Pension schemes at a glance

first_imgWith changes in retirement ages and retaining older staff firmly on theagenda, pension benefits must be handled carefully. Peter Dickinson highlightsthe key issues for the successful management of occupational pension schemesWhile pension legislation has always been highly complex, managing a pensionfund is increasingly onerous. Recent developments in IT coupled with a growinginterest by pension scheme members – and their lawyers – means 100 per centaccuracy is demanded at all times. The pressures on HR managers and trusteescan be further intensified if the firm’s management controls are inadequate orthe employer is not interested in staff pension management. The catalysts for change Internet/intranet technology Communication through this medium, stimulatedby stakeholder pensions, is becoming widespread. For example, members can nowaccess their personal accounts for transaction purposes or to find out aboutbenefits. The Turnbull Report Published September 1999, it was aimed initiallyat quoted companies, but has implications for occupational pensions schemes. Itemphasises: – The value of a risk-based approach to create and review internal controlsystems – Financial controls alone are insufficient – The need to set business targets to be achieved within specified timeframes – Identification of associated risks – Risk management techniques to be improved The Myners Report Published March 2001, it singles out the followingpoints: – Perceived lack of investment awareness by trustees generally – Need for effective decision-making structures within pension schemes – Effective division of time by trustees between their variousresponsibilities – Trustees having the “right mix of skills and experiencecollectively” – Whether the scheme’s control environment is “fit for its intendedpurpose” (echoing Turnbull) Myners also highlights the need for trustee training and recommends thatsponsoring companies ensure trustees have sufficient “in-house”support staff. FRS 17 This financial reporting standard essentially requirescompanies that sponsor defined benefit (final salary) schemes to include ascheme’s actuarial surplus or deficit in their audited financial statements.The surplus (or deficit) has to be updated annually on a market value basis.The standard started being phased in over two years in June 2001 and will meancorporate managers putting pressure on trustees to minimise any negative impacton the company’s financial results. Against the above developments, HR managers and trustees should focus on: – Developing a coherent management structure – Creation of a good governance culture (regarding regulatory compliance) – Provision of clear objectives – Investment portfolio structure, management and custody – Administration controls and performance measures – Communication between employer, trustees and third parties – Financial controls – Identification and assessment of management risks associated with the setobjectives and adaptation of management structures to control risks Trustees’ key duties Despite pressures arising from economic developments, trustees’ generalduties remain constant. They must therefore act: – In accordance with the trust deed, rules of the scheme and statutoryrequirements – Prudently, honestly and with the utmost good faith – In the interests of members as a whole, taking a fair balance betweenparties They must also: – Take advice on technical matters – Invest funds in accordance with status objectives With today’s emphasis on “real-time” accuracy, penalties forerrors can be severe. Training for trustees and staff is vital. Penalties and pitfalls Even if trustees are very careful, they can be in breach of any one of thehundreds of statutory regulations. This situation is not helped by the factthat actuaries, auditors and certain other advisers can “whistleblow”to the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra), with or withouttrustees’ knowledge. Breaking the rules can incur statutory penalties, ranging from fines fortrustees and employers, to disqualification and even imprisonment. Of moreconcern is Opra’s recently stated policy of publicly naming and shamingtrustees and employers whom it has penalised for infringements. HR departments must also be aware of the need to constantly update the adminrecords and the growing impact of case law. Against this background, trustees should undertake a “regulatorycompliance” audit, concentrating on: – Calculation and timing of contribution payments by the employer – Timely investment of contributions – Application of performance standards for completion of benefitcalculations and payments – Completion of annual audited accounts – Appointment and subsequent supervision of statutory advisers – Custody, security and management of investments – Dispute resolution procedures Outsourcing administration Smaller pension schemes frequently outsource all their activities, whereasthe medium/large schemes usually outsource on a specific basis. For any scheme, it is critical that the employer’s management controlsystems deliver accurate data to tight timescales. In particular, trusteesshould ensure that: – Services provided by the employer and associated timescales are defined(even if at “no cost” to the scheme) – Employer systems are secure and that “ownership” of membershipand financial records is clearly defined – Disaster recovery and contingency plans operated by the scheme’smembership and financial records – They have recourse against the employer for actions taken by staff whichmay be detrimental to the scheme eg fraud, negligence – They have access to employer’s internal control reports covering payroll,personnel and cash management In respect of relationships with independent third parties, trustees shouldensure: – A management agreement exists – Clear objectives and operating performance standards are agreed – A stable and documented control environment exists (ie operating manuals) – The third party is technically competent and can provide both detailed andstrategic advice if required – The third party’s software systems are “industry compatible” External consultants Getting the best from an external consultant relies on communication andteamwork, involving a three-way relationship between trustees, employer’smanagement and the consultant. Too often trustees delegate, then relax, creating a vacuum in which nothingdevelops. This can be avoided by having: – A clear management structure and defined roles for individuals – Trustees with specific responsibility for day-to-day liaison/progresschasing – Structured trustee meetings with a pre-set annual timetable – An educational programme allowing trustees to gain necessary understandingof strategic and practical issues Conclusion Teamwork is the key to successful pension scheme management. A balancedtrustee board should include responsible members with specific experience in: – Internal controls, risk management and general co-ordination – Investment structures, management and administration – Human resources management – Financial reporting Peter Dickinson is a partner specialising in pensions administration atSmith & Williamson Tel: 01483 407100 e-mail: [email protected] Pension schemes at a glanceOn 20 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. 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People

