Winning in a New Marketing Normal

What financial professionals need to know to achieve the biggest impact from their marketing spend. 

The vaccine roll-out now underway offers hope that we will soon return to some sense of normal. Just don’t count on the vaccine to save you from another Zoom meeting once the pandemic is behind us. The way we communicate with clients and partners might never be the same.

Developing creative ways to tell stories with digital tools is a great way for financial service providers to engage clients and create tighter partnerships, but many firms are just beginning to understand their full potential. Companies that use these tools most effectively will be clear winners.

Here are four areas of focus that will set you up for success.
 1. Go all in – and get creative – with your thought leadership

As our clients reduce spending on travel and entertainment, they are investing in their digital channels. One of the big opportunities? Thought leadership. The return on investment is more than worth the effort.

The research bears this out. A study by Edelman and LinkedIn found that almost half of decision-makers say thought leadership is influencing their purchasing decisions. Overall:  
– 48% of decision-makers spend an hour or more per week engaged with thought leadership
– 89% say thought leadership has enhanced their perceptions of an organization
– 15% of decision-makers rate the quality of the thought leadership they see as excellent
– 29% say they gain valuable insights more than half the time
ext. Takeaway: The most effective approach integrates the central themes from your thought leadership pieces into client emails and microsites, as well as conferences and client meetings. If you are already engaged in thought leadership, take the opportunity to analyze your approach to make sure your strategy will help you achieve your objectives.
2. Prioritize marketing efficiency

How you distribute your thought leadership can be just as important as the content itself. Your plan should outline how you are going to get your thought leadership in front of the right people. This is a critical step, especially now that we are all working in a world of fragmented engagement and tighter time pressures. 

While these challenges are making marketing more complex, your customer relationship management tool (“CRM”), if you have one, could provide a valuable solution. With the proper setup, you can get a deeper understanding of your clients to learn how best to engage them. Yet, this is an area where many companies still struggle.

Many Salesforce users believe data quality is low. In fact:
– 43% are not satisfied or are neutral with their Salesforce data quality
– 58% believe up to 80% of data is not useful/reliable
– 38% report duplicate/outdated/incorrect data *
Weak data quality can stem from a variety of issues. Firms tend to attribute it to a data-entry issue, but many major deficiencies can be traced back to poorly executed integrations. To make sure you get key insights into client profiles (i.e., you have high-quality data), ensure your integration is done right. CRM is a mindset and it needs to be integrated the right way.   

ext. Takeaway: The shifting structure of financial services firms and the sales and marketing teams within them is happening fast. While change can feel chaotic at times, financial services firms will benefit from strategic investments in their CRM.
3. Story-tell your way out of the crisis

Everyone loves a good story, but far too often, companies forget the importance of a strong narrative to help clients and prospects understand why a product, solution or platform should matter to them.

Starting with key messages and building a compelling narrative will go a long way to helping you tell a memorable story. Having a strong message is key to grabbing people’s attention. Doing so will help you emerge stronger and deepen your client loyalty.   

ext. Takeaway: Take extra time at the front end to get your key messaging right. A compelling and consistent story will help to amplify your message across all channels.
4. Diversity and inclusion matter more than ever

The financial services industry has always been at the forefront of important cultural changes, and diversity and inclusivity have certainly become top priorities for companies within our sector. There is an increasing amount of evidence pointing to gender and racial diversity as being important components of a company’s brand and reputation. A recent Edelman-study reinforces why this matters so much:
– 92% believe business must lead on positive societal change
– 69% say diversity on boards will build trust in companies (an increase of 14% over last year)
– 89% of institutional investors say shareholder activism will increase when the economy rebounds  

ext. Takeaway: Diversity and inclusion need to be approached with sensitivity and authenticity. They will strengthen your brand, increase engagement, and even enhance your performance.
Contact us today at or 1.844.243.1830 to see how we can maximize your marketing efforts in 2021. 

* Source:

Monday morning briefing: Steepening yield curve means steepening profits for banks

The first Bitcoin exchange traded fund (“ETF”) in North America, Purpose Bitcoin ETF, was launched last week. The ETF invests directly into Bitcoin and is available in Canadian, non-hedged units and U.S. dollar units. Needless to say, interest was extremely high, with US$145 million in shares of the ETF being exchanged in the first day.

