German government presents plan to implement Portability Directive

first_imgThe German government has presented its draft proposals for the implementation the EU’s Portability Directive.As widely expected, it reduced the vesting period from five years to three, in addition to making other changes applicable for both cross-border workers and those changing jobs within Germany.In the commentary published with the draft, the government claimed the Directive would have allowed the implementation of differing regimes for domestic and cross-border mobility.Such a differentiation, it said, would have been “impractical”, leading to an “undesirable discrimination against employees remaining in Germany”. Nor will the German legislation discriminate between benefits from old-age pensions, invalidity payments or those made to widows or children, the government said.It said lowering of the starting age for the vesting period from 25 years to 21 would have a “positive effect on equality policies”, particularly for young women, who often leave work to have children before the age of 25.One area where the new German law will discriminate, the government said, is where employers wish to pay out smaller pension accruals as a lump sum instead of continuing to keep them in the pension fund.This will only be applicable to employees leaving to work in another EU country, not for domestic migration.The government said it would make full use of the transition period suggested by the EU to allow sufficient time for affected company pension plans to be adjusted and to keep the financial burden on affected employers to a minimum.If the law passes Parliament, it will come into effect from 1 January 2018.Click here to read more on how the Portability Directive has informed the debate on proposed industry-wide schemes in Germanylast_img read more

LGIM largest beneficiary of 25% increase in UK LDI mandates

first_imgLegal & General Investment Management (LGIM) was the largest single beneficiary of a 25% increase in liability-driven investment (LDI) mandates in the UK, a survey by KPMG has found.The consultancy’s annual assessment of LDI mandates of pension funds found LGIM, one of Europe’s largest institutional managers, according to 2016’s IPE Top 400 Asset Managers, was in charge of 414 hedging mandates at the end of 2015, an increase of 126 over the course of the year.Insight Investment, the manager with the second-largest number of mandates, reported 217 at the end of last year, followed by BMO Asset Management with 189 mandates.When measured in mandates, the three largest managers’ share of the market has remained largely static since 2012, when LGIM claimed 28.5% of mandates, Insight 17.4% and BMO 12%. Only LGIM’s market share markedly increased by the end of 2015, when it claimed 32% of nearly 1,290 mandates worth £741bn (€1trn), whereas Insight’s market share measured by mandates fell to 16.8% and BMO’s rose to 14.6%.“Despite the 25% increase in the number of mandates in 2015,” the survey notes, “the number of trigger strategies in place remained the same over the year, which indicates trigger strategies are falling out of favour with pension schemes setting up new LDI mandates or increasing their hedge.”Barry Jones, head of LDI at KPMG, said the results showed a shift away from trigger strategies.“The big change in LDI strategy over 2015 has been the move away from yield triggers as a mechanism for extending hedging programme,” he said.“It appears investors have given up waiting for interest rates to rise and have decided to just get on and do it.”Of the surveyed investment managers, only 12% said they expected rates to rise by more than 0.5% over the coming three years – less than half of the 26% of managers who expected such a rate rise at the end of 2014.last_img read more

