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March 27, 2020


COVID-19 Accelerating Workplace Changes

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent uncertainty are accelerating changes in the ways organizations around the world are working and will continue to work into the future, says Mercer’s ‘2020 Global Talent Trends.’ Particularly in challenging times, leading employers are focusing on their workforce, specifically fostering healthy lifestyles, supporting financial wellness, and providing skills and training as careers change due to AI and technology developments. However, 34 per cent of employees expect their jobs to be replaced in three years, 61 per cent of employees believe their employers are preparing them for the future of work, and 55 per cent trust their organization to reskill them if their job changes as a result of automation. As employers transform to tackle these matters, they should reconsider their company’s purpose and their responsibilities to employees and employees’ future earnings, since 63 per cent of HR leaders predict stagnant wage growth. And, they need to do so while facing unforeseen challenges like COVID-19 and a likely economic softening that could impact the adoption of new workforce strategies. “Balancing economics and empathy in all people decisions is important, even more so now as we face questions, concerns and the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Organizations need to have a financial model and cultural mindset that enables them to prepare for and invest in the future,” says Ilya Bonic, president, career, and head of strategy at Mercer.

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COVID-19 Benefit Streamlined

The government of Canada is offering a streamlined benefit for workers impacted by COVID-19 that will replace the two proposed benefits announced last week, says Fasken’s ‘Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19.’ The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2,000 per month, for up to 16 weeks. It will provide income support to eligible workers who have ceased working for reasons due to COVID-19; are sick or quarantined; are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19; are parents with children who require supervision due to school or daycare closures; or remain employed but are not receiving income due to disruptions to their work caused by COVID-19. Available to full-time, part-time, and self-employed workers, individuals should expect to receive payment within 10 days of applying. This benefit will increase the previously announced $27-billion in direct support for workers to $52-billion.

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Healthcare Costs Could Jump

U.S. employers could see their healthcare benefit costs jump by as much as seven per cent this year as a result of testing and treatment costs related to COVID-19, says an actuarial analysis of self-funded employers by Willis Towers Watson. Any increase attributed to COVID-19 will be on top of the five per cent cost increases employers previously projected for this year, says the ‘Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey.’ At a 30 per cent infection level, the analysis found total costs could increase between four per cent and seven per cent, depending on how sick COVID-19 patients become. Total costs include claims for medical and prescription drugs only. It also found that at a 10 per cent infection level, costs could rise between one per cent and three per cent. In a more severe scenario ‒ a 50 per cent infection level ‒ costs could rise from five per cent to seven per cent. Employer healthcare spending would be reduced in more severe scenarios as healthcare supply (e.g., available beds) may reach capacity. If that happens, the type of care patients receive will be redirected to alternative settings and likely become less costly to employers in the short term. The analysis also considered reduced cost for non-COVID-19 patients who defer care or receive care in lower cost settings. The estimates would increase significantly in the absence of these factors.

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Black Swan Runs Into Oil Spill

What happens when a black swan runs into an oil spill is now taking place, says Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management. At the start of the year, the Canadian equity market was favoured over the U.S. equity market due to better earnings growth and better valuation. That held through the early downside and was supported by the S&P/TSX Composite Index outperforming the S&P 500 Index with less downside through the correction to last Friday. However, following the drop in oil prices, this view has changed. Historically a drop in the price of oil as seen over the past couple of days has had a negative impact on S&P/TSX Composite earnings. Given the likely sustained low price for oil, earnings are going to suffer a significant downward revision. As such, Canadian equities are unlikely to provide downside support, relative to their U.S. and international peers. that likely existed prior to this past weekend. “From an asset allocation perspective, we believe the upside/downside potential between international, U.S., and Canadian equities to be roughly equal over the next 12 months, he says, arguing there is a high probability that the Canadian economy is in negative growth, as measured on a quarter-over-quarter basis for the first quarter following the rail blockades in February and now the compounding issue of a materially weaker oil sector. Historically, crude price drops of this magnitude have led to very weak economic periods. This is on top of the potential supply-and-demand stress from the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic on Canada and what was an already weak economy, as evidenced by the fourth quarter GDP growth rate of 0.3 per cent.

