Concern Shifts To Controlling Costs

Investment managers are most concerned about controlling costs in volatile markets, followed closely by a focus on risk and compliance issues and support for expansion into markets beyond their home country, says a Northern Trust white paper. ‘Driving Growth in Asset Management: Solutions for the Whole Office in 2020 and Beyond’ offers insights into how managers can control costs while increasing their distribution by leveraging technology, outsourcing functions that may not be core to their investment process, and viewing their operations holistically, as a whole office, rather than in silos of front, middle, and back office functions. It shows asset managers struggling to balance growth strategies with escalating costs and fee pressures: 87 per cent of respondents said their key strategic priority for the next two years will be controlling costs, but nearly as many (86 per cent) also plan to focus on risk, compliance, and resiliency. As well, 85 per cent said supporting expansion into new markets was a top priority. It also shows managers are looking at a range of outsourcing options to drive efficient growth and strengthen key processes. For example, 85 per cent of respondents have either already outsourced their trading desk or are interested in doing so in the future. Nearly half (45 per cent) are considering outsourcing data management in the next two years while approximately one-third are considering outsourcing foreign exchange and middle office functions.

Virtual Care Will Never Disappear

“The reason virtual healthcare will never disappear is because of the extraordinary response from patients,” says Dr. Van Hoa Phong Le. Speaking at the ‘TELUS Health Annual Conference,’ he said, “Patients have adopted these tools. Those who have consulted virtually for the first time tend to come back because it’s so convenient.” His comments are supported by an analysis of data from a 2019 study carried out by the Canadian Medical Association. Canadians, in general, are well aware of the benefits of online care, the study states, and they believe that virtual care will improve access to healthcare services in general. However, there are some legitimate concerns that Canadians have about the use of virtual healthcare. While the digital tools developed so far have mainly improved the services offered by healthcare providers, “Often, patients have great difficulty accessing their medical information,” he said. “The development of the patient portal is a priority. The patient must be the focus of healthcare concerns, innovations, and investments,” he said. Government measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic helped accelerate the delivery of virtual healthcare services. The willingness to limit the number of hospital visits and reduce the risk of infection among patients and medical staff has removed several barriers that were hindering the virtualization of healthcare.

Investors Face Far-Reaching Questions

Investors now face the most far-reaching questions in over a decade, says a Barclays Research ‘Global Outlook.’ These questions are around whether normal economic behaviour can return without a vaccine and the extent of economic scarring from the damage so far. It says this is not a normal recession, so the recovery should be quicker (especially in labour markets). Policy-makers, especially in developed countries, are owed a debt of gratitude for the speed and scale of their moves and the past few months have shown that, in a world of fiat money, the ability of monetary authorities to prevent a major financial accident is unlimited. The fiscal policy response was as impressive. While the world leapt off an economic cliff, policy-makers crafted a safety net below in remarkably quick fashion. There are already signs of success. April personal income data showed that front-loaded stimulus largely replaced U.S. households’ loss of income from layoffs. Italian sovereign bond yields have stayed low despite economic devastation and a large debt overhang. And China is showing signs of life; property sales, export orders, and mobile handset sales have recently surprised to the upside. However, even with recent bright signs, the initial drop is much deeper than post-2008. Global GDP is expected to surpass pre-COVID levels only in late 2021, and later still for advanced economies. And much could still go wrong, especially if the virus has a second wave.

UK Regulator Sets Bar High

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in the UK has unveiled the high bar it expects new superfunds to meet to ensure savers in defined benefit schemes are protected ahead of government legislation. The new guidance sets out its expectations for how DB consolidator superfunds and other new models must show they are well-governed, run by fit and proper people, and are backed by adequate capital. It also explains how they will be assessed and regulated. An interim regulatory regime will ensure clear rules are in place as these models emerge. It ensures that savers and the PPF are protected while providing employers and trustees with more choice during this period of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. TPR believes DB superfunds have the potential to offer benefits for pension savers and sponsoring employers, such as economies of scale and good governance.

PEBA Chooses CIBC Mellon

CIBC Mellon has been chosen to provide global and domestic custody, institutional accounting, and securities lending for the Public Employees Benefits Agency (PEBA). In addition, PEBA will be tapping into data and analytics solutions, including performance and compliance reporting through BNY Mellon Global Risk Solutions for two plans it administers: the Public Employees’ Pension Plan, a defined contribution pension plan, and the Municipal Employees’ Pension Plan, a defined benefit pension plan. PEBA is a government agency under Saskatchewan’s ministry of finance that administers a wide range of pension and benefits plans for public sector employees, including executive government, crown corporations, and government-funded bodies.