The London Pensions Fund Authority’s (LPFA) joint ventures with Lancashire and Greater Manchester hope to grow in size by acting as asset managers for other local government pension schemes, Susan Martin has told the IPE Conference & Awards.The London fund’s chief executive told delegates in Barcelona that the two joint ventures would soon be “opening up” to the rest of the sector to grow in size.The LPFA’s £10.5bn (€14.8bn) pooling vehicle with the Lancashire County Pension Fund will see the two funds merge investments, liability management and administration efforts.It recently announced Michael O’Higgins, former chairman of the Pensions Regulator, as its inaugural chair. Speaking of its £500m infrastructure joint venture with the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Martin noted that it recently completed its first investment in a green energy fund targeting biomass power plants. “Our idea is to make a few more investments, and then we will be opening that up to the rest of local government,” she said, citing the advantage for other funds to avail themselves of the in-house capacity built up by Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the LPFA.In response to a later question, Martin explained that the infrastructure partnership was set up “with the intention of opening it up to LGPS funds” but that it would only focus on local government clients.“That doesn’t mean we don’t make investments with other pension funds,” she added, citing the potential for partnerships with other European, Canadian and Australian pension investors.Martin also said the LPFA-Lancashire partnership was in discussions with other local authority funds and would be open to other schemes acquiring a stake in the venture, or simply opting for it as an asset manager.Her comments come amid a flurry of activity within the local government sector, with numerous funds in discussion to set up several pooling vehicles, after the UK government expressed its desire to see management costs reduced and a greater focus on infrastructure investment.The most recent announcement came from funds in Surrey, Cumbria and East Riding, which are in discussions to set up a £9bn pool they hope will grow to £20bn.
Khalid Ali, IBIA: Tackling sports betting corruption December 18, 2019 Related Articles Submit Share Ben Keith, Star Sports: racing must be diverse, fun, and welcoming January 22, 2020 Share Watch: Joe Lee on the importance of collaboration December 13, 2019 StumbleUpon SBC spoke to BetterBetting Founder and CEO Adriaan Brink, who spoke about the success of the firm’s BETR platform, as well as its progression plans for the coming year.SBC: What has happened with BETR since the launch of the product in July?AB: Since launching the product in July, ahead of the FIFA World Cup, we have made significant improvements and upgrades to the product. We have added new sports and leagues to the BETR apps including NFL, cricket and baseball and made numerous improvements to the user experience and efficiency of the systems.In October, we will add more American sports such as NHL and NBA. The tech team is currently working on a horseracing product, a more complex development with some changes required to the smart contacts.New releases on the apps have added functionality including in-play betting across the major European football leagues. On the lay side, we’ve also added features to lay entire leagues which reduces the effort for those playing the bookie role.SBC: How have punters taken to the product?AB: The feedback has been positive, and the system works as designed so we are very pleased with the initial progress. The apps all use the same APIs which are now complete and documented on the website (enabling 3rd party app development).Naturally we encountered a few issues which we are working to resolve and we’re constantly working on the UX to make for a smoother betting experience. One of the biggest challenges we’ve encountered is managing the increased cost and slow speed of the Ethereum blockchain.In the short term, we are covering the gas transaction fee for punters and optimising the smart contracts to increase efficiency.Longer term we are investigating more robust Blockchain solutions and also waiting on the next Ethereum release before taking a decision as to whether we move. It is important for us that we are keeping the betting process on chain and decentralised.There will always be a hurdle moving a traditional punter’s mindset to betting on the blockchain, but we are confident once they see how safe and secure the system is and experience a sleeker betting experience, the momentum and numbers will increase.SBC: What are the plans going forward?AB: We will be adding more sports, running more in-play and improving the speed and efficiency of the system. We are also continually upgrading the apps to improve the UX in response to user feedback from both the apps and wallets.The team are close to releasing a Telegram integration which demonstrates the seamless one-click betting experience enabled by the BETR API. Telegram users will be able to place bets from within Telegram, with the app sending timely messages with bets included as one-click betting buttons.There is ongoing development on the wallet front. Adding ether for gas has reduced friction for server based wallets. We will soon be adding client based wallets such as Metamask, Tresor and Ledger to Betrwallet – thus enabling the one-click API for all Ethereum wallets. We have a fully functional cashier in the works which we expect to roll out with 3rd parties to provide more user-friendly payment options both inwards and outwards.Long term, we are heavily focused on integrating sportsbooks to increase depth of lay and liquidity. We are in a number of discussions on this front with major players in various locations and hope to have some announcements in the near future.SBC: What are you looking forward to at Betting on Sports?AB: BETR is a key sponsor at Betting on Sports so we are looking forward to highlighting the BETR product to industry peers. I am also looking forward to the panel discussions I am involved with, both focused on crypto. Betting on Sports has grown both in content and exposure, making it a must for any professional in the sports betting space.I am particularly interested in meeting with other executives to discuss our product, new innovations and industry changes. The detailed sessions are extremely well thought out while the networking opportunities allow us to speak directly to a targeted audience. And of course, the parties.