Bitcoin has soared higher in 2021, largely in response to wider adoption, particularly among institutional investors. This will be a closely watched ETF, and it appears more offerings will be making their way to market in the near future. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is likely monitoring this launch and considering its own approval of a Bitcoin ETF in the U.S.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate rises to 1.0% in January: Canadian inflation ticks up but price pressures remain subdued

Retail sales in Canada decline by 3.4% in December: Retail sales fell 3.4% in December, marking biggest decline since April

U.S. retail sales post strong growth in January: Retail sales burst higher in January as consumers use stimulus checks to spend heavily

Fed minutes show the U.S. economy still requires easy monetary policy: Federal Reserve meeting minutes show support for ultra-low interest rates

Fund managers are bullish on the economic recovery: Bears are in hibernation in February: BofA survey

Reasons for hope

Another vaccine cleared for emergency use: AstraZeneca COVID vaccine cleared for emergency use by WHO

Canadian provinces to expand vaccination programs as more doses arrive: Provinces to boost vaccination efforts as Pfizer deliveries set to ramp up

In-person conferences in 2021 dependent on vaccine distribution: In-person conferences are coming back. Are advisors ready?

Adapting your business

Helping employees who may be struggling through pandemic fatigue: As pandemic fatigue sets in at work, employers try to help

Planning for any type of possible disruption is one of the keys to a company’s resiliency: The key to organizational resilience is planning ahead: Here’s why some organizations fared better than others during the pandemic

Maintain strong financial habits after the pandemic: 6 ways your clients can emerge better from the pandemic

Understanding how to communicate with ultra-high-net-worth families: How to market real estate investments to wealthy families

Chart of the week: Steepening yield curve means steepening profits for banks

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield continued to advance last week, and climbed above 1.3% for the first time since February 2020. The gain was the result of rising inflation expectations, and could put pressure on equity prices.

But not all equities will be negatively impacted. The climbing yield at the longer end of the curve, combined with low short-term interest rates, is causing a steepening of the yield curve and has benefited the performance of banks. In response, bank stocks on the S&P 500 Index have climbed more than 17% thus far in February.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds post positive performance in January: Hedge funds up 0.98 per cent in January, says Backstop BarclayHedge

Interest in ESG-related SPACs: Institutional demand buoys socially conscious SPACs

Will the carried-interest tax break come to an end?: Democrats target private equity, hedge fund tax break in bill

Goldman Sachs launches robo-advisor: Goldman unleashes digital investment platform for the masses

Many Americans were struggling even before the pandemic: Households were financially fragile before the pandemic: report

News and notes (Canada)

Further fiscal stimulus needs to be targeted: Further fiscal stimulus should target productivity, C.D. Howe says

Another Bitcoin ETF coming to market: Evolve set to launch its Bitcoin ETF

52% of Canadians won’t make an RRSP contribution this year: Half of Canadians skipping RRSP contributions in 2021: survey

Ontario to increase the small estate limit: Ontario raises small estate limit to $150,000

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Monday morning briefing: A new low for high yield

The NFL season wrapped up on February 7th, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl 55. While Super Bowl is always a widely watched event, viewership was down from 102 million in 2020 to 96.4 million this year. Lockdowns also limited viewers at restaurants and bars.

This year’s viewership of the Super Bowl was indicative of a larger trend in our current economy: it was the most livestreamed game ever, which further demonstrates the ongoing move by consumers from cable to streaming services.

Economic/industry news

U.S. inflation rate holds steady at 1.4% on a year-over-year basis: U.S. core consumer prices are unchanged, showing scant inflation

Why inflation should be a concern: Four more reasons to worry about U.S. inflation

Gross domestic product in the U.K. drops 9.9% in 2020: UK suffers worst annual slump since 1709

There is still a place for short selling: Not everyone thinks short selling is dead

Finding income through global dividend ETFs: What to look for in global dividend ETFs

Reasons for hope

Asthma drug may help treat COVID-19: AstraZeneca asthma drug cuts COVID hospitalizations in study

Canada to receive a large shipment of vaccine doses: Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Canada set to more than quadruple next week

Coming together to make a difference: Instead of staying home, American youth are answering the call to serve with Americorps

Adapting your business

How customer behaviours have changed in response to the pandemic: How the pandemic has impacted customer expectations

What advisors should expect from insurtech: Delivering value from fintech 

Advisor fees rose in 2020: Fee compression? Kitces finds most advisor fees rose in 2020

Chart of the week: A new low for high yield

The average yield of U.S. high yield bonds fell below 4%, as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Bond Index, for the first time ever last week.

