Last Sunday saw Business Secretary Vince Cable announce that he and Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg no longer support the privatisation of student debt. The sale of the student loan book was projected to bring £2.3 billion into the Treasury between 2015 and 2020.In the run up to the 2015 election, Cherwell sought to find out students’ thoughts on the issue. In a survey of 75 Oxford students, Cherwell asked participants about their awareness of the government’s plans, their views on the plans, and the importance of the ownership of student debt.Results showed that only 10.7% of those asked were in favour of selling off the debt, with 89.3% against. This was despite the fact that only 58.7% of particpants admitted to knowing about the government’s plans.81.3% of Oxford students subsequently claimed that ownership of the student debt was an important issue for them.[mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10053%%[/mm-hide-text]Despite not attracting the same amount of attention as the trebling of tuition fees, the proposals have nonetheless met significant opposition from some students. James Elliott, who successfully proposed a motion to oppose the sale of the student loan book at OUSU Council in Hilary term, told Cherwell upon hearing the news that, “This policy change hasn’t come around because Vince Cable is a nice bloke. Students secured this win because we organised and fought, even occupying Cable’s constituency office. In Oxford, I was elected to the NUS on a platform of stopping this and our motion there was a small part of building against it. It is a nice reminder that protest and organising works. Next we need to fight to abolish fees, cuts and debt in education.”[mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10054%%[/mm-hide-text]Nevertheless, a significant minority of students were unaware of the sale. Harry Bush, a first year chemist at Merton, commented, “Being perfectly honest, I had no idea of the government’s plans to sell off student loans. However, to me, changing their minds so often seems like another concrete case of the coalition crumbling. The important thing to me is that the students that require the money are getting it, and as long as that is at the forefront of the reversal of the decision then so be it.” [mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10058%%[/mm-hide-text]OUSU Vice President for Academic Affairs James Blythe shared his views in the light of the Liberal Democrat leadership’s announcement:Selling the loan book would be an access nightmare, creating fear among applicants about increasing interest rates. Good decision, Vince!— James Blythe (@OUSU_AcAff) July 21, 2014Theodora Dickinson, Chair of Oxford and Abingdon Conservative Future, spoke otherwise about the decision though, telling Cherwell, “Vince Cable has once again proved that the Liberal Democrats are incapable of sticking to a single policy, and are incapable of being trusted. This is clearly a calculated move to attempt to regain the student vote lost after Nick Clegg’s broken promise on tuition fees, and I hope that students see it as such. The taxpayer is currently losing forty percent of money lent through the scheme, so it is clearly imperative that something changes. The Conservative Party remains committed to cutting taxes, and therefore oppose Labour’s proposed Graduate Tax, a policy which would in effect act retroactively on existing debtors.”Cable announced that his party no longer supported the sale of student loan debt, on the basis that it would not be effective in reducing government debt, at the Social Liberal Forum, an internal pressure group within the Liberal Democrats.The party had initially supported the sale as part of a wider programme of privatising state assets, including Royal Mail, in order to increase government income. Their Conservative coalition partners have yet to publically comment on the matter, suggesting that they continue to support the sale.