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Active Manager Outperforming

Amidst ongoing volatility sparked by the Covid-19 outbreak, research by StyleAnalytics claims that active equity managers have “significantly” outperformed broad markets during downturns over the last 25 years. Looking at over 1,000 actively managed U.S. funds from 1995 until this year, it found that quality active managers not only beat passive investment during downturns, but that outperformance against the Russell 1000 index increased as market losses grew larger. This was particularly the case during the worst four financial crises of the last quarter century, including the dot-com crash and the 2008/09 financial crisis. “Conventional wisdom says that because passive investments have no awareness of tail-risk events while active managers do (or at least should), that good active management should outperform passive investments during times of market stress,” it says. In falling markets, similar to that which the industry has currently found itself in due to the coronavirus, the top quartile of active managers (by performance) outperformed the market 60 per cent of the time, while the top five per cent of managers beat the market 75 per cent of the time. Downside risk protection was found to be a core benefit of top performing active equity managers.

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March 26, 2020


Decline Could Cause Over Allocation To Illiquids

Because the public markets are so volatile right now, Morgan Lewis, a global law firm, suggests institutional investors should review their portfolios to determine whether the market decline has resulted in an over allocation to illiquid investments. They should also consider whether a secondary sale may be warranted to rebalance their portfolios and examine whether investment restrictions apply only at the time of investment or whether certain restrictions have continuous application, says its ‘LawFlashes.’ “Furthermore, there is often a delay from the time a purchase agreement is signed until a transfer closes,” it says. “Accordingly, buyers may seek purchase price protection to mitigate downside risk of any further market disruptions.” That protection can be in various forms such as the insertion of a “material adverse change” closing condition in the purchase agreement, performing additional due diligence at an earlier stage, and delaying the signing of a purchase agreement or effectuating a simultaneous “sign-and-close” in order to mitigate the effect of market declines between the time a purchase agreement is signed and when it closes.

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HOOPP Posts Higher Return

The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) posted a return of 17.14 per cent for 2019 (compared to 2.17 per cent in 2018), with net assets reaching $94.1 billion, up from $79 billion at the end of 2018. It closed 2019 with a 10-year annualized rate of return of 11.38 per cent and a 20-year annualized rate of 8.55 per cent. These results help position HOOPP to navigate the current challenging economic environment. “While concerns about COVID-19 have had considerable impact on financial markets and the economy, HOOPP has a track record of weathering market volatility and downturns,” says Jim Keohane, its president and CEO. For 2019, the total fund return of 17.14 per cent exceeded the benchmark return of 15.06 per cent by 2.08 per cent, or $1,652 million. All investment classes performed well, particularly bonds, equities, real estate, and private equity. Funded status at the end of 2019 was 119 per cent.

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COVID-19 Impact Mitigated By Government Action

Government action to mitigate the economic impact of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 will cushion the blow and set the stage for economic recovery later this year, says DBRS Inc. In a report, it says that the pandemic, and measures being adopted by public health officials to respond to it, will “impose a significant cost in terms of lost economic output” in the world’s major economies. Governments and central banks are attempting to soften the economic blow with monetary and fiscal stimulus, along with assorted measures to keep credit flowing. Although the immediate impact of social distancing and widespread travel restrictions cannot be fully offset in the near term, it expects the cumulative effects of these measures to support a relatively more robust economic recovery beginning later in 2020. Although certain sectors may take longer to recover, the “most severe slump in demand will most likely be limited to a few quarters.”

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Weak Human Rights Performers Called Out

A coalition of 176 international investors is calling out the weak human rights performance of leading international companies and demanding they take imminent action to improve their track record. Co-ordinated by the Investor Alliance for Human Rights which represents $4.5 trillion of assets, the firms sent out a letter targeting companies scoring zero on human rights due diligence in the 2019 ranking. It says like all business actors, investors have a responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as emerging regulatory developments in different countries.

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Financial Crisis Despair Deeper

The 2008/09 financial crisis saw deeper despair about global growth and equity valuations than is now being seen, says a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey of fund managers. However, it shows the biggest drop in global growth expectations since the survey, which is published every month, began in 1994. Sentiment is close to the bearish extremes of 2008 in terms of cash holdings – which have jumped over the past month from four per cent to 5.1 per cent. The 61 per cent of investors who say corporates should improve their balance sheets is the highest level since 2009 and a record number say company debt is too high.

