The Senate also suggested the RvT be allowed to block the nomination of a board member who fails to comply with the set profile.Klijnsma, addressing recent concerns in Parliament that the RvT’s remit was too broad, stressed that not every dispute would be treated as an example of a “malfunctioning” board.“I assume the RvT will only use its right of dismissal in cases of serious and ongoing malfunctioning,” she wrote, referring to the “milder” remedy of alerting the pension fund’s accountability body, or the party that appoints board members.If these third parties respond too late, or their responses are lacking, the RvT could still alert De Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch regulator, she said.The Pension Federation said it considered Klijnsma’s letter as guideline for RvTs, but it described the option of a two-track approach as “a bit strange”.Gert Kloosterboer, the federation’s spokesman, said: “These diverging tracks are at odds with the envisaged streamlining of governance.“However, because we assume something is seriously wrong before the RvT uses its competence, and given the state secretary’s clarification, we are not contemplating further action for now.”Henri Lepoutre, pensions adviser at employers association AWVN, said Dutch employers were not entirely happy with the RvT’s right of dismissal.“Companies usually appoint representatives from their own organisation on their pension fund’s board,” he said.“If they get fired by an RvT, it doesn’t reflect well. In addition, employers fear a loss of influence if an independent RvT can dismiss the board of their pension fund, while an RvT that cannot appoint a board but can dismiss one does not feel balanced.”He said clearly defining the concept of “malfunctioning” – to guarantee that the dismissal option is deployed only in the most serious cases – was “very important”. Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary in the Netherlands, has written a letter to the Dutch Parliament standing by her decision to give supervisory boards (RvTs) the right to dismiss pension funds’ boards.The RvT is to be introduced through new governance legislation coming into force in July 2014.Klijnsma initially decided to grant RvTs the right to sack “malfunctioning” board members at the request of the Senate, which feared that the supervisory board, as originally envisaged, lacked teeth.Boards that make a decision without an RvT’s approval, and fail to offer a compelling argument as to how that decision is in the best interests of all participants, are considered to have “malfunctioned”.
In the meantime, the so-called “Belgium route” for pension funds has generated much debate, following confirmation that the pension fund of Aon Netherlands is thinking to relocate its pension plan there.“We need to ask ourselves whether we must allow pension funds to move from A to B in Europe,” said Omtzigt, who did not see any benefits from a European framework to prevent supervisory arbitrage.“The pensions system is a national issue, and it should stay like that,” he said. “The exceptions should be border labourers and people who work in more than one country. However, the Directive does very little for them.”Omtzigt also complained that the revised IORP only covered the capital-funded system.“Many other systems, such as pay-as-you-go systems and companies that keep financial reserves for pension benefits, are excluded from the rules,” he said.”Capital-funded systems are facing many additional requirements, whereas the genuinely weak pension elements in Europe remain untouched.”In his opinion, the rules for governance and pensions information in the directive are unnecessarily detailed.“The EC even offers explicitly the option to draw up rules for the letter font of the pension statements,” he said.“The question is, which problem the EC is solving, and why this must happen from Brussels? They haven’t regulated how bank statements should look, and haven’t harmonised manuals for cars or mobile phones.”According to Eric Bergamin, a pensions lawyer, the Netherlands has made poor decisions in its lobbying against the IORP. “It has continuously stated that we don’t want stricter solvency requirements in European legislation, but we have insufficiently advocated a proper European harmonisation of rules for capital-funded pensions,” he said.“As we do allow mobility, companies can now move to Belgium, using supervisory arbitrage.”For example, the Belgian supervisory regime does allow higher discount rates but demands a financial guarantee from the employer.In Bergamin’s opinion, harmonisation should have provided for European definitions of a fully funded scheme, investing under the ‘prudent person’, as well as a standard for a discount rate and recovery periods. Bergamin said: “The market value of certain safety nets, such an obligation to plug funding gaps in Belgium, and national safety nets in the UK and Germany, could have been taken into account in schemes’ holistic balance sheets. However, we don’t have all these elements now.”He said Brussels was looking to sharpen solvency rules, and pointed out that commissioner Michel Barnier had already announced that these would be looked at by the European Commission in its new assembly.Omtzigt also warned of “prudential supervision backdoor” in the proposed IORP review. The Dutch parliament should “draw a yellow card” to block proposed revisions to the IORP Directive, Pieter Omtzigt has argued.In an initiative memorandum for parliament at a meeting of the select committee for Social Affairs, the Christian Democrat MP said: “The proposed directive is counter productive. It will not encourage countries to introduce capital-funded pension systems, but will in particular lead to supervisory arbitrage and the possibly of tax arbitrage.”If nine countries issue a yellow card, the European Commission must reconsider its proposal.Three weeks ago, Omtzigt launched a similar proposal against the suggested IORP review in parliament but received support only from the Freedom Party (PVV), the elderly party (50PLUS) and the Socialist Party (SP).
