A musical visionary took the stage at the Radcliffe gymnasium on Monday. His innovations, said Harvard Professor and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow Ingrid Monson, are on a par with those of jazz legends Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. But he doesn’t play the trumpet or saxophone; he plays the balafon.Neba Solo is helping to reframe both music and culture in his native Mali in West Africa. Solo “has had an enormous influence on the community of musicians around [him]. He is that kind of leader in what he does,” said Monson. “He both comes from a tradition, but he has challenged the borders of the tradition.”Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music, is using her fellowship year to write the book “Kenedougou Visions,” based on the life of Solo, renowned for creating an entirely new type of balafon and an original musical style, as well as for addressing social and cultural issues with his poignant and often searing lyrics.Solo “has had an enormous influence on the community of musicians around [him]. He is that kind of leader in what he does,” said Monson.The balafon is Solo’s tuned percussion instrument. Made of wood, it resembles a xylophone and includes a series of hollowed-out gourds that are attached to its long, narrow keys. The traditional balafon is based on a heptatonic scale, but Solo has adapted the instrument to a pentatonic scale — five notes per octave instead of the typical seven. The reconfiguration, said Monson, was inspired by reggae.At 18, Solo was mesmerized by reggae singer Alpha Blondy’s “Jerusalem.” Drawn to its pulsing bass lines, the young artist had an epiphany, one that involved the creation of a new balafon with more bass notes in order to produce “more prominent bass lines.”Soundbytes: Neba Solo: Music for Peace in MaliNeba Solo presents a concert of his virtuosic xylophone music and his socially conscious lyrics. Playing with his brother, Siaka Traoré, Neba Solo debuts his most recent composition, which calls for peace in Mali. In his lyrics, one can trace the history of the political and social problems that led to the collapse of the Malian government in March 2012. The change has led to a style that allows a balafon player more freedom to play a bass line with one hand while improvising with the other, as well as the introduction of complex overlapping parts. “The development of a balafon style that includes a series of interlocking balafon parts is his signature contribution to the balafon,” said Monson. “What it represents is a thorough modernization, a jazzing up, if you will, of traditional Senufo balafon style.” (In addition, Solo also changed the traditional tuning of the balafon so it can fit more closely with other Malian instruments.)Solo’s work also reflects deep cultural values in Senufo culture, Monson said. The artist hails from a small village largely dependent on agriculture. His song “The Hero Cultivator” depicts the frequent hoeing competitions that honor men for their “intense physical strength and endurance.” Much agricultural labor is still done by hand with hoes, said Monson. And because the survival of such communities has been historically based on the success of its crops, “nothing is more respected than being a skilled and strong farmer.”Solo’s work also addresses social and political issues past and present. His lyrics focus on issues such as violence against women and corruption.Made of wood, the balafon resembles a xylophone and includes a series of hollowed-out gourds that are attached to its long, narrow keys.“The exhorting quality of the lyrics is something that pervades music in this part of the world … singers ask people to do the right thing,” said Monson. She offered Solo’s song “Janfa” (2001) as an example: “Let’s not betray each other, Policemen and customs agents and guards, Let’s not betray each other.”When Monson began her project, she intended to travel to Mali to study Solo and his technique, but a political coup in March left the country unstable. Instead, she pitched the idea of bringing Solo to Harvard. With the help of the Radcliffe Institute’s Visiting Scholars program, she was able to do just that. On Monday Solo joined Monson onstage to answer questions from the crowd following her presentation. He later gave an hourlong performance with his brother, Siaka Traoré.In responding to a question from the audience about whether his songs — such as 2012’s “Jenkafo” (Reunite Us), which includes the lyrics “Don’t kill the children; they don’t do any wrong” — can have an impact on the violence in Mali, Solo was adamant.“Of course,” he replied in French, citing an earlier song that encouraged people to have their children vaccinated. Parents later thanked him, he said, for helping them realize the importance of vaccinations in keeping their children safe.“Music,” said Solo, “can change things.”Kenedougou Visions: Music of Neba Solo by Ingrid Monson Radcliffe Institute fellow Ingrid Monson delivers a lecture about Neba Solo, Mali’s superb balafonist, and the social and cultural history of Mali. Monson—the 2012–2013 Suzanne Young Murray Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute and the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard—is writing a book about Neba Solo titled “Kenedougou Visions.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGR28cAm3nY” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/aGR28cAm3nY/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>
