Ready for Her Close-Up! Broadway Vets Jenifer Lewis & Debbie Allen Team Up for Sunset Boulevard Homage

first_imgI am big—It’s the pictures that got small! Broadway vet Jenifer Lewis and Tony nominee Debbie Allen are joining forces for a Sunset Boulevard campy takeoff entitled Ventura Boulevard, according to IndieWire. Written by Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke, Ventura Boulevard will be directed by Allen, executive produced by Lewis and feature a score by Tony winner Marc Shaiman. Ventura Boulevard will be a darkly comedic tribute to the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, starring Lewis as a self-deluded queen of 1970’s blaxpoitation movies who uses her guile, money and sex to manipulate a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part. “I am taking things into my own hands by producing Ventura Boulevard,” said Lewis. “The Hollywood establishment isn’t going to finance a movie about a middle-aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man.” She last appeared on Broadway in Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle. Her other Broadway credits include include Comin’ Uptown, Eubie! and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The First 5,000 Years. Notable film and TV credits include Jackie’s Back (written by Brown and LaDuke), Meet the Browns, The Princess and the Frog, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Sister Act. View Comments Allen is best known for playing Lydia Grant on TV’s Fame, a role which earner her three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. She most recently directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in 2008. As a Broadway performer, Allen has received two Tony nominations for Sweet Charity and West Side Story. Her other Broadway credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’, Raisin, Purlie and Truckload. She also choreographed the legendary flop musical version of Carrie. Need some inspiration to get excited about this film? Check out this trailer for Lewis’ cult mockumentary Jackie’s Back from the same screenwriting team, about a 60’s diva making a comeback. The brilliant comedy features a bevy of celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Curry, Loretta Devine, David Hyde Pierce, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Diahann Carroll, Rosie O’Donnell and more!last_img read more

Barbara Cook, Charles Busch & More Head to Feinstein’s/54 Below

first_img June is (almost) bustin’ out all over, and Feinstein’s 54 Below is the place to be to catch bustin’ buds, rombin’ rivers and ev’ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill. The midtown hotspot has an exciting late spring/early summer lineup, from the return of Broadway royalty to a brother/sister act straight out of Agrabah. Check out what’s happening downstairs below!ARIELLE & ADAM JACOBS”Sibling Disobedience” – 5/29Get ready for a sibling act full of unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings and more. Aladdin star Adam Jacobs and soon-to-be Aladdin star in Australia Arielle are taking the stage together to explore (through song, of course) their path from sibling rivalry to taking Broadway by storm. GET TICKETSREBECCA LaCHANCE”Broadway: What the Folk?” – 6/9After feeling the earth move as the understudy Carole King in Beautiful on Broadway, Rebecca LaChance crossed the pond to headline Mack and Mabel in the U.K. Now she’s back in the U.S. to make her solo show debut. Catch her weave together Broadway standards and folk favorites (with a few original numbers thrown in). GET TICKETSCHARLES BUSCH6/10-11The drag legend is heading downstairs for a night of the past and present. Busch will take center stage and present tales and tunes alongside longtime musical director Tom Judson. Expect reprises of his infamous characters from his numerous works, which include The Tale of the Alelrgist’s Wife, Die! Mommie! Die! and The Divine Sister. GET TICKETSNICOLETTE ROBINSON6/19The stage and screen favorite makes her New York solo debut this summer. Having appeared off-Broadway in the new musicals Invisible Thread and Brooklynite, Robinson will offer a set list full of works from young composers. And yes, expect a cameo from Robinson’s husband, Sleepy’s partner in crime and Hamilton Tony nominee Leslie Odom Jr.! GET TICKETSBARBARA COOK6/21The Broadway legend returns to the midtown supper club to celebrate the publication of her highly-anticipated memoir, Then and Now. The one-night-only event marks her first New York concert in over a year, so she’s ready to share stories, iconic tunes and more. Here’s hoping vanilla ice cream is on the menu. GET TICKETSANYTHING BUT LOVEBy Ciara Renée & More – 6/26Ciara Renée has gone from stage favorite to TV star to musical theater composer. She and her co-writers Arianna Taxman and Arielle O’Keefe will present a concert performance of their musical Anything But Love, featuring a cast that includes Hamilton’s Ariana DeBose and Les Miz’s Chris McCarrell and Alison Luff. GET TICKETS View Comments Arielle & Adam Jacobs, Nicolette Robinson, Charles Busch & Rebecca LaChance(Photos courtesy of Feinstein’s/54 Below)last_img read more

