Working Age Women Expect To Struggle

Statistics from HSBC’s ‘Future of Retirement Men V Women’ show 44 per cent of working age women worry that they will struggle to pay for food and other basic necessities during retirement, compared to 37 per cent of men. As well, it found 51 per cent of working age women either don’t know how much they are saving for their retirement or haven’t started saving at all, compared to 38 per cent of working age men. For women of working age, concerns about their financial future are heavily linked to long-term health fears. Almost half (48 per cent) worry they will not have enough income to pay for basic living needs if they or their partner had to retire early due to ill health (compared to 40 per cent of men). If the worst happened and their partner passed away, 42 per cent of working age women worry they would find it hard to cope financially (compared to just 30 per cent of men). This fear is borne out in reality; women already in retirement are indeed more likely than men to expect to rely on their spouse’s income or pension (43 per cent versus 39 per cent) and financial support from their children (16 per cent versus six per cent).

System Reduces Risk Rating Complexity For Alternatives

AIMA and CAIA have proposed a new system to help reduce the complexity of current methods of risk ratings at investment dealer firms. The associations have published guidelines on these methods in response to new regulations and consistent feedback from AIMA member firms that retail risk ratings unfairly rate alternative products automatically as high risk. The final amendments to regulation NI 81-102 will make alternative investment funds available to retail investors. This has the potential to expand the market for alternative investment products that were previously only available to accredited investors. Consequently, some early predictions anticipate the Canadian alternative mutual fund market could grow to C$20 billion in the next five years. Existing risk rating methods often result in all alternative funds being rated as high risk in the retail channel. This limits the number of investors who can access these products and dealer firms often overlay additional risk rating policies on standards outlined by the Canadian Securities Commission (CSA). To facilitate risk-reducing portfolio construction and to give retail investors access to available alternative investment products, the associations recommend that additional risk rating systems at the investment dealer be re-assessed for all alternative fund strategies, including the new alternative mutual funds, to reflect their true risk. As well, any risk rating scale at the investment dealer should include five categories of risk (rather than only three) consistent with prospectus risk ratings. Fund categories should also be separated for alternative fund strategies and alternative mutual funds. They should then also be expanded to include sub-categories so that products can be evaluated adequately and individually against their peers.

Real Estate Faces Questions

Although real estate fundamentals in Canada are solid, there are many pressing questions for investors, says Bentall Kennedy’s ‘2019 Perspective Report on the Canadian Commercial Real Estate Market.’ These questions look at how much further this economic expansion can run, whether real estate values peaked or is there a new pricing paradigm for institutional quality real estate, and how to invest prudently at this stage of the cycle. It says investor sentiment remains strong supported by solid real estate fundamentals and healthy job growth, but downside economic risks are building. Business optimism and consumer confidence remain high, near historic levels, which bode well for real estate demand. However, cyclical headwinds are adding to negative sentiment in retail and supply constraints and steady logistics demand for industrial lands will continue to exert upward pressure on rents, especially for urban infill locations. Meanwhile, institutional investors are clamouring for increased exposure to the sector. Healthy operating fundamentals and strong investor demand for real estate should help support valuations in the face of higher interest rates. Future returns will become harder to come by as valuations have inched higher. But supply-side constraints and steady tenant demand will limit the downside risk of space market dislocation. Still investors will need to exercise patience and prudence when navigating this maturing cycle, it says.

BlackRock Expects Steady Rates

BlackRock Inc. expects the Bank of Canada to hit the brakes on policy tightening in 2019. It says the central bank will probably hold rates steady until at least next year as Canadian growth cools and lower oil prices work their way through the economy, weighing on the inflation outlook. Investors have slashed expectations for hikes following a dovish December policy meeting and amid a broad reassessment of the prospect of central-bank tightening as global growth shows signs of slowing. Since mid-2017, the BOC has put through five rate hikes.

Hub Acquires TRG

Hub International Limited has acquired the assets of TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, TRG is an employee benefits advisory firm with more than 400 years of combined advisory experience in the employee benefits industry. The firm customizes employee benefits, pension, and retirement plans for businesses and not-for-profit organizations, helping them navigate through the complexities of today’s benefit programs and develop progressive, sustainable group benefits.

Increase In Infrastructure Deals Expected

In 2018, 2,454 infrastructure deals were made worth a total $322 billion, says Preqin. It expects 2018’s figures to rise by up to five per cent as more information becomes available. The year represents a slowing in activity from 2017, which saw 3,165 deals made for a total of $387 billion. Renewable energy increasingly accounts for the bulk of infrastructure investments, going from making up 45 per cent of deals completed in 2016 to accounting for 57 per cent of infrastructure deals in 2018.

Williams Has Expanded Role

Tim Williams is director, national accounts, at Teladoc Health. Most recently, was with Best Doctors where he held several positions including, most recently, director of business development for central and eastern Canada. Teladoc Health is the parent company of Best Doctors so he has a new, expanded role.

Certificate In Pension Law Offered

The ‘Osgoode Certificate in Pension Law’ equips participants with what they need to navigate this often complex and liability-laden area effectively. It can be attended in-person or online through Osgoode Professional Development. It takes place February 13, 20, and 27 and March 6, 20, and 27 in Toronto, ON. For information, visit Pension Law