Pensions think tank Netspar to branch out into big data

first_imgDutch pensions think tank Netspar plans to expand its work into data science and artificial intelligence.In a recent newsletter, the network for pension researchers and professionals said that a working group would look into the impact of “big data” on pension contracts and market structures.The working group – headed by Tilburg University’s Lans Bovenberg, professor of economy, and Bas Werker, professor of finance and econometrics – was to elaborate on a report about pension funds’ and providers’ expectations of big data, Netspar said.Data science focuses on new ways of deploying data and “unstructured” information, such as text files, sound, photos, and videos. “We expect that data science will affect the development of tailor-made solutions for individual participants at pension funds and increase the efficiency of risk management and investing, as well as supervision and policy,” said Marike Knoef, head lecturer at Leiden University, who co-authored the original report with Werker.Talking to IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro, she explained that linking data such as postcodes and home ownership would enable providers to improve tailor-made solutions as well as communication.Knoef argued that integral financial planning for an individual’s life course – including other assets on top of a second and third-pillar pension – was becoming increasingly important.Knoef said that the exact task of the working group was not yet clear.“We expect, for example, that a pension fund’s care of duty towards their participants will require much additional research,” she said. “We also assume that we can calculate the effect of a pensions system update on individual participants.”Knoef added that the study could also provide useful information by analysing participants’ internet behaviour and that it could improve the understanding of individuals’ life expectancy.She further pointed out that investors could use data science to identify links between market developments and certain events.“Important to us, however, is to subsequently find an explanation for any link,” she said.Last summer, APG, the €443bn asset manager and provider for the large civil service scheme ABP, announced that it would investigate the potential of blockchain and artificial intelligence in co-operation with Maastricht University and technical research institute TNO.last_img read more

Kobe Bryant shown the love by the Lakers for $48 million

first_imgBryant posted a picture on his Twitter account that showed his signature on his new contract. Bryant then added the hashtag #Laker4Life. The Lakers also added on their Twitter account a photo of Bryant signing the deal alongside his agent, Rob Pelinka. Kupchak, Lakers executive Jim Buss and team lawyer Jim Perzik.It’s hardly surprising the Lakers and Bryant reached a deal. He guided the Lakers to five NBA championships and remains the franchise’s leading scorer. Bryant, who ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,617 points, could surpass former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer (38,387). It is surprising, though, that the Lakers extended Bryant this quickly. The Lakers had the option to extend Bryant’s contract as early as last April. But Kupchak had suggested at his introductory season press conference in September that both sides remained interested in holding off negotiations until Bryant returned to the court. That way, Bryant could offer clarity on what degree he can mirror last season’s output, when he averaged 27.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting, six assists and 5.6 rebounds.“I think he wants to do the same thing,” Kupchak said of Bryant at the time. “I think it makes sense for him and for us to get him back on the court and get a feel and a gauge of how much longer he wants to play and at what level.” That sentiment changed, though.Kupchak began negotations with Pelinka for the past “few weeks,” according to a league source familiar with the discussions. The Lakers wanted Bryant to know they equated 17 years of built equity in enhancing the Lakers brand, ranging from championships, ticket sales, jersey sales and the organization’s deal with Time Warner Cable SportsNet and weren’t solely fixated on how he’d play following his Achilles injury. Meanwhile, Bryant still took a relative paycut from the $32.45 million he’s earning this season, a product of the NBA’s labor deal penalizing high-spending team forcing to tighten their budgets. “Jim and Jeannie Buss’ feeling on it is this is what their dad would have done,” said a league source familiar with Bryant’s extension with the Lakers. “If he were still alive, he would have wanted to take care of him (Bryant) the same way.”But Bryant’s signing opens several uncertain questions for the Lakers’ 2014 offseason. Bryant’s salary figure represents about 37 percent of the Lakers’ projected $62.9 million salary cap for next season, leaving the team with about $40 million to spend on the rest of their roster. That leaves the Lakers with enough purchasing power likely to attract one high-profile free agent instead of two. Potential candidates next season include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Randolph, Chris Bosh and Rudy Gay. The 2015 free-agent class includes Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and Rajon Rondo. The Lakers would also have to consider whether they’d wave Steve Nash’s $9.7 million contract via the so-called “stretch provision,” especially since he remains hobbled with nerve issues in his back. The amount of Bryant’s contract could also signal the end of Pau Gasol’s time with the Lakers, whose $19.1 million contract expires after this season. But a source familiar with the Lakers’ thought process said they haven’t considered that far ahead.San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, at age 36, signed a three-year extension worth about $10 million a year in 2012 to ensure the organization had enough to build a championship franchise around him. Did the Lakers’ re-signing Bryant at the amount reported compromise his team’s chance of winning his sixth NBA championship?That’s open for debate, of course. But the Lakers made clear they’ll put their trust in Bryant in leading the way. “Kobe’s not going to play to lure somebody to Los Angeles,” Kupchak said in his season-opening press conference. “He’s going to play to try to win games. If the way he plays helps lure players to Los Angeles, then so be it.”Later in the evening, Bryant added on his Instagram account: “The offer presented to me by the Lakers ensures the ability to bring in max talent.”More: Five things to take from the contract extention. With one stroke of a pen, the Lakers delivered the strongest message both on their admiration for Kobe Bryant’s extensive achievements and unyielding optimism about his uncertain future. The Lakers signed Bryant to a two-year extension worth $48 million, according to a league source familiar with the deal, though Bryant has yet to play in a game since tearing his left Achilles tendon seven months ago. The Lakers have already officially ruled Bryant out tonight when the Lakers (7-7) visit the Washington Wizards (5-8) at Verizon Center. Even if the Lakers remain unsure with Bryant’s pending return, they didn’t wait in securing the star who will play at least 20 seasons solely donning the purple and gold and remaining the NBA’s highest-paid player. This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell focuses on pre-game routine over comparisons to Emmanuel Mudiay