IFRS committee OKs new guidance on asset ceiling for DB schemes

first_imgThe International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRS IC) has approved the release of an update to its asset-ceiling guidance, IFRIC 14.In broad terms, the amendments could severely restrict the ability of defined benefit (DB) sponsors in the UK to recognise a plan surplus as a balance-sheet asset.The committee, responsible for interpreting IFRSs, approved the changes during its 6 September meeting.The International Accounting Standards Board must now ratify the updated interpretation at a public meeting. If approved by the board, the interpretation will have an effective date of 1 January 2019, with earlier application permitted.In broad terms, the changes to IFRIC 14 set out to clarify the accounting treatment of plans where plan trustees can wind up a plan without the sponsor’s consent.This gives rise to a number of considerations.First, the committee has proposed amending IFRIC 14 so that a sponsor “does not have an unconditional right to a refund of a surplus on the basis of assuming the gradual settlement of the plan liabilities”.Second, the committee has proposed that the surplus available to a sponsor through a future refund does not include amounts that other parties can use for other purposes without the sponsor’s consent.In a third change, the IFRS IC argues that a scheme trustee’s power to buy an annuity or make some other investment decision does not affect the availability of a refund.Finally, the committee has set out to clarify that trustees do not have the power to wind up the plan, or to change benefits, if the power is conditional on uncertain future events.On other matters, the committee has proposed a further amendment to paragraph 7 of IFRIC 14.This amendment requires sponsors to take account of any statutory requirements that are substantively enacted, as well as contractually agreed terms and conditions of a plan and any constructive obligations.This assessment would apply where a sponsor is considering whether it is entitled to a refund from a scheme or a refund of future contributions.The IFRS IC’s predecessor issued IFRIC 14 in 2007 in a bid to clear up confusion around the application of the asset-ceiling requirements in IAS 19.The guidance helps preparers assess how much of a DB surplus a plan sponsor is available to recognise as a balance sheet asset.The IASB and its interpretations committee issued this latest amendment to IFRIC 14 in June.The amendments have met with a mixed response from auditors and consultants, with opinion split equally for and against.EY audit partner John O’Grady was among the critics of the proposed changes around the meeting table.“I think it’s confusing the measurement of the right with the existence of the right,” he said.His comments reflect the long-standing view of some critics who argue that the changes create an artificial distinction between a buy-in – effectively an investment decision by the trustees – and a buyout.He added that neither of the two actions affected the existence of the right to a refund – merely the amount.At the end of last year, the UK audit regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), weighed into the debate and said it expected companies to make disclosures consistent with the requirements of the as yet unfinalised ED.The FRC’s intervention led to the Royal Bank of Scotland accelerating the recognition of a £4.2bn (€4.9bn) liability for service cost in respect of its DB pension scheme.last_img read more

UK’s NEST adopts ‘climate aware’ fund for default strategy

first_imgNEST, the UK government-backed defined contribution (DC) master trust, is allocating a portion of the assets in its default strategy to a new “climate aware” fund managed by UBS Asset Management.It seeded the fund with around £130m (€154m), representing roughly 20% of its current developed equities portfolio and 10% of total investments in the default strategy. It is intended to address risks and capture opportunities associated with the move to fight climate change.The UBS Life Climate Aware World Equity fund tracks the FTSE Developed Index, but over- and underweights companies depending on their alignment with the transition to a low carbon economy.For example, a positive “tilt” will be applied to companies providing renewable energy or those making changes to meet targets in line with the internationally agreed goal of keeping global warming to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. A negative “tilt” will be applied to companies that are heavy carbon emitters, have fossil fuel reserves, or are not adapting to the 2ºC scenario.Despite it being a tracker fund it will apply an active voting and engagement policy. This will concentrate on companies that need to adapt their business models to meet climate change goals.Mark Fawcett, NEST’s CIO, emphasised the mandate was aimed at managing the investment risks associated with climate change as well as being positioned to capture investment opportunities.In a statement, he said: “As responsible long term investors on behalf of our members, we can’t afford to ignore climate change risks and we’ve committed to being part of the solution.“Through the UBS Life Climate Aware World Equity Fund we can start reducing our members’ exposure to some of the worst financial impacts. At the same time they’ll get in early in industries and technologies that’ll help the global economy move away from fossil fuels.”Responding to questions from journalists yesterday evening, he was adamant that this was not a marketing ploy and nor was the pension fund taking a moral stance on climate change.He noted that the youngest member in NEST is 17 years old and could be investing via the pension fund for 50-60 years, a period during which “climate will change, the world economy will change”.For its youngest members, the pension fund aimed to invest 30% of the equities in the Foundation Phase of its Retirement Date Funds to the new UBS fund.NEST’s move was welcomed by the chief executives of ShareAction, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).NEST is the second UK pension fund in a short space of time to have integrated climate change considerations in the investment strategy for a DC default strategy.In November last year HSBC Bank UK Pension Scheme adopted a new Legal & General Investment Management multi-factor equity fund with a climate change “tilt” as the DC scheme’s default option.Fawcett was reluctantly drawn to comment on the difference with the Legal & General fund that the HBSC scheme has adopted, saying there is “a significant difference”.In addition to being a smart beta fund with, as Fawcett described it, a “climate or low carbon overlay”, the Legal & General fund also provides for divestment from companies – something NEST had sought to avoid.Fawcett said that NEST had assessed existing products on the market but felt that none of these – active or passive – met the fund’s requirements.The pension fund had sought a forward-looking perspective by focussing on companies that are transitioning to a low carbon economy, without exclusion or divestment rules.The new UBS fund is the outcome of a year-long collaboration between the asset manager and NEST, and for NEST is also an output of three years of work on climate change.NEST was established in 2008 as a UK government-backed vehicle for its auto-enrolment pension policy. It took home the Best European Pension Fund award at December’s IPE Awards in Berlin.last_img read more