Ten leading UK institutional investors have gone public and issued a plea for the UK authorities and the European Commission to rethink what they say are “fault lines” in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).At issue for the investors is whether accounts prepared under IFRS are founded on the principle of prudence and deliver a true and fair view of a company’s financial position, concerns raised again after recent accounting problems at an online gambling firm.In a press notice accompanying the statement, the investors said: “The importance of this matter was highlighted just last week when Betfair plc admitted it had paid illegal dividends out of capital.”The investors, who include the in-house asset manager of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), RPMI, the Environment Agency Pension Fund and the Local Authority Pensions Fund Forum (LAPFF), say they are “concerned that a faulty accounting framework, which has contributed to market instability and economic hardship in recent years, has not been properly addressed”. They go on to demand that the UK regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, revises its formal guidance on the true and fair view to address their concerns.They also called on the European Commission to “confirm the meaning of the true and fair view with regard to the vital goal of capital maintenance as defined in EU company law”.The investors argued: “We believe the reason IFRS has become disconnected from requirements for true and fair accounts as set out in EU Company Law is that IFRS accounts have different goals.”“Accounting requirements in EU Company Law are there to ensure directors are able to fulfil their legal duties to protect capital,” they continued, referencing duties under the 2006 UK Companies Act.Recent woes at Betfair have lent urgency to investor concerns. Although Betfair reports under UK GAAP rather than IFRS, the problem, the investors argue, is the same in that its accounts fail to depict a true and fair view.Despite reporting £134.7m (€158m) of potentially distributable reserves (retained profit) on its balance sheet in 2010, it was not in fact a true profit for the purposes of the Companies Act.Betfair is now in a position where, since 2011, it has paid out over £80m in dividends and share buy-backs that it did not in fact have.UK investor dissatisfaction with the accounting framework is longstanding. Last year, the LAPFF, USS and others asked George Bompas QC for his opinion on the legality of accounts prepared under IFRS.Bompas concluded that it was “questionable whether statutory accounts prepared in accordance with international accounting standard […] will always give a true and fair view.”The Association of British Insurers, the Investment Management Association and National Association of Pension Funds have also pointed to the true and fair view override, as well as the concept of capital maintenance, as further areas of major concern for investors.Investors argue that statutory accounts are used as the basis for both executive remuneration and distributions to shareholders. And if accounts prepared under IFRS permit management to recognize unrealized gains as income, a company could end up insolvent.The IASB removed references to prudence, or caution, from its conceptual framework in 2010. It substituted instead the concept of neutrality.The move was supposed to bring the IASB’s conceptual framework closer to the US GAAP framework, which makes no reference to prudence.The IASB has in the past defended the move vigorously. In a speech to the Federation of European Accountants, IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst argued that IFRSs are inherently prudent.Major bank disasters, such as the collapse of The Royal Bank of Scotland, IFRS supporters note, happened with the pre-2010 framework in place.At the heart of the debate over prudence, and the parallel issue of whether accounts prepared under IFRSs show a true and fair view, is the conflict between long-term company owners or shareholders and other investors with a short-term horizon.The IASB has in recent months, however, appeared to soften its rhetoric on prudence. In May, IPE obtained leaked documents showing sympathy among IASB quarters for the concerns of long-term shareholders over what they say are major shortcomings in financial reporting.Following that meeting, IASB members duly voted at their May 2014 meeting to reintroduce the notion of prudence into its conceptual framework.The IASB is expected to release an exposure draft for public comment of a proposed update to its conceptual framework during the first quarter of next year. The project was originally slated for completion by mid-2015.
