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January 26, 2021

EMPLOYEES WANT EMPLOYERS’ HELP

Roughly half of U.S. employees want more help from their employers to save for retirement, balance their work and life issues, and get the most value from their employee benefits, says the ‘Global Benefits Attitudes Survey’ by Willis Towers Watson. More than a third of respondents cited reducing benefit costs as their top benefits priority for 2021, followed by receiving greater benefits security from their employer. Roughly two in 10 employees identified receiving more benefit choices and having more flexibility in where, when, and how often they work as top priorities. Over half identified saving for retirement as the area in which they would most like help from their employers. To best meet their needs to save for retirement, over half cited a guaranteed retirement benefit and four in 10 said receiving more generous retirement benefits in exchange for other benefits and less pay would help meet their needs. The survey also found retirement security is important to employees of all ages, although their priorities vary. Younger employees desire more flexibility, such as having access to retirement savings for emergencies or other financial needs. Older employees are mostly interested in guaranteed retirement and medical benefits.

January 26, 2021

ROBUST MARKETS PROVIDE FOUNDATION

Robust equity markets provided a solid foundation for Canadian pension plans during the fourth quarter of 2020, with the median Canadian plan returning five per cent for the quarter and closing a volatile year with a 10 per cent gain, says the Northern Trust Canada Universe. During the last quarter of the year, major global economies continued to feel the impact as the coronavirus renewed its path around the world. Despite the headwinds of the pandemic, global equity markets generated healthy positive returns as investors welcomed the relief of further fiscal stimulus and the long-awaited approval of vaccines. Pockets of uncertainty marked the fourth quarter, ranging from a U.S. presidential election and Brexit negotiations to the growing need for further stimulus and the second wave of the coronavirus. Equity markets navigated through these obstacles, as optimism surrounding additional fiscal stimulus and the approval and roll-out of vaccines ultimately prevailed. Major central banks around the globe continued to maintain an accommodative stance which further complemented this optimism. Despite the year beginning with a very weak and volatile first quarter, major equity indices closed 2020 with strength and momentum, generating attractive positive returns.

January 26, 2021

IMPACT OF NATURAL EVENTS EVALUATED

Aon plc has launched its global ‘Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2020 Annual Report.’ The report evaluates the impact of global natural disaster events to identify trends, manage volatility, and enhance resilience. It reveals that the 416 natural catastrophe events of 2020 resulted in economic losses of US$268 billion – eight per cent above the average annual losses for this century. Of this total, private sector and government-sponsored insurance programs covered US$97 billion, creating a protection gap of 64 per cent, which is the portion of economic losses not covered by insurance. This highlights the importance of addressing the underserved by ensuring that there is increased access to affordable insurance products in the future.

January 26, 2021

PANDEMIC IMPACTS SAVINGS

One in three (35 per cent) Canadians say the pandemic has impacted their savings and retirement plans, says a TD survey, with one quarter (25 per cent) of those affected needing to cut back on contributions or stop them altogether. It also shows one in three (35 per cent) agree they need financial advice now more than ever. As well, despite 70 per cent saying they feel confident managing their finances during this time, six in 10 (59 per cent) are worried about the effect of COVID-19 on their savings and retirement plans.

January 26, 2021

SUN LIFE BUILDS DIGITAL MENTAL HEALTH STRATEGY

Sun Life has built a free, digital mental health strategy tool kit for companies of all sizes – no matter where they are in their support of employee mental health. While employers have the opportunity and responsibility to take action, many don’t have the resources or know where to start, it says. The tool kit simplifies the process of tackling mental health. It walks employers through the stages of building a strategy, with integrated access to its tools, information, and resources.

January 26, 2021

YIH EXPLAINS RETIRING HAPPY

YIH EXPLAINS RETIRING HAPPY