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March 25, 2020


Tax Deferred Savings Age Should Rise

Ottawa should raise the age at which workers must stop contributing to tax-deferred saving vehicles and start receiving income from them to age 75 from the current 71, says Joseph Nunes, co-founder and executive chairman of Actuarial Solutions Inc, in a C.D. Howe research paper. In ‘The Power of Postponed Retirement,’ he argues working longer is one of the levers that savers in defined contribution plans have to build up their nest eggs to the desired level. Postponing retirement has also become a new reality for many older workers in the wake of the market crash, underlining the need for reform of the rules around retirement saving in tax-deferred programs. As well, “given the COVID-19-related slump in the market, older workers may need to spend extra years on the workforce, or settle for a lower level of retirement income,” he says. Starting with a salary of $50,000 and a baseline savings rate of 10 per cent of salary, saving an additional 1.5 percent at age 30 is equivalent to postponing retirement by one year. The report offers a number of recommendations to help aid workers seeking to rebuild their nest eggs. In order to allow workers saving in a DC arrangement (most of the private sector) to accumulate sufficient savings to allow for retirement before age 65, Ottawa should raise the allowable contribution limits to reflect the fact that retirement at age 60 requires a significant rate of savings during a much shorter working lifetime. As well, recognizing that working past age 70 will become more common in the future, Ottawa should also raise the age at which workers must stop contributing to tax-deferred saving vehicles to age 75 from the current 71. In addition, increasing the age threshold will be timely for savers looking to defer their retirement and rebuild their nest egg after the recent market crash. It would also give some breathing room to retirees forced to sell stocks at a loss to meet mandatory minimum withdrawals of their tax-deferred savings.

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Focus On Fees Restricts DC Use Of Private Markets

Greater participation by defined contribution pension schemes in private markets is restricted by the regulatory focus on fees, says a CFA Institute report. ‘Capital formation 2: Investing pension contributions in private markets responsibly’ says the importance of participating in private markets is growing as public equities reduce in number worldwide. This decline in listed public equities has potentially negative implications for retirement savers and means private markets are becoming bigger and more critical to economic activity. While calls for more involvement of DC pension funds in private markets are getting louder, the CFA says cost structures are a problem. For example, in Norway there is a requirement that the scheme operator must pay the asset management fees rather than pass these fees along to the account beneficiary (as in most other countries) and this gives DC schemes a strong incentive to search for lower cost asset managers. Sviatoslav Rosov, lead author of the report, says: “Typically, plans with a one-dimensional focus on costs will be able to access only passive equity or fixed income index exposure and they are not likely to be able to invest in private markets absent new, and cheaper, investment products from the industry.”

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Buy-Side Budgets Driven By Technology Spending

Although headcounts among institutional trading desks held steady from 2018 to 2019, it’s clear that increases in buy-side trading desk budgets are being driven by technology spending, says Greenwich Associates. Average buy-side trading desk budgets increased a modest four per cent last year in the U.S. and Europe. Annual budgets average $2.8 million for fixed income trading desks, $1.8 million for equity trading desks, and $1.6 million for FX desks. In general, desks trading less liquid asset classes allocate more to technology, with fixed income trading desks devoting 41 per cent of their total budget to technology versus 36 per cent in equity. “This trend could indicate that when it comes to sourcing liquidity, the buy-side finds that a marginal dollar spent on technology returns more than a marginal dollar spent on talent,” says Brad Tingley, market structure and technology analyst at Greenwich Associates and author of ‘Trends of Buy-Side Trading Desk Spending.’ Despite the growth of electronic trading and other technology tools, its data shows that technology and automation continue to augment human traders rather than replace them.

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SSQ Offers Pandemic Coping

SSQ Insurance is offering free access to a telephone counselling service to its entire clientele across Canada to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis intervention assistance service is offered on a temporary basis. The measure is delivered by Optima Global Health’s specialists, professionals specialized in psychological health with the necessary evaluation and intervention training. Regardless of the type of product held ‒ group insurance, individual insurance, auto insurance, home insurance, or investment products ‒ all customers will be entitled to this assistance.