first_imgPeopleOn 15 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Being pigeonholed is not something that The Transformation Partnership’s newdirector Lynda Hatcher really has to worry about. The many facets of her personal life make sure that she simply can’t bestereotyped, as she explains: “I’m the mother of twins, enjoy swimmingregularly and I’m also a Radio 4 fanatic. I still enjoy nightclubbing and Iguess that makes me pretty hard to pigeonhole.” The new HRconsultancy works to improve people processes to ensureorganisational transformation is effective and will draw on Hatcher’s HRexperience from several companies including WHSmith Group, L’Oréal and theBritish Medical Association. Hatcher, who is an MCIPD with a degree in Economics, believes that the roleof HR is shifting and she enjoys the strategic aspect of the profession. “HR gives you the opportunity to see across the business in a way thatfew other careers can offer.I like being in a function which is probably on thecusp of transforming itself,” she says. In her new role, she will be responsible for organisational change and thegeneral HR strategy alignment. “I hope to be successful in businessdevelopment and in ensuring the people aspects of change are taken fully onboard. I also hope to see more HR functions moving from being transactional,into driving business change,” she says. She joins from Britannic Assurance where she worked on a major change anddownsizing programme and helped devise HR strategy and policy. CV2001 HR director, The Transformation Partnership1998 HR and change manager, Britannic Assurance1997 Principal consultant, KPMG1994 Head of HR, British Gas Energy CentresOn the moveJames Reed has joined TaylorWoodrow’s construction business as HR director. Reed was previously HR managerwith the BOC Group where he was responsible for the provision of acomprehensive HR service across the distribution services division. He has over16 years’ HR experience in various sectors and in his new role will be a keymember of the management team. His brief is to improve internal customerservice by modernising the HR service. There will be an immediate focus onresource and succession planning as well as change management practices.Automotive firm North Eastern Tyreand Exhausts has appointed Michelle Bellerby as its new HR manager. Bellerbyhas a degree in HR from Teesside University and a GNVQ in Business and Finance.She is also CIPD qualified. She will have responsibility for training, internalassessments and staff inductions. She will also deal with employment law issues.The General Dental Council hasrecruited Paul Coleman as a personnel manager. Coleman, who is CIPD qualified,joins the organisation from Thurrock Council, Essex. In his previous job, heprovided a range of HR services to schools and departments of the educationauthority. His new role will include responsibility for the operational HRfunction as well as training and development. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Scoreboard roundup — 4/14/19