A.T. Dispatch: The Last Hundred Miles

first_imgEditor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and contributing a blog to BRO when tragedy struck his family. Read his other dispatches from the trail: A Cold Start, Trail Magic, Difficult Winter, Monuments, Spring!, Family, and Virginia is for Limpers.I never thought I’d find myself saying, “Only a hundred miles left to walk.” As a northbound thru-hiker, when you enter the 100 Mile wilderness leading up to Katahdin it feels like the days and miles are flying by. The effort of six months (on average) and 2,000 miles are behind you, and only a few short days and the last hundred miles remain on the Trail. For many this spells feelings of relief mixed with anxiousness to finish. For me, I was feeling a desire to make it last, to stretch out every moment and get it all down in my mind’s eye. My wife-to-be, Sunshine, was by my side, and the morning we started into the wilderness we couldn’t get through a video interview for the giggle fit that overtook us. We’d been doing a lot of crying in the previous days as I remembered my young brother and continued to grieve his death, but on this clear, sunny morning laughter took us for a spin. We could not collect ourselves.That was a long day: 19.5 miles over hilly, rough terrain in the wilderness. About midday we forded Big Wilson Creek and stopped to skip stones (Sunshine showed remarkable improvement in her skipping technique). We made a late lunch at Vaughn Brook and lay down in the water at the lip of a beautiful cascade. Cooling off in the brook we were unaware that we lay almost exactly one hundred trail miles from the peak of Mt. Katahdin and the end of the trail.On tired legs late in the day we made the steep climb up Barren Mountain. Spectacular views from Barren Ledges showed us the lake-spotted landscape of western Maine and a distant thunderstorm shadowing the peaks of the Bigelow Range. We finished that day in the dark, guided by the small orbs of our headlamps into camp at Cloud Pond. We made dinner, bathed in the pond, and collapsed onto our sleeping pads thankful for a cool breath of air across the pond. In the early morning dark I awakened to the sound of what at first I took to be a guy from a neighboring tent walking out barefoot for a pee, exclaiming with each step as he crunched over roots and sticks. As my mind awoke I realized I was listening to a moose walking through our camp and grunting. I lay still and quiet as the giant animal passed uncomfortably close to our tent, knocking down small trees as it walked. Sunshine was listening, too, and we whispered to each other about how safe it might be to leave the tent and try to see it. Another moose grunted and called from across the pond, and “our” moose plunged down into the waters and crossed over to join it. It was not easy to go back to sleep after that.—Those days of walking were filled with poignant emotion. I thought about Zach a lot, sometimes lecturing him for his irresponsible choices, or recalling happy memories of good times with him, often invoking the words that had come to articulate my deepest feeling about his death: “Oh, God. Oh no.” And then there was my future wife walking by my side, happy Sunshine, recalling me to such joy and anticipation and desire for life. As we walked we often discussed the deeper things such as plans for our wedding day and whether dogs or cats are superior pets. This walking was hard on her, coming off the couch as she was and trying to keep up with me through fifteen and sixteen miles days, hot afternoons that faded into chilly nights. I was so impressed with her grit and strength, how she rose to the demands of each day and (mostly) kept a cheerful disposition through it all. Whenever we could we ended each day with a swim in one of Maine’s chilly ponds. I recall one night wading out in to the placid waters of Crawford Pond, looking up at the brilliant stars overhead and down at their perfect reflection in the water’s surface.And then there was the fact of the looming end of the journey. Every day we drew closer to Katahdin, and every day we would climb to a promised view of “the greatest mountain.” The mountain played coy with us, however, and day after day it remained shrouded in clouds. At most we would see the very lowest flank before it disappeared in a solid bank of cloud. Each time we were denied a good view of Katahdin I felt a pang of disappointment followed by relief at the fact that we were not climbing the mountain that day. I wanted so badly to arrive at the peak on a clear day with long views; so I counted my blessings that there was still time for the weather to clear.—We passed White Cap Mountain, White House Landing, Rainbow Pond. We saw old friends from the Trail and made new ones. One afternoon we took a long break eating blueberries and service berries on Rainbow Ledges. As we attained the top of the ridge a flock of grouse exploded from the bushes, then cooed and scuttled along the margins of the trail beside us. Then we turned a corner and saw it: beautiful, grand, clear, just sixteen miles away–Katahdin. That day only the very peak of the mountain was covered in cloud. We could see 95 percent of the end of the trail, but still not all of it. Leading up to that moment a realization had been growing in me–part of me dreaded the end of the Trail. I dreaded the conclusion of this passage in my life that had come to be so significant to me. I dreaded going back to “real” life and the world, the expectations and pressures that come with it. I dreaded the closing of this chapter of my life and the finality it would add to my brother’s death. Still, I was excited and drawn onward.Sunshine and I relished a large dinner at the Abol Bridge diner that evening and then settled into camp at the Pines. We were out of the wilderness and just fifteen miles from the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. It felt slightly unreal to be that close to the end, having walked that far. It took so long, and then suddenly we were there.The talk among thru-hikers that night was the weather (it’s always that or food). Apparently, a big storm system was moving in and threatening to sock-in Katahdin for the next three to four days. Everyone was developing contingency plans of how they could kill time in the campground or in the nearby town of Millinocket. No one, if they could help it, wanted to end their hike on a grey day with twenty-foot visibility. For Sunshine and I it was a fairly limited choice. We had at most one day of wiggle room before we had to wrap up our hike and start the trip south for home. If the weather didn’t clear up soon we would have to take what we got, what the Trail gave to us.A soft sunset reflected from the swift water of the Penobscot River as we got ready for bed that night. We conducted our usual ritual of recalling our favorite parts of the day, and then we crawled into the tent. My prayers before sleep consisted of a petition for clear weather and, if not that, then a heart that would receive and take joy in whatever came in the following days.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Learning to kayak—in winter