Read Full Story Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have identified a gene associated with lower asthma risk and its role in the disease’s progression—findings that open a new potential pathway for treatment.Senior author Quan Lu, associate professor of environmental genetics and pathophysiology, and colleagues found a link between the gene GSDMB (gasdermin B) and asthma when they discovered that it is highly expressed in airway epithelial cells, and, when activated, induces cell pyroptosis — a form of cell death that is linked to inflammation and may contribute to asthma progression. The researchers also demonstrated that a variant of the gene protects against this biochemical activity, reducing asthma susceptibility.“Our findings represent important advances in the field of asthma,” Lu said. “Identifying asthma genes and elucidating the disease’s biology are essential steps toward developing new, more effective therapies.”The study was published online Jan. 9, 2018 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Lead author is Ronald Panganiban, a research associate in the Lu laboratory.Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide, but its molecular basis has been poorly understood. About 8 percent of the U.S. population is affected by the disease, and treatment costs top $50 billion each year.Previous studies have identified a genetic region that is significantly associated with asthma risk called the 17q21 locus, which contains at least six genes. Most researchers … expected a gene called ORMDL3 would be the one linked to asthma risk. Instead, their study implicated its neighbor in the region, GSDMB. read more
Star Files View Comments Lea Michele Hot on the heels of celebrating Glee’s 100th Episode, Lea Michele stopped by Ellen on March 19 to perform the single “On My Way” from her debut solo album Louder. The album dropped on March 4, and immediately went straight to the number one spot on iTunes in 11 countries. It may be a while before Michele makes her return to Broadway (perhaps in Funny Girl? We’ll see!), but the blossoming pop star proved once again that nothing beats a live performance.
Roundabout Underground will present the world premiere of Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone this fall. Off-Broadway performances will begin on September 10 at the Black Box Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Patricia McGregor is set to direct. Ugly Lies the Bone follows Jess, a newly discharged soldier who has finally returned to her Florida hometown. She brings with her not only vivid memories of her three tours in Afghanistan, but painful burns that have left her physically and emotionally scarred. Jess soon realizes that things at home have changed even more than she has. The play was first presented last year as part of Roundabout’s Underground Reading Series, and received the first Special Citation of Excellence from The Laurents/Hatcher Foundation. Cast and creative team—as well as an official opening date—for the off-Broadway production will be announced at a later date. View Comments read more
20SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Details The Obama administration has proposed changes to education and retirement savings tax incentives—changes that would repeal Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs), limit the tax deductibility of retirement savings plan contributions, and prohibit Roth IRA contributions after age 70½. These changes, which are detailed in the administration’s fiscal year 2016 revenue proposals, support the President’s vision of middle class economics—an agenda designed to ease the tax burden on low-income families and ensure that working families can afford the cornerstones of economic security, like education and retirement.This is the first time that the Obama administration has proposed changes to Coverdell ESAs and Internal Revenue Code Section (IRC Sec.) 529 college savings plans. Many of the proposed changes to retirement savings tax incentives have been included in previous administration budget packages.The $4 trillion budget package outlines an ambitious agenda to trim education and retirement savings tax incentives and increase domestic and military spending. The latter of which would be funded in part by higher taxes on upper-income taxpayers and corporations. That said, the budget proposals are the administration’s “wish list” and are unlikely to be adopted as proposed. But the President’s proposals should not be overlooked, as some will likely find bipartisan support and could be adopted or used to offset other spending.Following is a summary of the major education and retirement savings proposals in the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016 revenue proposals.Repeal ESAs and Eliminate Tax Benefits for 529 PlansNo new contributions to ESAs would be allowed. Distributions of earnings on contributions to IRC Sec. 529 plans would no longer be excluded from