Ambachtsheer said a “rough estimate” was that such agency problems were lowering long-term returns by 1.5% per annum and questioned how these foregone returns would be captured.“Institutional investors around the globe, led by the pension fund sector, are well-placed to play a ‘lead wagon’ fiduciary role in driving those agency costs down by focusing the capital at their disposal on the long term,” he said.The academic said such an approach would both “foster good citizenship” and boost returns for long-term investors.In a survey conducted for the Rotman Institute, covering 81 pension fund chief executives with assets of CAD4trn (€2.2trn), respondents noted that external managers were “not really aligned with [an investor’s long-term] investing aspirations”.“While our organisation is ‘on board’ with LT investing conceptually, we are struggling to build a new monitoring and guidance framework,” a second respondent added.A third added that “material” regulatory constraints were holding back its attempts to be long-term investors.The view is shared by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has called for a stable regulatory framework to foster long-term investment, including capital commitments to the energy market.“The not-so-good news is that the governance functions of pension organisations are generally still not at the quality level they should be, and there is still a material aspiration/implementation gap in the design and management of long-horizon investment programs,” Ambachtsheer said.Referring to the work in his letter and an upcoming academic paper on the topic, he added: “The silver lining is that neither of these challenges can be addressed without their being first clearly defined and understood.” Pension funds must play their part in driving down the costs of deploying long-term capital, a matter that is reducing the return on investment, according to Keith Ambachtsheer.In the latest Ambachtsheer letter, the director emeritus of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management extolled the virtue of long-term investing, noting that if humanity had been unable to take a long-term view, it “would still be in subsistence societies of hunters and gatherers”.He said that, even now, there was still “better tomorrows” to be had for those investing for the long term.“But now we live in far more complex societies that suffer from ‘principal/agent’ problems in all three of its important functional dimensions: political, commercial and financial,” he said.
Little added that the acquisition of a majority stake in Capital Four meant Northill now had exposure to European high-yield credit, standing alongside, among others, its stake in equity manager Longview Partners, acquired in 2014.He said his company did not target “fixer-uppers, or businesses that need radical surgery”, but that Northill’s partners would seek to aid the new Danish acquisition by bringing their experience to the board.Näf praised the partnership as a “strong cultural fit”.“Northill’s engagement ensures Capital Four will continue as an independent firm where existing management continues to run the business, and will enable us to more readily broaden equity ownership to the firm’s future leaders,” he said. Asked about how Capital Four’s current €6bn in assets under management could grow in future, Little noted its shift away from being a wholesale provider towards offering products to institutional investors.The company currently runs an SME loan fund backed by ATP, PensionDanmark and Danica Pension, three of Denmark’s largest pension providers. Danish asset manager Capital Four has sold a majority stake to Northill Capital, boosting assets under management to $36bn (€33.4bn).Northill has acquired approximately 60% of the manager’s equity for an undisclosed sum, while chief executive Sandro Näf and portfolio managers Torben Skødeberg and Henrik Østergaard – all three of whom founded the firm in 2007 – will retain the remaining 40% stake.Jon Little, partner at Northill, said his company targeted specialist asset management companies for acquisition in an effort to grow its portfolio of managers, with an AUM of $30bn at the end of last year across managers in which it owns a majority stake.“We don’t like generalists, we don’t like people with five different products in different asset classes,” he said, praising the Danish asset manager as a “highly successful” firm.