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,I’ve been bitten hard by the whitewater kayaking bug. I want to advance quickly, but the only local kayaking schools I’ve found don’t offer beginner classes until June. Only advanced classes are scheduled for April, classes for which I don’t have the requisite experience.I don’t want to wait until June. Postponing kayaking classes translates into months when I could have been training, practicing, and advancing, but wasn’t. My ultimate goal is to paddle the Upper Gauley. At my age, time is of the essence.Do you know of any places within a reasonable distance to get a head start?Thanks,Bitten by Whitewater Bug Dear Bitten by Whitewater Bug,There is a reason that most kayaking instruction starts in June – the spring water is cold and the rivers run high. See the white stuff in the photo above? That’s snow and ice floating on a local beginner run. The water temperatures plunged into the low thirties. Beginners enjoy paddling more when they aren’t fighting hypothermia, and often that means waiting until the warmer months.But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck watching kayaking videos and reading manuals until June. Hands down, the best way to get a jump start on your kayaking progression is to nail both your onside and offside roll. Go to the local pool. Take rolling lessons. Commit to going weekly.Once you have your roll down, create rolling challenges for yourself. Attempt a roll and purposefully fail it three times before allowing yourself to roll right-side-up. Do sets of twenty rolls in a row. Take a break for two minutes. Roll twenty more times. Then perfect your offside roll.Having a reliable roll to depend on will allow you to push the envelope of your paddling when you do get on the river. You will have fine-tuned your balance points and will be willing to flirt with the edges of your kayak. Unlike other beginner paddlers, you’ll have no qualms trying new moves because you won’t be worried about flipping.If you’re still keen to get on a river before June, consider contacting your local paddling school and inquiring about private instruction. While the prices will be considerably higher, one-on-one instruction will allow you to progress quicker. Instruction will be tailored to your skills and willingness to take risks, and more hesitant students won’t slow you down. Most full-time kayak instructors return from their Southern hemisphere gigs sometime in March or April and are happy to pick up extra work.Bitten by the Kayaking Bug, as much as you’re itching to get on hard whitewater, savor your journey there. Many expert kayakers I know lament that they no longer get an adrenaline rush from paddling easy whitewater. That means that have to keep pushing their limits on rivers where a mistake could result in death or injury. Some of these paddlers have stopped kayaking in search of the same rush from a new sport like kite surfing or stand up paddle boarding.The best part of kayaking is getting outside and having fun while you’re on the river. Don’t miss out because you’re too focused on an arbitrary benchmark.Paddle On,Mountain Mamalast_img read more