Investors’ search for higher yield, and willingness to take on more risk, could put additional downward pressure on junk bond yields. Low yields may also entice new companies to enter the market, or current issuers to look at selling more debt to take advantage of lower interest rates. How low can yields go? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Interest in blockchain surging again: Bitcoin bull market is fueling another boom in blockchain startup deals

Hedge funds returned 0.92% in January, according to HFR: Here’s how hedge funds fared in January’s trading frenzy

A new course to understand social security: Advisors have avenue for social security training

Interview with Jean Hynes, the incoming CEO of Wellington: Wellington’s next CEO sees active management regaining clout

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: February 10 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Allianz takes position in Purpose Financial: Germany’s Allianz takes $53.5M stake in Som Seif’s Purpose Financial

The Toronto real estate market is expected to remain robust in 2021: TRREB forecasts strong demand for real estate in 2021

Understanding the tax consequences of pandemic relief benefits: Proactive tax planning for 2021

Helping self-employed Canadians who received CERB in error: Ottawa scraps demand that some CERB recipients repay funds

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Monday morning briefing: Unemployment rising

The Canadian government announced an agreement with Novavax Inc. to start production of its COVID-19 vaccine at a facility in Montreal. That production, however, is not expected to begin until later this year, with Novavax still completing clinical trials and its production facility in Montreal still being built.

Economic/industry news

The U.S. unemployment rate falls to 6.3% in January: US economy adds 49,000 jobs in January – a grim sign for the jobs recovery

Canada’s unemployment rate increases to 9.4% in January: Canada loses 213,000 jobs in January, unemployment rate jumps to 9.4%

The European economy contracts in Q4: Euro zone economy contracted by 6.8% in 2020 on COVID lockdown shock

Unpacking the GameStop story: How GameStop and an army of Reddit traders exposed the riskiest market in decades

Viewing the recovery differently: Policymakers can’t just use GDP to chart recovery: Frances Donald

ESG and alternative investments missing from retirement plans: Few retirement plans offer alts in target date funds: Study

Reasons for hope

Date night: Nurses create dinner date for “inseparable” couple battling COVID-19 in separate hospital units

Bringing production to Montreal: With Novavax deal, Canada could be producing COVID-19 vaccine domestically by the fall

Trying to safely reopen workplaces: Air Canada, Rogers and Suncor part of consortium piloting rapid COVID-19 testing

Adapting your business

People looking for help to meet their financial goals: COVID driving Americans to save more, seek financial advice

Working from home is contributing to more older Americans staying at their jobs longer: More older Americans stay on the job. Working from home helps

Andy Jassy will become the new CEO of Amazon: Why Andy Jassy’s appointment signals that cloud, not e-commerce, is Amazon’s future

Chart of the week: Unemployment rising

After rising for seven straight months following the initial lockdowns introduced last spring, the Canadian economy lost jobs for a second consecutive month. It was down 213,000 jobs in January and 53,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate rose markedly, from 8.8% to 9.4%. New lockdowns spurred on by rising COVID-19 cases resulted in a large number of job losses across services industries. What impact will the rise in unemployment have on the economy? Spending and real estate are two areas that could be impacted. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Where Dixon Boardman is finding opportunities for hedge funds in 2021: “Hedge funds are back”: Veteran investor Dixon Boardman sees “compelling opportunities” across three key strategy areas

Fink believes we are moving toward customized indexes that align with values: BlackRock’s Fink: ‘Tectonic shift’ in passive investing is coming

The rising popularity of continuation funds: Continuation funds: How GPs are holding on for longer

Investors are looking for more ESG options in private equity: The pressure is on private equity to take ESG seriously

Fidelity launches four new active ETFs: Fidelity to launch Magellan ETF, 3 more active funds this week

News and notes (Canada)

Dynamic launches new liquid alternative fund: Dynamic adds income-focused alt fund to shelf

Some businesses thrived in 2020: 2020 not the worst year for all businesses, survey finds

New course to teach reps about alternative mutual funds: IFSE Institute launches new qualifying course for alt funds

Equity ETFs attract the most flows in January: ETF sales start the year strong

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Monday morning briefing: GameStop starts a controversy

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced U.S. gross domestic product expanded 4.0%, annualized, over the fourth quarter of 2020. This was the second consecutive quarterly expansion after falling in the second quarter. But the news was not all good. Growth in consumer spending slowed in the fourth quarter, which was concerning for economists who were expecting consumer spending to be a key driver of the recovery.

