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July 8, 2021


Investor concerns that investing sustainably may hamper performance have fallen for the fourth consecutive year, as the COVID-19 crisis sharpened the focus on this space, says ‘Schroders Institutional Investor Study 2021.’ It found that fears over the ability of sustainable funds to deliver robust returns continues to fall. Some 38 per cent of institutions had performance concerns about investing sustainably, down from 45 per cent a year ago and a marked drop on the 48 per cent recorded in 2019. This is a further sign that fears investing sustainably could hamper returns are diminishing among investors. Crucially, the COVID-19 crisis has intensified the spotlight on sustainable investing among institutions, with 52 per cent now viewing it as a more important focus because of the pandemic. In Canada, 65 per cent of Canadian investors said greenwashing was the primary concern while a lack of clear, agreed definitions on what sustainable investment is a challenge of investing in sustainable investments. In all, 53 per cent of Canadian investors highlighted that data/evidence that shows investing sustainability delivers better returns is important to their decision to invest sustainably. As well, 65 per cent of respondents said that understanding the impact of their investments on society and the planet is important when investing.

July 8, 2021


Sun Life is sharing its post-pandemic future of work vision. Rooted in employee flexibility, empowerment, and centred around client and business needs, the vision has employees choosing when and where to work – whether at home or in the office. In Canada, a majority of its approximately 12,000 employees will be ‘flexible.’ This means employees will not be required to work from the office any minimum or maximum number of days. Instead, by using client and business needs as a guide, employees will choose where they work at any given time based on the activities they need to complete. Its offices remain an important element of its strategy. They will continue to be a meeting place for clients and employees and a hub for in-person collaboration and ideation. For employees whose roles require more office time, they can perform their activities from a Sun Life location. To help make its flexible future a reality, it is equipping offices with the right technology and tools, providing training and support for people leaders as provinces re-open, and focusing on creating an equitable and inclusive experience for all employees – whether they work mainly from home or from the office.

July 8, 2021


The rising spread of COVID-19 variants may not result in the kind of lockdowns seen during the first wave of the pandemic last year, but should be of concern to investors as markets could react as news develops, says Kristina Hooper, Invesco’s chief global market strategist. Variants are emerging as a global concern. The rapid spread of the Delta variant has caused the World Health Organization to label it as a “variant of concern.” It is spreading approximately 50 per cent faster than the Alpha variant, which, in turn, spread approximately 50 per cent faster than the original virus. While this is a concern for countries with low vaccination rates, those with high vaccination levels are concerned as vaccines such as Pfizer seem to be less effective in protecting against the Delta variant of the virus than originally thought. Israel, for example, says it may need to reimpose certain restrictions that were lifted when infection levels had gone down. It has found that the Pfizer vaccine is only 64 per cent effective in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease, although it remains 93 per cent effective in preventing hospitalization. This is similar to the findings from the UK where while market sentiment toward the economy is growing bullish on reopening, an about-face in virus policy could quickly reverse this. Recently, “we have had days when the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell despite inflationary pressures and signs of improving economic growth; the drop was attributed by many to the spread of the Delta variant,” she says. “Similarly, we could see stocks experience volatility and sell-offs if COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise or variants develop that are even more contagious or dangerous.

July 8, 2021


With 61 per cent of Canadians reporting that benefits are a major factor in pursuing their career path, standard, one-size-fits-all benefits packages don’t cut it anymore, says Nicole Boduel, an employee benefits consultant for HUB International Canada. In the article ‘How To Align Benefits Packages With Company And Employee Values,’ she says employees are looking for unique benefits that respond to their personal needs. The means the key for the employer is to identify gaps in their current coverage and creating benefits package that can meet their needs.

July 8, 2021


Sustainalytics has launched an EU taxonomy solution which provides institutional investors with detailed insights into the environmentally sustainable activities of companies based on the EU Taxonomy framework. Its shows activity- and company-level alignment to the climate change mitigation objective of the taxonomy. Investors can leverage the solution to fulfill the regulatory obligations, with the first reporting requirement set to take effect on January 1, 2022. Beyond reporting on their progress to address climate change, investors can use the solution in their investment activities to manage and report on portfolio alignment to the EU Taxonomy, perform portfolio screening to flag companies that do not comply with the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria or ‘minimum safeguards’ criteria, and engage with companies that do not comply with the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria or ‘minimum safeguards’ criteria, or with firms that provide insufficient disclosure on economic acti