gross income; however, the administration has reportedly abandoned that proposal due to widespread opposition.Apply Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules to Roth IRAsRoth IRAs would be subject to the same RMD rules as Traditional IRAs. The proposal would require IRA owners to receive RMDs from Roth IRAs in the year they attain age 70½. The administration also proposes to prohibit Roth IRA contributions after reaching age 70½.Require Certain Employers to Offer an Automatic IRA Option Employers with ten or more employees, and in business for at least two years, would be required to offer an automatic IRA option. Employers sponsoring a qualified retirement plan, SEP, or SIMPLE plan would not be required to offer an automatic IRA option. Under the administration’s proposal, regular contributions would be made to an IRA on a payroll-deduction basis. The employer would facilitate employee contributions using its existing payroll-deduction system, but no employer contributions would be required.Cap Tax-Advantaged Retirement Savings Plan AccumulationsContributions to tax-advantaged retirement savings plans (such as IRAs, 401(a) plans, 403(b) plans, and governmental 457(b) plans) would be prohibited for individuals with accumulated assets past a certain threshold. That threshold is the amount necessary to provide the maximum annuity permitted for a tax-qualified defined benefit plan (currently $210,000). For an individual age 62, this amount is approximately $3.4 million.Limit the Tax Deductibility of Retirement Savings Plan ContributionsThe tax value of the exclusion for employee contributions would be reduced to a maximum of 28 percent for defined contribution retirement plans and IRAs, instead of allowing taxpayers to exclude the contributions from the full 33 percent, 35 percent, or 39.6 percent that they would otherwise owe. Taxpayers in the 28 percent and lower brackets would be unaffected. This same provision also would limit the tax value of contributions made by these upper-income taxpayers to health savings accounts and Archer medical savings accounts.Limit Payout Options for Nonspouse BeneficiariesNonspouse beneficiaries of retirement plans and IRAs would be required to take distributions over a period of five years or less. Under current law, a nonspouse beneficiary may be able to take payments over his own life expectancy, depending on the original IRA owner’s date of death and whether there is a designated beneficiary under the plan.Allow Nonspouse Beneficiary Rollovers to Inherited IRAsA nonspouse beneficiary moving inherited plan or IRA assets to an inherited IRA would have the option to roll over such assets within 60 days. Under current law, this is not an option.Eliminate RMDs RMDs would be eliminated if the aggregate value of an individual’s IRA and other tax-favored retirement plan accumulations does not exceed $100,000 on a measurement date. The RMD requirements would phase in ratably for individuals with aggregate retirement benefits between $100,000 and $110,000.The move to target education and retirement savings tax incentives reflects the Obama administration’s belief that current tax incentives are skewed to favor the wealthy and should be more focused on lower- and middle-class taxpayers. The administration also believes that retirement savings tax incentives are designed primarily to provide retirement security for participants and their spouses, not to transfer wealth to their beneficiaries.Few expect that the President’s budget will be adopted as proposed. This is especially true now that Republicans control both houses of Congress for the first time since the President took office and given that may of his proposals were included in previous budget packages and were not acted upon. Even the White House acknowledges that the budget proposals start the process of negotiations, but is confident that agreement can be reached on a number of individual proposals that have bipartisan support. This could result in individual proposals that target education and retirement savings tax incentives being added to a final budget bill.Congress now has until April 15 to produce its own budget, with the House and Senate agreeing on spending levels. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) has already announced that his goal is to finish the budget before the April 15 deadline. Stay tuned. read more
Less than two months after the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final fiduciary rule, a flurry of lawsuits has been filed to overturn it. The DOL’s controversial rule expands the definition of fiduciary of an employee benefit plan to add brokers and advisers providing advice to IRA, Archer medical savings account (MSA), and health savings account (HSA) owners and Coverdell education savings account (ESA) participants.Lawsuits FiledThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Securities Industry, and Financial Markets Association, Financial Services Roundtable, and six other financial service and business trade groups filed the first lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs seek to have the DOL’s fiduciary rule and prohibited transaction exemptions vacated and set aside before taking effect