Managers await US fiscal stimulus after rate hike

first_imgRick Rieder, fixed income CIO at BlackRock, said the move towards positive real rates was “not only still extremely accommodative and economy/market supportive, but it brings the financial system closer to equilibrium”.He predicted that the Fed’s move could be “the first stage in a cycle that will later this year see the European Central Bank discuss a more normalized rate policy”. The Bank of Japan could also make changes to its target for government bond yields.“In our estimation, these are all healthy developments for the global economy,” Rieder said.Others said the Fed’s future actions depended largely on the success of president Donald Trump’s planned fiscal stimulus measures.Darrell Watters, Janus Capital’s US fixed income chief, said if Trump was unable to live up to his promises of fiscal stimulus it could force the Fed to remain “on a path of modest and gradual increases”.Watters also cast doubt on expectations of two further rate increases this year, saying growth and inflation were likely to be “challenged” in the next few months.“Without a pickup in wage pressures or a reacceleration of commodity prices, it is unlikely that inflation will increase at the pace of recent months,” he said. “A stronger dollar would also be deflationary and diminish the Fed’s inkling to further tighten.”Luke Bartholomew, fixed income strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management, warned that it was “hard to imagine that the rest of this hiking cycle will go off without a hitch”.“Over the last few years [the Fed has] consistently overestimated how many hikes it will deliver because the economy has turned out weaker than expected,” Bartholomew said. “But now the risk is that the Fed will need to catch up with easier fiscal policy and stronger growth outlook. Meanwhile, they’re facing increasingly shrill calls for their independence to be curtailed.”Andrea Iannelli, investment director at Fidelity International, said yesterday’s move was positive for risky assets in the short term.“The longer term picture, on the other hand, remains heavily dependent on the fiscal stance that the new US administration decides to adopt, although it may be difficult to pass any meaningful stimulus measure before next year,” he added.Guy Plater, principal at Punter Southall Investment Consulting, said pension funds with unhedged exposure to US markets could benefit from a strengthening currency.“Further comfort may also be taken from the fact that the early reaction from equity markets appears to be positive,” he added.The S&P 500 climbed 0.6% yesterday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%.Meanwhile in the UK, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain its base interest rate at a record low 0.25%. Asset managers expect the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates twice more this year after its rate-setting committee announced a 25 basis points hike last night.The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised its target for the federal funds rate to 0.75%-1% in a statement yesterday, a move largely expected by investors. It was the second increase in four months, but just the third since 2008.In the immediate aftermath of the FOMC’s announcement, yields on US treasury bonds fell dramatically. The FT reported 10-year bond yields fell more than 10 basis points, its biggest intraday fall since the US elections in November.The majority of reactions from asset managers indicated they still expect two further increases this year, although some investors had expected more.last_img read more