first_img Beau Lund FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailiStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALLINTERLEAGUELA Angels at Chi Cubs 2:20 p.m., postponedAMERICAN LEAGUEChi White Sox 5 NY Yankees 2Boston 4 Baltimore 0Tampa Bay 8 Toronto 4Minnesota 6 Detroit 4Kansas City 9 Cleveland 8Texas 8 Oakland 7Houston 3 Seattle 2NATIONAL LEAGUEPhiladelphia 3 Miami 1, 14 InningsPittsburgh 4 Washington 3Colorado 4 San Francisco 0LA Dodgers 7 Milwaukee 1Arizona 8 San Diego 4St. Louis 9 Cincinnati 5Atlanta 7 NY Mets 3NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFSBoston 84 Indiana 74Portland 104 Oklahoma City 99Milwaukee 121 Detroit 86Houston 122 Utah 90NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFSNY Islanders 4 Pittsburgh 1Columbus 3 Tampa Bay 1Winnipeg 6 St. Louis 3Vegas 6 San Jose 3MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCERNew York 2 Kansas City 2Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. April 15, 2019 /Sports News – National Scoreboard roundup — 4/14/19center_img Written bylast_img read more

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Trading Standards backs TPO stance on portal juggling

first_imgHome » News » Trading Standards backs TPO stance on portal juggling previous nextRegulation & LawTrading Standards backs TPO stance on portal jugglingAgents caught re-lising properties to make them appear new are likey to face censure and enforcement actionNigel Lewis29th September 20160776 Views The National Trading Standards Agency Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) has waded into the issue of portal juggling with a resounding thumbs up for The Property Ombudsman’s imminent changes to its guidance.James Munro, who leads the NTSEAT, today said that he welcomed the TPO’s new guidance, which will be published on Saturday. It is likely to prevent TPO member agents from misleading consumers by removing and re-listing homes on property portals, enabling them to hide price cuts and make properties appear new to the market when they are not.Munro said he believes many agents do this to “manipulate sales figures” and that the new TPO guidelines could, he says, “lead to a ruling by the Ombudsman and also referral to enforcement agencies such as NTSEAT and local trading standards authorities”.“Such referrals could lead to prohibition orders or prosecution,” he added, and that “we will continue to work closely with industries bodies to stop this unfair practice, which misleads prospective homebuyers and harms honest estate agents who conduct their business in a fair and professional way.”One agent The Negotiator spoke to, who wished to remain anonymous, pointed out that although “unscrupulous”, it was a practice created in part by the property portals. The practice of revealing previous price reductions, pioneered by Zoopla and subsequently taken up by Rightmove (but eschewed by OnTheMarket) have, they said, “unwittingly helped created a problem that did not exist before the portals started doing this”.NTSEAT ‘portal juggling’ The Property Ombudsman TPO Trading Standards September 29, 2016Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

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Online agent YOPA investigated again by advertising watchdog

first_imgOnline agent YOPA has been investigated by the advertising watchdog just two weeks after being reported for potentially misleading claims on its website.Yopa’s foundersThis time the London-based sales and lettings agency was reported by a member of the public for a mailshot sent to them that advertised its sales service but, they claimed, wasn’t clearly marked as marketing material.After being approached by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), YOPA has now promised not to repeat the mailshot and that future advertising of this kind would be clearly marked as such in future.YOPA has been reported five times since it started two years ago including three times this year and once in 2016 and 2015 all of which have been informally resolved, although this hasn’t deterred investors – both Savills and LSL have put substantial amounts of money into the firm.Online agentsAmong the online agents, Emoov leads the pack for complaints to the ASA with ten referred to the watchdog so far including two serious complaints, one of which was upheld and another upheld in part, and eight informally resolved cases.Not far behind it is Purplebricks, which has had been referred to the ASA nine times including five serious complaints upheld against it, and four informally resolved.HouseSimple and Hatched have each been reported seven times. HouseSimple has so far attracted four serious complaints all of which were upheld or upheld in part, and three informally resolved cases.Hatched has been reported five times for serious breaches, four of which were upheld, and two informally resolved cases. EasyProperty, which has been relatively light on the marketing and advertising front, has only been reported once, as has Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo, while EweMove so far has a clean sheet.Hatched HouseSimple Purplebricks advertising standards authority ASA easyProperty.com YOPA December 6, 2017Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Online agent YOPA investigated again by advertising watchdog previous nextRegulation & LawOnline agent YOPA investigated again by advertising watchdogIt’s the fifth time the agency has been reported to the ASA, but it’s not got the worst record, research by The Negotiator reveals.Nigel Lewis6th December 201702,097 Viewslast_img read more

