skies on their minds, as opposed to the workload in front of them. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to maintain a productive work environment. Here are three tips for keeping your employees engaged and optimistic not only during summer, but the whole year through.Maintain focusWhen children are in summer camps and vacations are on the horizon, it’s natural for employees to have distractions. It’s important you check in with them periodically to ensure that they are keeping track with the work that needs to be done. Help them to prioritize items that are time sensitive. Also, if your organization’s workload lessens during the summer months, be sure to give your employees purpose.Be flexibleIf you provide your staff with adequate time-off, they will be incredibly appreciative and also stronger employees. When professionals are given incentives, they feel valued and understood. So, if an employee requests a reasonable amount of time off, needs to leave early for a personal reason, or simply wants to take a walk when the weather’s nice, be flexible and agreeable.Concentrate on connectingSummer can be a great time for reconnecting with your staff on a personal level. If things are slow in the office, take time to engage with them and encourage open communication. You don’t have to always take them out to lunch, but even just the action of reaching out and checking in can make a huge difference in their morale. 47SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details read more

3 great questions that will improve your holiday small talk

first_img 25SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details The holiday season has arrived, and with it, the opportunity (let’s be positive) of making chit chat with co-workers, acquaintances, and cousin’s fiancés at the inevitable holiday parties that we’ll be attending. For some, the awkward small talk is a painful journey that must be travelled down in order for the holidays to arrive. Personally, I love reflecting on awkward situations, so it’s totally worth it for me. If you’re not a huge fan of these short talks, here are three questions that can begin a conversation you won’t totally regret.I need a new show. What are you watching?: This question is money in the bank. We all love TV, especially binge watching a new season. We have to wait 364 days for the new season of Stranger Things to come out (I’m assuming we all watched Season 2 in one day), so there’s always a need for a new show. If you’re not yet streaming, it’s time to ditch the dish. Knock that thing off the house and get lost in Netflix. It’ll provide you with an abundance of conversation starters next time your in-laws are in town.Have you tried (insert restaurant name here)?: Another thing we love is food. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and that’s definitely true. I could talk about my favorite restaurants for hours. If you find yourself next to the cheese platter, standing alone with your aunt’s new husband, this is probably a good avenue to explore. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a shared love of smoked meats, or even better, discover a new BBQ joint you hadn’t heard about yet.Have you ever seen anyone famous? Not everyone has met someone famous, but a lot of people have at least seen someone famous. While you may not get a ton of “I got stuck in an elevator with Robert Downey Jr.” stories, you may at least get a few “I passed Maura Tierney on the sidewalk in NYC once.” A great story is a long shot, but it sure beats talking about the weather.last_img read more

From foe to friend, ministry commits to fare hike for ‘ojol’ drivers in Greater Jakarta