McWatters to Wagner: ICBA has it wrong on those legal fees

first_img continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters wrote a key lawmaker Tuesday to correct a banking trade’s mischaracterization of the $1.1 billion in legal fees the agency has paid in connection with its more than $5 billion in recoveries from banking institutions for losses to corporate credit unions.The Independent Community Bankers of America has asserted that these fees came from taxpayer dollars. Like NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger noted in his own letter Friday, McWatters told House Financial Institutions Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Ann Wagner, R-Mo., that the ICBA is incorrect in its assertion.McWatters noted that he regards the fees as excessive but made clear they did not affect taxpayers. Instead, they were paid out of the proceeds of the settlements the NCUA reached with firms that sold faulty mortgage securities to several now-defunct corporate credit unions.last_img read more

Enough With the Hype—Just Make Rental Apartments Available and Affordable

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island’s housing options are woefully inadequate, yet we’re doing little to address this ever-growing problem.If you ask LI’s developers, they would say that the answer is the creation of developments that “meet the needs of seniors who are downsizing and young adults looking for more affordable rentals, as well as to create ‘vibrant’ destination communities that attract workers and retain young people,” as representative of Uniondale-based RXR Realty, Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities, Inc. and The Engel Burman Group in Garden City told the Long Island Regional Planning Council at a recent meeting in Hempstead.That sounds good to any rational resident. On paper.But nobody is talking about the rents in these developments, nor the marked disconnect between what is getting approved and built, as well as what this region truly needs to thrive: high-paying economic opportunities for the region’s eager and educated younger workforce, and housing they can actually afford.The new rentals are telling. Avalon Bay claims it wants to provide housing options that will keep the Island’s millennials here. It charges $1,840 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Coram, $2,670 a month for a one bedroom in Garden City or $2,748 a month for a one bedroom in Long Beach.These rents are higher than most single-family home mortgages. For Avalon Pines in Coram to be considered “affordable,” which means less than 20 percent of the household income going toward rent, its occupants would need a combined income of $110,000 per year. And that’s to live in Coram, where the closest Long Island Rail Road train station is roughly six miles away.Statistically, it’s unlikely that workers residing that far out east in Suffolk County would utilize the LIRR anyway to commute to Manhattan, but the developers still call it a walkable, transit-oriented community regardless. Avalon Huntington Station, about a mile from the train station, is charging $2,285 a month, which would require a joint salary of $135,000 for it to be considered “affordable.”In 2013, the average rent in Suffolk for a one-bedroom was $1,490 a month, according to The New York Times, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that the average fair market rent for a one-bedroom is $1,324. For the Nassau-Suffolk region, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom is $1,437. The average median family income for the region in 2015 was $109,000.In western Suffolk, housing prices declined 12 percent in the wake of the recession from 2008 through 2013, while rents in one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments rose 19 percent. Nassau saw even larger price disparities. Housing prices declined by 7 percent, but rents went up 27 percent for one-bedroom apartments, and 28 percent for two-bedrooms. From 2011 to 2013, Long Island’s rents increased between 7 percent and 10 percent, yet housing prices only grew 3 percent to 4 percent.Not to pick on Avalon Bay, but it is just one example of how many developers tout their desire to supply what the Island needs, yet the economics prevent them from doing it because it doesn’t make fiscal sense. To acknowledge the need for affordable workforce housing for the next generation and the elderly, while charging $1,840 a month to live 60 miles from New York City is ludicrous. Compare this situation to Queens. As the MNS Real Estate Services reported in December 2015, average rent in Astoria, complete with easy subway access and a more vibrant neighborhood than most suburban areas, was a mere $2,057 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while Forest Hills and Rego Park came close with $2,014 and $2,038 respectably. Although familial ties to LI are strong for many young people who grew up here, is it worth their paying $750 a month more to live in Nassau County instead of renting in Queens, or should they just pay the $20 train ticket on the weekends to visit their parents?Herein lies the problem. Developers and their vested nonprofit buddies often get so caught up in the convenient narrative that, yes, Long Island needs more multifamily housing projects, yet few actually build them at price points to suit the needs of our many young people who want to move out of their childhood homes. The Island needs more apartments, but few builders, if any, are actually building them for the markets they claim to be supplying.Of course, builders don’t have it easy. From NIMBY protests over community fears that are sometimes legitimate and often imagined, LI’s development climate is difficult and easy at the same time.But to grandstand to a regional planning group about what we need is wrong considering what they are providing. The LIRPC should be telling developers what housing options Long Island needs, not the other way around. For too long, planning efforts on the Island have been spearheaded by vested interests and specialized groups instead of serious data-backed study driven by public participation.Further, the LIRPC should be taking more of a leadership role in confronting the economics of why, exactly, many of these developers are building projects with rents well above the median rent levels in Suffolk.Instead of focusing on squeezing every bit of density into the last bastions of open space on the Island, the emphasis should be on how to repurpose our existing, underutilized disturbed sites to meet our region’s needs. The LIRPC must usher LI into a new economy that allows for sustainable economic growth by unifying the patchwork system of our Industrial Development Agencies, and stop trying to compete with Manhattan and the outer boroughs for apartments, and complement what the city has to offer.By playing to Long Island’s strengths, instead of trying to urbanize Nassau and Suffolk here and there, we will get the jobs we need, and the housing options will follow.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more

