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August 20, 2021

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE BECOMES TOP PRIORITY

As companies transition to new ways of work, the number of Canadian organizations making the improvement of the employee experience a top priority has surged, says a survey by Willis Towers Watson. However, while employers recognize adapting to the new reality will take time and require a hybrid work model, many are not ready to meet the challenges. The ‘2021 Employee Experience Survey’ found 95 per cent said enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years compared with 61 per cent that indicated it was important to their organization prior to the pandemic and with good reason. Most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement, employee well-being, productivity, and ability to attract and retain talent. Only nine per cent say the pandemic has receded enough to end temporary pandemic-related policies and programs. Additionally, while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop from 57 per cent now to 19 per cent in three years, they expect one in three workers (36 per cent) will be working in a mix between onsite and remotely in three years, five times the current number (seven per cent).

August 20, 2021

AFGHANISTAN ADDED TO LIST OF ISSUES

The fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan must be added to investors’ growing list of global issues to track as stock markets digest that the Taliban are back in power, says Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group. The warning follows the Taliban quickly seizing the capital Kabul where thousands of civilians desperate to flee thronged the airport. This came after U.S. President Joe Biden removed troops from Afghanistan as part of a conditional agreement between the U.S. and Taliban leaders. “Despite the news coming out of Afghanistan, there is not likely to be an immediate shockwave rippling through global stock markets,” he says. Investors are currently more focused on other key factors that could impact returns, including the fallout from the delta variant of COVID, concerns about peak earnings, disappointing Chinese economic data, and slowing growth. “However, the major geopolitical turbulence triggered by the Taliban’s effective power grab will certainly be added to investors’ growing list of global issues to track as it could have longer-term implications for markets,” he says.

August 20, 2021

ENTHUSIASM ON GLOBAL GROWTH DECLINING

Investors are continuing to lose their enthusiasm on global growth and profit expectations, says the Bank of America’s ‘August Global Fund Manager Survey.’ Expectations of improving global growth have dropped 20 percentage points on a month-over-month basis to a net 27 per cent in August, down from the peak of 91per cent in March. Expectations that profits will improve have also lowered to a net 41 per cent among survey respondents, down 12 percentage points from July and down from the 89 per cent peak in March. Also, inflation expectations among fund managers have dropped to a net four per cent in August saying they expect higher inflation in the next 12 months, down from a net 22 per cent in July and a peak of 93 per cent in April. The survey report said while the August survey indicates the global economy has reached “peak boom” because the second derivatives of growth and inflation have both fallen sharply, investors do not foresee a recession. Sixty-nine per cent of investors still expect above-trend growth and above-trend inflation, down five percentage points month-over-month and from a peak of 76 per cent in June.

August 20, 2021

REMAINING BTPS INTEREST ACQUIRED

Federated Hermes, Inc. has acquired the remaining 29.5 per cent interest in Hermes Fund Managers Limited (HFML) held by BT Pension Scheme (BTPS). It acquired a 60 per cent majority interest in HFML from BTPS in 2018. Although BTPS will no longer have an ownership interest in HFML, it will remain a significant client, with $12 billion in assets under management invested in several Federated Hermes sponsored or managed investment products, including $10.1 billion in long-term private markets strategies.

August 20, 2021

HUM JOINS FIERA

Joyce Hum (CFA, MBA) is senior vice-president, consultant relations, at Fiera Capital. She joins the firm from BMO Global Asset Management where she was director of consultant relations. She previously held similar positions at Guardian Capital and State Street Global Advisors and was an investment consultant at Towers Perrin.

August 19, 2021

AIMCO BEATS BENCHMARK

The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) earned a total fund return ‒ reflecting a composite of its clients’ portfolios ‒ of 5.2 per cent net of all fees relative to an aggregate benchmark of 3.4 per cent for the second quarter of 2021. Total