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Outlook For Managers Goes Negative

The spread of COVID-19 has led to a negative outlook for money managers by ratings agency Moody’s. The outlook was downgraded from stable. Revenue and cash flow for money managers, which are highly correlated to financial market moves, will come under strain by the economic impacts of the coronavirus, says a report from the firm. New inflows into the industry are also likely to be limited by rising economic uncertainty caused by the virus. The agency’s base case scenario assumes that economic and financial market conditions will weaken in the period ending June 30, but show some recovery in the second half of the year. However, money managers “will be forced to rapidly adjust their cost structure and conserve liquidity.” Should public health measures fail to restrain the pandemic, “a deeper more prolonged economic slowdown in the U.S. and Europe will result, and the credit negative implications for asset managers will intensify,” the report says.

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Hub Offers Integris PPP

HUB has entered into a partnership with INTEGRIS to offer the Personal Pension Plan (PPP). Designed for business owners and incorporated professionals, it provides an alternative to registered retirement pension plans (RRSPs) which may not be the best retirement savings choice ‒ especially for business owners. The Integris PPP offers higher contributions limits, additional tax deductible contributions, full creditor protection, tax deductibility of investment fees and interest on money borrowed to make contributions, and additional tax deductions currently not available with RRSPs.

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Ontario Teachers’ Adds To Desalination Plant Holdings

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Morrison & Co, on behalf of the Utilities Trust of Australia (UTA), have acquired the Infrastructure Fund’s (TIF) ownership stake in the Sydney Desalination Plant. As a result of the transaction, Ontario Teachers’ ownership of SDP will increase to 60 per cent, while UTA’s interest ‒ managed by Morrison & Co ‒ will increase to 40 per cent. Ontario Teachers’, UTA, and TIF acquired the plant in 2012 through a 50-year lease from the government of New South Wales. Powered by renewable energy, it can supply up to 250 million litres of drinking water per day, which is approximately 15 per cent of Sydney’s water needs.

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Smart Beta ETF Inflows Drop

Equity-based smart beta ETFs and ETPs listed globally gathered net inflows of US$3.4 billion during February, says ETFGI. This brings year-to-date net inflows to US$10.13 billion which is lower than the US$14.67 billion gathered at this point last year. Year-to-date through the end of February 2020, these ETF/ETP assets have decreased by 8.5 per cent from US$860 billion to US$787 billion, which is the 5thhighest level of assets on record.

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March 24, 2020


Ontario Closing At-Risk Workplaces

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Ontario government is ordering at-risk workplaces to close-down, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At the same time, the government reminds businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public. Essential businesses include capital markets; insurance; businesses that provide pension services and employee benefits services; and businesses that provide financial services including the payroll division of any employer. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the well-being of their employees on the front-lines. Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses. At-risk workplaces will be ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. today and, where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue.

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Alternative Scenario Sees Deeper Hit

The Conference Board of Canada has an alternate scenario forecast that describes the economic implications if social distancing continued until the end of August, both in Canada and the United States. In this scenario, real GDP is forecast to fall by 1.1 per cent in 2020, instead of growing 0.3 per cent as in our baseline forecast. Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, says, “If this scenario holds true, we can expect a deeper and longer-lasting hit to the Canadian economy. Still, governments have acted swiftly to mitigate health and economic impacts, once COVID-19 is contained, the economy will rebound.” If the pandemic is contained by September, a rebound in household spending is forecast to occur in the fourth quarter and into 2021. It also estimates that the economy could shed over 330,000 jobs over the second and third quarters of 2020, boosting the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent. Industries servicing tourism, household services, and resource sector construction will be hit hard. Many of them will suffer double-digit declines in the second and third quarters. A consumer-led recession in the United States is assumed, with real GDP declining by 1.1 per cent. With diminished demand from our most important trading partner, Canada’s real exports of goods and services are forecast to decline by 2.1 per cent in 2020.

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Machin Assures Availability Of CPP Funds

The necessary funds will always be available for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits payments despite the COVID-19 pandemic, says Mark Machin, president and CEO of CPP Investments. This coronavirus presents a serious challenge to communities and people everywhere and is forcing profound changes in our daily lives, he says. While taking all precautions to prevent community spread and encouraging others to do the same, it is also doing its part to maintain essential services to Canadians which include protecting the Canada Pension Plan. Given its job to deliver strong financial performance for multiple generations, it is evaluating every investment it makes on its ability to generate returns for decades, not on the likelihood of an up or down price movement in the next quarter. With its long-term view, it will pursue an active, long-term investing strategy across sectors, strategies, and markets that span the globe.