first_imgTopics : “This [fare hike] is to accommodate the drivers’ aspirations,” said land transportation director general Budi Setyadi. Drivers’ demand for higher fares was based on the minimum wage hike and increasing living cost in Greater Jakarta, as well as the prevailing ministerial decree that stipulated a quarterly fare evaluation.”The decision has been made through discussions with other parties, including the YLKI, [ride-hailing] companies and [relevant] associations,” he said, referring to the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI).Read also: Ministry mulls over ‘ojol’ drivers’ demand for fare increase in Greater JakartaAside from e-commerce and online travel services, the ride-hailing sector has contributed the most to Indonesia’s flourishing digital economy with US$6 billion in 2019, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company. The figure posts growth of 57 percent from $900 million in 2015. The Transportation Ministry announced on Tuesday its plans to increase the fare pricing for ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxis) in Greater Jakarta, with the new fares to become effective on March 16.The ministry’s move comes in response to the ojol (ojek online) drivers’ demands to help them meet the rising cost of living in the capital city and surrounding areas.The new fare pricing sets a per kilometer floor price of Rp 2,250, up from Rp 2,000 previously, and a per kilometer ceiling price of Rp 2,650, up from Rp 2,500. The policy also fixes the base fare for the first 4 kilometers to between Rp 9,000 and Rp 10,500 depending on the service, from between Rp 8,000 and Rp 10,000 previously.center_img While the ministry’s new policy increases the fare pricing for Greater Jakarta, which is designated as Zone 2, it maintains the current pricing for Zones 1 and 3. The fare pricing for Zone 1 (Sumatra, Bali and Java, excluding Greater Jakarta) is to retain a per km floor price of Rp 1,850 and per km ceiling price of Rp 2,300, while the fare pricing for Zone 3 (Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua) is respectively Rp 2,100 and Rp 2,600.The fixed base fare for both zones is between Rp 7,000 and Rp 10,000, depending on the service.“From our discussions with the ojol drivers association, the call for a fare increase comes from [the drivers] in Greater Jakarta. Meanwhile, based on our discussions with [the drivers] in several regencies and cities in East Java and Central Java, they are fine with the current rate,” said Budi. The Two-Wheeled Action Movement (Garda), which represents ojol drivers, said that the new fare policy met the drivers’ demand.“Garda accepts the regulator’s decision. It is in line with our calculations, which we have communicated to the Transportation Ministry,” said Garda chief Igun Wicaksono. Read also: Digital economy reaches new highs in 2019 despite skills gap, cyberattack issuesYLKI chairman Tulus Abadi, however, criticized the ministry for issuing the new pricing policy solely in response to a demand from the drivers, emphasizing that public policy must be based on the needs of the general public in their entirety. In keeping with the higher fares, Tulus also called on ride-hailing companies Gojek Indonesia and Grab Indonesia to improve their safety standards.as well as the services that their driver partners provided.“In the early days of ojol, drivers were equipped with face masks and hair covers, but these are no longer [provided] now. Especially amid the current issue of the coronavirus outbreak, it is possible that ojol drivers could become a medium of [infection]” he added, stressing that the drivers must adhere to the principles of consumer protection.Tulus also highlighted the poor safety record among ojol drivers and their low compliance with road rules. Separately, Grab and Gojek agreed to implement the new fare pricing, and promised to inform both drivers and users about the new policy.“It is also our job to monitor the impact this new policy will have on consumers, because it will definitely spark a public reaction,” said Grab Indonesia’s head of public affairs, Tri Sukma Anreianno. Meanwhile, Gojek Indonesia’s chief of public policy and government relations, Shinto Nugroho, expected a decrease in customer demand following the fare hike.However, she expressed hope that the decline would be relatively insignificant, noting that the company’s present focus was “long-term sustainability for both drivers and passengers”.last_img read more

Features galore in prestige home designed for growing families

first_img20 Lonsdale St, AscotOne of the downstairs bedrooms has a study nook and opens through white plantation shutter doors to a small courtyard, while the upper main bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe, an ensuite and access to the front balcony.The residence also includes an office with built-in cabinetry and a downstairs rumpus room that extends to a rear covered patio. 20 Lonsdale St, AscotMore from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor8 hours agoA mix of formal and informal living zones are complemented by generous outdoor areas, with the upstairs kitchen, living and dining spaces opening to front and rear balconies with leafy street and backyard views.Covered and floored with timber, the rear balcony has an awning for relaxed, year-round entertaining, while the back yard boasts an in-ground pool with a perimeter of established gardens and trees providing ample privacy.Back inside, the bedrooms are upstairs and down, all with carpet and either a ceiling fan or airconditioning. 20 Lonsdale St, AscotAgent Damon Warat counts the house’s location as one of its top perks, being located in a quiet tree-lined street only a short stroll to Racecourse Rd and its cafes, bars and restaurants.“This is a really good family home, spread over two spacious levels with a bright, naturally lit interior,” Mr Warat said.Sitting on 810sq m, the house has an open-plan design with sleek timber floorboards, VJ walls, high ceilings and an elegant, neutral colour scheme throughout. 20 Lonsdale St, AscotOther features of the house include sufficient storage areas, a double garage, fireplace, ducted airconditioning, carpet to the upstairs living room, leadlight glass to assorted windows and doors, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.“Offering more than enough room for the growing family, this residence is all about lifestyle,” Mr Warat said.“Elegantly and generously proportioned, it is in one of Ascot’s most loved streets, close to Racecourse Rd and the Eagle Farm produce markets.” Inspections are by appointment, with the property scheduled to go to auction on site at 9am on March 4 if not sold sooner. 20 Lonsdale St, AscotTHIS five-bedroom home in one of Brisbane’s most prestigious suburbs is packed with features for the growing family.With nothing to do but move in, this five-bedroom residence offers all of the convenience of a comfortable, ready to enjoy lifestyle. The property at 20 Lonsdale St, Ascot, has three bathrooms, two car spaces and loads of family friendly features.last_img read more