SPP Fonder is a provider of premium pension fund products and a member of the Swedish Investment Funds Association (Fondbolagens förening), and said its statement should be seen as an addition to the association’s submission to the consultation which ended at the beginning of this month.The group said the aim of the proposal — according to its wording — was to increase the likelihood that more pension savers would get a better premium pension outcome, as defined by better long-term returns at reasonable risk and cost, while retaining wide freedom of choice between fund managers and funds.“The proposal particularly hits the sustainable fund offering hard, and absolutely does not increase free choice,” Wallenberg said. “The proposal goes directly against the outcome that the Finance Ministry and the government actually wants, which is to direct the capital and allow it to work towards a more sustainable societal development.”The firm also objected to a proposal stating that, if savers did not re-acknowledge their existing investment selection, then all of their capital would be transferred to AP7’s Såfa default fund.“Generally, we think it is unfortunate that the rules and guidelines politicians have set up both around information and guidance — which we usually call advice — differ between the normal funds market and AP7’s Såfa,” she said.The premium pension is a defined contribution system introduced in 1999, and is part of Sweden’s mandatory public pension system.It is meant to let Swedes choose how 2.5% of their pensionable earnings is invested. The head of Sweden’s SPP — part of Norway’s Storebrand financial group — has voiced objections to reforms that could see a large-scale shift of capital towards default provider AP7.Under new proposals, individual savers in Sweden’s Premium Pension System would be required to re-evaluate their fund choice every seven years, a change which the country’s Premium Pensions Committee said could mean up to SEK380bn (€40bn) flowing to AP7 as the default provider.Åsa Wallenberg, chief executive of SPP Fonder, said: “To assume that the default alternative AP7 Såfa is the option that will give the best return in the future is remarkable in itself.” She further argued that no one knew what future investment returns would be.SPP Fonder said in a statement that the draft reform proposal did not fulfil its aim. It was responding to the public consultation on the proposals, published by the committee in September.
The Norwegian government is proposing a new private pension scheme that it hopes will encourage the population to put more money away for retirement.The proposal, part of its revised 2017 budget, seeks to address a tax disincentive in the existing system and will almost triple the annual savings allowance.Finance minister Siv Jensen said: “The government wants to facilitate increased private savings for pensions.”The government’s proposed new tax-favourable scheme, unlike the existing individual pension savings scheme (IPS), will be subject to the same level of tax on payouts that contributions were spared. Contributions to the current IPS are deductible against general income tax, but pension payments from the scheme in retirement are taxed as pensions income, which is higher than general income tax alone. Pensions income includes general income tax, step tax (trinnskatt) and social security contributions (trygdeavgift).The proposed new scheme will be tax-deductible against general income tax and payments in retirement will be taxed at the same rate.In common with the current IPS, returns on assets in the new scheme will be exempt from capital tax (formuesskatt) and current income tax (løpende inntektsskatt). The annual savings allowance into the new scheme will be NOK40,000 (€4,288), compared to the current NOK15,000 annual ceiling on IPS contributions, and there will be no limit on total savings in the scheme. The new scheme conditions will apply from the 2017 tax year, the ministry said.The government has also proposed increasing access for the self-employed to tax-favourable pension savings by lifting the limit on contributions to 6% of personal income from self-employment. The limit is currently 4%.Financial sector organisation Finance Norway (Finans Norge) welcomed the proposal.Tom Staavi, information director at the organisation, said: “We think it is very nice that the government is now delivering on its promise in the Sundvolden Declaration of 2013.” This declaration outlined the intentions of the coalition government following the 2013 general election.“The problem with the scheme there has been up to now is that there has been a higher tax rate on the withdrawal than there has been tax deduction on the deposit,” Staavi said. “It has meant that many have quit using the scheme.”The Ministry plans to submit draft regulations for consultation this spring so the scheme can come into force in the autumn.
