GEEK TO ME: Computer programs eliminated due to constant evolution Pinterest WhatsApp TAGS Q: I keep all my financial records in a program I wrote in 1988, using dBASE III file structure (.dbf) and compiled it with Clipper, DOS version. I run it on old hardware under Windows XP. My other computers are 64-bit hardware and I cannot run the .exe program nor open the files on them. Is there any solution to my dilemma? The computer won’t last forever, and ACCESS and Quicken won’t give me what I have now. I appreciate any suggestions you may have.– John H.Navarre, Florida Pinterest A: That must be some tool you created for yourself that it’s still in use over 30 years after it was written, John. I tend to lean toward recommending you find a more modern solution, as clinging to your program (no matter how nostalgic and/or functional it is) is ultimately a losing proposition. Nevertheless, this seems important to you, and I can think of a few ways that you might be able to keep on using it. It will be up to you to determine which one — if any — works, and is right for you.For better or worse, one of the realities of computer systems is that almost everything constantly evolves. Over time, and more rapid than you probably think, hardware gets faster, more capable, and more complex. The operating systems that drive it must evolve to keep up, and their vendors even have planned obsolescence programs to force users off aging platforms. The result is another reality: eventually, software programs developed for a given platform and operating system become obsolete because of the relentless progression of technology.Now, you probably know that writing this column is only a sideline for me. My real job, which I’ve been doing since 1986, is Software Engineer. In my job, we often need to run legacy software that was built for older platforms. To make that happen, we often use the same solution you have done so far. That is, we maintain an obsolete computer, running a no-longer-supported operating system, all for the sole purpose of being able to run the program in question when the need arises.There are better ways. One thing that the march of technology has spawned is the ability to produce a virtual machine, or VM, which is basically a digital copy of a computer environment. Once created, a VM gets executed by an appropriate player application, and the result is a window on a modern computer that contains within it everything the old computer contained. It runs an actual Windows operating system, which means it has a desktop, menus, a registry, and the ability to install and run software. Although the virtual machine is physically running on a modern system — let’s say one with a 64-bit architecture — through the magic of software emulation, the architecture of the system appears to any software running within the VM framework exactly as it did on the machine from which the VM was created. And so it should, because it is really running the old operating system. The difference is that the hardware upon which it is running is virtual. You said in your question “the computer won’t last forever”. Well a virtual one will. You can move it to a new PC whenever you upgrade. There are multiple VM solutions available, and I’m not a product endorser. A little Google research should get you started if this is the path you choose.If the whole virtual machine thing just sounds too complex, there are other possible ways to go. Any of these will assume that you still have the original .dbf file or files that you compiled into a runnable application. There are programs designed and implemented for modern operating systems that are still capable of opening dBase files. I can’t guarantee compatibility, of course, and you might need to tweak up the code here and there, but this is a good place to start. One such option I found is a program named DBF Viewer 2000, which claims to be a “fast, effective solution for viewing and editing all sorts of DBF files.” Back in the day, .dbf was such a common database format that many modern programs still support opening the files. Even Microsoft Excel includes the ability to open .dbf files. I suggest you take some time and see whether a modern software application will open and run your program.Finally, I know you said that you didn’t think Access or Quicken will “give you what you have now”. I’m curious your basis for that statement, because both of those packages are capable of importing dBase files. Access in particular is a monstrously powerful relational database engine, capable of doing far more than what I suspect your homegrown tool does. Don’t discount these options until you actually try them firsthand.To view additional content, comment on articles, or submit a question of your own, visit my website at ItsGeekToMe.co (not .com!) WhatsApp Facebook Previous articleELAM: Oil and stock prices likely toppingNext articleBig Bend file photo Digital AIM Web Support Facebook Local News Twitter Twitter By Digital AIM Web Support – February 24, 2021