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Tradewinds 2015 Deals with Stopping Non-Compliant Vessels

first_img View post tag: Stopping Tradewinds 2015 Deals with Stopping Non-Compliant Vessels Back to overview,Home naval-today Tradewinds 2015 Deals with Stopping Non-Compliant Vessels View post tag: americas View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Naval Military and law enforcement officials from 14 nations participating in Tradewinds 2015, collaborate to discuss and practice tactics in stopping non-compliant vessels June 1 in Christophe Harbour at St. Kitts.Five 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement boats and 20 boat coxswains from 13 Caribbean nations and the United States Coast Guard participated in the collaboration and practice session.Non-compliant vessel pursuit tactics are used in various situations, but in particular they are used in alien migration and drug interdiction.Chief Petty Officer Destry Bowen, track lead for boat operations at Tradewinds 2015, said:Maritime law enforcement is most effective when working in cooperation with our partner nations. The goal of this track is to develop best practices, procedures and tactics to stop non-compliant boats during law enforcement missions.The St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard, Grenada Coast Guard, Commonwealth of Dominica and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force own the five boats used in this practice session. They are the same style of boats operated by the U.S. Coast Guard in law enforcement missions.Bowen added:These nations have purchased these boats in part to the success that the U.S. Coast Guard has had with the 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement boat.Mitigating risk during missions is also an important component of boat operations said Bowen. The U.S. Coast Guard uses the Green-Amber-Red model as an operational risk assessment tool to help crews assess the risk of an operation.During the non-compliant vessel exercise, the boat crews were given the chance to use this technology.Using the GAR model allows Coast Guardsmen to collaborate and discuss ways to strengthen their maritime security tactics he said.Tradewinds 2015 is a joint, combined exercise conducted in conjunction with 19 partner nations to enhance the collective abilities of defense forces and constabularies to counter transnational organized crime and to conduct humanitarian/disaster relief operations.[mappress mapid=”16137″]Image: USCG Authoritiescenter_img Share this article View post tag: Non-Compliant View post tag: Tradewinds 2015 June 3, 2015 View post tag: Navy View post tag: vesselslast_img read more