in April 2017. Their complaint asserts that the DOL’s fiduciary rule and prohibited transaction exemptions “overstep the Department’s authority, create unwarranted burdens and liabilities, undermine the interests of retirement savers, and are contrary to law.”The eight counts that form the basis of the plaintiffs’ complaint mirror many of the comments that the DOL received during the two comment periods. The complaint alleges that the DOL has improperly exceeded its authority in violation of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and the Administrative Procedure Act. It notes that ERISA grants the DOL regulatory authority over covered employee benefit plans—but not over IRAs sold to individual savers—and that the authority over prohibited transactions under IRC Section 4975 is given only to the Department of the Treasury.Another count alleges that the DOL unlawfully created a private right of action through a written, enforceable contract requirement that would enable IRA owners and participants in non-ERISA plans to sue financial institutions and their representatives for breach of the DOL’s standards of conduct. The complaint notes that it is a well-established principle that only Congress may create a private right of action.A second count alleges that the DOL’s fiduciary rule, which forbids financial institutions and representatives from relying on the best interest contract exemption if they include an arbitration agreement with a class action waiver in their customer contracts, violates the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The FAA requires arbitration acts to be enforced according to their terms, and federal agencies are prohibited from overriding the FAA’s protections of the enforcement of arbitration agreements, unless Congress has conferred such authority.The complaint also alleges that the DOL failed to provide adequate notice and to sufficiently consider and respond to comments. It specifically cites the DOL’s failure to adequately consider and respond to proposed alternatives related to the scope of the rule—such as commenters’ requests for a broad seller’s exception—and multiple comments that the DOL’s Regulatory Impact Analysis had critical defects. Another count alleges that the DOL arbitrarily and capriciously assessed the rule’s benefits, consequences, and costs. The complaint alleges that the DOL’s claim that the rule would offer significant financial benefits to retirement savers, which it estimated at $4 billion a year, was based on a flawed analysis. It asserts that the DOL improperly extrapolated the underperformance of outlier mutual funds to all mutual funds and ignored and underestimated the rule’s direct and indirect costs to the financial services industry and retirement savers. Indirect costs include those from class action lawsuits and costs to savers from lost access to retirement planning advice and assistance.Other counts allege that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act becauseit is arbitrary, capricious, and irreconcilable with the language of ERISA and the IRC;the DOL’s regulation of fixed-index annuities and group variable annuities through the best interest contract exemption is barred by the Dodd-Frank Act; andthe best interest contract exemption impermissibly burdens speech in violation of the First Amendment.A second lawsuit—filed by the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—also alleges that the DOL exceeded its statutory authority under ERISA and seeks a preliminary injunction to stay the rule.A third lawsuit also has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas—the same venue as the initial lawsuit—by the American Council of Life Insurers, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and state and local NAIFA chapters. The insurance industry plaintiffs make similar arguments to the others suits, alleging that the DOL lacked authority to promulgate the fiduciary rule, and are asking the court to vacate the rule and prevent the DOL from enforcing it.Two more industry lawsuits have been filed, one in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and another in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. These lawsuits also ask the court to vacate the rule and argue that the DOL lacks authority to enact the fiduciary rule.The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hold a hearing on August 25, 2016, on NAFA’s request for a preliminary injunction. No court dates have been set for the three other lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas or the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. The Texas court may be the most favorable venue for the plaintiffs as the court has ruled against the DOL in previous high profile cases.Potential Battles AheadAfter President Obama vetoed a resolution that was approved by both the House and Senate to block the fiduciary rule—and neither chamber was able to gather a supermajority to override the veto—the courts are now the only option for the industry. It is likely that more lawsuits will be filed in the coming weeks to overturn the DOL’s fiduciary rule. If these suits are filed in multiple jurisdictions, it would require the DOL to fight a prolonged legal