Founded in 1911, The University of Hong Kong is committed to thehighest international standards of excellence in teaching andlearning, research and discovery, and has been at the forefront ofacademic scholarship for many years. The University is consistentlyranked amongst the world’s top universities: 2ndin Asiaand 25thin the world (QS 2019), 9thin theworld for Graduate Employability (QS 2020), and was identified asthe most international university by Times Higher Education(World’s Most International Universities 2019). The University hasa comprehensive range of study programmes and research disciplines,with 29,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students coming fromsome 100 countries, and a complement of 2,500 professoriate andacademic related members of staff, many of whom are internationallyacclaimed as leaders in their discipline.Director of theHong Kong Institute for the Humanities and SocialSciences(Ref: 499913) Applications and nominations are invited forappointment as Director of the Hong Kong Institute for theHumanities and Social Sciences (“The Institute”) on the tenuretrack, to commence on July 1, 2021 initially on a three-yearrenewable basis from as soon as possible. The post will be held atthe Professor level. A clearly distinguished record of academicachievements by highest international standards may attract theconferment of Chair Professor title.The Institute was established in 2001 with a mission to promoteinnovative work in the humanities and social sciences, nurturecritical thinking and broaden the horizons of a future generationof academic leaders. Through coordinated research and exposure atthe postgraduate and post-doctoral levels, the Institute generatesintegrated programs that transcend disciplinary, institutional,geographical and generational boundaries. It provides an arena fordialogue with diverse substance and a common focus. The criticalcommunity of thinkers and practitioners will hopefully exertprofound influence on education, culture, and societal developmentin Hong Kong, China and an interconnected Asia. The Institute isdriven by research initiatives which have won highly competitivegrants and engage with a global network of colleagues andinstitutional partners. The Institute currently comprises a smallnumber of junior researchers, senior visitors, and a highlycommitted administrative staff. It has successfully created jointpositions with various faculties within the University, theInstitute is one of the two non-Faculty-based institutes directlyfunded by the University. Further information about the Institutecan be obtained at https://www.hkihss.hku.hk .We expect the new Director to be a scholar of distinction in his orher discipline, preferably in the humanities and social sciences.The candidate should have a demonstrated record of broad,inter-disciplinary research interests and program building.Familiarity with public and private funding agencies and awillingness to network with global academic, policy and businesscommunities will be an asset. The Director is expected to build onthe existing strengths of the Institute, infuse it with vision andforge collaborative and synergistic links within and beyond theUniversity to build an institute of advanced studies in thehumanities and social sciences in Asia. Enquiries about the postmay be addressed to the Secretary of the Search Committee [email protected] and questionsabout the Institute may be sent to [email protected] . Further informationabout the post can be obtained at https://www.hr.hku.hk/apptunit/HKIHSS_Director_job_spec.pdf.A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications andexperience will be offered. The appointment will attract acontract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirementbenefits scheme, totalling up to 15% of basic salary, as well asgenerous leave, and medical/dental benefits. Housing benefits willalso be provided.The University only accepts online application for the above post.Applicants should apply online at the University’s career site andupload an up-to-date C.V. and relevant documents. Review ofapplications will begin in summer 2020 and will continue until thepost is filled. Tentatively, the first batch of interviews will bearranged around November 2020. Interested applicants are encouragedto submit their applications on or before May 31, 2020, toensure timely consideration. The University thanks applicants fortheir interest, but advises that only candidates shortlisted forinterviews will be notified of the application result.Advertised: Apr 2, 2020 (HK Time)Applications close:
Indiana State Police Will Be Conducting Sobriety Checkpoint This Weekend In Warrick CountyIndiana State Police will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint this upcoming weekend. The exact location, date and time will not be released. Motorists that are not impaired can expect only short delays of 2-3 minutes while passing through the checkpoint.Troopers encourage all motorists to call 911 or the closest Indiana State Police Post when they observe another motorist that may be impaired. Be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel.The Indiana State Police are committed to traffic safety and will continue to conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to apprehend impaired drivers and to deter others from drinking and driving.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
About Martinsville:Founded in 1947 by the late H.Clay Earles, Martinsville Speedway is the only track remaining on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule from its inaugural season in 1949. Purchased by International Speedway Corporation in 2004, Martinsville Speedway is famous for incredible short-track racing action and unmatched fan-friendly service.Martinsville Speedway has three major race event weekends each year. The track annually hosts the STP® Gas Booster 500 and Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, the Kroger 250 and Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, and the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race. About Richard Petty Motorsports A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force and STP and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Stanley and DEWALT. In addition, Michael Annett wheels the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C. “STP® and