Economic/industry news

U.S. Federal Reserve Board holds target range steady at 0.00% to 0.25%: Federal Reserve leaves interest rates and asset purchases unchanged, sees growth slowing

The U.S. economy shrinks over 2020: U.S. economy shrank 3.5% in 2020

Canada’s economy expands more than expected in November: Statistics Canada says economy grew 0.7% in November

The changing portfolio: Traditional portfolios won’t cut it anymore, endowments and foundations say

Reasons for optimism in 2021: What’s ahead for the markets in 2021?

Calling on companies to reduce climate-risk exposure: BlackRock raises the temperature on climate risk

Reasons for hope

Positive results from Novavax’s phase-three trials: Novavax says COVID vaccine is more than 89% effective

Many Americans are saving more and spending less: Pandemic has led to better financial habits, KeyBank finds

Bringing people good news stories: Winnipeg woman focused on spreading good news during pandemic

Adapting your business

Choosing the right successor can help your company last well into the future: Choosing a successor: 5 lessons learned in our own succession planning process

The benefits of using an advisor: 12 reasons investors need living, breathing advisors

Bringing together scale and voice: How to create massive awareness and meaningful connection

Chart of the week: GameStop starts a controversy

It was a wild ride for many retail stocks last week, particularly GameStop Corp., which was at the centre of a battle between retail day traders and institutional short-sellers.

A Reddit chat room for day traders initiated interest in GameStop, and these day traders began taking long positions in the company. A subsequent rally pushed the market capitalization of GameStop to the top half of all companies listed on the S&P 500 Index. The rally also forced many short sellers to exit their positions with substantial losses. Trading platforms, like Robinhood and others, temporarily halted trading in GameStop, which raised the ire of some U.S. government officials. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the top-performing hedge funds last year: These are the world’s top-performing hedge funds of 2020 

SPAC’s are wasting no time finding companies: SPAC glut powers exit spree for PE- and VC-backed companies

Helping advisors build ESG portfolios: Fidelity introduces tech to help advisors offer ESG strategies

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: January 26 edition

News and notes (Canada)

CI purchases another large RIA: CI Financial buying $23B Chicago RIA

Fidelity launches new ETFs: Fidelity launches balanced ETFs

Charitable giving dropped in 2020: More than a quarter of charities received no donations last year, RBC says

Rental vacancies increased last year: CMHC: Rental vacancies, prices edged up as COVID-19 spread across Canada

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Monday morning briefing: Business activity pulls back

On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the United States. The new President is focused on getting a US$1.9 trillion stimulus proposal passed, and also put a full stop to the XL Keystone Pipeline. A familiar face in Washington, Janet Yellen, the former Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, gave her testimony in front of the Senate Finance Committee, looking to secure her spot as the next U.S. Treasury Secretary.

In Canada, the continued spread of COVID-19 lead to a new round of lockdowns and economic uncertainty, while the aforementioned stop to the XL Keystone Pipeline resulted in the immediate loss of approximately 1,000 jobs in Alberta.

Economic/industry news

The BoC holds its central interest rate steady at 0.25%: Bank of Canada holds rates amid optimism for vaccine rebound

The ECB maintains its key rate at 0.00%: Lagarde says pandemic still ‘poses serious risks’ and the ECB stands ready to act

Many opportunities for distressed debt investing: A twist in style: How distressed and bankruptcy investing is different this time

Which sectors could benefit from the new President?: These are the sectors to watch with Biden as President

Five factors to consider for your 2021 investment plan: 5 considerations for 2021 investment strategy

Reasons for hope

Protecting against the new COVID-19 variant: Pfizer-BioNTech shot likely to foil mutant, new study shows

Washington State teams with industry heavyweights: Washington state announces partnership with companies including Starbucks and Microsoft to boost vaccinations