battle on multiple fronts. And, if there are split decisions among the circuit courts, the case could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.That said, it is expected that—much like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—the Obama Administration’s Justice Department will strongly defend the fiduciary rule. U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, issued a statement in response to the initial lawsuit noting that the fiduciary rule “is built upon solid statutory and legal foundations, and we will defend it vigorously.”Be Ready to Follow Final RuleIt will take some time for the lawsuits to wind their way through the courts and the clock is ticking on the fiduciary rule’s April 2017 implement date. Credit unions should not wait for the courts, and would be well-advised to review the final rule and how it will affect their policies and procedures so that they are prepared to comply with the final rule when it goes into effect. This includes evaluating direct and indirect compensation related to IRAs, the types of communications provided to IRA owners, the compensation schemes and incentive payments to employees working with IRAs, and arrangements with third-party brokers and investment advisers, if applicable. 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Details read more
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Topics : Read also: $3.9 billion state spending reallocated for COVID-19 response: Sri Mulyani“However, if the problems worsen, the COVID-19 outbreak lasts more than six months, international trade falls by 30 percent and the aviation industry faces a shock [drop] of 75 percent, economic growth could reach as low as 2.5 percent or even zero percent,” Sri Mulyani said after a limited Cabinet meeting.“We hope there will be vaccine and antiviral [for the disease]. If the finding can be done quickly, the [economic] impacts will surely be shorter,” she added.Indonesia’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, slower than 5.17 percent recorded in 2018 as investment and exports cooled. Sri Mulyani on Wednesday projected that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth would weaken to between 4.5 percent and 4.9 percent in the first quarter, with a possibility of plunging further in the second quarter as economic activity weakened due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The government has prepared a few scenarios on how Indonesia’s economic growth will end up as COVID-19 begins to hit the country’s economy.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Friday that her ministry had taken into account restricted movement and potential lockdown measures to prepare the government in facing the situation.In the event of disrupted international trade, weakened household spending, layoffs and drop in crude price, the ministry projected that the country’s economic growth would still be able to reach above 4 percent this year. Indonesia’s GDP expanded 4.97 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, the lowest since 2016.Despite a rapid increase in confirmed cases and fatality numbers, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ruled out on Thursday the possibility of imposing a lockdown in the country. He, instead, ordered mass testing and advocated social distancing to contain the virus spread.Read also: Jokowi urges ministers to focus budget on health care, social aid, economic stimuliSri Mulyani said the President had ordered the ministry to prepare possible scenarios and measures for every level of the economic growth projections.“We wish that [zero percent growth] won’t happen. That is why measures for a safety net and the business sector have to be implemented,” she said. “This is our main focus together with the coordinating economic minister and Financial Services Authority officials.” read more
“America is crying out for leadership, yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him, a president who is making every challenge we face even more difficult to solve,” Harris said.The speech, delivered in a Delaware high school gymnasium near Biden’s home, featured no cheering crowds. The two candidates wore masks as they arrived and kept their social distance on a stage flanked by state flags.The joint appearance came just days before Biden will formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination at next week’s party convention, which will take place largely as a virtual event due to COVID-19.The Republican convention, where Trump is set to be nominated to seek a second four-year term, follows a week later and kicks off a 10-week sprint to Election Day on Nov. 3.Stuff of presidentsIn choosing Harris, Biden selected a former rival for the nomination whose most memorable campaign moment came during a televised debate when she criticized his past position on using busing to integrate schools and talked about its effect on her as a little girl.Biden on Wednesday said her addition to the ticket sent a powerful message to girls across America.”This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up – especially little black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities – today, just maybe, they’re seeing themselves in