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January 19, 2022

BENEFITS MUST BE PERSONALIZED

As a result of workers’ restlessness, organizations can’t afford to look at employee benefits in the same light as before, says the ‘HUB 2022 Employee Benefits Outlook.’ In essence, benefits plan sponsors will need to personalize benefits, using data analytics and competitor benchmarking to inform decision making. And because personalized benefits give workers a real connection with their benefits, it not only benefits them, but increases engagement with the job. This means wellbeing will help redefine benefits plans as the COVID-19 pandemic has made the workday longer. In fact, the average workday is about 49 minutes longer than it was before the pandemic with extra time the result of organizations being short-staffed and employees doing extra work just to keep the ship afloat. That’s created a vicious cycle with employees working longer hours due to labour shortages and, as a result, they are experiencing higher rates of burnout, leading to an erosion of their health and wellbeing and an increase in absenteeism, healthcare costs, and resignations. This means organizations should look at their benefits through the lens of employee wellbeing, it says. This view includes physical and mental health, financial wellness, career support, and other components which, if left unattended, threaten worker performance and engagement.

January 19, 2022

CANADIAN MOMENTUM DROPPING SOON

The strong growth rebound since the depth of the COVID-19 related economic crisis in 2020 may soon moderate in several major economies, say the latest OECD Composite leading indicators (CLIs). The CLIs, which are driven by factors such as order books, confidence indicators, building permits, long-term interest rates, and new car registrations are designed to anticipate fluctuations in economic activity over the next six to nine months. The OECD CLIs in November and December 2021 signaled the approach of a post-pandemic growth peak and the latest CLIs suggest that peak has now passed in several major economies. Among major OECD economies, a drop in momentum is visible in the latest CLIs for Canada, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Among major emerging market economies, the CLI for Russia continues to rise though signs of moderating growth have now emerged. The CLI for China (industrial sector) continues to point to a loss of momentum and has now dropped below its long-term trend. Persisting uncertainties from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, notably from the impact of the Omicron variant on recent monthly indicators, may result in higher than usual fluctuations in the CLI and its components, it says.

January 19, 2022

PLAN MEMBERS WANT SAVINGS ‘PENSION-IZED’

Workplace retirement plan participants throughout America are looking for more options, specifically those that generate retirement income for increased security, says Greenwald Research. Its first annual ‘In-Plan Insights Program’ found 85 per cent of plan participants wish their employer’s retirement plan had an option designed to generate a stream of income in retirement. As well, 79 per cent of sponsors and 63 per cent of participants agree that participants would be highly interested in an option that ‘pension-izes’ their savings. Plan participants strongly prefer guaranteed lifetime income (GLI) payments that start immediately upon retiring, with most unwilling to defer.

January 19, 2022

OMICRON EXTENDS SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS

The COVID-19 omicron variant will extend supply disruptions, keeping prices elevated for now, says an AllianceBernstein ‘Global Economic Outlook.’ This means fiscal policy is unlikely to provide a pro-growth impulse in most jurisdictions as inflation concerns predominate. As well, central bankers have pivoted toward tighter policy, moving in that direction until inflation eases. The secular backdrop is that long-term demographic trends remain unfavourable and populism is likely to impact policymaking. This means global growth, robust early in the year, is likely to decelerate as tighter fiscal and monetary policy bite later and inflation, elevated for the first part of the year, is likely to come off the boil in the second half of the year.

January 19, 2022

HEDGE FUNDS CONTINUE TO PERFORM WELL

Hedge funds continued to perform well at the close of 2021, says data from Preqin. The ‘2022 Global Hedge Fund Report’ reveals that returns across the asset class were up 11.43 per cent as of September 2021 and all top and sub strategies finished the year with positive results. Event-driven funds topped the leaderboard, recording returns of +17.53 per cent, ahead of equities at +14.85 per cent. Hedge funds assets under management (AUM) passed the $4 trillion mark at the end of the first quarter of 2021 and grew to $4.32 trillion by September. Strong inflows and a spirited performance drove an 8.1 per cent increase in AUM in 2021 relative to the end of 2020.

January 19, 2022

DIMAKARAKOS JOINS IMC

Peter D