“The schemes involved are not simply going to be smaller master trusts set up to handle auto enrolment that will not meet upcoming capital adequacy requirements,” he said, “but will include many smaller employer-run DC schemes that will be looking to use the economies of scale and higher quality governance and administration available via a master trust in the face of rising compliance costs.”Smart Pension is not the only provider hoping to absorb smaller-scale DC providers, and IPE understands at least one other master trust in the market is including mergers with existing DC schemes within its business plan as a means of growing its asset under management, in addition to attracting new inflows.TPR is fully aware of the problems associated size of the UK master trust market, and its executive director for regulatory policy, Andrew Warwick-Thompson, has previously questioned how it should best prevent further growth in the number of providers in the market.Nigel Waterson, the chair of trustees at master trust Now Pensions, has previously suggested TPR act as a “marriage broker” in bringing about consolidation in the market, which, as of April, had seen the launch of 100 master trusts, of which over 70 were active.The regulator has championed the idea of consolidation since then, proposing it should be able to merge schemes it deems “sub-standard”. The consolidation of the UK master trust market will see £1.5bn (€1.7bn) in assets shift between pension schemes, according to estimates by one provider.Master trust Smart Pension predicted that the consolidation would occur among over 6,200 schemes with fewer than 100 members, which manage assets of £1.3bn according to figures from the Pensions Regulator (TPR).It added that a further £400m could also shift as around 20 established master trusts struggle to cope with new capital requirements the UK government has pledged to impose on multi-employer defined contribution (DC) schemes in an effort to avoid the cost of disorderly wind-ups being met by savers.Peter Walker, COO of Smart Pension, said the pensions market was set to see “unprecedented” movement within the market over the next two years as funds consolidate.
Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting director Leonardo on Thursday had his ban for pushing a referee extended from nine months to 13 months, the French Football Federation announced.The decision to suspend the Brazilian for the entire 2013/2014 season came after an appeal hearing lodged by him against the initial punishment handed down on May 31.Leonardo was found guilty of shoving referee Alexandre Castro in the tunnel following PSG’s 1-1 Ligue 1 draw against Valenciennes on May 5, with the incident being caught on camera by Canal Plus television.The former AC Milan and Inter Milan coach, having regularly been outspoken in his criticism of match officials throughout the course of last season, was furious at Castro’s decision to send off PSG captain Thiago Silva.Thursday’s increased sanction means Leonardo is banned from all official duties as well as standing on the touchline during PSG games until June 30, 2014.If he had not appealed he would have been back on duty in February. In addition, PSG’s punishment of a three-point suspended penalty will be reviewed by the French Professional Football League’s disciplinary commission.Leonardo did not attend Wednesday’s hearing in person, but his case was put by PSG’s managing director Jean-Claude Blanc who said: “The facts (of the incident), suggest to us that the club does not deserve any punishment and perhaps a reduced suspended punishment for ‘Leo’.”Unfortunately for PSG and Leonardo, the FFF’s appeals commission decided otherwise.
That hard work he’s been putting in since he was a kid in high school is still paying off, and back then he wasn’t just learning that work ethic from his dad. Bell said he remembers watching his mom sit up at night or early in the morning writing her book on teaching and learning about diversity. Sometimes when the family would go on trips to other cities for his baseball tournaments, she would have to bring her laptop with her, but for the most part she sacrificed a little sleep so she could get her work done and then be with her family during the day. Those memories still stick with Bell many years later, and watching his mother work hard at her craft influenced how he’s always worked at his.“It’s just hard work pays off,” Bell said, “and I saw that from both of my parents.” Ask his mother or his high school baseball coach and it’s apparent pretty quickly that there isn’t one because there are actually so many that it gets hard to single one out. For his mother, Myrtle Bell, a college professor, there are not only the ones she saw when Bell was 5 years old at the field by their house outside Dallas, there are the ones in high school, the ones she doesn’t even remember — the ones former teammates or even former opponents come to tell her about.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNAsk Josh himself, and he practically shrugs off the Paul Bunyon-esque longball exploits of his youth.“I never really looked at myself as a power hitter,” Bell told SN. “I was always like, never strike out.”But mom remembers it differently.When he was just 5, she and her husband Earnest would take him to a nearby youth baseball diamond and throw to him. And he would launch the ball over the fence and over the street behind it. From both sides of the plate.