France has since Tuesday been in lockdown, with only essential trips outside the house permitted, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus infections.”If everyone reduces their contacts, we are going to have far fewer people infected, it is as mathematical as that,” he said.”You need to stay at home to avoid other deaths and other serious cases,” he added.The country had the day earlier reported 89 new deaths across France over the previous 24 hours. The coronavirus epidemic has killed 108 more people in France over the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll from the outbreak in the country to 372, the top French health official said Thursday.”The number of infections is doubling every four days,” Jerome Salomon told reporters, adding that the virus was spreading in France “rapidly and intensely”.He said that 10,995 cases of coronavirus infection had now been recorded in France, while warning this did not account for all infections as non-serious cases were not tested, with these patients advised simply to stay at home. Topics :
Four more investment consultants have pledged to ensure UK pension scheme trustees are aware of investment guidance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues from the country’s pensions regulator.Sixteen investment consultancies have now signed up to an initiative of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association. It was first announced in September.Cambridge Associates, Capita Employee Benefits, P-Solve Investments and Xafinity Punter Southall are the latest signatories.Last year The Pensions Regulator issued guidance for trust-based defined contribution and defined benefit pension schemes, stating that trustees should assess the financial materiality of ESG factors and allow for them accordingly in their investment strategy. In agreeing to the AMNT’s and UKSIF’s initiative, the 16 consultancies have publicly stated that they consider the guidance to be a major development in TPR’s approach, and that it puts trustees and their advisers under an obligation to react.The consultancies will bring the guidance to the attention of UK pension fund clients through various routes, for example putting consideration of ESG issues on trustee meeting agendas.The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is also seeking to harness the power of investment consultants to drive more ESG investing. It has said that most investment consultants and their asset owner clients have so far failed to consider ESG issues in investment practice, and that “the full suite of investment consultants’ service delivery should be reviewed from an ESG perspective”.It is consulting with asset owners and consultants to develop and “extend the solution set”.£28bn LGPS pool joins UK-China climate reporting pilot groupThe £28bn (€32bn) Brunel Pensions Partnership is among investors in a group of UK and Chinese financial institutions trialling reporting of climate-related financial disclosures.The group has been put together by the City of London Green Finance Initiative, China Green Finance Committee and the PRI.It will pilot reporting in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which operates under the auspices of the Financial Stability Board.According to a statement from the City of London Green Finance Initiative, the other financial institutions participating in the pilot are Aviva, HSBC, Hermes, E-Fund, HuaXia (China Asset Management), ICBC and Industrial Bank.The People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England will provide input to the group.The PRI will co-ordinate the investors participating in the pilot and share its expertise on global good practice. The investors are understood to be participating as preparers of the climate reporting rather than as users of corporates’ disclosure.The pilot was endorsed by the UK and Chinese governments at an event held in Beijing in December.ESG fund launchesAsset managers’ recognition of the investor appetite for what could be called ESG funds shows now sign of abating, with the beginning of the new year already seeing several launches.These include:a sustainable global equity fund from Newton Investment Management;a sustainable listed infrastructure fund from First State Investments;two socially responsible exchange-traded funds listed on the London Stock Exchange, run by UBS Asset Management; anda Sustainable Development Goals equities fund, from Union Investment.
– despite Constitution providing for independent JudiciaryA report from the United States (US) Department of State has raised concerns about Guyana’s legal system when it comes to settling cases, noting that many perceive the hearing of some civil matters to be unfair and in some cases, influenced.Guyana’s Supreme CourtAccording to the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs in its investment climate statements for 2018, the Executive appears in practice to have some influence over the judicial branch.“Though the Constitution of Guyana provides for the independence of the Judiciary, in practice, the Executive has some influence over the judicial branch of the Government. The hearing of civil matters is a slow process and many perceive it to be unfair,” the report states.The report acknowledges that there are no known examples of Executive interference in the court system that has adversely affected foreign investors. But it warns, however, that the judicial system is generally perceived to be slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts.“Suspected corrupt practices and long delays make the courts an unattractive option for settling investment or contractual disputes, particularly for foreign investors unfamiliar with Guyana. In order to redress this obstacle to investment, the [Government of Guyana] GoG, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), established a Commercial Court in June 2006.”But the report advises that given Guyana’s growth potential and the burgeoning oil and gas sector, there is need for expansion and strengthened capacity building efforts to be made in the near future.According to the report, sufficient legislation exists in Guyana to support foreign investment in the country. The problem, the report notes, is the implementation of relevant legislation, which it said continues to be inadequate.All companies should conduct due diligence and seek appropriate legal counsel for any potential questions prior to doing business in Guyana,” the report states.The report noted that Guyana’s legal system, like most Commonwealth countries, follows the English Common Law system, with some traces of the Roman-Dutch legal system, particularly in the areas of land tenure.“In early 2005, legislative amendments were made to allow Guyana’s accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final Court of Appeal. Guyana’s Supreme Court of Judicature hears both criminal and civil matters.”The State Department noted that judgements of other courts within the Commonwealth are considered judicial precedents if the local laws are silent on the matter.This is similar to the no-confidence cases filed by the Government after the No-confidence Motion was passed against it last year. Since Guyana’s Constitution makes no mention of an absolute majority being required to pass the vote, Government referenced Parliaments in other jurisdictions in a bid to reverse the motion.Indeed, the Court of Appeal ruled in a 2:1 split decision last month that a majority of 34 votes would have been needed to validly pass the No-confidence Motion brought against the Government last year.While Justice Rishi Persaud had dismissed the appeal and conferred with the ruling of the High Court, his colleague appellate Judges allowed the State’s appeal.Both Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Dawn Gregory opined that while 33 is the majority of the 65-member National Assembly, the successful passage of a no-confidence motion requires an “absolute majority” of 34, and not the “simple” majority of 33 that has been used to pass ordinary business in the House. This case has since been passed on to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), where it will come up for hearing next month.