Family ties bring in the buyers at auction

first_imgThe opening bidder held on at auction to become the new owner of 49 Central St, CalamvaleWHEN the property at 49 Central St, Calamvale hit the market, the owners were confident potential buyers would appreciate the quality of their handiwork.The home sold at auction on March 18 for $645,000, according to LJ Hooker Sunnybank Hills sales consultant Jonathan Wang.“It’s a beautiful home, the owner built it himself, and he put a lot of effort into creating a really solid house,’’ he said. “(It has) terracotta roof and hardwood timber floors on a 740sq m block.” More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020Hardwood floors and great quality finishes at this Calamvale propertyMr Wang said he and co-agent Karl Gillespie were blown away by the owner’s thoughtful approach to the build.“The finishes and everything are in really good condition and (the owner) built a little room underneath the house for storage or a man cave,’’ Mr Wang said. ‘‘It was a really, really nice property.’’About 60 people attended the auction with three bidders fighting it out. Granite benchtops were among the home’s appealing featuresMr Wang said the opening bidder was the eventual winner and it was the drive to live near family that had him staying in front right through to the finish line.“There was another registered bidder that came in at around $600,000 and, in the end, the buyers who bid first, they really wanted the property. They had family living close.”Mr Wang said the market in Calamvale had continued to perform strongly this year.“There’s demand from people who want to be in the area, especially for really nice homes.’’last_img read more

Allowing first time buyers to purchase existing homes would help more get into the market: REIQ

