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April 15, 2021

REAL GROWTH DECLINES

Mike Rosborough, a portfolio manager on the global bond team at AllianceBernstein, tends to relate where real interest rates should be to where real growth is going to go. He told its ‘Grey Swans and the Great Reflation Trade of 2021’ that core anchor real growth and labour force growth have been declining pretty consistently in developed countries. And this includes China because of the impact of the one child policy there. This could slow the massive wave of urbanization and the real yield should lower to reflect this. However, these demographics will mean Canada will likely to do better than the U.S. because of its immigration policies. Under former President Donald Trump, this was restricted. Canada stayed much more liberal on its immigration policies as it saw the necessity of continuing to bring new people into the country to make up for declining birth rates. These are probably young professionals who tend to push growth up. “So you could reasonably expect that actually Canada’s growth will run faster than U.S. growth,” he said.

April 15, 2021

MINDS WANDER WHEN STRESSED

People report that their minds wander at work 37 per cent of the time and stress increases mind-wandering by two to three times, says ‘The Mind at Work’ study by Potential Project, a global research, leadership development, and consulting firm. It found that by Friday, people who feel stressed report that their minds wander for nearly 60 per cent of the workday and unfocused employees and absent-minded leaders cost the U.S. economy alone nearly $30 billion annually. The study sheds light on what helps employees to be their best selves at work. Employees whose work is purpose-driven are 30 per cent less stressed and 50 per cent more focused on their day-to-day tasks. Employees who get a good night’s sleep come to work with 15 per cent more focus, 20 per cent less stress, and feel 25 per cent more in control. Most strikingly, employees with a mind training practice feel more grounded, resilient and present, and their wind-wandering is 50 per cent lower than less mindful colleagues.

April 15, 2021

OUTLOOK FOR GROWTH ABOVE CONSENSUS

A potent combination of economic drivers underpinning a strong global recovery in 2021 has resulted in an above-consensus outlook for growth from Aviva Investors. Its ‘Q2 House View’ says although uncertainties remain, the COVID pandemic is passing and successful roll-outs of vaccination programs are allowing economies to reopen. Pent-up demand, large savings buffers, and ongoing fiscal and monetary policy support will all help boost the recovery, it says. Despite worries about virus mutations and renewed lockdowns in a number of regions, businesses and households have shown themselves to be impressively resilient and resourceful. Successive waves of the virus have had less impact on real economic activity as both have adapted to sometimes rapidly changing circumstances. Monetary policy is also expected to remain supportive throughout 2021 and 2022, with recent changes in approach to meeting their inflation objective allowing central banks to keep policy looser for longer. The COVID reset has helped fuel major changes in the fiscal environment, with many countries shifting to bolder and larger interventionist demand management policies.

April 15, 2021

‘ONLINE DOCTORS’ OFFERED

Saskatchewan Blue Cross group plan sponsors can now enhance their health and wellbeing support for their employees by adding ‘Online Doctors,’ a virtual healthcare product to their group benefits plan. Powered by Maple, it delivers a virtual care platform that plan members and their families can use to access a Canadian-licensed general practitioner in under five minutes anytime, anywhere. “The demand for virtual care continues to grow and it’s essential that employers have options available to help remove barriers to exceptional care for their employees through their health benefit plans,” says Megan Douglas, vice-president of customer relations and external affairs at Saskatchewan Blue Cross. Through ‘Online Doctors,’ plan members can access care for acute, chronic, and mental health issues, as well as store and share medical records, on an mobile application.

April 15, 2021

LISTING VALIDATES CRYPTO-ASSETS

The listing of the major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Nasdaq marks the biggest milestone to date in the validation of crypto-assets, says Nickel Digital Asset Management. It also says the listing could have a very positive impact on the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because it believes the recent rally in valuations has been largely driven by a growing acceptance of digital assets by institutional investors and corporations. Coinbase’s listing will lead to more professional investors and corporations allocating to crypto-assets.

April 15, 2021

BAN COMES TO CANADA

The Benefit Advisors Network (BAN), an international network of i