Martinsville Speedway have both been a part of the NASCAR family for decades. To work with a company that has such legendary status in our sport is exciting to me,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Bringing together two companies that have so much history and such fan recognition is going to be a winning combination for everyone, especially the fans.” The Martinsville Speedway entitlement is the latest addition to the STP® brand’s motorsports portfolio which includes entitlement sponsorships of NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide events at Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway, respectively, and the entitlement sponsorship for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series.In addition to sponsoring the race, the STP® brand will be a co-primary sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 43 Jani-King STP Ford Fusion driven by Aric Amirola at the Martinsville spring race. The paint scheme will be commemorative of the first time the STP® logo was on Petty’s car at Riverside in 1972.”STP®, Richard Petty Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway were made for each other. It is surprising this hasn’t happened sooner! Everyone at the STP® brand is very proud to support Martinsville Speedway, the fans and Richard Petty Motorsports,” said Jamie Kistner, Brand Director, STP®. “The sponsorship is a perfect way to introduce our latest product innovation, STP® Gas Booster™ Concentrated Fuel System Treatment. This is the first time that we’ve leveraged an entitlement sponsorship to launch a new product. The STP® brand continues to develop innovative technology and believes NASCAR provides a perfect platform to share the news with fans.”STP® Gas Booster™ is a modern approach to fuel system treatments. One treatment of STP® Gas Booster™ starts working immediately to help restore lost power and performance, and this unique formulation also helps to restore fuel economy by cleaning the fuel system. The STP® brand continues to develop breakthrough technology to help consumers keep their engines running better longer. “It is hard to believe my relationship with STP® started more than 40 years ago, and here we are today announcing yet another chapter in the brand’s history with me, Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR,” said Richard Petty. “During my time with STP® I’ve watched the brand become a fan favorite with products that give them The Racer’s Edge® and this partnership is yet another example of their commitment. I can’t wait to see the ’72 Riverside STP car paint scheme back on the track.”Richard Petty and the No. 43 STP® machine have a storied history at Martinsville: Petty has the most wins with a total of 15Petty has the most grandfather clocks, awarded to the winner, with a total of 12Petty has an amazing 67 starts, the most of any driverPetty has the most top-10 and top-five finishes In 1960, Petty won the spring race at the age of 20, becoming the youngest winner at MartinsvilleThe last “ride” by Petty came on the side door of the famous No. 43 STP® car with John Andretti driving him to Victory Lane in April of 1999; that year also marks the last time the No. 43 STP machine won thereThe STP® Gas Booster™ 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, the day after the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Pole Day is Friday, April 5. Ticket prices for the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race start as low as $37. Tickets for the STP® Gas Booster™ 500, the Kroger 250 and Martinsville Pole Day may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com.More information about STP® Gas Booster™ Concentrated Fuel System Treatment can be found at www.STP.com and for the latest news visit www.Facebook.com/STP.Armored AutoGroup:Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, Conn., is primarily comprised of the Armor All®, STP® and Tuff Stuff® brands. The current Armor All product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and car washes are designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. The STP product line of fuel and oil additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products have a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and “Do-it-Yourselfers”. Tuff Stuff cleaning products are formulated to tackle the toughest jobs. Armored AutoGroup has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. MARTINSVILLE, VA (February 21, 2013) – Martinsville Speedway and the STP® brand announced a multi-year entitlement sponsorship agreement today at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The sponsorship kicks off with the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race scheduled for April 7, 2013 at the historic Virginia track. The STP Gas Booster 500 Will Run on Sunday April 7, 2013No. 43 Will Run STP/Jani-King Sponsorship “STP®, Richard Petty Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway were made for each other. It is surprising this hasn’t happened sooner!”—Jamie Kistner, Brand Director, STP®