Institutional investors urge Australia to adopt modern slavery law

first_imgThe committee was commissioned to carry out an inquiry in February, and will decide if a Modern Slavery Act should be introduced in Australia.Signatories to the investor statement included several Australian pension investors such as AustralianSuper and Hesta, European asset owners such as Church of Sweden and the UK’s Church Investors Group, and asset managers such as Aviva, Hermes, and PGGM, the provider for the €182bn Dutch healthcare pension scheme PFZW.  The investor statement said Australian companies could be implicated in the use of forced labour – a facet of what is referred to as modern slavery – in their supply chains, and that the discovery of this practice could ultimately impact long-term returns by damaging companies’ brands and “licence to operate”.It said that, on the whole, investors have limited information on Australian companies’ efforts to address risks related to forced labour, and that an Australian Modern Slavery Act “would create a level playing field, improving the amount of information available”.The investor statement noted that other jurisdictions have adopted legislation addressing modern slavery, such as the UK, which introduced a similar act in 2015.It also cited a new “corporate duty of vigilance” law passed this year in France, the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, and a body of international soft law, such as the International Labour Organisation’s core labour standards.“Early evidence shows that both the California and the UK legislation are improving availability of information for investors, while increasing senior level corporate engagement, transparency, and action on modern slavery,” according to the statement. “An Australian Act would complement these efforts.”Separately, a group of more than 130 global institutional investors with over $4.3trn under management last month issued a statement calling on textile companies with supply chains in Bangladesh to continue to implement an agreement for factory inspections that was reached in the aftermath of the collapse of a building (Rana Plaza) in 2013, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers and injured a further 2,600. The statement was issued to coincide with the four-year anniversary of that event. More than 30 major institutional investors are calling for the introduction of modern slavery legislation in Australia.The investors – which have over $2trn (€1.8trn) in assets under management between them – have signed a statement to a group of lawmakers in Australia that is conducting an inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in the country.“As investors, we believe human rights issues can present potential financial impacts through reputation damage and operational risks to our portfolio companies,” the statement said. “We therefore welcome a Modern Slavery Act which would improve transparency on how companies operating in Australia are managing modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.”The statement was organised by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which has separately written to the Australian parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade.last_img read more

What a new Italian government means for markets

first_imgToday marks the appointment of Giuseppe Conte as Italy’s prime minister, following an agreement (at the second attempt) between the two leading political parties – Lega and the Five Star Movement – and the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella.The situation in Italy remains in flux, several months after the country went to the polls on 4 March, with Lega and Five Star between them capturing just over 50% of the vote. Political machinations have caused global stock markets to fall in recent days, although promising signs that a new government will soon be formed have calmed investors’ fears.Yet questions remain, not least for the equity and bond markets. Given the current instability in the country, wider fears have been raised as to whether Italy might be about to break with the euro. Is “Quitaly” on the horizon at some point soon – and what would that mean not just for Italy but the wider eurozone?IPE put this question to some of the leading lights in the asset management world and asked for their take on events – and their views as to what might happen next. Source: Presidenza Della RepubblicaPresident Sergio Mattarella meets delegates from the Five Star Movement on 21 MayMike Arone, chief investment strategist, State Street Global Advisors:“In what has been a tumultuous week for European politics, news of the agreement is likely to cool investors’ anxiety regarding an even longer drawn out political stalemate in Italy.“Panic swelled earlier this week on concerns that fresh elections as soon as this summer would turn into a referendum on Italy’s inclusion in the euro-zone. It may be too early to signal the all clear as the Five Star and League policy plans will further burden an already heavily indebted Italy with an even greater debt load.”Nicholas Wall, fund manager, Old Mutual Global Investors:“We believe that there is a very small chance of Italy crashing out of the euro-zone, but the risks of a series of unfortunate events leading to an accidental ‘Italexit’ have increased.“Notwithstanding the news that Italy looks like it has managed to form a government, the current political situation chimes with Greece in 2015 where the Syriza party won the election promising an end to austerity and questioning the role of the EU. This a useful guide, in our view, as to how the current Italian crisis could pan out. IPE will be publishing a Country Report on Italy and its pension system in the July/August issue FIXED INCOME:Stefan Kreuzkamp, chief investment officer, DWS:“Following the [recent] developments, we have become more sceptical on Italian government bonds. For European corporates, we had already shifted to a neutral stance on both investment-grade and high-yield bonds last week.“In our view, Italian politics could continue to prove a drag on capital markets throughout the summer. Compared to previous episodes of euro-zone troubles, the ECB is likely to have less scope to react. This could add to investors’ nervousness.”Paul Brain, head of fixed income, Newton Investment Management:“From here we expect the volatility to continue but the significant yield advantage of other [euro-zone] countries could attract demand…“They are unlikely to pull out of the euro but the increasing lack of fiscal discipline will not go unnoticed by the northern Europeans. This situation has gained additional significance as the EU moves to debate closer back-stop support for their banking systems.” Source: Presidenza Della RepubblicaNew Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte leaves talks with the president earlier this weekSeema Shah, global investment strategist, Principal Global Investors:“Demand at [Wednesday’s bond] auction was very encouraging, and clearly indicates that investors still have faith in the Italian economy, if not the government.“Indeed, putting aside the political turmoil, Italy is enjoying a much-improved economic and fiscal position. What’s more, the extended average maturity of its outstanding bonds and a relatively undemanding issuance schedule for the rest of 2018 suggest that Italy is unlikely to face major refinancing problems in the near term.”April LaRusse, head of fixed income, Insight Investment:“The two key parties are proposing a range of expansionary fiscal measures… Debt-to-GDP will start to rise once again and credit rating agencies are likely to start to downgrade Italian debt, in contrast to the rest of Europe where credit ratings are improving.“This leaves us cautious on Italian spreads, especially in an environment where we believe the ECB will be winding down its quantitative easing purchases.”EQUITIES:#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# Source: FE Analytics; priced in eurosHow Italian and European equities have performed in 2018Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist, Invesco:“I am certainly not attempting to minimise the risks posed by a possible ‘Italexit’. However, I do believe there is still the potential for upside and that, at the very least, we are likely to see the ECB help to calm markets.“For long-term investors, it is important to keep in mind that geopolitical risk creates short-term volatility in capital markets, but rarely impacts them over the longer term. In this environment, we should be both vigilant and opportunistic – but not scared.”Stefan Kreuzkamp, chief investment officer, DWS:“We keep a positive strategic view, because we continue to see a positive economic outlook for Europe as a whole. Tactically, we have downgraded European equities to neutral and wait for better entry levels.”Andrea Iannelli, investment director, Fidelity International:“While Italy’s fundamentals may have improved, there is no room for complacency. The country’s high debt stock means that every additional basis point matters for its interest burden and market moves can ultimately change the fundamental picture.“Although there are some mitigating factors, investors remain at the mercy of headlines while political tensions remain elevated; volatility will not ease much in this environment and further price corrections may occur.”POLITICSlast_img read more