PKA, LCP, Old Mutual Global Investors, DNB, Insight, Hermes, Redington, Sustineri, KPS, GRI, Robeco, PRI, ClearBridge, Franklin Templeton, KPMG, London & Capital, XafinityPKA – Michael Flycht has been appointed by PKA as deputy director for investments, with direct responsibility for listed equities, credit and absolute return. He will start his new job on 1 February 2018. Flycht will be returning to the company he previously worked for, following a five-year absence. In the intervening period, he has been head of derivatives at P+, the pensions administration firm for Danish pension funds DIP and JØP. Before leaving PKA in 2012, Flycht was a portfolio manager.LCP – The UK consultant and actuarial firm has appointed Zuhair Mohammed as a partner in its investment team. He joins from Aon Hewitt where he worked for 10 years, and has also worked at P-Solve, Alexander Clay & Partners and Noble Lowndes. Mohammed is also one of only two consultants among the members of the 300 Club, a think tank of global pension and investment professionals. He said: “I’m excited to be joining a consulting business that has a refreshing clarity of purpose built around clients and to have the opportunity to make a real difference.”Old Mutual Global Investors – Freddie Woolfe joined the manager as head of responsible investment and stewardship on 13 November. He was most recently at Newton Investment Management, where he was responsible investment analyst primarily covering the healthcare and technology, media and telecommunications sectors. Before that he worked at Hermes Equity Ownership Services as associate director and head of UK engagement. Woolfe is picking up the responsibilities of Paul Emerton, who left OMGI earlier this year. DNB – The Dutch State has appointed Tom de Swaan as a member of the supervisory board (RvC) of financial regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). De Swaan is an economist and has ample experience as a prudential supervisor, board member and internal supervisor in the financial sector. Since 1986, he has worked as supervisory director at DNB, as chief financial officer at ABN Amro, non-executive board member of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, and as chair of the RvC at Van Lanschot. Currently, De Swaan is chair of the board of Zurich Insurance Group, a position he will give up before the start of his term at DNB on 1 June 2018.Insight Investment – Detlef Schoen has been appointed as head of real assets for the manager’s farmland investments. He joined Insight in August. Reza Vishkai, who was formerly the head of real assets, has moved to a newly created consultative role and will continue to advise and provide oversight to the farmland investment team.Hermes GPE – The private equity arm of Hermes Investment Management has hired Sanjeev Phakey from the Universities Superannuation Scheme to focus on fund and co-investments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The asset manager has also appointed Fidel Manolopoulos to work on its direct investments and partnerships with investors and general partners across Europe and North America. Manolopoulos joins from Mojo Capital, a specialist fintech investment group based in Luxembourg. Redington – The UK investment consultant has appointed its first chief technology officer. Adam Jones has joined the company from Altus Consulting, a financial technology consultant, where he was head of innovation. He will be responsible for Redington’s technology strategy.Sustineri – Martina Macpherson has joined the low carbon advisory firm, having previously been at S&P Dow Jones Indices. She was most recently head of ESG research and analysis at the index provider, having been promoted to that role in the summer. Before that she was head of ESG indices. She joined S&P in 2016. Prior to joining, she served as founder and managing partner at SI Partners, an independent ESG consulting firm. She sits on the board of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets.Kring van Pensioenspecialisten (KPS) – The Dutch organisation for pension professionals has named Henk-Jan Strang as board member with responsibility for strategy and development. Strang has been an independent adviser and interim manager in the pensions sector since 2006 when he left consultancy PwC, where he had worked since 1989. At KPS, he will focus on the impact of new technologies, consolidation and pensions reform, and the changing consumer, as well as on supervision, governance and legislation. Strang succeeds Annemiek Vollebroek, who had been a board member at KPS since August 2011.GRI – Eric Hespenheide has been appointed as the chairman of the GRI board of directors, effective 1 January. A familiar figure in the sustainability reporting world, he will replace Christianna Wood. Hespenheide previously served as chairman of the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board and subsequently as the interim chief executive of GRI, where he led the roll-out of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. Hespenheide was previously a partner at Deloitte. The GRI is an organisation focussed on improving the reporting and communication of sustainability issues.Robeco – The €152bn asset manager has appointed Christoph von Reiche as head of global distribution and marketing. He also joins the executive committee. Von Reiche will be responsible for the company’s worldwide strategy and sales organisation, as well as for marketing and consultant relations. He joins from JP Morgan Asset Management in London, where he was head of European institutional