Despite what BoL termed this year’s “erratic” markets, however, 11 of the 21 funds – all the conservative ones, two low-risk and three medium-risk structures – managed to produce positive returns.Audrius Šilgalis, chief specialist of BoL’s financial services and market analysis division, noted on the Bank’s website: “Good pension fund performance for the second quarter, even after the Brexit referendum, which shocked financial markets, offset the influence of negative trends that prevailed at the beginning of the year.”Second-pillar assets grew by 9.9% to €2,246m and membership by 4.2% to 1.19m.The asset growth was boosted by this year’s increase in the additional members’ and state budget contribution rates from 1% to 2%.These accounted, respectively, for 22.6% and 24.6% of the €128.3m asset increase since the end of 2015.Returns for the substantially smaller third pillar showed a similar pattern to that of the second, with the average plunging from 6.06% as of the end of June 2015 to minus 1.22% by the end of the following March, then recovering to minus 0.02% three months later.The conservative funds averaged 2.3%, with all three in positive territory.While the four medium-risk funds averaged minus 0.72% and the five high-risk plans minus 0.83%, one fund in each category managed to buck the trend.The number of members increased year on year by 10.3% to 48,951, while assets grew by 23.4% to €66.1m because of higher contributions from participants. The six-month year-to-date nominal returns for the voluntary second-pillar pension system averaged minus 0.10%, according to the Bank of Lithuania (BoL), the country’s pension regulator.This marked a significant deterioration compared with the 4.7% generated 12 months earlier but was an improvement on the first quarter’s return of minus 0.18%.The best results as of the end of June were generated by the six conservative bond funds, at 0.77%, followed by the four low-risk funds with 25-30% equity investment (minus 0.01%), the seven medium-risk funds with equity limits of 50-70% (minus 0.02%), and the four high-risk funds, with up to 100% invested in equities (minus 1.32%).This is a reversal of last year’s trend when high equity levels generated the best results.
Freshman Nicky Stracar doesn’t want to get off the court.As one of the standout freshman on the Wisconsin women’s tennis team, Stracar would rather stay out on the court as long as possible than take a nice break after a hard day’s workout.“She’s a really hard worker,” redshirt junior Alaina Trgovich said. “She probably spends the most time on the court than anybody else. She always comes early, always stays later, is always doing extra.”Battling through injury and getting used to college life, Stracar has already started to make her mark on the tennis team.Despite her 9-10 overall singles record, Stracar has made a solid showing in the top of the lineup for the Badgers. With the fourth best record on the team – behind upperclassmen and fellow freshman standout Jenny Hois – and a 7-4 record at the No. 1 spot and a 2-4 record at the No. 3 spot, Stracar hasn’t shown her youth.“She’s a kid that wants to be the star. She’s going to strive to be the star, and eventually it’s going to happen because she has that desire and determination,” head coach Brian Fleishman said. “She hasn’t played like a freshman yet. She’s been playing the last two months hurt. She’s taking it for the team, and she wants to get out there; she does not want to sit on the sideline and watch.”In light of Fleishman’s praise, Stracar felt her match last Sunday finally showed her age.Up 3-0 in the first set Stracar couldn’t hold onto the lead, losing the first set, forcing her to fight for a third set to win the match. Forcing the third set Stracar was one of the last Badgers still playing. The only other match still in play was junior Aleksandra Markovic, who won, sealing the win for the Badgers.Being concerned about her teammate, Stracar felt she lost focus initially in the third set and couldn’t hold on for the win.“I knew the match was coming down to me and [Markovich] and I kept constantly looking over and by the time I knew it I was down four-love on my court in the third set,” Stracar said. “I came back to five all but I think that was a big freshman moment, just looking over and seeing her score and getting a little tight and nervous if it was to come down to me.”Already making an impression on her coaches in the top half of the lineup, Stracar has made it clear she plans to continue playing there.“She doesn’t want to play anywhere but high in the lineup,” Fleishman said. “She’s already made that statement known…I think she proved herself in the fall that she was worthy of playing at the top of the lineup, in the top one, two or three position. Now it’s just a daily thing, going out there and proving yourself on a daily basis.”Continuing to prove herself, Stracar’s style of play sets her apart from the rest of the boys. In fact based on her style, she should be playing with the guys.Stracar can hit the ball just as hard as the next guy with just as much velocity and strength behind it. If that wasn’t enough, she has one of the best serves on the team.“She is that type of player that plays similar to a guy – an aggressive style,” Fleishman said. “She’s got a big serve. She’s got the ability to hit a heavy spin ball, she can come to the net – which a lot of the girls don’t do – that’s why she plays similar to a guy, which is a good thing. It’s going to pay off in dividends, maybe not this year, but in the next three years it’s going to really come along.”Freshman year hasn’t gone exactly as Stracar had hoped, especially in light of the tendonitis she’s been fighting for several months now.For awhile Stracar felt she was just holding a spot for her team, fighting to give her team a chance to win. Now that it’s a little better she’s more confident she can compete at a high level and win.“A few weeks ago I was just holding my spot, slicing forehands out there so the girls can get a win at their spot,” Stracar said. “Now I can actually hit forehand; it’s not that painful. I’m not going out there to play, to hold a spot, I’m going out there to win.”Facing some adversity Stracar hasn’t been able to reach her ultimate goal this year: All-American status. With three more years left, Stracar isn’t ready to give up just yet.“She’s never going to quit out there,” Fleishman said. “She’s not going to settle for anything else but to be an All-American. That was her goal this year, it’s going to be the same thing next year and the year after. She wants this team to do well, and she knows if she can become an All-American, this team is going to become that much better too.”
KGLO News · Friday July 10 — 12:06 PM Listen to “The Midday Report” from Friday July 10th