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Failing To Return Complicates Health Insurance

Failing to return to Canada despite the urging of the federal government could result in changes or complications to health insurance coverage, says the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Choosing to remain outside Canada could result in a loss of coverage for COVID-19 and other conditions, it says. It will become very difficult for insurers to transport Canadians home in the event of a medical emergency. While flights are still available, the government is providing financial assistance for travel arrangements. Some airlines are also offering free services in support of the government travel advisory to return home immediately.

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Stock Pickers Struggle To Beat Benchmarks

Stock pickers have been struggling to outdo their respective benchmarks, says data from S&P Global. Despite ‘strong’ market conditions, over 70 per cent of European active equity funds underperformed the S&P Europe 350 index throughout 2019. Their passive counterparts outperformed the benchmark by 1.5 per cent on an asset-weighted basis. The longer the time horizon, the worse the figures for active funds. Over five years, 78 per cent underperformed the benchmark, whilst over 10 years nearly 87 per cent could not keep up with the index. Andrew Innes, regional head of global research and design, says, “Outperformance would have at least provided a buffer for the turbulent times that we now know lingered around the corner.”

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Coping Strategies Needed For COVID-19

As social distancing becomes the new “norm” over at least the next several weeks, the pressures may be overwhelming, says Wendy King, director of health and performance for Hub International. As a result, many are looking for practical coping strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. She says this starts with using facts and precautions to manage fears. Since fear can inflate negative thoughts, which leads to unhealthy stress, use facts not information to combat it. Social media platforms can also cause incredible anxiety as rumors and misinformation spread on them. Limit time on social media and don’t instigate hysteria by reposting unvetted information. Exercise is another tool. Aerobic exercise has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax and provide stimulation and calm, as well as counter depression and dissipate stress. While everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing, it does not mean individuals shouldn’t seek and give support. The upside to social media is that people are more connected than ever before, she says.

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Index-Linked Trading Adjusts Exposes Quickly

The coronavirus-induced bear market which is now taking place illustrates the logic of index-linked trading, says Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy for S&P Dow Jones Indices. The vast majority of trading in index-linked vehicles is not done by index funds, but rather by active investors and traders, he says, and a pandemic of still-unknown duration and severity can be expected to affect every business adversely. However, investors who want to adjust equity exposures quickly will be far better served by trading an entire index than by trying to sort out relative winners and losers in the traditional way. While index funds have been part of the investment landscape for nearly 50 years, during which time superior performance and low cost have earned them a growing share of investor assets, what’s less well-appreciated has been the growth of a trading ecosystem linked to indices, he says.

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ESG ETFs Gather Inflows

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ETFs and ETPs listed globally gathered net inflows of US$7.54 billion during February, says ETFGI. This brings year-to-date net inflows to US$14.3 billion which is higher than the US$2.4 billion gathered at this point last year. Total assets invested in ESG ETFs and ETPs increased by 4.93 per cent from US$64.79 billion at the end of January 2020 to a new record US$67.99 billion.

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March 23, 2020


FSRA Considering Approaches

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) will consider approaches that can assist plan administrators in their ongoing administration and compliance efforts while not losing sight of the need to provide benefits and protect the rights of plan members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all its staff are working remotely at this time. During this time, it is reviewing its work, stakeholder engagement activities, and other commitments to prioritize activities. It understands that pension plan administrators and their agents will likely face challenges in meeting upcoming filing deadlines, it will allow pension plan administrators and their authorized agents to request a filing extension of up to 60 days beyond the prescribed timeline under the Pensions Benefit Act (PBA). Plan administrators or their authorized agents who are registered on FSRA’s Pension Services Portal (PSP) may submit filing extension requests of up to 60 days via the PSP. As well, with many businesses operating under disruption to regular course operational processes, this may cause delays in the production of member disclosure information within the prescribed timelines of the PBA. If a plan administrator or their agents are facing challenges in complying with the prescribed timelines, they are to let their assigned pension officer know via eMail as soon as possible. While FSRA does not have discretionary powers to extend the prescribed timelines as they relate to member disclosures, effective immediately, provided it has been advised and provided with a proposed plan of action, summary administrative monetary penalties will not be levied with respect to non-compliance in this area until further notice. All pending transactions filed with FSRA such as pension asset transfers or wind-up applications, will continue to be reviewed by FSRA staff, although there will be some delay due to the current disruptions. Finally, with financial market conditions changing very rapidly which may result in significant volatility in the funded status of pension plans, if the administrator of a defined benefit pension plan registered in Ontario knows or ought to know that the transfer ratio has fallen by 10 per cent or more since the most recently determined transfer ratio (or if the most recently determined transfer ratio was above one and it has fallen to 0.9 or less), the administrator shall not transfer any part of the commuted value of a pension, deferred pension, or ancillary benefit to which a member or former member is entitled without obtaining FSRA’s prior approval.