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IS IT TRUE OCTOBER 17, 2017

first_imgWe hope that todays “IS IT TRUE” will provoke “…honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way?”IS IT TRUE we are hearing that an unnamed Evansville City Council member has requested the Evansville City Controller, Russ Lloyd Jr to provide him with an accounting  breakdown of Invoices and Unrecorded Liabilities for 2015, 2016 and 2017?  … copies of the requested information were also sent to Council President Missy Mosby and 14 others individuals?  …the requested information has to do with: 1) Account Payable Open Items Reports for 2015-2017. 2) Accrued Compensation Hours for Police and Fire Employees as of Aug 16-18, 2017. 3) Accounting Notes reports for 12/31/2016 and for the City of Evansville and other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) as prescribed by GASB 45 actuarial calculation of retired employees health insurance liability. 4) Also provided to city officials were the accounting notes for the City of Evansville concerning the (PERF) Public Employees Retirement Fund of which Evansville participates in? …we are hearing that the above accounting information given to the unnamed Councilman, Council President Missy Mosby and 14 others may reveal some of the unreported deficit spending decisions of the Winnecke Administration?IS IT TRUE that local government don’t have a revenue problem they just have a spending problem?IS IT TRUE in Councilman Dan McGinn resignation e-mail he sent to GOP party chairman, Wayne Parker stated that; “You have criticized us for exercising our independent judgement (sic) and doing what we feel is best for the people we represent rather that marching lockstep to political doctrine”?  …we wonder why Mr. Parke didn’t take on Councilman McGinn for voting to build a multi-million dollar Penguim exhibit during the time of a serious budget crisis?  …Mr. Parke could have taken on Finance Chairman McGinn for continuing to push council members to take away our Homestead Tax Credits during the last several years?  …Chairman Parke could had taken on McGinn for not pushing council members to address the out of control city employees healthcare deficits? …Mr. Parke could had criticized Mr. McGinn for not cutting over $100,000 worth of city grants out of the city budget to area not-for-profits?  …Mr. Parke could have taken McGinn to task for voting to put back a $100,000 plus city grant in the budget to transport one (1) person to a job site located in the outer area of Highway 41? …Chairman Park could had ask why did Council Finance Chairman McGinn support the $12.5 advance payment (2018) of Tropicana riverboat  money to the city? …most of all Mr. Parke was correct in taking Mr. McGinn to task for voting to increase the County Income Option Tax (CIOT) for 2018?IS IT TRUE it looks like the days of the “TAX AND SPEND” habits of the Evansville City Council and the Winnecke Administration may be coming to an end?IS IT TRUE we are hearing that at least two of the three Republican primary candidates for the Vanderburgh County Commission race will be announcing this week?IS IT TRUE that that the son of former U S Congressman John Hostetter, Matt Hosetttler has announced that he shall be running for to soon to be vacated State House of Representative seat presently held by Thomas Washburne?  …Matt stated in his official announcement that “My family and I are very fortunate to call Indiana home. Our legislative body is a reflection of Hoosier commitment to both fiscal and personal responsibility with limited government interference. District 64 has exemplified these values through Representative Washburne, and it is my goal to pick up where he will leave off. This is a wonderful place for Michelle and me to raise our family, and I intend to ensure that it remains a wonderful place for my son to raise his?”IS IT TRUE it looks like the President of the Vanderburgh County Commission, Bruce Ungethiem will be facing the biggest challenge in his political career when he takes on Matt Hostetter in the District 64 State Representative Republican primary?  …we are told that when Mr. Ungethiem voted to pass a wheel tax in Vanderburgh County it costs him a lot of conservative votes?IS IT TRUE that the performance of the Indiana public schools was recently released and the news for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation is both good and bad?…the good news is that there are now 5 EVSC schools that earned an A after years of having only 2 schools that earn the highest marks?… Scott and Oak Hill which serve the more affluent northern part of Vanderburgh County were the only two schools to earn the top grade for as long as most of us can remember were joined this year by Central and North high schools and Stockwell Elementary?…these three additions brings the A count to 5 and they are the northern most 5 schools in the county?…there are 35 schools in the EVSC so that means that only 14% of our schools are making an A?IS IT TRUE that nine EVSC schools got an F, which constitutes 26% of the schools in the EVSC?…those schools getting an F are: Academy for Innovative Studies, Caze, Cedar Hall, Delaware, Dexter, Evans, Glenwood Leadership Academy, Lodge and McGary?…these failing schools are located in the south and southeast parts of Evansville where minorities and economically challenged people tend to live?…that it seems like economic performance of the neighborhood is the biggest contributor to failing schools?…we suspect that if the teachers were traded that the results would not change a bit?…the real problem with student performance can usually be traced to active and supporting parents?…it is often the case that poor people have to choose between making a living and spending time with their children?…this is a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself into adulthood?IS IT TRUE 11 schools were given a B over last year’s 15; 7 schools got a C over the previous year of 8; and three schools were given a D, half of last year’s six?…this means that 46% of our schools were essentially A-B schools with the other 54% at or below C level?…there is still much room for improvement?…the three private/charter schools all got an A?…the Signature School in downtown Evansville has routinely been ranked the #1 public school in Indiana and among the top 10 public high schools in the country for over a decade now?…the success of the Signature School proves that there is nothing in the water that is making our students perform poorly?…what the EVSC should be doing is replicating the way that Signature does things as they blow the other 35 school including the five that made an A right out of the water?IS IT TRUE the Catholic schools seem to be performing very well with 18 As, 5 Bs and only 3 Cs?…the schools in the counties directly around Vanderburgh for the most part all performed better as a group than the  EVSC schools did?IS IT TRUE that Sears has just announced that the half century old anchor store at the Oxmoor Mall in Louisville will be closing in January?…rather than reposition the inventory, Sears will be having a blow out sale to get rid of it all?…one has to wonder how long Sears will be able to hold onto the anchor outpost at the Washington Square Mall on Evansville’s Eastside?…Sears is apparently the only original tenant of what was the first indoor mall in the State of Indiana?…this Christmas season will be another year when big box retail either makes a comeback or another round of stores gets Amazoned out of business?Todays READERS POLL question is: Do you support local GOP Party Chairmen Wayne Parke call for Councilman Dan McGinn to resign from City Council?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “LAW ENFORCEMENT, READERS POLL, BIRTHDAYS, HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.  You now are able to subscribe to get the CCO daily.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected]’S FOOTNOTE:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City County Observer or our advertisersFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Cost wins over taste when choosing a sandwich

