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MIB Elects a New Chairman, Vice Chairman and Four New Directors to its Board

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MIB Elects a New Chairman, Vice Chairman and Four New Directors to its Board

MIB Group, Inc., the life and health insurance industry’s most trusted and secure resource for data-driven, risk management services is pleased to announce the election of its new Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2018-19 and the election of four new directors, all of whom are highly-experienced insurance industry veterans serving as senior officers of MIB member companies. As a membership corporation, MIB’s Board is composed of 12 volunteer directors, each of whom represent one member from among MIB’s 410 North American member insurance companies, and one internal director, MIB’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Effective with the May 18th Board meeting, David Acselrod, Head of Premier Client Group Integration and Department of Labor Implementation for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), will become Chairman, thereby succeeding Arthur J. Roberts, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (retired) for the Ohio National Life Insurance Company who will remain on the MIB Board of Directors as Immediate Past Chair. James E. Hohmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Members Mutual and Vericity Holdings and Fidelity Life Association will begin his service as Vice Chairman.

Newly elected to three-year terms on the MIB Board of Directors this May are Mary J. Bahna-Nolan, Executive Vice President and Head of Life R&D for SCOR Global Life; Michael C.S. Fosbury, President and Chief Executive Officer for Columbian Financial Group; Gregory A. Linde, Senior Vice President of Individual Life for Principal Financial Group®; and Jill Rebman, Vice President of Professional Services for John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) (John Hancock).

“I’m honored to work alongside these talented, visionary industry leaders who volunteer their time to be on the MIB Board,” said Lee B. Oliphant, President and Chief Executive Officer of MIB Group, Inc. “MIB Board members provide sharp insights into the life and health insurance industries and invaluable strategic guidance on the evolving needs of our members,” said Oliphant. “I would also like to thank our outgoing Chairman Art Roberts for his leadership and passion for excellence during his tenure. I am pleased that he will remain on the MIB Board as Immediate Past Chair.”

Mr. Acselrod joined the MIB Board in 2016 and will serve as its new Chairman, 2018-2019. Mr. Acselrod is currently leading transformation strategies for MassMutual. Prior to this role, he had overall accountability for the successful integration of the MetLife Premier Client group acquisition. He has also led MassMutual’s New Business and Underwriting areas with responsibility for underwriting operations and strategy including oversight for Life, Disability Income and LTC Underwriting and New Business.

Ms. Mary J. Bahna-Nolan will begin her term on the MIB Board in May 2018. Ms. Bahna-Nolan is Executive Vice President and Head of Life R&D for SCOR Global Life. She is responsible for mortality and policyholder behavior research and development, shaping the company’s global direction for the R&D and key innovation activities including the interaction of mortality, underwriting, medical research and behavioral research through advanced analytics to inform new business development, risk modeling, and best estimate derivation. Bahna-Nolan has formerly served on various industry boards and currently serves on a number of committees of the Society of Actuaries, the Academy of Actuaries, and ACLI. She is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Member of the Academy of Actuaries and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst.

Mr. Michael C.S. Fosbury will begin his term on the MIB Board in May 2018. Mr. Fosbury is President and Chief Executive Officer for Columbian Financial Group (CFG) and has held various executive management positions including Chief Operating Officer and Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. In 2015, Mr. Fosbury was elected President and joined CFG’s Board of Directors; he was subsequently elected Chief Executive Officer in January 2017. He is the Past Chair of the Life Insurers Council (LIC), which is part of Life Office Management Association (LOMA), and is a director on the Board of the Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY), plus the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) Forum 500 Board.

Mr. Gregory A. Linde will begin his term on the MIB Board in May 2018. Mr. Linde is Senior Vice President, Individual Life Insurance at Principal. Mr. Linde is a Fellow of the Life Office Management Institute (FLMI), a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and an Associate in the Academy of Life Underwriting (AALU). Mr. Linde served on the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) Medical & Risk Classification Committee, the ACLI and HIAA Disability Committees, the Executive Council for the Home Office Life Underwriters Association and LOMA’s Education and Training Council. He is currently a member of the ACLI Life Insurance Committee and LIMRA’s Strategic Marketing Issues Committee. Mr. Linde is the current Chairman of the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) Board of Directors.

Ms. Jill Rebman will begin her term on the MIB Board in May 2018. Ms. Rebman is Vice President of Professional Services for John Hancock and, as a member of the executive team, leads John Hancock’s Insurance Underwriting, Advanced Markets and Reinsurance Administration teams. In her three-decade career with John Hancock, she has held a variety of management positions within the organization, including AVP Inforce Customer Service, AVP New Business and Claims, and AVP Product Development and Marketing.

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Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises

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Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises 1

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – A combination of heightened risk appetite in global markets and UK-specific optimism lifted the pound on Wednesday, as it strengthened to its highest in nearly three years against the dollar and five-month highs against the euro.

The dollar weakened against major currencies for the third straight session, helped by U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s urging lawmakers to “act big” on spending and worry about debt later.

The pound rose above $1.37, hitting $1.3720 — its highest since May 2018 — at 1045 GMT. By 1136 GMT it had eased some gains and changed hands at $1.3687, up 0.4% on the day and up 0.2% so far this year.

Versus the euro, the pound hit a five-month high of 88.38 pence per euro, before easing to 88.51 at 1137 GMT, up around 0.5% on the day.

The pound’s recent strengthening can be attributed in part to relief among investors that the impact of Brexit has not caused the chaos some feared, as well as a lessening of negative rates expectations, said Neil Jones, head of FX sales at Mizuho.