Tips to make it through a potentially difficult winter: 10 winter wellness tips from Parsley Health founder Dr. Robin Berzin: How to beat burnout and boost immunity

Adapting your business

How small businesses can access funding and thrive through the pandemic: Steve Case’s pandemic playbook for 2021

Some tips to help your business meet its ESG goals: How to keep sustainability at the forefront of decision-making

Helping companies with their climate-related disclosures: New software aims to enhance TCFD disclosure

Don’t count out your friends: Why friends want to do business with you

Using technology to meet customer expectations: Why digital disruption matters for your practice

Chart of the week: Business activity pulls back

Preliminary data for the month of January is showing a pullback in business activity across major economies around the world. U.K. business activity dropped into contraction territory in response to a sharp fall in that country’s services sector. While business activity in Europe and Japan fell further into contraction, U.S. business activity improved over the month.

Globally, business activity, however, appears to be waning as a result of new lockdown measures, which is raising the prospect of another drop in economic growth during the first quarter of 2021. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Higher valuations driving investors into hedge funds: Hedge fund inflows surge amid equity valuation concerns, JPMorgan says

2020 was a record-breaking year for VC: Venture capital’s best year ever

Understanding 2020 ETF launches: 2020 ETF launches looked very different

Fidelity reduces minimum investment on their Freedom Index Funds: Fidelity takes on Vanguard in TDF space, matching its lower minimums

News and notes (Canada)

Canadians recognize the benefits of working with advisors: Poll finds growing satisfaction with financial advice

The income gap has widened further as a result of COVID-19: Income gap widening dramatically: report

Ed Devlin launches investment firm: PIMCO’s Devlin launches his own fund, with eye on private debt

iA Securities and HollisWealth are merging into a new brand: iA Financial launches iA Private Wealth brand

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Monday morning briefing: U.S. economy on lockdown

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond finished last week at 1.14%, up from 0.91% at the beginning of the year and surpassing 1.00% for the first time since March of 2020. Expectations for higher inflation, more fiscal stimulus and better economic conditions contributed to the rise. While there are reasons to believe the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield could move even higher, strong demand for long-term Treasuries at auction last week and continued purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board could limit further increase.

Economic/industry news

U.S. inflation rate rises to 1.4% in December: Consumer inflation surges in December on higher gas prices, CPI finds

Initial jobless claims higher than expected: Jobless claims surge to highest weekly total since August

U.S. retail sales decline in December: U.S. retail sales fall again in December

Leon Cooperman’s top recommendations: Wall Street billionaire Leon Cooperman warns market is ‘not going to end well’ – but he still likes these 5 investments

Some personal financial themes for 2021: Forbes Advisor U.S. outlook 2021

What may be in store for ETFs in 2021: ETF trends for 2021

Reasons for hope

Positive results for J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine: J&J’s one-shot COVID vaccine is safe and generates promising immune response in early trial

Purchasing more doses of vaccine to speed up distribution: Feds secure extra 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses

From theme park to distribution centre: Disneyland Resort to become COVID-19 vaccination ‘super’ site

Adapting your business

People want empathetic leaders: The future of business leadership: Old-school micromanagers need not apply

Keep building your prospect pool: 10 easy ways to refill your prospect pool in 2021

Ideas to improve your business in 2021: Three things you can do to get better business results this year

Avoid these integration mistakes: Top 5 mistakes buyers make when integrating acquisitions

Chart of the week: U.K. economy on lockdown

Gross domestic product in the U.K. contracted in November for the first time since April. The decrease was in response to new lockdown restrictions that impacted the services sector, including retail trade, as well as the accommodation and food industries. As lockdowns carried on for much of November and December, the U.K.’s fourth quarter economic growth could be negative. As new restrictions were implemented early in 2021, the U.K. economy could be facing its second recession since the beginning of 2020. Policymakers are hoping a pandemic support plan and vaccine distribution will help the economy avoid a double-dip recession. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Activism slows in 2020: Investor activism was down overall in 2020, but big companies faced scrutiny

Private equity mixed in 2020: Private equity in 2020: Not as bad as you thought

Many Americans fall short of retirement saving needs: American retirees have just 39% of recommended savings: Study

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: January 12 edition

News and notes (Canada)

A new private investment product for HNW clients: CI launches new private markets product for HNW clients

Canadian debt underwriting reaches a record in 2020: A record year for Canadian securities issuance

CFIB believes more business may fail as Ontario ramps up further lockdown restrictions: More ‘zombie businesses,’ failures ahead in Ontario lockdowns: CFIB

The Conference Board of Canada expects Canada’s GDP to expand 5.3% in 2021: Will consumer confidence bounce back?