Between after-school activities, homework and other obligations, kids have a lot of competition for the time they should devote to sleep.Many kids — and adults, for that matter — don’t get enough sleep. On average, high school students need between seven and 11 hours of sleep. For younger kids, even more time is needed: 12 hours for school-age kids, 13 hours for preschoolers and close to 14 hours for toddlers.Signs and symptoms of sleep deprivationThere are several symptoms that can clue parents into whether their child is getting enough sleep.“Irritability, being hard to wake up in the morning, complaining about being tired, falling asleep in the middle of things and lack of concentration are all symptoms of sleep deprivation,” said Associate Professor Diane Bales, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist. “Even excessive energy can be a mechanism that kids use to keep themselves awake.”There may be long-term physical effects of lack of sleep, such as obesity in adults.”Although research about sleep deprivation and obesity risk has not been done in children, it would make sense that the research would apply to children as well,” Bales said.Causes of sleep deprivationThere are many reasons why people don’t get enough sleep. The one usually cited is that they’re too busy.“Lots of kids of many different ages do a lot of things,” Bales said. “But a lot of people don’t understand the importance of sleep, and how damaging it is to not get enough sleep, so they don’t prioritize it.”Technology also plays a growing role in keeping kids up too late, she added. Light from cellphones and other electronic devices can make falling asleep difficult. Things seen or read online can create overstimulation.It’s easy for kids and adults to get drawn into games, conversations and other sources of online engagement before bed. That time online can eat into sleep time and make it harder for adults and children to fall asleep after they turn off their devices.Even without electronic interference, sometimes it’s simply hard to wind down after sports practice or hours spent on homework, even if enough time is allotted for sleep.Sleep solutionsBuilding schedules and routines is key to making sure kids get enough sleep. Parents should establish this is by counting back from the time the kids need to leave for school.“If the child needs 10 hours of sleep, you have to back up 10 hours from that wake-up time, and the child needs to be in bed by then,” Bales said.The other piece of the bedtime puzzle involves setting up routines that help kids relax.“It’s key to plan out when they need to have a bath, when to turn off electronics and what routine is going to help the child wind down,” she said.Building a bedtime routine will also help kids ease back into school.“Parents need to start early in the summer,” Bales said. “A lot of times, kids get off their normal sleep schedule during summer break. Parents shouldn’t wait until school starts to make that adjustment back to the school year bedtime routine.”Bales suggests backing up the bedtime by 15 minutes every few days for a few weeks.When parents create a bedtime routine, they should think back to advice from their parents and grandparents.“It’s about turning down the lights, reading a book, taking a warm bath and having some kind of a ritual that’s part of bedtime,” she said.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:A U.S. Department of Energy proposal calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure full cost recovery for certain nuclear and coal-fired assets drew skepticism from Wall Street, which characterized the proposal as vague and at odds with the nature of competitive power markets.The DOE on Sept. 29 directed FERC to issue a final rule requiring grid operators to allow full cost recovery for generators with at least a 90-day fuel supply on site and not subject to cost-of-service regulation to fully recover their costs. While FERC does not have to comply with the DOE’s request, the agency has been taking a measured look at scenarios where baseload assets are compensated for reliability attributes.But Wall Street was largely dismissive of the likelihood carte blanche subsidization would be offered to certain coal and nuclear assets that have experienced weaker margins amid heightened politicization. More broadly, analysts characterized the DOE’s proposal as a referendum on wholesale markets with the potential to undermine market structures built in recent decades.“The DOE proposed rule, to provide deregulated coal & nuclear plants with ‘full recovery of costs,’ will in our view not be implemented by FERC because it would bring an end to competitive power markets, is not clearly needed to ensure grid reliability & resiliency, and would be very expensive,” Morgan Stanley analysts said Oct. 2.“Effectively re-regulating a major portion of the currently de-regulated organized markets via a cost-of-service system would presumably render any existing discernable market pricing mechanisms irrelevant,” J.P. Morgan Securities analysts said Sept. 29, noting the added uncertainty to state nuclear subsidies programs in New York and Illinois, for example.More: ($) Wall Street views DOE grid proposal as anti-competitive U.S. Proposal to Subsidize Fading Coal and Nuclear Plants Seen by Wall Street Analysts as Unlikely to Materialize
Growth remains elusive, costs are proving hard to contain and ROE remains stubbornly low. Regulation is impacting business models and economics. Technology is rapidly morphing from an expensive challenge into a potent enabler of both customer experience and effective operations. Non-traditional players are challenging the established order, leading with customer-centric innovation. New service providers are emerging. Customers are demanding ever higher levels of service and value. Trust in financial institutions hovers near historic lows.Such is the backdrop with which PwC uses to frame its world-class report, “Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or Revolution?” addressing the financial industry’s future head on.As dire as the current situation facing financial services firms may sound, PwC actually believes traditional institutions a bright future. And despite all the gesticulating, undulating and bloviating from pundits