Dutch pensions funds performed well in 2012 relative to their peers in other countries, generating the highest returns against the lowest costs, according to Canadian benchmarking firm CEM.It said Dutch schemes reported returns of 14.3% on average over the period, while pension funds in Europe and the US returned 12.5% and 11.4%, respectively. The benchmarking firm compared costs at 344 pension funds worldwide, including 60 schemes in the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.The 29 Dutch schemes that took part in the survey represented almost 6m participants and more than €600bn of assets. CEM also looked at 193 pension funds in the US, 82 in Canada and nine in Asia.The company found that the Dutch pension funds spent 0.44% of their assets on asset management on average, including 6.4 basis points on governance.Schemes elsewhere in Europe and the US reported asset management costs of 0.48% and 0.59%, respectively, it said.In contrast, on pensions administration, Dutch schemes incurred costs of €93 per participant, against a worldwide average of €65.CEM Benchmarking attributed the difference chiefly to the smaller scale of the participating Dutch funds, which had 204,000 participants on average against 444,000 for the other pension plans.It said it found that costs per participant decreased by €149 if the number of participants increased tenfold, adding that this appeared to be true in particular for pension funds with fewer than 100,000 participants.According to the benchmarking firm, Dutch company pension funds and industry-wide schemes reported administration costs of €249 and €90 per participant on average.Between 2008 and 2012, administration costs at Dutch pension plans increased by 3.1% a year on average, against an annual increase of 4.2% at schemes elsewhere.CEM said it also saw much variation between costs and added value, but stressed that it had been unable to identify a statistical link between these two variables.CEM’s survey also found that Dutch schemes generally invested less in equity and more in fixed income – in particular in euro-denominated government bonds – than other schemes.Whereas Dutch schemes had the largest allocation to property and commodities, their investments in hedge funds, tactical asset allocation (TAA) and private equity were the lowest.CEM also found that Dutch schemes contracted out more active and passive asset management than schemes elsewhere.
Elizabeth Holmes probably never associated yoga and art together, much less expected them to be combined in a program. After moving to Los Angeles with her husband and son, she spent a great deal of her time collecting art, and eventually donated 29 pieces of work to what would become her museum, the Elizabeth Holmes Fisher Gallery at USC. She had one simple wish for the place: that all of their programs were free and open to the public.It’s because of this wish that recreational athletics is collaborating with the USC Fisher Museum to provide free yoga classes every fall and spring semester. As of 2016, the program, known as Yoga with Fisher @USC, has attracted enough people to reach an eight-year milestone and is kicking off their spring session with artist Lita Albuquerque’s first showcase with the museum after 33 years — 20/20 Accelerando. The program itself is taught by composer Francois Dompierre, who has worked with the Fisher Museum in the past, including the course of the previous exhibition. Yoga this semester will be on select Tuesdays from Jan. 26 through April 10 from 10:45-11:45 a.m., with 20 spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis.Because of its open-ended, minimal commitment and free structure, Yoga with Fisher @USC works with all schedules. People can join classes based on their own availability, and as a result, the program has managed to reach out to people of all backgrounds.“It’s not just students that join, but also faculty and staff,” said Ani Mnatsakanyan, the education and program coordinator. “For some, this is their first experience with yoga; others are experts. This yoga class is open to anyone who wants to begin or continue their practice while getting in touch with art.”For Kay Allen, associate director of the museum, yoga and art is an unlikely combination that helps attract more visitors.“People average probably less than a minute in front of every work of art when they visit,” Allen said. “With this experience, they may focus on a work of art and really look at it as they’re doing their stretches, meditations and so on.”While the yoga collaboration shifts based on every exhibition, overall, the concept is the same: to foster a meditative relationship between yoga and the arts as well as help guests spend some time away from the busy world and just concentrate on themselves and the space they’re in.“One of my favorite parts about the program is how happy people look once the class is over,” Mnatsakanyan said. “Not only do the students get to view the exhibition in a new perspective, but they get to reflect on the art during the practice… If one hour of weekly yoga helps battle everyday stress, then our yoga program has been successful.”