Top views at the heart of charming Mooroobool family home

first_imgThe home is listed for $685,000CAPTIVATING views are the standout feature of this charming Mooroobool family home.The 800sq m property delivered countless fond memories for its late owner Victoria Clyde, who died last year after battling cancer.Her brother Simon Wild, a well-known Cairns businessman, said the home had an “exceptional outlook over the city”.“I recall visiting her, and we would eat on the veranda and just relax as a family,” he said.“You can look across to the sea and the city, and to where I live at Edge Hill.”Raised in Port Moresby, Mrs Clyde moved to Cairns and bought the Koppen Terrace property in 2000.She spent many enjoyable years in the home, built by the esteemed Danny Obersky, with her husband Doug and their children.“She liked it as a family home. There were separate areas, and as the kids got older they could move downstairs,” Mr Wild said.The property is on three levels, the lower of which being a self-contained wing with a kitchen and bathroom.Apart from the majestic view, notable features include an attractive pool and outdoor entertaining area.“I wouldn’t say it doesn’t need work, because it does,” Mr Wild said.“I recently found her plans to do up the house, which included extending the kitchen.“But you’ve got a great location, and it certainly can be a nice, big comfortable family home. You’ve got the ability to look over Cairns but still be close to the city.” Married to an American, Mrs Clyde spent most of her final years living at their property in Colorado.But she kept the Mooroobool home and sometimes returned several times a year for extended “holidays”.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago54 Koppen Terrace, Mooroobool“She did love Cairns and very much enjoyed the fishing,” her brother said.“She came back to Cairns to fight cancer, which unfortunately got the better of her, but she wanted to be home.”The average price of a Mooroobool house is $360,000, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic.But some of the suburb’s top-tier homes have sold for in excess of $1 million. Selling agent Sue Clyde-Smith of Elite Real Estate Services said Koppen Terrace was a “brilliant location”.“It’s recognised as a great Cairns street, largely because of its views,” she said. “The structural integrity of this property is also very good. “It does need some work, and I think it lends itself to a Hamptons-style refreshing.“It certainly has great character about it, and a huge amount of potential.” With the home set on three levels, Mrs Clyde-Smith said it would also be very suitable as an Airbnb host. Offered for $685,000, the property is open for inspection by appointment this weekend.last_img read more

This week’s bargain buy of the week is in Riverview

first_imgThis week’s Bargain Buy of the Week is in Riverview where this house sold for $150,000, more than $100,000 under its estimated sales value.WITH an estimated sales value of up to $274,000 this renovator’s “delight” is a true bargain, selling yesterday for just $150,000.The three-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 7 McCosker Street, Riverview definitely needs a lot of love and attention, but for $150,000 you could easily give it the makeover it deserves.Sitting on a 665sq m block, you could have even chosen to bulldoze and rebuild, because even land is hard to find at this bargain price. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home5 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor5 hours agoBargain buy of the week in Riverview.With the median price of $245,000 for three-bedroom homes in Riverview and an average rental return of $280pw it would be hard to go wrong with this buy.Riverview is a suburb of the City of Ipswich, approximately 31km from the Brisbane CBD and with a population of 3,243.If a bargain buy in Riverview is appealing, then here are three properties that might be right for you:1. 23 Mitchell Street has a three-bedroom home for $237,000 sitting on 601sq m.2. 9/7 Ipswich Street is a two-bedroom townhouse asking for offers over $200,000.3. 20 Twidale Drive offers a three-bedroom, three carpark for $247,000.last_img read more

