Finland’s Veritas has reported a weakening in investment returns over the third quarter and said the very strong fluctuations seen in markets over the last year were indicative of a permanent shift in the way the markets behave.The pensions insurance company said it made a 2.4% total return on investments between January and September, compared with 5.6% in the same period last year, according to provisional interim figures.Equities produced 5.3% compared with 8%, and fixed income investments made a loss of 0.5%, compared with a 4.9% profit.Veritas described the overall return as “decent” despite turbulent market conditions, and said the third quarter had been challenging in investment markets, with returns declining in those three months. Investment director Nina Bergring said: “Over the past year, we have experienced several very strong fluctuations in the market, which affected many asset classes simultaneously.”She said all of these swings had been branded historically large and rapid, and predicted that strong market movements were here to stay.“The fluctuations are due to the fact the market’s microstructure has fundamentally changed with increasing digitisation,” she added.“More and more players have started to use the same kind of algorithms for risk management and investment strategies, which makes it all the more necessary to make quick changes to the risk exposure simultaneously.”She said this behaviour had created a snowball effect, and that stronger and faster market movements had presented long-term investors with new challenges.“We have to concentrate even more on following the real economy and analysing our investment targets carefully,” Bergring said.Veritas’s solvency capital fell to €580.9m at the end of September, from €609m at the same point last year, and to 27.3% of technical provisions from 30.1%.Premium income rose to €359.6m from €347.7m, while total investment assets increased to €2.67bn from €2.58bn.
Photo: An example of what coloured ice can look like – FSJ Arts CouncilBy Jon Zacks- Advertisement – Arts advocates in Fort St. John are planning on adding a little colour to the 2011 High on Ice festival.Representatives from the Fort St. John Arts Council appeared before City Council on Tuesday night, to share their plans for the next High on Ice event, and to talk about some of the challenges faced in the 2010 event.Tara O’Donnell and Lisa Bush said High on Ice 2010 brought the biggest-yet turnout to the Energetic City, and more coverage than ever before. They say it contributed to community pride, active lifestyles, and employment in the region, as well as providing a major boost to winter tourism.Some changes the Arts Council would like to see for next time include:Advertisement · Facing the ice slides (or at least the one for small children) towards the hospitality tent, so that parents can keep an eye on their kids while huddling up to heaters and hot chocolate. · Getting funding allocated from the City earlier, so that the money will be available for cash prizes and other costs. · Providing a power supply at the front of Centennial park, to enhance the safety of carvers using power tools. · Improving lighting at Centennial Park and opening the concession at night, to give the public more opportunity to visit the festival in the evenings.O’Donnell also described how organizers plan on injecting ‘coloured ice’ into the festival in 2011. She says ‘coloured ice’ is quite a simple, but aesthetically pleasing effect. Moreover, for around $3,000, O’Donnell says organizers could provide a ‘coloured ice’ workshop to local students.The arts council is responsible for the ice and snow events at the festival, which includes bringing in the professional carvers, and organizing the various competitions. The overall budget for the Ice and Snow Event at High on Ice 2011 is projected at $116,100.