As the fall foliage season shifts into high gear, AAA is working with Vermont’s tourism industry leaders to disseminate information nationwide through its travel offices. The resources will be used by AAA’s travel counselors to help direct motorists and encourage them to travel the Green Mountain State.Tom Williams, Regional Manager of AAA Northern New England, noted, ‘We have a golden opportunity to provide up-to-date, practical information to members across the country. In the great majority of areas hit by the storm, visitors will find roadways with smooth pavement and bright lines. It is our role to make sure that people who are interested in coming to Vermont get the information they need.’ In a communication sent earlier this week to all AAA offices in the United States, AAA states, ‘In late August, the State of Vermont made headlines across the nation as flood waters from Hurricane Irene caused major damage to the states highways and bridges. Within weeks after Irene, Vermont rebuilt at an unprecedented rate. Now 95% of Vermont roads are open, with final touches being made every day.’Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing (VDTM) Deputy Commissioner Steve Cook works with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Ski Vermont on the ‘Foliage Force,’ a team which has been promoting Vermont’s vibrant foliage season in the wake of Irene. Cook noted, ‘The foliage season has begun, and all indications are that it will be as vibrant and beautiful as ever. We are delighted that AAA has taken a proactive role in informing people about Vermont, and our recovery from the storm. This is a testament to AAA’s confidence in our state, and the resilience of our tourism businesses.’The bulletin refers travel counselors to road repair resources provided by VTrans, as well as planning information supplied by VDTM, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Ski Vermont. It concludes that AAA Northern New England branch offices in Montpelier, Rutland and Williston are well prepared to help motorists navigate the state of Vermont. Vermont Dept of Travel and Tourism. 9.28.2011
The pension fund, with 570 active participants, is also struggling with relatively high costs for pensions provision, which amounted to €783 per participant last year.It stated that filling in board vacancies with the company’s staff was also posing a problem.At the end of October, the coverage ratio of NIBC’s pension fund stood at 99.9%, which is lower than most Dutch pension funds of banks and financial institutions.LCP: Dutch schemes return 4.9% in third quarterDutch pension funds have achieved a return on investments of 4.9% on average during the third quarter, with smaller schemes usually performing better, according to consultancy LCP.The firm, which based its estimate on quarterly data of individual pension funds published by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), said its figures reflected a weighted average.The unweighted average stood at 6.1%, implying that larger schemes had usually generated a lower result, it said.LCP’s figures included pension funds’ results of the interest risk on liabilities. Large pension funds usually have a lower interest cover.The consultancy noted that, despite positive returns during the first three quarters, pension funds’ coverage ratio had continued to decline, with the weighted average decreasing to 103.4% at the end of September.It attributed the funding drop in particular to decreasing interest rates, which reached their lowest point in August.LCP added that the weighted cumulative return for the first three quarters was 16%.At the end of September, funding for most Dutch schemes ranged from 105-110%, with 39 pension funds short of 100%.The consultancy also said the coverage ratio of pension funds with relatively small securities holdings and a high interest hedge was least affected.Most Dutch pension funds have invested approximately 50% of their assets in securities and have covered 50% of their interest risk. Dutch merchant bank NIBC is looking to place its €323m pension fund with a consolidation vehicle (APF) or joining an industry-wide scheme in the next few months.In a newsletter to its participants, the pension fund said change was needed in order to improve the scheme’s prospects for the medium term.It indicated that a committee, comprising representatives of the employer, the pension fund as well as its participants, had already concluded that the current model for pensions provision was not up to the challenges the scheme is facing.It said continuing low interest rates, additional legal requirements and the development of a new pensions system triggered the plan.