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COVID-19 Shocks Economic Components

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in simultaneous shocks to all three economic components, says Chris Urwin, director of research, real assets, at Aviva Investors. Economies operate on the relationship between supply, demand, and finance. The coronavirus has caused disruptions to global supply chains, a sharp decline in consumption, and significant practical barriers to conducting business across manufacturing and service sectors. The impact on real assets – as with almost all asset classes – will be unprecedented, he says, and one of the sharpest-ever declines in global demand is looming. Real assets have historically performed well in stressed situations relative to other asset classes. They also provide diversification benefits and income at a time when government bond yields are likely to fall as investors seek safety. Nevertheless, pricing will come under pressure, at least in the short term, though some opportunities may also emerge. While the full impact of COVID-19 on real assets has yet to become clear, there is some anecdotal evidence pointing towards a slowing of transaction volumes. Commercial property occupiers have already been affected. Retailers were among the first hit. Already facing structural challenges ahead of this crisis, the sector will become even more vulnerable. Many retail businesses will be dependent on government support to survive.

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MindBeacon Launches Online Resources

MindBeacon Group, a digital mental health provider in Canada, has launched a ‘Mental Wellbeing for COVID-19’ resource. Located online at www.mindbeacon.com/pandemic-response, it provides free advice on how to cope with the virus, connects with government and other trusted resources, and provides access to its virtual mental health therapy ‒ BEACON. As part of this, it has also launched a ‘Health Anxiety Treatment Program.’ The program will be offered as part of a broader strategy to support Canadians’ stress and anxiety associated with the concerns around health issues including COVID-19. Dr. Peter Farvolden, chief science officer at MindBeacon, says, “We all worry or get anxious when we think there may be something wrong with our body or we might have some kind of illness or disease. This is called health anxiety – the worry and anxiety someone experiences in relation to their physical health or well-being.” The uncertainty and fear associated with current events can be difficult to overcome. For those already struggling with anxiety and depression, it can be overwhelming. The health anxiety treatment program has been designed to provide structured therapy for the thousands of Canadians that need help managing through this period of uncertainty.

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LP Daily Operations Effected

About 70 per cent of limited partners (LPs) says that the COVID-19 outbreak is having an effect on their daily investment-related operations, including current trade executions and forecasting investments, says an Eaton Partners’ ‘LP Pulse Survey.’ Those activities are being impacted by externalities in market valuations, with the coronavirus (29 per cent) and a potential US recession behind speculation on what will affect markets most severely. The survey also found varying levels of confidence in the U.S. government’s capability to contain and eradicate the spread of the virus. While 13 per cent are very confident in the government’s ability, 49 per cent are somewhat confident, and 38 per cent are not confident at all. However, 78 per cent of respondents said these concerns don’t influence their participation in the market and that they will maintain their holdings without reducing allocations to specific regions because of the virus.

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Corona Recovery Triggers New Era

The recovery from a coronavirus-triggered recession will usher in a new era in which how we live, do business, and invest will fundamentally change, says Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group. With governments and central banks trying to limit the impact, “Any way you look at it, it’s now almost certain that there will be a coronavirus-triggered recession as both global supply and demand are impacted,” he says. The recession will be deep, but short, and the slowdown will be temporary because it’s not caused by deep-rooted problems and imbalances in the economy, rather by a wholly unexpected shock. Fundamental changes will include, for example, the speeding up of the so-called ‘Fourth Revolution,’ which is fuelled by new technologies such as artificial intelligence and mobile supercomputing. New industries will also emerge and while this will mean job losses in some sectors, there will be possibly unprecedented job and investment opportunities in others. “The disruption and shifts will underscore that we live in a time of great capabilities and great promise,” he says.

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