first_imgCost is the most important factor for consumers when choosing a sandwich at lunchtime, according to a new survey by YouGov.Commissioned by the RSPCA to mark British Sandwich Week, the results showed that 51% of adults polled considered the issue of animal welfare important when buying food in general, but the figure dropped to around 11% when it came to the choice of sandwich fillings. Cost (60%), flavour (52%) and appearance (39%) were cited as the key factors in the consumers’ decision-making process.Over 2,000 adults were surveyed last month, with 64% of respondents stating that it took them less than one minute to choose their sandwich from a shop display when buying food to go. Full-time students were the most ethically conscious when it came to buying lunchtime sandwiches, with 16% considering the use of higher-welfare products, compared to 11% of workers and 9% of retirees.The RSPCA launched a new campaign, ‘Fairer Fillings’, to coincide with British Sandwich Week – which runs from 16-21 May – aimed at encouraging consumers to think about the conditions the animals have lived in, when considering what filling they have in their daily sandwich.“Buying a sandwich with a Fairer Filling can be a challenge, as it can be fairly difficult to find ‘food on the go’ that contains higher-welfare products or provides labelling that details how animals have been farmed. We need our shops to provide more animal welfare-friendly sandwiches,” said Eloise Shavelar RSPCA farm animal campaign manager.last_img read more

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Bertinet Bakery unveils ‘fresher for longer’ sliced sourdough

first_imgSource: Bertinet BakeryBertinet Bakery has unveiled what it claims to be a category first in the form of ‘fresher for longer’ artisan sliced sourdough loaves.Its six-strong range has been reformulated to offer a softer, ‘sandwich-friendly’ texture that has a shelf life of five days without the need for additives or shelf-life-enhancing preservatives.The sourdoughs – available in seeded, white and malted wheat variants – have been crafted using what Bertinet Bakery describes as ‘revolutionary new bakery methods’ using just flour, water, sea salt and seeds. The loaves take between 10 and 12 hours to make from starter to oven.The bakery told British Baker it has combined “age-old baking methods with ground-breaking scientific research” to create the loaves, studying the interaction between the yeast and PH levels at different temperatures within the fermentation of the sourdough.“Through lots of trial and error we have found the optimum balance of all the elements in the fermentation process to naturally enhance the shelf life of Bertinet Bakery Sourdough, as well as enabling more variation within the bacteria and breaking down gluten, complex carbohydrates and phytic acids – all essential in maintaining a healthy gut,” it added.In addition, it said it has utilised a technique that became popular in Japanese and French breads in the 1990s using methods to hold more moisture in the dough which promotes a softer texture without any additional ingredients.The range will launch nationally across Waitrose, Ocado and Milk & More with the Seeded Sliced Sourdough in 1.1kg (rsp: £3.95) and 550g (rsp: £2.25), followed by the roll out of White and Malted Wheat variants in 1kg (rsp: £3.50) and 500g (rsp: £1.95) formats.Managing director Dean Arbel said the launch was “an exciting landmark for the category”.“Our sourdough supports a naturally improved gut health microbiome, which results in a better digestive health. Consumers are much more educated about bread now and due to Covid-19, there is a stronger appreciation for provenance, baking methods, quality of ingredients,” he said.“Shoppers are turning away from artificial preservatives that give unnatural length of shelf life. At Bertinet Bakery, we are passionate about a clean, natural and more honest bread that offers real health benefits – but let’s not forget – importantly delicious taste.”The loaves are produced at Bertinet’s site in Hendon, north London. The company also has a small production unit in Bath that delivers products locally and to its retail store in the city.last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s professor researches biological impact of bats