business. Between 1995 and 2014 Von Reiche worked at Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt. His positions there included head of Germany for its asset management arm.Principles for Responsible Investment – The PRI is seeking French-speaking investors for its Francophonie Advisory Committee. A notice on the group’s website said it wanted to appoint two members from France-based signatories to the principles, as well as one each from the French-speaking regions of Canada, Africa and Europe. The committee is chaired by Daniel Simard, CEO of Bâtirente, a Quebec-based pension fund. It has been launched to help guide the PRI’s operations in French-speaking countries.ClearBridge Investments – The global equity manager and subsidiary of Legg Mason has named James Arnold as business development manager, based in London. He joins from Goodhart Partners, an institutional equity boutique manager. He will be responsible for growing the group’s European presence and distribution. Franklin Templeton Investments – Bérengère Blaszczyk has been promoted to head of distribution for France and the Benelux region at the US investment giant. The new role takes effect from 1 December and will give her oversight of retail and institutional sales and marketing teams in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. She has worked at Franklin Templeton for 15 years and is currently country head for Benelux.KPMG – The accounting and consultancy giant has promoted two partners and five directors from within its UK pensions team. James Riley and David O’Hara have been promoted to partner, while Iain McLellan, Kerry Oakes, Claire Whittaker, James Keclik and Laura Higgins have all been appointed as directors. London & Capital – Kate Miller has joined the $1bn asset manager as head of institutions. She comes from P-Solve where she was a consultant. Before that, she was a consultant and chief operating officer at Meridian Investment Consultancy.Xafinity/National Pension Trust – Consultancy group Xafinity’s defined contribution (DC) master trust has appointed two new senior staff. The National Pension Trust has hired Andy Flynn from Zurich as head of DC communications and Jonathan Hight-Warburton as bid manager – he previously worked at Xerox.
Ray White auction spectacular at Main Beach’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Photo by Richard Gosling“(On Sunday) morning, we saw active bidding from buyers who had identified the properties from a number of marketing mediums.“(It is) a credit to the hard work and professionalism of our members that bring together these events. NEVER MISS A MINUTE WITH THE GOLD COAST BULLETIN APP “Their ambition to create competition produces exceptional results.”The last auction event Ray White held at the Sheraton Grand Mirage was in April to leverage off exposure throughout the Commonwealth Games.More than 50 properties went under the hammer at the event, which attracted a crowd of 300 people, including 60 registered bidders. Ray White auction spectacular at Main Beach’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Photo by Richard GoslingThe three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit in the Aria Apartments building on Albert Ave was snapped up for $925,000 after bidding started at $700,000.Marketing agent Conner Malan, of Ray White Broadbeach, said a local investor was the successful bidder.He said they planned to lease the property out as a holiday home.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa15 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“He’ll do some renovations first,” Mr Malan said.Two other properties — a Surfers Paradise apartment and waterfront home at Broadbeach Waters — sold prior to auction. Ray White auction spectacular at Main Beach’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Photo by Richard GoslingMore than 50 people registered to bid for 20 properties, which ranged from acreage estates to apartments in the heart of the city.Among those that sold under the hammer was an acreage property at Ormeau.Bidding for the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home on a 0.52ha block started at $390,000 before quickly climbing to $615,000 when the hammer came down.A Broadbeach apartment also sold at the event. Ray White auction spectacular at Main Beach’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Photo of auctioneer Mitch Peereboom. Photo by Richard GoslingA few others were withdrawn from the event as they had attracted interest from several people who were not in a position to buy under auction conditions.While only a few properties sold under the hammer, Ray White Queensland chief auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said he expected several to sell in the next few days following negotiations between buyers and sellers after the event. GET FULL DIGITAL ACCESS FOR $3 A WEEK He said overall, it was a successful event.“These events are designed to maximise the exposure for each property and showcase a diverse range of real estate throughout the Gold Coast,” he said.“We focus on ensuring our marketing campaigns are comprehensive to attract all buyers to ensure these auction events are successful. Ray White Qld auction event at Sheraton Grand Mirage. Photo of auctioneer Mitch Peereboom. Photo by Richard GoslingIT may have been grey and wet across the Gold Coast on the weekend but the miserable weather did little to deter house hunters from venturing outdoors.Up to 100 people braved the elements to attend Ray White’s Gold Coast Auction Spectacular at Main Beach’s Sheraton Grand Mirage on Sunday morning.
