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February 17, 2021

COVID VACCINATION CAN BE REQUIRED

Employers can require employees to get COVID-19 tests or vaccines, says a McInnes Cooper ‘Legal Update: Labour & Employment.’ However, this can only happen when the vaccines are widely available to all Canadians and the employer must have a proper vaccination policy in place that contains a non-disciplinary and balanced response to, and options and alternatives for, employees who refuse. The COVID-19 vaccination isn’t yet widely available, so courts and arbitrators haven’t yet addressed this question. However, they are unlikely to uphold a workplace policy mandating employees obtain a vaccination as a condition for reporting to work if the outcome for the non-compliant employee is disciplinary, including loss of their job.

February 17, 2021

ROBUST REBOUND ANTICIPATED

AIMCo is anticipating a robust economic rebound in the next couple of years before growth rates settle back towards long-term trends. Its ‘2021 Long-Term Asset Class Forecast’ is based on an expectation of a robust economic rebound in the next couple of years, before growth rates settle back towards long-term trends. Such a recovery pattern will mean rising interest rates over the forecast horizon, which will reduce traditional fixed income product return. More opportunities will be present in growth-oriented fixed income assets such as private debt and loan, as well as private mortgages. For public equity assets, earnings growth will provide a tailwind as the economic recovery ensues. However, the elevated starting valuation multiples will offset this growth potential and dampen the long-term returns for equities. Illiquid assets, across the range of such products, are expected to rebound strongly over the next decade. This favourable prospect is a function of better income growth tied to the economic recovery, as well as a catch-up in valuations, from the current depressed levels towards where public markets are trading. Among the improvements in 2021 capital markets forecast is a new model for private mortgages to reflect the newly-adopted AIMCo client benchmark for this asset class.

February 17, 2021

ASSET RATIO TO GDP GROWS

Total assets in the 22 largest major retirement markets reached a record 80 per cent of GDP in 2020, up 11.2 percentage points for the year, says the Thinking Ahead Institute’s ‘Global Pension Assets Study.’ The rise in the ratio of retirement assets to average GDP was the largest year-on-year rise since the study began in 1998. The sharp rise also highlights the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many countries’ GDP, it says. The increase was even bigger for the seven largest retirement markets ‒ Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S. ‒ with assets accounting for 147 per cent of GDP, up from 127 per cent in 2019.

February 17, 2021

DRAMATIC INCREASE COMING FOR BLOCKCHAIN USE

Over the next three years, 50 per cent institutional investors and wealth managers believe there will be a ‘dramatic’ increase in the use of blockchain technology within the asset management sector and a further 44 per cent think there will be a slight increase, says a study from Global Palladium Fund (GPF). The main reason blockchain will become increasingly important for asset managers is the growing trend to provide more transparency around investments. As well, investors increasingly want more information on the investment vehicles they invest in and to meet growing regulatory demands. Just two per cent believe the main reason for the growing use by asset managers is to reduce costs. The findings reveal that 90 per cent of professional investors believe that over the next five years, investment management firms will come under growing pressure from clients to use blockchain technology to provide greater security and transparency around their work.

February 17, 2021

REAL ASSET ESG SERVICE LAUNCHED

R4 Advisors has been launched to deliver ESG (environment, social, and governance) investment advisory and consulting services for real assets. The collaboration is the brainchild of Tania Caceres, of Risk Nexus, and Catherine Ann Marshall, of RealAlts, whose firms work at the intersection of ESG investing strategies and real assets including real estate, infrastructure, and agriculture. R4 Advisors is based on the belief that real assets have an important role in fighting climate change while driving investment results. However, they know that real assets require a unique lens and set of skills to achieve their full potential as capital markets begin to focus on climate change opportunities and risks.

February 17, 2021

LIQUIDITY ADDRESSED

The ‘12th Annual Alternative Investment Outlook Forum,’ hosted by CAIA Vancouver, CFA Society Vancouver, and AIMA Canada, will address liquidity in illiquid investments as well as managing inherent liquidity risk from both Canadian and global regulatory perspectives. It also features a session on existing and em