first_imgUpdated at 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 12. After recent heavy rains, South Bend’s mosquito population has grown, and with it the risk of insect-borne diseases.Assistant professor of biology at Saint Mary’s Laura Kloepper, along with her team of students, seniors Cassi Mardis and Stephanie Dreessen, thinks she found a way to keep the mosquitoes in check: turning to the bats for help.Kloepper and her team of undergraduates students spent eight weeks studying the dynamics of flight and echolocation on Mexican free-tailed bats in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. Bats eat insects, Kloepper said, and although they prefer moths and beetles due to a higher fat content, they’ll also eat mosquitoes.“It’s kind of like, if you’re at a big salad bar and there’s not a lot of meat, you’re going to eat a lot of the salad,” she said. “So they will eat mosquitoes and, with all the flooding we have been having, if we had a thriving bat population, they would definitely be helping to eat some of the mosquitoes we have around.”Kloepper said she believes bats can provide a solution to the mosquito problem and that bat houses can bring bats to residential homes and yards.“We can encourage bats to live among us,” she said,  “People can put up bat houses, that’s one thing they can do. It’s hard sometimes to get bats to take up residences in bat houses. It’s not necessarily an ‘if you build it they will come,’ it’s more of ‘if they’re already in your building, [they will come].’” Dreessen, who has a bat box in her home, said her experience with having a bat box has been generally positive.“My dad, over the summer, decided to put a bat box in,” she said. “It does take time for bats to realize the housing is available, but they will find it once they know where it is.”There are various designs and styles of bat houses on the market.“It’s like a box,” Dreessen said,  “Within the box, there are little sections, almost like a maze, and they’re really small, because bats are only so big and bats really like warm environments, so they’ll just cluster in there right next to each other.”Mardis said bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour but are still regarded as pests.“Many people think bats are a scary thing, but they are extremely beneficial to the environment and actually not so scary,” she said. Additionally, Kloepper said the concern that bats carry deadly diseases such as rabies isn’t true. “Most people are scared of bats because they hear bats have rabies, and a lot of mammals carry rabies,” she said. “The statistic is that only 1 percent of all bats that have been brought in for testing have been tested positive for rabies. “The thing to understand is if a bat has rabies, it is already going to exhibit abnormal behavior that will make it be more likely to be brought in for testing. So it’s thought that that 1 percent is highly inflated. You’re more likely to get rabies from a wild raccoon in your yard than you are a bat.” Recently, a fungus carried over from Europe has been reducing the population of bats found in the United States, specifically those in the northeast, and now, the Midwest. “It’s called White-nose syndrome, and it’s a fungus that has just been wiping out bat populations,” Kloepper said. “It is thought that the fungus was brought over to the United States by humans.  “It affects bats that hibernate, and we are in a cold climate. The bat species we have around here that would normally be flying around are hibernating bats, and these are species that are incredibly vulnerable to White-nose syndrome.”Kloepper and her team said utilizing bats can help to not only save the bats but also to decrease South Bend’s pesky, and now dangerous, mosquito problem. “When they tried to spray insecticide to kill off the mosquitoes, they in turn killed off the bees,” Dreessen said, “And [bats] are a different approach to that, but one that is more ecological and safe.”Tags: bats, biology research, ecologylast_img read more

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