first_imgAs he held a basketball by his side, Lakers rookie guard D’Angelo Russell stood on the practice court on Monday and listened intently to coach Byron Scott. The two talked for a few minutes, with Scott explaining things in what appeared to be a constructive manner. Russell stared at Scott and soaked in every word.Once the talk ended, Russell left the court. He did not work on his shooting stroke. He did not run more offensive drills. He did not study film. And it appears that is exactly what Scott wanted amid Russell’s early-season struggles to fulfill the pressure that goes along with being the NBA’s No. 2 draft pick.“I tend to work a little too hard and I’m always on my feet,” Russell said. “I’m trying to stay on the court and (Scott) said that’s not a good routine. So I’ll try to figure out a routine that relaxes me and gets me ready for the game.”Russell will not have a lot of time to figure out his routine. The Lakers (0-3) play the Denver Nuggets (1-2) tonight at Staples Center in a game that will provide another reminder of Russell’s slow progress. He will match up with rookie guard Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 7 overall pick who is averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 assists. Meanwhile, Russell has averaged 9.7 points on 36.7 percent shooting and 1.7 assists. “I didn’t think he was a true point guard,” Scott said of Mudiay. “I didn’t think he was a guy who made great decisions when we saw him and had him here. I thought that was something he would have to learn to do to run that position.” Scott still predicted Mudiay “was going to be pretty good.” But Scott argued that Russell “absolutely” had the qualities that Mudiay lacked. Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range during his freshman season with the Buckeyes. After the Lakers drafted Russell on June 25, Scott envisioned Russell eventually becoming an NBA superstar.“His workouts were extremely good,” Scott said on draft night. “You saw the leadership qualities that he had. You saw the ability to pass the ball and make other guys better, the ability to get to the basket and the ability to knock down 3s, open jump shots and off-the-dribble shots. He had the total package offensively. Defensively, the one thing I thought he did was he competed.” So far, Russell has not shown any of those qualities. But he has argued it has remained unfair to compare his journey to other rookies, including Mudiay, because of the varying roles each player faces amid varying circumstances with each team.“Kobe said he went through the same thing where he had a learning curve and he didn’t play. That time was so important to him,” Russell said. “I can’t worry about the other rookies. I’m just worried about this time now.” There’s plenty of things Russell has to worry about with the Lakers. Russell began the season playing as an off-ball shooting guard, a position he had not practiced at all during training camp. Russell admitted he has struggled adapting to the NBA’s pace. Through three games, the Lakers have shot 40.1 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from 3-point range. “I’m just figuring it out,” he said. “I’m trying to figure it out day-by-day and translate what we do in the practice into the game.”That explains why Russell has often stayed after practice and arrived early for pregame warmups to improve his outside shooting. He admitted the “excitement” he feels over that routine in hopes to accelerate his rookie learning curve. So even if he stresses he does not feel tired only through three NBA games, Russell will scale back his pregame preparation in hopes that it somehow prepares him for the games much better. “I have to just keep chipping away at it,” Russell said. “Once I get everybody’s trust, it’ll make it easier for everybody.” Even with Mudiay also shooting only 33.3 percent from the field and averaging 6.3 turnovers per game, Russell praised Mudiay for playing “really well” and for “controlling the offense and competing.” But Russell repeatedly shook his head and said, “Nah,” when pressed about the upcoming matchup with Mudiay, something they once both experienced in high school and in the AAU circuit. “Just contain him and compete,” Russell said about defending Mudiay. “It’s a team effort on the defensive end.” Only a few months ago, Russell had bragging rights over Mudiay when the Lakers worked out both point guards twice prior to the NBA Draft. Mudiay experienced playing against former NBA players after averaging 17.7 points on 54.5 percent shooting, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. Scott also described Mudiay as a “pretty athletic” guard who played with “a little edge.” But Scott confirmed concerns amid talent evaluators about Mudiay’s outside shooting. He shot only 37.4 percent from 3-point range and 57.4 percent from the foul line last year in China. During a private workout open to a handful of reporters in Reseda, Mudiay showed inconsistency with 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers and free throws. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more