Corporate reporting bodies aim for alignment on sustainability standards

first_imgLaunched four years ago as “the principal working mechanism globally to achieve dialogue and alignment between the key standard setters and framework developers that have a significant international influence on the corporate reporting landscape”, it comprises seven organisations:CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project)Climate Disclosure Standards BoardFinancial Accounting Standards Board (as an observer)Global Reporting InitiativeInternational Accounting Standards BoardInternational Organisation for StandardisationSustainability Accounting Standards Board The work will take into account the bodies’ “different focuses, audiences and governance procedures”.Corporate Reporting Dialogue As part of the project the organisations also aim to identify how non-financial metrics relate to financial outcomes and how this can be integrated in mainstream company reports.The first phase of the project is to include alignment to the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).In a blog post, Richard Howitt, CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council, which convenes the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, said: “The market told us it wanted greater alignment between frameworks, and this project sends a clear reply that this message has been heard and is being acted on.”Fragmentation in the sustainability reporting landscape has been an issue for some time. A group of investor organisations recently published a discussion paper in which they urged corporate reporting bodies to agree “a coherent vision” of how different reporting standards “can and should fit together”. The investor organisations were themselves responding to calls for a more unified view from the buy-side.Kris Douma, director of strategic projects at the Principles for Responsible Investment and one of the authors of the discussion paper, said the investor organisations were happy with the Corporate Reporting Dialogue’s new initiative.“It is great to see they give an important new impulse to work towards better alignment in the next two years,” he said. “We look forward to collaborate further with them in the near future.”center_img Major corporate reporting bodies have embarked on a two-year project to drive better alignment of sustainability reporting frameworks.The project also aims to promote further integration between non-financial and financial reporting.The work is being carried out by members of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, a group comprising seven key standard setters and framework developers.According to a statement, the project will involve the organisations mapping their respective sustainability standards and frameworks “to identify the commonalities and differences between them, jointly refining and continuously improving overlapping disclosures and data points to achieve better alignment”.last_img read more

