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Daily News Alerts

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December 14, 2022

Bank Of England Says Action Needed

The Bank of England is calling for “urgent international action” from regulators on non-bank financial institutions after it was forced to rescue UK pension funds in September. Several funds were allegedly hours from collapse when the central bank intervened in the long-dated bond market after a series of massive moves in interest rates on UK government debt exposed vulnerabilities in liability-driven investment (LDI) funds. The bank says had it not acted, “the stress would have significantly affected households’ and businesses’ ability to access credit.” Its temporary emergency bond-buying program allowed LDI funds time to shore up their liquidity positions and ensure the country’s financial stability. The bank emphasized the need for regulators across jurisdictions to strengthen the resilience of the sector, saying “there is a need for urgent international action to reduce risks in non-bank finance.”

December 14, 2022

Savings Hold Up In Retirement

In 2014, just over two-thirds (67.5 per cent) of a group of non-retired Canadians expected their retirement income to be adequate or more than adequate to comfortably maintain their standard of living. Now retired in 2020, 81.6 per cent found that their retirement income was sufficient to comfortably cover their living expenses, says data from the fifth wave (2020) of the ‘Longitudinal and International Study of Adults (LISA).’ Similar results were observed for both men and women. In 2014, 68.5 per cent of non-retired men and 66.4 per cent of women expected an adequate or more than adequate retirement income. In 2020, 82.2 per cent of men and 81 per cent of women declared their retirement income to be sufficient in comfortably covering their living expenses. Individuals who belonged to a racialized group, who had ever had a disability, or who had a high school education or less were not as optimistic about their expected retirement income. Here, 40.4 per cent did not expect their retirement income to be adequate to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. However, once retired, 56 per cent found that their retirement income was sufficient.

December 14, 2022

CSA Toughens Crypto Exchange Requirements

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is toughening its requirements on crypto exchanges operating in this country. For exchanges operating in Canada – including those based elsewhere but operating in the country – it was announced in August that unregulated exchanges would be expected to commit to a pre-registration undertaking (PRU) to adhere to the same terms and conditions as regulated platforms. Now, the CSA says that if a PRU has not been delivered to a platform’s principal regulator by a deadline it will be shortly announcing, it will consider action including enforcement to bring them into compliance. It has also expanded terms to include “requirements to hold Canadian clients’ assets with an appropriate custodian and segregate these assets from the platform’s proprietary business, as well as a prohibition on offering margin or leverage for any Canadian client.” Appropriate custodians will generally include those regulated by a financial regulator in Canada, the U.S., or a similar jurisdiction.

December 14, 2022

Gold Sourcing Impacts ESG Credentials

New research shows professional investors believe gold investment vehicles which do not have strong ESG (environmental, social, and governance) credentials will lose funds to rivals focused on responsible and sustainable sourcing over the next two years as the sector develops, says a study by HANetf. It found 36 per cent of investors predict a dramatic increase in transfers to funds with strong ESG credentials while 54 per cent expect a slight increase in switching. It says the focus placed by institutional investors on how gold is sourced and mined is changing rapidly with more investors looking for responsible and sustainable funds and companies. In all, 80 per cent say they expect an increase in focus on responsible and sustainable mining of gold underlining the need for gold investment vehicles to improve their ESG credentials.

December 14, 2022

U.S. Employers Manage Health Plan Costs

U.S. employers are managing health plan costs without shifting the cost to employees by steering them to high-performing provider networks and other sources of high-value care, says Mercer’s ‘National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.’ It found that 35 per cent of large employers and 53 per cent of very large employers say this is an important strategy for them. To help members find the right provider based on quality and cost, 36 per cent offer a telephonic navigation and advocacy service, and 17 per cent offer a digital navigation tool. The average per-employee cost of employer-sponsored health insurance rose by 3.2 per cent to 6.3 per cent in 2022, a spike in cost growth as individuals caught up on healthcare needs delayed as a result of the pandemic. However, Sunit Patel, chief health actuary at Mercer, says 2022 is an anomaly because employer health plan sponsors haven’t felt the full impact of inflation yet. “One reason cost growth lagged inflation this year is because healthcare providers typically have multi-year contracts with health plans. So, although employers did not feel the full brunt of inflation immediately, it’s very likely that inflation-driven cost increases will phase in over the next few years as contracts are renewed.”

December 14, 2022

Climate Asset Gets Commitments

Climate Asset Management, a dedicated natural capital investment manager formed as a joint venture between HSBC Global Asset Management and climate change investment and advisory firm Pollination, has achieved commitments of more than US$650 million across its two strategies. Commitments have been raised from a range of global financial institutions and corporations from Europe, the U.S., Asia-Pacific, and the UK. This investor mix underlines the increasing awareness of the benefits an investment into this asset class can deliver to a range of institutional investors, including insurers and corporates with net zero/carbon neutral targets. The Natural Capital Strategy aims to deliver long-term financial returns alongside improved environmental outcomes from regenerative landscape management in agriculture, forestry, and environmental assets. The Nature Based Carbon Strategy (NBCS) targets landscape restoration in developing economies to deliver biodiversity improvements at scale for climate resilience, community benefits, and high-quality carbon credits with a view to enabling global corporations to achieve their decarbonization targets.