about the “imminent death” of banks and credit unions, PwC doesn’t see “outside disruptors” driving a dagger through the heart of the banking industry — the fundamental concept of a trusted institution acting as a facilitator of transactions and credit resource is not about to change. However, the landscape will change significantly, as customer expectations, regulatory requirements, technology, demographics, new competitors and the fundamental economics underpinning the banking industry all shift and evolve.PwC says existing banking providers must accept that the status quo is not an option. But does all this change signal a revolution, or an evolution? PwC says it’s both. The industry has historically changed slowly — evolutionary, incremental change. While the changes PwC envisions are less about imagining some unknown future, and more about implementing and integrating all the things we already know today, the pace of change is intensifying rapidly. Financial institutions that fail to shift gears risk being left in the dust. Powerful forces are reshaping the banking industry. Customer expectations, technological capabilities, regulatory requirements, demographics and economics are creating an imperative to change. Banks and credit unions need to get ahead of these challenges and retool if they are to find success in the upcoming decade. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
With this acquisition, Arena Hospitality Group continues its expansion abroad after the already well-established business model of managing 7 international hotels in Berlin, Nuremberg, Cologne and Budapest. “88 Rooms”Is a modern hotel categorized with 4 stars and located in a great location, in Takovska Street in Belgrade, near the business zone, and also close to the cultural values of old Belgrade, from the bohemian Skadarlija, Knez Mihailova Street and Kalemegdanski Park. The hotel has 88 modern and comfortable rooms and suites decorated according to Feng Shui rules, and other facilities include a bar, restaurant, fitness room, massage rooms and four meeting rooms with a capacity of up to 200 participants. Arena Hospitality Group expects that the conditions required to complete the transaction will be met by the end of this year, after which the hotel will “88 Rooms” become part of the ArenaHospitality Group portfolio and continue to operate under the brand “Arena Hotels & Apartments”And the new name “Arena Hotel 88”. The hotel company Arena Hospitality Group dd from Pula, through its subsidiary Sugarhill Investments BV, has entered into a framework agreement with MK Aviation Services doo for the acquisition of the hotel.88 Rooms”, A 4-star hotel in Belgrade. “It is our great pleasure to present this acquisition by which, with the momentum of current investments in existing accommodation facilities, we have continued the announced further expansion of business in new areas in major cities in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. By entering a new market and strengthening the portfolio of hotels that operate throughout the year, we enable additional growth in the value of the group, while also creating additional long-term value for our guests and our shareholders. With such moves, we are rapidly changing the existing high-season business and growing into a dynamic, international hotel group with year-round business.” President of the Management Board of Arena Hospitality Group dd Reuel Slonim The value of the transaction is HRK 47 million, which together with the entire investment cycle started after the public offering in mid-2017 exceeds HRK 500 million. The President of the Management Board of Slonim continues: “More than half a billion kuna investment after the public offering is underway, starting with the investment of 70 million kuna in the first Croatian luxury glamping resort Arena One 99 Glamping in Pomer, the current investment of 128 million kuna in the camp Arena Kažela in Medulin, 53 million kuna in hotel renovation art’otel berlin kudamm in Berlin, HRK 60 million for the renovation of the Verudela Beach tourist resort in Pula and HRK 190 million for the complete reconstruction of the Brioni hotel in Pula, which will carry the Park Plaza brand, and position it among the best hotels in the hotel chain” Slonim concluded.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionOT money could pay for more officersI’m not particularly strong in math. But it seems to me that the amount spent on overtime for our police department could get us three or four more patrol officers – and that’s including benefits.And the current officers would have more time off for their families and other pursuits. Just sayin’.Mary SiegelSchenectady Senate trial rigged for Trump acquittalNow that the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is about to begin, the Republican senators are in a tizzy. Mitch McConnell has made it very clear that having witnesses and additional documents admitted into evidence is not what they had in mind.He has already announced that he will not be impartial, and that is most likely the prevailing sentiment among the GOP senators.To see them all raise their right hands and swear to be impartial was a sight to behold.When a person takes such an oath, although he has no intention of complying, could that be construed as lying to Congress? After all, lying to Congress is what got Bill Clinton impeached.In my opinion, “trial” is synonymous with “witness,” and McConnell coordinating with the Oval Office to determine trial procedure is tantamount to the jury consulting with the plaintiff. It is not the proper way to conduct a trial.Just remember, Andrew Johnson was acquitted by only one