the first time in a new way. As the stuff of presidents, and vice presidents,” Biden said.In recent months, as unrest has convulsed many US cities following the May police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis, Harris has been a prominent voice calling for change. She has marched alongside protesters and pushed legislation to reform policing practices.Some activists have said her work in the Senate had helped temper concerns about her past as a prosecutor in California and could build enthusiasm among some of the party’s liberal voters for the more centrist Biden.Harris is the daughter of immigrants, her mother from India and her father from Jamaica. On Wednesday, Harris recalled her parents’ involvement in the US civil rights movement, and her friendship with Beau Biden, who was attorney general of Delaware when Harris was attorney general in California. She stressed that, like Biden, “my family means everything to me.”Harris, 55, was announced as Biden’s choice on Tuesday after a selection process that drew extra scrutiny thanks to Biden’s age. The 77-year-old would be the oldest president ever if he wins, raising speculation that he would not seek re-election in 2024.At a joint fundraiser with Harris later on Wednesday, Biden said his campaign had raised $26 million and had 150,000 new contributors in the 24 hours since he revealed his pick.Trump told reporters at a White House news conference that he had watched some of the Biden-Harris rollout event and was surprised his Democratic opponent had chosen someone who failed in her own presidential bid.Harris thanked Joe Biden and his wife Jill for welcoming her into their extended family, specifically mentioning the former second lady, who described Harris’ attacks on Biden during the primary debate as a “punch to the gut.”She said Joe Biden had proven his empathy and connection with those who are suffering.”He’s someone whose first response when things get tough is never to think about himself, but to take care of everybody else,” Harris said. Kamala Harris made her campaign-trail debut as Joe Biden’s Democratic running mate on Wednesday, delivering a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump’s leadership and highlighting the historic significance of her new role.Harris said Biden, the former vice president under President Barack Obama, had recognized the critical moment being faced by the country by picking her to be the first Black woman and Asian American on a major-party US presidential ticket.”Today, he takes his place in the ongoing story of America’s march toward equality and justice as the only person who served alongside the first Black president, and has chosen the first Black woman as his running mate,” said Harris, a US senator from California. Topics : Nearly nine out of 10 Democrats approved of Harris as Biden’s pick, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.Forced by the coronavirus pandemic to stage a more subdued launch than would be expected from a typical presidential campaign, the new running mates managed to display a personal connection that dates back to Harris’ friendship with Biden’s son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.Harris said she had long admired Biden’s commitment to his family and country, and she described him as ready to meet the challenges created by Trump’s failures in handling the pandemic and its economic consequences, as well as racial unrest.”This is a moment of real consequence for America,” she said. “Everything we care about — our economy, our health, our kids, the kind of country we live in — it’s all on the line.” read more
He added: “I can confirm that our plans have reached an advanced stage, and we believe we will launch a pension product before the end of this year.”Van Heel pointed out that companies with operations in the Netherlands were switching increasingly from defined benefit to DC arrangements.“This trend is gaining momentum as a result of the continuing uncertainty, increasing complexity and rising cost of defined benefit plans,” he said.“This is a trend that cannot be reversed. For us, this creates opportunities.“After all, BlackRock has a wealth of experience implementing DC plans in other countries. In addition, our office in the Netherlands has a lot of expertise, both on the retail and on the institutional side of the business.”Although Van Heel was not at liberty to divulge any details at this point, he made a point of adding that BlackRock’s pension offering would not necessarily take the form of a PPI, the new Dutch DC pension vehicle.“There are other ways to implement DC plans that might be better suited to the purpose,” he said. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is moving into the market for defined contribution (DC) pension provision in the Netherlands.Marc van Heel, country manager for the Benelux area, told IPE sister publication IPNederland that BlackRock intended to launch a DC product before the end of the year.The asset manager is currently exploring a possible collaboration with a partner specialising in benefits administration.Van Heel declined to reveal which players BlackRock was speaking with, but he implied that talks were progressing well. read more