first_imgSam Standfast and her partner Michael Leach are about to become First Home Buyers. Picture: Jamie HansonEXTENDING the first-home owners grant to include existing properties had the potential to put significantly more people into their own home, according to Queensland’s peak real estate industry group.But the state government has rejected any change with its focus to remain on new construction as it also helped create jobs in the building industry.The Real Estate Institute of Queensland wants the first homeowners grant, which was boosted to $20,000 for new properties until December 1, to also be available to buyers of existing properties.REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said it would help more young people get into home ownership sooner.But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said more than 8000 new homes, apartments and townhouses had been built because of the increased grant.“It’s a great help to so many people and at the same time boosts investment in new housing stocks with flow-on benefits for local contractors, subbies and suppliers who rely on the building industry for their livelihood.”Ms Mercorella said at the very least they wanted the grant to be able to be used for existing stock in regional towns.“The anecdotal feedback that we get time and time again is that there is no point (claiming the grant),’’ she said.“It’s a bit of a pointless grant for many first-time buyers in regional Queensland because often the cost of construction, even when you take into account the benefit you get from the grant, is usually significantly more than what you could pick up an established house for and we hear that story a lot.’’Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:35Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:35 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHousing affordability 01:35 But Treasurer Curtis Pitt said there was strong take up of the grant in regional areas.Since July last year 387 grants had been awarded in Cairns, 246 in the Fitzroy region, 311 in Toowoomba and 464 in the Wide Bay region.Property analyst Terry Ryder said for first home buyers existing properties were much more affordable.He said despite the grant, the majority of first home buyers still bought established property.“That is because they are significantly cheaper, often better located and the grant doesn’t go anywhere near making up the price difference.’’Ms Mercorella said for some buyers there was also the issue of waiting for a new property to be built — which in the case of units could take years.“You have go take into account that you need somewhere to live in the interim.“That is one of the benefits of an established house, you know exactly what you are buying you can negotiate a settlement date and you can just move right in, so there is those sort of hidden additional expenses and hassle that don’t often get talked about.’’Sam Standfast, 25 and her partner Michael Leach, 27 are keen to buy their first property.They had something in their sights but missed out and are continuing to search.Ms Standfirst said they were looking to buy something new, most likely a unit around the South Brisbane or West End area.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North3 hours agoNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by If the first home buyers grant was available for existing properties it would expand what they would be able to consider buying.“New property is a lot more expensive, you want to buy the best that you can with what you have got,’’ she said.Despite that the couple are still keen to buy and hope to secure something soon.“We haven’t really been looking very long at all, probably a couple of months,’’ Ms Standfirst said.“When you look at the rental prices compared to the mortgage prices it made more sense that we might as well buy.’’While they will likely end up with a new apartment Ms Standfirst said they hoped to buy in a project which would be finished early next year.“We’d like to think we will be living in it in less than six months,’’ she said.Michael Hatzifotis of Place Kangaroo Point has been showing Ms Standfast and Mr Leach, possible properties to buy.“I get a lot of first home buyers that come to me,’’ he said.“Now if the right property came around and it was a second hand property they (first time buyers) do forgo the grant of $20,000, but most of them try to use it. If they were able to use that $20,000 it would make a difference’’Mr Hatzifotis said extending the first home buyers grant to existing properties would get a lot more people in the market a lot quicker.He said the grant also limited where you could buy because there may not be a development in the suburb you wanted to live in for years.With the boosted grant to be reduced in December the number of first home buyers he had been dealing within the past couple of months had increased by about 40 per cent.Need help finding a home? Or do you have a great idea to solve the housing affordability crisis in Australia? Get expert advice and join the debate for a chance to win $500 today at wtf.org.au or on Facebook and Twitter #WTFAustralia.last_img read more

Turkey’s Garanti Pension to launch commodity, global equity funds

first_imgGaranti Pension and Life, the largest pension insurance company in Turkey in terms of the number of pension savers, is planning to launch new funds investing in commodities and international equities.Cemal Onaran, managing director at the TRY4.6bn (€1.3bn) firm, told IPE the new funds would be launched within the next four years.“Our foreign stock market investment fund will most likely invest in both developed markets such as the US and Germany, as well as in emerging markets like Brazil, China and Russia,” he said.“This will respond to the need for alternative investment vehicles, provide tool for diversification away from the domestic risks and vulnerabilities.” Most pension fund assets in Turkey are at present invested in T-bills and Turkish government bonds (59.83%), which lost 0.32% last year.The remainder of pension portfolios are invested in other investment vehicles (17.97%), stocks (12.87%), reverse repos (7.08%), foreign securities (1.24%) and money markets (1.01%), according to Turkey’s financial regulator (SPK).Turkish private pension investments pulled in an average total return of -0.76% last year.Onaran believes that, although Turkish investors still strongly prefer fixed income investments, equities will be the most rewarding instrument for pension funds in the long term.Garanti Pension has some 813,000 customers at present.“Until 2008,” Onaran said, “interest rates in Turkey were quite high, at around 25%, so the optimal strategy was to invest in money market or government bond funds.“From 2008 on, however, interest rates fell down to 7-8%, and investors started to demand higher returns.“This, as well as growing knowledge and experience on financial markets, is increasing interest in alternative investment vehicles such as foreign equity funds.”Garanti Pension is also planning to grow its overall exposure to equities, where it currently has some 13.5% of its assets.In addition, some 68.8% of Garanti Pension’s assets are invested in local fixed income, 9.8% in reverse repos and 7.9% in time deposits, foreign exchange fixed income instruments and commodities.“Already now, we allocate more funds to equities than the average firm in the market,” Onaran said.“We are planning to increase our equity exposure further, up to 15% of all assets in 2-3 years, and to 20% in the long run.“We will gradually increase the average equity ratio within our flexible and equity funds as the market prices test reasonably low levels.”last_img read more