Temporary ring-fencing to help Dutch sector schemes merge

first_imgTemporary ring-fencing assets would enable merging pension funds to gradually align their coverage ratios, Klijnsma explained.Earlier, she had made clear that supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank had to approve a merger plan.She also said the new pension fund resulting from a merger could not have a wider scope than the merger partners’, and that there must be coherence between the sectors in a new scheme.In a first reponse, the Pensions Federations said it was positive that progress had been made with the bill.In the opinion of René Maatman, pensions lawyer at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the cabinet should also enable merged schemes to keep assets ring-fenced for an indefinite period in collective compartments, like in the new general pension fund (APF).At the moment, mandatory sector schemes are not allowed to join an APF.Maatman noted that there would be different rules for ring-fencing in an APF and in a merged scheme.“Different regulation for separated assets for sector pension funds does not only damage these schemes, but also has the potential to negatively affect the reliability of ring-fenced assets in the APF,” he recently argued in an article – co-authored by Kees Groffen and Sander Steneker – in a local specialist magazine for pension issues.The bill, which still has to be tabled in parliament, is scheduled to come into force as of 1 January.The bill is not part of the list of controversial subjects that will only be discussed after a new cabinet has taken over from the outgoing one. The outgoing Dutch government wants to enable mandatory sector-wide pension funds to merge for benefits of scale even if their funding differs considerably.The cabinet has approved a bill that allows merger partners to keep their assets separated for a period of no more than five years.Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for social affairs, said she wanted to remove the current ban on mandatory schemes merging if their coverage ratios differ too much at the time of the intended merger.The ban was meant to protect the pensions of participants in schemes with the highest funding level.last_img read more

LGPS funds face more change as governance consultation launched

first_imgLocal authority pension funds in England and Wales are considering significant governance changes as part of a consultation launched this week.The changes could see local government pension schemes (LGPS) ring-fenced from their sponsoring local authorities, or council finance roles redefined to remove pension functions from other areas of financing.Hymans Robertson, a leading adviser to LGPS funds, is co-ordinating the survey of pension managers, councillors and other stakeholders on behalf of the LGPS Advisory Board.Respondents have been asked to consider four governance models, ranging from improving guidance given to local authorities to what Hymans Robertson described as “significant structural changes”. These include ring-fencing of responsibilities, staff and budgets; delegating LGPS functions to a “joint committee” of council staff and representatives of other employers; and creating a separate legal entity to run the pension fund.Hymans Robertson acknowledged that “a one size fits all approach may not be appropriate” given the range of strategies and fund sizes throughout the system. The online survey is open until 31 May.Catherine McFadyen, head of LGPS actuarial, benefits and governance at Hymans Robertson, said the LGPS system was “full of strong governance examples”. The survey was “an opportunity for funds across the country to identify and highlight their own good practices”.“The LGPS is a unique pension arrangement which spans the length and breadth of the country,” she added. “We hope that this survey will allow us to generate a clearer picture on how key factors such budget management, clarity of roles and responsibilities, conflict management and the ultimate governance structure of the fund can impact standards of delivery for employers and members.“We are confident that this survey will help us to identify a wide range of governance best practice across the network and that any proposals emerging will help to simplify and support what can be a demanding and difficult role.”LGPS funds in England and Wales are already in the middle of implementing major changes regarding their investments, creating eight regional pools to combine their £275bn (€317bn) in assets to achieve greater scale and cost efficiencies.Hymans Robertson proposed asset pooling in a report for the UK government in 2013, alongside a recommendation to increase passive investment. While the latter aspect was shelved, the government announced its pooling plans in 2015.LGPS pools and regions by assetsChart Makerlast_img read more