first_imgVermont Technical College,Dr Philip A Conroy, Jr this week will begin his tenure as President of Vermont Technical College. He was appointed by the Vermont State College’s Board of Trustees earlier this year following a nationwide presidential search. Conroy comes to Vermont Tech from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, where he served as vice president of enrollment management and marketing.But while he and his wife, Dr Jan Conroy, have yet to move into the president’s house, Conroy is no stranger to Vermont Tech. Following his appointment December 9th, he quickly formed a 20-plus member presidential transition team representing all areas of the college with which he’s been working to identify the college’s needs and priorities, as well as establish new directions the college will take under his guidance and leadership.Traditionally a two-year technical school offering a handful of baccalaureate degrees, Conroy’s long-term vision is to transform Vermont Tech into a ‘destination’ school offering primarily bachelor’s and, in time, even a few master’s degrees.‘I am intrigued by the vast potential Vermont Tech has to evolve into an ‘applied university’,” he said. ‘Through partnerships statewide with businesses, community leaders, and other institutions, I see the college evolving from its roots as an associate degree institution to a recognized and well-respected bachelor’s degree institution serving both Vermont and the greater New England region. I believe there are some exciting and intriguing times ahead for Vermont Tech.’Conroy, who has served in a variety of roles at Mount Ida since 1997, is an internationally recognized expert on higher education management, particularly in the areas of strategic enrollment management and institutional advancement ‘ specialties that will serve him well given Vermont’s current economic climate and plummeting high school enrollments.‘The challenges posed by the declining numbers of high school students graduating from northern New England high schools are many,’ Conroy said, ‘as are the financial realities of operating a public college in a state with limited financial resources. As I look ahead, however, I see Vermont Tech becoming an example of how strong an institution can be with a profound commitment to its public mission despite limited public funding.’Among Conroy’s first priorities will be rebuilding the college’s alumni and development offices and improving the quality of on-campus student life. He will also be working with his transition team to plan a statewide event this fall, where he will begin reaching out to business and community leaders to discuss the potential roles Vermont Tech could play in helping to build, support, and assist the state on a number of levels.‘Clearly we have our work cut out for us,’ Conroy said. ‘But the pieces are in place. We have the people, programs, and expertise to get it done. Now starts the difficult but extremely rewarding process of raising the college’s profile and enhancing its reputation throughout Vermont and across the region.’last_img read more

first_imgAon’s Dutch business is planning a fresh attempt to transfer its own pension fund to its Belgium-based vehicle United Pensions, after a failed effort in 2014.However, it needs the approval of at least two thirds of its members and pensioners, following new rules brought in with the introduction of the EU pensions directive IORP II.In a letter to its 3,600 participants, the €767m Pensioenfonds Aon Groep Nederland and the employer said it was necessary to liquidate the scheme.Although the pension fund was healthy, it was also vulnerable because of relatively high costs and increasing difficulties finding new trustees, the letter said. Credit: Waldo MiguezThe Atomium in BrusselsAon and its pension fund said they had concluded that Aon’s Belgian multi-client scheme United Pensions offered the best opportunity, adding that it would be a better option than transferring the scheme to an insurer or general pension fund.They explained that, under Belgian rules, indexation would be possible earlier and the employer’s obligation to plug funding shortfalls – for pension promises with a guaranteed inflation link – would remain.René Mandos, the Aon scheme’s chairman, highlighted that benefit cuts would not be possible in the Belgian arrangements, which he added were “very good for the participants”.Although the pension fund, with a coverage ratio of 123%, had been able to grant full indexation under the Dutch FTK this year, this reflected merely a single year, Mandos said.“Long-term scenarios for Belgium looked better and would enable us to also pay the 7.5% indexation in arrears sooner,” he said.The members’ vote to approve the move is meant as an additional guarantee for cross-border transfers, as participants will become subject to a different supervisory regime.The condition was introduced when Aon moved another of its company schemes – the €40m pension fund of Hewitt – to Belgium last August. As a result of the transfer, its funding rose from 114% under the Dutch FTK to 125% under Belgian regulation.At the time, Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democrats, argued that this amounted to “pure supervisory arbitrage”. His parliamentary questions contributed to social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees introducing the approval threshold.In 2017, Aon transferred four of its own Ireland-based pension schemes to United Pensions. Aon’s initial effort to migrate its pension fund to Belgium in 2014 led to a media storm. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, then the Netherlands’ finance minister, voiced concerns about schemes “dodging” the Dutch financial assessment framework (FTK) through the Belgium route.Subsequently, the company’s works council raised questions about the Belgian assessment framework as well as how much say members would have over their pensions if transferred to Belgium.The council also launched – and ultimately lost – a court case concerning whether the employer would be allowed to cease its obligation to fill funding gaps under the Dutch contract for pensions provision.In a “reset” in 2016, a working group under Marc van Nuland, Aon’s chief executive, had started looking at all options again.Better in Belgium?last_img read more