vote, but the stigma of impeachment still lives on 157 years later.Jane ReisengerSchenectadyGrateful for man who removes snowI’d like to extend my gratitude to an amazing gentleman for his incredibly generous efforts when it snows heavily. I live on the southern end of Ballston Spa Village on the west side of Church Avenue (aka Route 50) between the light at Route 67E and McMasters Street. This man snow-blows our sidewalks clean along the entire stretch from Stewart’s to McMasters, clearing driveways and bus stops. He does this before we homeowners can even get out there to do it ourselves.We are especially grateful to him for removing the snow from those walks that are never cleared.It is a particularly difficult task because the added snowplow piles become compacted and brutal to clear. This gentleman accepts no payment, cash or other offerings. Even “Thank you, sir,” interrupts his appointed rounds.On behalf of all of us who live on this stretch of the village, we thank you most heartily, kind sir, whoever you are.Leslie SittnerBallston SpaLocal events to mark abortion oppositionOn Friday, buses from the Capitol District area will be bringing people to Washington, D.C., to join in the annual March For Life, in remembrance of over 61 million babies whose lives brutally ended in abortion.Locally today, on the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, churches in Johnstown, Gloversville, Northville, Fonda and Amsterdam will be chiming (tolling) their church bells at noon in sad remembrance of all these precious children.Listen for the church bells and wherever you are at noon today, stop and pray:‘Please Lord, put an end to this evil, touch hearts with your love and forgiveness and help us to do all we can to put an end to abortion.’Madeline DerwinJohnstown More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Take a role in police reformsEDITORIAL: No more extensions on vehicle inspectionsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Schenectady homeless assistance program Street Soldiers dealing with surge in needEDITORIAL: Don’t repeal bail reform law; Fix it the right way
In the context of the UK’s pensions freedom agenda, with increased choice for members in terms of how they obtain benefits, industry players are compelled to come up with solutions for members.But Falvey highlighted the importance for the UK government to step in with specific incentives.This would be needed to facilitate the creation of solutions on issues such as increasing longevity and encouraging members to invest for late in the decumulation phase.The Aon survey included 297 UK DC schemes with nearly 1.2m members and £33bn (€47bn) in assets, and found that many schemes were “without the knowledge and management reporting needed to facilitate an improvement in outcomes” for their members.According to the survey, although 90% of respondents receive information on investment performance, only 16% receive regular management information on outcomes.Aon’s survey shows that achieving better member outcomes was among the top three objectives for 57% of the schemes interviewed.The other priorities were achieving specific communication goals (46%) and evidence of increased member engagement (45%).However, 68% of the schemes in the survey had no knowledge of the expected replacement ratio for their members.Another measure of the disconnect between members’ expectations and schemes’ capabilities was the relatively low percentage of trust-based schemes (43%) that either had a preferred drawdown solution in place or were developing one.Drawdown solutions have been a focus for the UK pension industry since the government removed the requirement to buy an annuity at retirement in its March 2014 Budget, with the rules coming into effect in April this year.The 2014 changes introduced the possibility to access pension pots from the age of 55, with 25% accessible as a tax-free lump, and the rest at the marginal rate of taxation.However, Aon believes the annuity market is “not dead”, and that annuities may be marketed later in pensioners’ life, to see them through the latter stages of their lives. Further changes to UK pension regulation could be included in this year’s Autumn statement, due to be released today.Earlier this year, the government began an industry consultation on the DC tax framework, proposing to move from the current EET framework (tax-free contributions and returns, taxed benefits) to a TEE one, removing tax relief on contributions and introducing tax incentives on returns and benefits.Aon’s Singleton pointed out that, although the government would weigh the opportunity of receiving a large tax windfall from such a change, such a move would “completely rewrite the pension book”.Aon has put forward its proposal for a new DC tax framework, in response to the UK government’s Green Paper.The company’s approach, dubbed “IET (Incentive-Exempt-Taxed) plus”, consists of contributions paid from net income, a Treasury bonus of £1 for each £2 of contributions (with a maximum £10,000 per annum) and marginal tax paid on employer contribution. Defined contribution (DC) pension schemes in the UK are ill-equipped to meet member objectives, according to pensions specialist Aon Hewitt.A survey carried out by the company showed “a stark disconnect” between schemes’ ambition to achieve better outcomes for their members and what schemes can actually deliver.Sophia Singleton, a partner at Aon, said: “If expectations are out of step with what is realistically possible, schemes need to address this urgently to avoid future problems.”However, according to Debbie Falvey, DC proposition leader, “the industry is unlikely to find a solution on its own.”