Nearly a dozen German Pensionskassen have failed the stress set by local supervisor BaFin, the body has announcedHowever, the supervisor added that it was not concerned about the short-term risk-bearing capacity of Pensionskassen.Of the 146 Pensionskassen supervised by the German supervisor BaFin, 131 filed the results for the issued stress test.Some 11 Pensionskassen failed the test in 2013, compared to seven in the previous year. Only three of those Pensionskassen failed all scenarios and the supervisor added none of the eleven institutions were among the 20 largest in the sector in Germany.Additionally, five of those that failed the test are already closed for new entries. The BaFin added the underfunding level was “generally low” and the Pensionskassen concerned had already put in place measures to improve risk tolerance and achieve the necessary solvency levels – or will do so soon.As part of its internal prognosis on the impact of a continued low interest rate scenario, the German supervisor calculated the average net interest rate granted by Pensionskassen for 2013 at 4.3%, slightly below the 4.4% granted the year before.The supervisor said in its annual report: “With some Pensionskassen, BaFin had to raise awareness last year that in times in which capital gains will most likely continue to decline it is more important to strengthen buffers than to increase member payouts.”Overall, German Pensionskassen reported a solvency level of 134%, which was similar to that of the previous year and “generally speaking” fulfilled the solvency requirements, BaFin pointed out.“This obviously continues to ensure the short-term risk-bearing capacity in the sector,” the supervisor added.Based on projections, BaFin calculated an increase in contributions to Pensionskassen by €6.4bn in 2013, bringing the total number of assets managed in the sector to €131bn – although the increase was also aided by capital gains.However, the increase in contributions at 2.6% last year was less pronounced than in 2012 when it amounted to 5.9%.Regarding the 31 Pensionsfonds, the other major vehicle in the German occupational retirement landscape which is less strictly regulated in its investment and liability management, BaFin also noted a decrease in contributions from €831m in 2012 to €742m last year.“The fluctuations in contributions are mostly down to the fact that with a Pensionsfonds, depending on the contract, contributions are often made as one-off lump sum payments,” the supervisor explained.It added all Pensionsfonds passed the BaFin’s internal stress test and fully covered their liabilities.Assets managed by Pensionsfonds increased from €1.4bn to €1.6bn year-on-year.
The FA took a dim view of Coates’ comments and charged him with improper conduct. He denied the charge but was found guilty at an independent regulatory commission hearing. An FA statement read: “Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, Peter Coates has been fined £5,000 in relation to media comments. “The Stoke City chairman was charged with improper conduct in that his comments alleged and/or implied bias on the part of referees and/or brought the game into disrepute. “Mr Coates denied the charge and requested a personal hearing at which the breach of FA Rule E3(1) was found proven. He was also warned as to his future conduct and ordered to pay £1,500 towards the cost of the hearing.” The outcome is unlikely to please Stoke, who were furious that Swansea manager Garry Monk was not punished for accusing Victor Moses of ‘cheating’. The Potters also feel captain Ryan Shawcross has been unfairly singled out as a player who grapples with opponents in the penalty area. Manager Hughes said of Coates’ fine: “I said at the outset that I was surprised he was charged. Mark Hughes thinks Stoke chairman Peter Coates has been hard done by after he was fined £5,000 by the Football Association for comments he made about referees. “We’ve had the FA over and the referee’s body. I know for a fact he’s never questioned their integrity and he reserves the right to have his opinion. It’s something that could’ve been dealt with in a different way. “When it gets to appeal stage, it’s very rare it goes against the initial charge. That tells you something.” There was more frustration for Hughes on Tuesday when Juan Mata’s winning goal for Manchester United was allowed to stand despite Marcos Rojo challenging for the ball from an offside position. The goal resulted in Stoke’s third successive defeat, with United somehow hanging onto all three points during a frenetic end to the game. Hughes said: “The lad Rojo was clearly interfering with play whether he got a touch or not. We asked the officials after the game, they said the lad didn’t touch the ball. Irrespective of that, if you’re on the field of play you’re interfering and he was two yards in front of our keeper. “We still showed character to keep going to the end, though, and, come the final moments, there were 75,000 fans screaming for the whistle. “We should’ve converted our chances. That’s the way it’s going but, if we carry on playing the way we have been, we’ll be fine.” Hughes conducted his press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. The visit was part of this week’s Football Remembers tribute to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the Christmas Truce matches. “We took the opportunity to come here and pay our respects to the fallen,” said Hughes. “It’s very close to us, considering it’s the weekend to remember the Christmas troops. It’s a very humbling experience for everybody. “We’re very fortunate to come to the memorial. It puts things back into perspective, because at times we do become embroiled in the world of football.” Speaking to local paper the Sentinel last month after a series of matches where Stoke felt they had been badly treated, Coates said: “We feel we don’t always get fair treatment and that is all we are asking for. “There does seem to be a bias towards other teams. You always feel that because we have a good crowd that gets behind the team, referees seem to think, ‘I will show them who’s in charge here’.” Press Association