The recent dramatic improvement was almost entirely due to the performance of the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE). Its benchmark WIG index grew by 18.1% over the 12 months to the end of March.Since Poland’s 2014 pension reforms, the OFEs have been banned from investing in sovereign bonds of any origin, turning them into de facto equity funds.The Polish brokerage house Trigon estimated that 85.2% of net OFE assets were invested in equities as of March, including 6.7% in foreign shares.Under the KNF’s methodology of counting the WSE’s dual-listed companies as non-Polish stocks, the foreign allocation was around 11%.As a result of the recent growth in investment returns, the OFEs total net asset portfolio grew by 16.8% year-on-year in local currency terms, to PLN167.6bn (€39.1bn).The growth compensated for net outflows from the funds generated by the “slider”, a mechanism that incrementally removes the assets of those with 10 years or fewer left to retirement to sub-accounts at the first-pillar Polish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).In the first three months of 2017, according to Trigon, inflows from those members who chose to continue contributing to the second pillar totalled PLN786m against PLN1.0bn leaving under the slider.Meanwhile, the current high equity allocation has raised a dilemma for the planned dismantling of the second pillar scheduled for the start of 2018.Under the Capital Accumulation Programme, announced in July 2016 by finance and economic development minister Mateusz Morawiecki, 25% of all OFE assets would be transferred to the state-run Demographic Reserve Fund, which serves as a buffer for state pension shortfalls. The remainder would go to newly created and privately managed third-pillar accounts.Morawiecki has continually stressed that the programme did not constitute nationalisation of companies, as the 25% of liquidated OFE portfolios would come from other liquid assets such as deposits and bonds.Under the current investment structure, the OFEs would either be forced to sell off some of their shares, or the government would indeed end up being a significant investor in – and in some cases majority owner of – some of Poland’s leading listed companies.The publication of the legislation for the OFEs’ liquidation, initially set for the first quarter of 2017, is now expected by the end of June.One significant change announced since the programme was originally published is that the new third-pillar vehicles would be a variant of the individual pension insurance account (IKZE), not the individual retirement account (IKE), because both IKZE and OFE contributions are tax-deductible, whereas IKE contributions are not.The coming legal overhaul would have to include an amendment to allow savers to have more than one IKZE.According to the KNF, as of the end of 2016 some 643,100 individuals held IKZE accounts, with a total asset value of PLN1.1bn.The overhaul, with its emphasis on privately owned third-pillar accounts, would also require overturning an earlier Constitutional Tribunal ruling that the OFE assets, funded from a portion of social security contributions, were public monies. Poland’s weighted average 12-month second-pillar fund (OFE) returns soared to 17.6% as of the end of March, according to the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF).The figure compares to an average 6.6% loss recorded a year ago.Of the 12 OFEs, MetLife generated the highest return – 19.5% – and Aegon the lowest, at 14.2%.Three-year average returns rose from 6.3% to 12.9%, while 10-year results edged up from 48.8% to 49.7%.
One toothless attacking force cancelled out another as Crystal Palace and Stoke played out an uninspiring 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park. James McArthur headed his first goal in 15 games to hand Palace the lead before Peter Crouch equalised in a dire Barclays Premier League clash. Palace’s patchy run of one win in 10 games has edged the Eagles closer to the relegation zone, while Stoke slipped markedly from the pace of last week’s Arsenal triumph. This lifeless contest proved, however, that both of these clubs are still fighting to move out of Tony Pulis’ shadow. Warnock emerged from retirement to plug Palace’s manager gap after Pulis walked out over transfer ambition on the eve of the season. Hughes is grappling with his second Potters campaign after succeeding Pulis at the Britannia Stadium, but continues to grind his authority in fits and starts. The 3-2 victory over Arsenal pointed to all the poise and panache Hughes can add to the customary power – one week later and all that evaporated. Warnock might be hankering after a goal poacher in the January transfer window, but leaving Marouane Chamakh up front alone hardly proved conducive to widespread threat. Bolasie, Zaha and McArthur were tasked with rushing on to join the lone front man – fine in theory, but too often Palace lacked the killer option. Warnock’s system cried out for the attacking midfield trio to race beyond Chamakh whenever he dropped off to link play. That happened just once in the opening hour and brought McArthur’s goal. A turgid first half yielded just two chances, both admittedly converted, but beyond that quality was only conspicuous by its absence. The sprightly Bolasie laid on a neat cross for McArthur to flick a back header over Asmir Begovic to hand the hosts the lead. McArthur redirected the ball with as much neck as head, hence the reasonably sheepish celebration. Stoke’s immediate riposte fooled the crowd into expecting lift-off. Crouch tapped in Walter’s deflected shot to level, only for the battle to deflate once more. The malaise continued after half-time, and injury to Stoke’s only creative outlet Bojan only made things worse. The longer Stoke failed to fire, the more the home side passed over repeated invitations to steal victory. With no clear chances after the break, neither side merited any reward. Not even the simmering feud between rival managers Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes could ignite this insipid encounter. The distinct lack of rhythm will worry both managers, with Stoke left to sweat on the fitness of star forward Bojan Krcic, who hobbled off early in the second half. Hughes succeeded Warnock at QPR in January 2012, but lasted less than a year at Loftus Road. The former Manchester United striker was then linked with replacing Warnock for a second time, at Leeds in April 2013. That prompted Warnock to proclaim he hoped Hughes “destroys another team of mine” – the Welshman was never appointed, but the feud was still set. Warnock admitted in midweek he and Hughes still “don’t send Christmas cards”, with the Potters boss responding in kind. Hughes claimed Warnock played up to the media, vowing to take the comments “with a pinch of salt” and keep his opinions to himself. The pair shook hands ahead of kick-off, but could not even look at each other. Press Association