“It was comical,” Myrtle Bell said. Whichever of Bell’s many home runs capture the imagination and stick in the memory, the player we see today is doing what he’s doing because he has just the right combination of natural strength and athleticism, and he applies a strong work ethic to go with it.Both of those things are a testament to his parents. His father, a retired computer engineer who looks like he could bench press a Buick, didn’t play baseball himself, but when his son was very young he took some of his knowledge of the game and knew early that teaching Bell to switch hit would be wise.“He learned to investigate and troubleshoot and figure out what would be best,” Myrtle Bell said. “So he studied the game of baseball. … He studied and he read about switch-hitting, and he decided to make Josh a switch hitter.”Those childhood lessons took easily, and then as Bell got into youth baseball, his father would always have him play a level up against kids at least a year older than he was. And then as a high school player at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas, Bell would regularly stick around after practice to do more work. His dad would either be there with him or he would write down for Bell what he should do.“A half-mile of lunges after the game, or run backward for a half-mile after practices and whatnot,” Bell said of those days.No big deal, the way he describes it now. Occasionally a teammate would decide to stay after practice and try to do it with him, but Bell’s mother never saw any of them do it more than once. Some of them will approach her now to talk about the bombs they remember him hitting back in high school, like the one he hit out of the Baylor University ballpark and into the Brazos River in 2011 when he was a senior. “People joke that it’s still floating out there,” she said.The guys who played against Bell back then have their own stories too. In June when the Pirates were playing in Houston, a young lady approached Myrtle Bell in the stands to introduce herself because her boyfriend once pitched against Bell and Bell took him deep. Almost a decade later, he still remembers it well. But for Bell’s mother, it’s just one of many in her memory.And even the hits that didn’t go out of the park still stand out to the ones who watched him play in those days.MORE: Rays’ underdog attitude paving way for potential powerhouseBrian Jones, who came to coach Jesuit in 2009 for Bell’s junior year, still loves to talk about the time at a tournament in Austin that fall when Bell hit two home runs from the left side of the plate in his first two at-bats, and then when he came up for the third time, the other coach put in a left-handed pitcher, thinking they would avoid getting hurt a third time. So Bell moved to the right side of the plate. The other coaches were incredulous, Jones said, audibly questioning just who Bell thought he was.“So he proceeds to hit one into probably a 10-mph wind, a line drive straight to the center field wall,” Jones said. “The kid catches it, but when he hit that ball you could have heard a pin drop in that stadium.”Otherwise, Jones has trouble pinning down just one memorable homer from Bell’s high school career. There’s the Baylor home run, of course, but also one he hit during his senior year when the team was playing a game at the Ballpark at Arlington that hit the back wall of the Rangers’ bullpen. And even without the home runs, Jones could see that he had something special in Bell.“You could see things the way he ran the outfield, you could see things the way he ran the bases. You could see how he put in work. He was just a skinny 6-2 at that time. He really hadn’t formed body weight or anything along those lines,” Jones said. “But you could definitely see the potential was there.”These days, Bell is putting together the best season of his young career. An All-Star for the first time, Bell went into the break with 27 home runs and the most RBIs in baseball. He has a .992 OPS and if he somehow doesn’t hit another home run all season, he’ll still have more than his previous career-high of the 26 that he hit in 2017, his first full year in the majors.Bell attributes the growth he’s shown has a hitter this year mostly to better timing at the plate. “I just feel like I’m in a better place to hit,” Bell said. “More on time to hit fastballs and to react to balls out of the zone for the most part. Just a lot of hard work.”Bell said he feels like he’s in his “A swing” more often this year — what he described as essentially his default, natural swing — and as a result, he’s hitting better on the whole and going deep more often.“The less redirection in my swing, the farther the ball goes. So if I square the ball up and I’m not changing anything at all in my body, if it’s in my A swing path, that’s when the ball travels the farthest,” Bell said. He’s had more than a few titanic shots this year. Five of them have traveled more than 450 feet, two of those more than 470. And Bell isn’t just about displays of power. He’s been a better overall player in 2019. He’s hitting for the highest average of his career, his wRC+ of 150 is almost 40 points higher than he’s ever posted and he’s improved by eight defensive runs saved in the field from 2018. There’s usually that one home run. The one in Little League when the coach or the parents realize a kid’s got something extra. Or the one in high school that gets the first scout to write down his name. Or the one that locals talk about for years afterward.But for Josh Bell, there isn’t one.