“Going into early 2021, there was a bearish sentiment building into the pound on the Brexit deal, in terms of maybe it had a limited reach, and then secondly an expectation of negative rates and so to some extent the market has been cutting down on sterling shorts because neither of those things have been quite so apparent as they were,” he said.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said last week that there were “lots of issues” with cutting interest rates below zero – a comment which caused sterling to jump.

The UK’s progress in rolling out vaccines is also seen as a positive for investors, Jones said.

Currently, the United Kingdom has vaccinated 4.27 million people with a first dose of the vaccine, among the best in the world per head of population.

“Further progress in vaccinations (a pick-up in the daily rate) by the time the BoE MPC meeting takes place on 4th February may prove enough to hold off on any additional monetary easing,” wrote Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.

Inflation data for December showed that prices in the UK picked up by more than expected in December, to a 0.6% annual rate.0.6

Inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target since mid-2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it close to zero as the economy tanked.

(Graphic: CFTC: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakpeyayxpr/CFTC.png)

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Larry King)

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Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar

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Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar 2

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – The euro struggled to join a broader risk rally against the dollar on Wednesday as analysts said the risk of extended lockdowns in Europe to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the continent’s lag in a vaccine rollout were weighing on the currency.

Down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.2117 by 1130 GMT, Europe’s shared currency had only the safe-haven Swiss franc and Sweden’s crown for company in resisting a broad rally against the greenback by the G-10 group of currencies.

“We’re getting more headlines that the current lockdowns will be extended further, which could mean that the euro zone would be flirting with a double-dip recession before long,” said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole, noting Europe’s lag in rolling out a coronavirus vaccine compared to the United States and Britain.

“So all of that plays into the story that tomorrow’s ECB meeting, while uneventful in terms of policy announcements, could convey a relatively dovish message to the market. On top of that, President Lagarde could once again jawbone the euro, so the euro is kind of lagging behind.”

Marinov also noted price action in the pound, which hit $1.3720 – a 2-1/2-year high – and 88.38 pence – its highest since May 2020 against the euro – as a contributing factor to euro weakness. [GBP/]

There was also focus on a story by Bloomberg News, which reported the European Central Bank was conducting its bond purchases with specific yield spreads in mind, a strategy that would be reminiscent of yield curve control.

Elsewhere, the risk-sensitive Australian dollar gained 0.4% to $0.7727. The New Zealand dollar, also a commodity currency like the Aussie, gained 0.25% to $0.7133.

DOLLAR WEAKNESS

While the world will be watching Joe Biden’s inauguration as U.S. president at noon in Washington (1700 GMT), traders were more focused on his policies than the ceremony.

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers at her confirmation hearing to “act big” on stimulus spending and said she believes in market-determined exchange rates, without expressing a view on the dollar’s direction.

The index that measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of peers was up almost 0.1% at 90.510. The euro forms nearly 60% of the dollar index by weight.

It also fell 0.1% against the Japanese yen to 103.81 yen per dollar.

While the dollar has perked up in recent weeks on the back of a rise in U.S. Treasury yields, investors still expect the currency to weaken.

“We remain bearish U.S. dollar, and expect the downtrend to resume as U.S. real yields top out,” said Ebrahim Rahbari, FX strategist at CitiFX.

“Continued Fed dovishness remains important for our view, in addition to global recovery, so we’ll watch upcoming Fed-speak closely.”

Positioning data shows investors are overwhelmingly short dollars as they figure that budget and current account deficits will weigh on the greenback.

(Graphic: Dollar positioning: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakveyombvr/Pasted%20image%201611132945366.png)

UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment officer Mark Haefele reiterated a bearish view on the dollar, saying that pro-cyclical currencies such as the euro, commodity-producer currencies, and the pound would benefit “from a broadening economic recovery supported by vaccine rollouts”.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin fell 4%, trading at $34,468.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 3

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Burberry stuck to its full-year goals on Wednesday after a media campaign fronted by high-profile English soccer star and social justice advocate Marcus Rashford drew a younger clientele to the British luxury brand.

Higher full-price sales would boost annual margins and Asian demand remained strong, Burberry said, while warning that it could suffer more sales disruption from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Manchester United striker Rashford, 23, has won plaudits for his campaign to help ensure that poorer children do not go hungry with schools closed during the pandemic.

A first coronavirus wave last year cut Burberry’s sales by as much as 45% before a bounce back on strong demand in mainland China and South Korea, which continued in the last few months.

Shares in Burberry were up 5% to 1,825 pence at 0905 GMT, with Citi analysts saying that improved sales quality from fewer markdowns would drive full-year consensus upgrades.

Burberry’s 9% sales decline in its third quarter was worse than the 6% fall in the second, and the company said that 15% of stores were currently closed and 36% operating with restrictions as a result of measures to curb COVID-19’s spread.

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said, adding that it was confident of rebounding when the pandemic eases given the brand’s resonance with customers.

In the third quarter, comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37%, hit by shops shut in lockdowns and a lack of tourists visiting Europe, but in the same period, it posted sales growth of 11% in Asia Pacific.

Burberry said that Britain’s new relationship with the European Union would cause headwinds, warning of a modest increase in costs to comply with new rules and also the impact of an end to a scheme for VAT refunds for non-EU tourists.

This would make Britain a less attractive destination for luxury shopping when tourism returns after the pandemic, Burberry said, adding that it would try to mitigate the effect.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, James Davey and Alexander Smith)

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