A European insurance company has tendered a €200m Asia ex Japan equity mandate using IPE-Quest.The company behind search QN1451 said it preferred an active management style to invest in large-cap Asian equities.The investor said it expected this to be done with a growth and value investment style bias.Managers should observe a minimum tracking error of 3% against the MSCI AC Asia ex Japan or MSCI EM Asia indices. The insurance company stipulated the tracking error should not extend above 14%.Interested managers must have at least $500m (€390m) in assets under management within the mandate, and $1bn in assets overall.There is a minimum requirement of a three-year track record, although the investor stated a preference for a five-year record for the fund.All requirements for tracking error, assets under management and track records are soft limits.Applicants have until 22 September to apply.Performance should be stated to 30 June and provided gross of fees.The IPE.com news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE-Quest tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information direct from IPE-Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 7261 4630 or email [email protected]
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure had pledged a large proportion of the £25million needed to renovate the ground, which is home to Linfield as well as hosting Northern Ireland’s national side. Work is due to start in February but Ni Chuilin has suggested that money may not be forthcoming if the Irish Football Association cannot prove they uphold “appropriate governance”. That is understood to be a reference to the return to prominence of former IFA treasurer David Martin, who was recently elected as first deputy president. Martin left the IFA board in 2010 alongside then president Raymond Kennedy after former chief executive Howard Wells successfully pursued a £500,000 unfair dismissal case against the association. Ni Chuilin’s predecessor Nelson McAusland duly registered formal misgivings about the running of the IFA and Martin’s re-emergence has apparently given DCAL cause for concern. “Any organisation that is in receipt of funding from government has an appropriate responsibility to ensure governance is upheld,” read a statement from DCAL. “DCAL (Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure) is working with the IFA to review the implications of recent changes to their articles of association.” BBC Sport also reported that Ni Chuilin had told the Northern Ireland Assembly: “I need to be assured that appropriate governance and accountability structures have been maintained. “Until that happens, I can’t sign off on any agreement.” Last week IFA president Jim Shaw had attempted to play down the issue, but insisted he would continue to monitor the situation. “No-one has approached me with strong feelings about the election of David Martin and the fact is that there was a democratic process in place and David was elected,” he said. “At this moment in time there is nothing to suggest funding will not be forthcoming. “The biggest task the IFA has at this moment is to ensure the new stadium is built. Government funding is needed for the project and of course it is a concern if they money is not assured. “We will continue to work with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to ensure it does happen. “DCAL will have their own views but we talk informally on a regular basis and I’m sure there will be more discussions sooner rather than later.” The planned redevelopment of Windsor Park is up in the air after Northern Ireland sports minister Caral Ni Chuilin confirmed government funding for the project is under review. Press Association
Two days after the Opposition slammed moves taken by several local insurance companies here to request from applicants their political affiliation, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has noted that this should not form part of any requirement and was a total misunderstanding.FIU Director Matthew LangevineFIU Director Matthew Langevine said the policy may be misguided based on provisions for the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation for Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). A PEP is defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function and owing to their position, has some influence.Langevine said, “It is not intended to work by these reporting entities asking you about your political affiliation.” While explaining that each insurance company is expected to use its discretion to identify PEPs, he said the move to ask everyone their political affiliation was reckless.“Persons will give information that could be misleading. So, it is not for you (insurance companies) to go questioning every single person whether they are politically exposed or not. You are supposed to make that determination based on your knowledge of the office that that person may hold,” Langevine stated.The FIU Head also stated that these companies should be guided Recommendation 12 from the FATF, the global body which sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats. The AML/CFT Act of 2009 has risk management systems in place to determine whether a customer is a PEP.On that note, Langevine noted that the regulations do not apply to any customer. The FIU, he said, has already been asked by the Bank of Guyana to meet with insurance companies to discuss the issue and clarify how their due diligence should be conducted within the right framework.Langevine said the intention was not to place additional burden on customers of different entities, including insurance companies. Instead, it should be implemented within the context of addressing the issue, understanding the nature of transactions being done by these PEPs.The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was the first to speak out on this issue when it noted that almost all insurance companies have included on their application forms a query about political affiliation. The Party has since urged Government to take action to reverse what it described as a “retrograde move”.The PPP/C said that Article 149 (2) specifically protects all Guyanese citizens from discrimination on many grounds, including “political opinion, conscience and belief”. Article 147 also guarantees citizens’ right to freedom of association, the right to belong and form political parties.“Therefore, any request for one’s political affiliation would be in violation of these Articles of the Constitution. In addition, S18 of the 1998 Prevention of Discrimination Act, which specifically addresses ‘Application forms, etc’, states that it is unlawful for a person to request or require any other person to provide information relative to their political opinions.”As such, the PPP/C has urged Government, the insurance companies in question, and related entities, to disclose if this was a new policy, under what statute has it been implemented, and why there has been no public announcement of this new requirement.Attorney and political analyst Christopher Ram has also described the move as unconstitutional. While not commenting specifically on the Opposition’s arguments, Ram said that it was absurd that any insurance company or banking institution should be given that authority.“The thing about Politically Exposed Persons is a question of definition and it’s persons who hold positions in political parties and so on. A member of a political party isn’t automatically a PEP,” he said.When asked whether there was need for a further amendment to the Act, the Attorney said that the question should be asked whether that was necessary or it was being badly applied.Refusing a business relationship with a PEP simply based on the determination that the client is a PEP is contrary to the letter and spirit of Recommendation 12. The PPP/C contends that this definition does not refer to nor require any citizen to state their political party affiliation.