Love wins after extraordinary reno So what is important to house hunters?Achieving ‘the Australian dream’ of home ownership was a key motivator for buyers, followed by changing lifestyle needs.The research found that price was the number one consideration (46 per cent), with the suburb (37 per cent), property size (27 per cent), proximity to amenities (26 per cent) and the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with the property (36 per cent) other key concerns.But many felt they were unprepared for the process, with the survey revealing that buyers wished they had a more realistic view about the properties available within their budget (14.2 per cent), how long the process would take from start to finish (14.6 per cent), and the additional associated costs. That is according to new research from Allianz Australia, which found that house hunting had affected the emotional and mental wellbeing of more than 50 per cent of its 1003 survey respondents, all of whom had either bought in the past five years or were planning to buy in the next 12 months. Buying a home is said to be one of life’s most stressful eventsAllianz Australia general manager of Home and Lifestyle Rachael Poole said buying a new home was one of life’s most stressful events.“To help manage the stress, many homeowners tell us they wished they had known more about the additional costs involved in buying a house, and had a better understanding of what was realistic for their budget, from the outset,” she said. “Bearing this in mind, prospective buyers can reduce potential stress by better understanding the end-to-end costs of purchasing a property and what they are willing to compromise on.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:38Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:38 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen5 tips for first home buyers01:39 Sunshine state, a land of opportunity Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:06Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:06 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHelp with buying your first home 01:07If the thought of searching for a new home is enough to make you switch off, you are not alone.Fifty-five per cent of buyers consider the process so stressful they would rather stay in their current property, with almost one in five, or 18.6 per cent, prepared to switch off from social media for an entire month rather than look for a new home. MORE NEWS: Region now a millionaire magnet And when it comes to dealing with the stress of buying a new home, buyers tended to reach out to family and friends (42.8 per cent) for advice or a pep talk, or readjusted their expectations (25.5 per cent), according to the results.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus11 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market11 hours ago“Buying a home represents more than a roof over our head,” Allianz Australia’s wellbeing advocate Sarah McKay said.“Our homes protect us, keep our family safe, comfortable and together and tap into our basic human need for security. “With all of this at stake, it’s not surprising that buying a home can be stressful.”To make the process less daunting, Dr McKay offered the following tips to cope with the stress: 1. Re-think your stress response — See the positive in the challenge that may be causing stress, for example the beautiful home for the family at the end of the buying process. 2. Build your tolerance for uncertainty — Tolerating a small amount of uncertainty is similar to building a muscle. For example, let someone else choose your dinner from a menu, or spend a day without researching real estate listings. 3. Connect with others — Moving is one life event to which most people are able to relate. Even if you feel you lack time or mental energy to socialise, have a coffee with a friend, ask someone to help pack crockery, or cry on a supportive shoulder over the dream home you lost at the auction. 4. Practice gratitude — Counting your blessings is not just for the Instagram fans. Mental health researchers will tell you that the practice of directing your attention towards the good matters in your life, feeds positive emotions. 5. Finally, let yourself grieve — if you did not get the house you wanted or the home