The Waldorf Astoria New York, a hotel that has hosted presidents, Hollywood stars, and foreign heads of state since opening on Park Avenue in 1931, will close its doors on March 1 for a three-year renovation.An Art Deco icon, the 625-foot, 47-floor building occupies an entire block of prime Park Avenue real estate. The owners, Chinese insurance conglomerate Anbang, plan to convert 1,000 of the hotel’s 1,413 rooms into luxury apartments but say the renovation will also add technology and sophistication to the beloved hotel.
- Chile says accounting errors led to omission of 31,000 coronavirus cases
A rash of accounting glitches in Chile led to the omission of more than 31,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, or nearly one-sixth of the country’s total so far, health officials said on Tuesday.The cases, discovered during a review of the health ministry’s databases, stemmed back to mid-March, when the outbreak began in Chile, authorities said.”We have detected that there is a significant number of people who have not been notified or whose status has not been processed and continues to be ‘pending,'” Dr. Rafael Araos, a member of an expert committee advising the government, told reporters in a briefing. Last week, a controversy over the reporting of coronavirus-related deaths led President Sebastian Pinera to replace Health Minister Jaime Manalich, a close friend and confidant.Manalich, who had overseen Chile’s response to the outbreak until now, won praise for an aggressive campaign to keep hospitals supplied with ventilators and protective equipment but was criticized for successive criteria changes for recording deaths and cases.South America has become the new epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, with Chile, Peru and Brazil particularly hard hit.Chile on Monday extended a state of catastrophe in place since mid-March for an additional 90 days.The decision gives the government extraordinary powers to restrict freedom of movement and assure food supply and basic services. Topics : “This group of unreported cases … have positive PCR [exams] and thus constitute confirmed cases,” he said.The accounting confusion comes as cases are soaring in the South American nation, averaging over 5,000 daily. On Tuesday, Chile reported a total of 184,449 infections and 3,383 deaths from the disease.The additional 31,412 cases discovered by authorities will be added to Chile’s total tally on Wednesday, Araos said.As the pandemic has worsened in Chile, health ministry statistics have come under increasing scrutiny.
- How diversified are diversified growth funds?
Diversified growth fund (DGF) managers must reassess their strategies and allocations to ensure survival in the next market phase, according to AQR.Research by the multi-asset and smart beta group found that, despite DGFs performing in line with their stated aims, much of the investment return from the funds could be explained by beta.DGFs were highly correlated to a passive benchmark of 50% stocks and 50% bonds, AQR said.In addition, in the five years to the end of 2016, a 50-50 portfolio of the MSCI World index and Barclays Global Aggregate Bond index, hedged to sterling, gained an average 8.2% a year. A group of DGFs targeting cash plus 5-7% a year posted 6.6% annual returns – in line with their aim but trailing a passive substitute. According to AQR’s calculations, the DGF group had a correlation of 0.89 to the passive portfolio, where 1 is completely correlated.The report was written by AQR portfolio managers John Huss and Laura Serban, with Adam Akant, associate in the company’s portfolio solutions group.The authors said: “Over the past five years, the average DGF has likely met its return target by riding the strong performance of stock and bond markets, but it failed to provide much diversification or excess returns relative to these traditional beta exposures.”They also warned that in many areas “traditional assets are currently elevated by historical standards”. This raised questions about the future performance of these assets and DGFs, the authors said, as most economic environments would be “less favourable” than the past five years.“Unless DGF managers change their strategies to be less correlated with traditional portfolios, they may be unlikely to match recent performance going forward,” Huss, Serban, and Akant wrote.They added: “High starting valuations mean that investors or strategies that rely primarily on exposure to a traditional portfolio to generate returns may have much more difficulty reaching their total return objectives going forward than they have had over the past several years.”AQR’s findings echoed those of Willis Towers Watson. Writing for IPE last year, Alice Lee, investment consultant at the firm, warned that investors needed to be “discerning between genuine skill and market beta” and “urge managers to create more modern, cost-effective, and better-structured solutions”.