Dutch schemes get reprieve from cuts as minister lowers funding floor

first_imgHe added that pension funds using the extension must explain why this would be a balanced approach for all their participants and pensioners.The minister suggested that stable pension contributions and ditto annual accrual would contribute to this aim.He explained his decision to avert looming cuts by citing the risk of social unrest and the risk of people losing confidence in the future of the Dutch pension system.“Calm and stability are required to properly flesh out the pensions agreement,” argued Koolmees.In the direct wake of the accord, he had already decided to temporarily lower the minimum required funding from 104.3% to 100% to avert cuts.However, pension funds’ financial situation had further deteriorated since then as a consequence of declining interest rates.Current funding is approximately 100% on average – down from 109% at 2017-end – and is predominantly affected by falling interest rates.However, the effect of the financial crisis, increasing life expectancy and an insufficient contribution level also played a role.What’s more, pension funds must use lower assumptions for future returns when calculating their recovery potential as of 2020.In the envisaged new pension contract, pension funds don’t have to keep large financial buffers, which must enable them to quickly raise or reduce pensions, the minister explained. Dutch social affairs’ minister Wouter Koolmees has granted most ailing pension funds a one-year reprieve from implementing cuts of pension rights and benefits.In a letter to parliament, he said that he would temporarily reduce the minimum required funding to 90%, pending the elaboration of the pensions agreement concluded between the social partners and the government in June.However, seriously underfunded schemes would still have to reduce pension rights, and must implement unconditional cuts in order to improve their coverage ratio to 90%.Pension funds would subsequently be allowed to further improve their financial position to the minimum required funding in a 12-year period, rather than the current legal period of 10 years, Koolmees said. Cuts, however, would be required if schemes’ coverage ratio were to drop below 90% in order to keep participating in a pension fund attractive to young workers, he added.Currently, a steering group of the social partners and the cabinet is elaborating the pensions agreement.The minister said he expects results to be published next summer, when drafting the necessary legislation would start.He reiterated that raising the discount rate for liablities to avert rights cuts would not solve schemes’ funding problems.It would cause a redistribution of pension assets that would ultimately come at the expense of younger generations, he contended.“If we abolished the principle of an objective market valuation, the discount rate would become a ‘continuing plaything’ of contrasting interests between the generations.“It could also put pressure on the current mandatory participation in a pension fund, as players could wish to no longer participate.”In his opinion, changing the rules wouldn’t solve, and merely camouflage, pension funds’ financial problems, and could lead to a further erosion of schemes’ financial positions.Koolmees emphasised that a collective approach, solidarity and mandatory participation would also be key in the new pensions system.The large metal sector schemes PMT and PME were facing rights cuts next year as they had been continuously underfunded for a five-year period.At October-end, their coverage ratio stood at 95.8% and 95.1%, respectively.ABP and PFZW – the pension funds for the civil service and the healthcare sector – would have to implement discounts in 2021 if their coverage ratio was short of the required minimum at the end of next year.Their funding rayios stood at 93.2% and 94.1%, respectively, at the end of October.last_img read more

Just what the doctor ordered

first_imgA render showing the view from the top of Skyhomes TaringaIf the views are enough to take your breath away, you are in luck. The Westside Private Hospital will be just a few floors down.Skyhomes Taringa, which is being developed by Evans Long, will be constructed on the top two floors of the new Montserrat Healthcare facility currently under construction on Morrow Street.Skyhomes Taringa“The development provides a unique opportunity to have a hotel, childcare facility, day hospital and cafe on your doorstep,” Dirk Long of Evans Long said.“In addition to the facilities, the property is located adjacent to the Taringa railway station allowing easy access to the CBD, Suncorp Stadium and the airport.” Seven double-storey residences will be built across the two floors, with prices starting from $1.6 million.The project will be launched to the market this month, with six residences for sale.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market18 hours ago“The Skyhomes were driven by the mixed- used nature of the site and the height that we were able to achieve in this precinct,” Mr Long said. “The city and mountain views inspired us to create a product that has not been seen in the western suburbs.“The architects were briefed to create a warm and sophisticated space that took full advantage of the city, river and mountain views. A degree of flexibility was built in to create spaces that could be used for a variety of uses as well as catering for ground floor bedrooms now or in the future if desired.”Skyhomes Taringa.Ray White Toowong agent Kris Matthews, who is marketing the project, said larger and more opulent apartments were proving popular with buyers.“Apartments that fill the void between large family homes and your standard size two and three bedroom apartments seem to be the most desired right now, and this is being reflected in the interest and prices achieved,” he said.“Due to the lack of quality, expansive higher- end apartments in Brisbane, buyers are willing to pay top dollar for such properties.”Mr Matthews said Skyhomes Taringa would be most popular with downsizers who wanted to remain in the local area but still have enough space for visitors.“They will want a downsizing opportunity that … doesn’t necessarily feel like your typical apartment,” Mr Matthews said.last_img read more