December 14, 2022

KixCare Coming To Canada

KixCare, a virtual platform in children's healthcare, is looking to expand into the group benefits space across Canada through brokers, consultants, carriers, and third-party administrators. It provides a solution for families unable to find a pediatrician who can accommodate their needs, particularly when seeking urgent care. It provides secure, virtual consultation with pediatricians, who receive real-time patient information with the assistance of pediatric nurse practitioners.

December 14, 2022

Beamery Closes Funding

Beamery, a provider in talent lifecycle management, has closed a $50 million Series D funding round, taking the company to a valuation of over $1 billion, a 25 per cent valuation uplift over their previous round. Its artificial intelligence-powered talent platform gives companies the intelligence they need to make the right decisions about their workforce and businesses through each stage of the talent lifecycle – from recruiting to talent mobility and development to upskilling. The funding round was led by Teachers’ Ventures Growth, part of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

December 14, 2022

Dehoney Founder Passes Away

Jim Dehoney, founder, former president, and CEO of Dehoney Financial Group, passed away suddenly on December 7. He started in the life insurance industry over 40 years ago. He attributed much of his business grounding to IBM, where he worked after earning his degree in business administration from the University of Texas and prior to joining Manulife Financial, as a licensed insurance agent. He always wanted to build a business and Dehoney Financial Group embodies that original vision ‒ a vibrant insurance advisory firm providing group benefits, retirement, and personal financial advice.

December 14, 2022

Prior Authorization Examined

Simplify Prior Authorization’s ‘Prior Authorization 2023: New Resources and Solutions’ will explore the new simplify prior authorization website and the many education, information, and resource features available to all stakeholders; new developments in the OkRx electronic prior authorization solution for physicians, patient support programs, and insurers; and the future of prior authorization. It takes place January 17, 2023. Registration is at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_s0ZMoNImSSG0ElTy6GdQJg?mc_cid=6599d3166d&mc_eid=7e402198d2

December 13, 2022

Canadian Resilience Praised

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s ‘Staff Report for the 2022 Article IV Consultation’ continues to highlight the resilience of the Canadian economy in the context of high global inflation, rising interest rates, and slowing global growth. It notes Canada’s tightened fiscal and monetary policy stance, but bringing inflation down quickly and decisively remains the chief priority facing both the Canadian and global economies. The report projects that inflation in Canada will return to the two per cent target by the end of 2024. It also praises the federal government’s deficit reduction plan and the publication of long-term fiscal projections as “welcome steps toward strengthening the fiscal framework.” Its latest projections show that Canada is expected to have the smallest deficit this year as a share of GDP among G7 countries, and by far the lowest general government net debt as a share of GDP in the G7. It also commends Canada's climate plan, noting that “Canada deserves substantial credit for its ambitious plans” while also highlighting Canada as a global role model for its large commitments of climate financing for developing nations.

December 13, 2022

Saskatchewan Introduces Biosimilar Initiative

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has introduced a biosimilars initiative that will ensure residents have access to high-quality medications at a lower cost, says an Eckler ‘GroupNews.’ It is the seventh province/territory to do so. Approximately 24,000 existing residents already receiving an original biologic drug are expected to transition to a biosimilar version by April 30, 2023. Exemptions will be considered for those who cannot use a biosimilar for a medical reason. The ministry estimates that the province will see annual savings of approximately $20 million when the transition has been completed. With more Canadian jurisdictions switching to biosimilars for cost relief, it is anticipated that private plans may also adopt similar initiatives that require plan members to switch to available biosimilars in an effort to sustain affordable plan costs while continuing to provide safe and effective medication options, says Eckler.

December 13, 2022

Canadians Lack Vacation Days

When it comes to taking time off of work, Canada ranks 43rd at just 10 paid vacation days over the course of the year, says research from Compare the Market. Just Mexico and the United States rank lower, with U.S. workers still not legally obligated to any paid holiday entitlement at all. Europe leads the way with all countries in the top 10 within the continent. Austria, Finland, France, and Spain all offer 30 days of paid vacation days, which is three times as much as Canadian workers are legally authorized. Luxembourg ranks as the country with the best work-life balance. Luxembourg citizens work an average of 1,382 hours per year and receive an average happiness score of 7.404. For dads with newborns, it offers paid paternal leave of 28 weeks.

December 13, 2022

Outlook Turns Negative

The outlook for the global asset management sector in 2023 is turning negative due to the weak economic and financial conditions that are expected to prevail in the year ahead, says. Moody’s Investors Service. This will weigh on industry assets, revenues, and earnings. It has lowered its outlook on the global asset management business to negative from stable, citing its expectation that the fundamental business and market conditions will remain weak over the next 12 to 18 months. “Industry assets under management (AuM) fell sharply in 2022 driven by significant market depreciation and net outflows,” it says. “Tightening financial conditions, slowing economic growth, and geopolitical shifts will keep market volatility elevated in 2023.” These conditions will make asset growth tough to find and the competition for assets will be increasingly intense.

December 13, 2022

CDPQ Acquires Akiem

SNCF, DWS and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) have concluded a transaction whereby CPDQ has acquired the entire capital of Akiem, a provider of locomotive leasing services in Europe, from SNCF Group and DWS. Akiem has a fleet of over 600 locomotives and 46 passenger trains and is a European leader in locomotive leasing and maintenance. It provides local expertise to over 80 customers operating in 21 countries. The company has the largest fleet on the contin