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Monday morning briefing: U.S. job market is stressed

Canada’s two largest housing markets, Toronto and Vancouver, reported year-over-year sales and average price increases in December. In Toronto, home sales rose 65% in December 2020 (over December 2019), while the average price of homes advanced 11% (to $932,222, all prices in C$), according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported home sales increased 53% year-over-year in December, while the average price of a home rose to over $1 million.

Ultra-low mortgage rates and the work-from-home trend contributed to strong demand. Although real estate demand in these markets has been rising, high unemployment and subdued income data could limit this demand going forward.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s unemployment rate 8.6% in December: Canada’s labour market loses jobs for first time since April

U.S. economy loses 140,000 jobs in December: Economy sees job loss in December for the first time since April as surging virus takes toll

Investment banking posts record fees in 2020: Unprecedented year sets records for investment bankers

From hedge fund to ETF: A tiny hedge fund just made history by turning into an ETF

Alternatives in target-date funds?: The case for alternative investments in target date funds

Sectoral GDP will indicate the progress of the recovery: The ‘must-watch’ economic data point for 2021

Reasons for hope

The EU approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna’s COVID vaccine wins backing of European Union panel

Protecting cats from COVID-19: Inside the two biotech companies working together on a COVID-19 vaccine for cats

Bringing the holiday magic to students: Preschool director with big heart drives for Uber to ensure kids get holiday gifts – so community rallies to buy her a car

Adapting your business

Finding comfort in candy: Why the century-old family business behind Dum-Dum Lollipops is thriving in 2020

How leaders can support their teams in 2021: What will business leadership look like this year?

It may be time for advisors to consider sustainable investing: Will 2021 be the year advisors embrace sustainable investing?

Chart of the week: U.S. job market is stressed

While the U.S. labour market improved over the second half of 2020, new challenges to the labour market arose in December. The U.S. lost 140,000 jobs during the month in response to rising COVID-19 cases and new lockdown restrictions. The monthly drop in jobs signals that the labour market recovery will be somewhat uneven, as many economists had expected. How much further deterioration will occur if COVID-19 cases continue to rise and lockdowns remain? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Family offices want to increase their hedge fund allocations: World’s super-rich families want more hedge funds, survey finds

Potential trends for the hedge fund industry: Top hedge fund industry trends for 2021

The top deals from 2020: The top 10 VC and PE deals of 2020

Bankruptcies at their highest level since the financial crisis: Pandemic spurs most bankruptcy filings since 2009

Another try for a Bitcoin ETF: SkyBridge Capital launches Bitcoin Fund; VanEck tries again for a Bitcoin ETF

Why Ed Hyman is so successful, year after year: The unbeatable Ed Hyman

News and notes (Canada)

Why 2021 could be a strong year for the Canadian investment industry: Letter: Investment industry well-positioned for the post-COVID recovery

Could Magna help Apple build cars?: A US$21-billion wager on a Canadian company that could build the Apple car

Hootsuite acquires leading SaaS provider: Hootsuite acquires leading digital customer engagement platform, Sparkcentral BMO expects the Canadian economy to grow by 5% in 2021: Canadian economy poised for strong growth: BMO

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Monday morning briefing: U.S. equities unbound

Check off another record for the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time. A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card of sold for US$1.29 million at auction, which was the highest amount paid for a hockey card in history. For comparison, the same card sold for US$465,000 in 2016.

The sale highlights a relatively strong year for some alternative investments, like hockey cards and art, despite the pandemic. According to the All Arts Index from, the art market advanced 5.5% from January to July 2020, which was stronger than many other asset classes over that same period. The gains in art and hockey cards show that quality investments may also be found outside of traditional securities markets.

Economic/industry news

The U.K. and EU reach a trade agreement: U.K. clinches historic post-Brexit trade agreement with EU

Why investors should be considering alternatives: Top alternative investment trends for 2021

Credit funds get a boost from the Fed: How the Fed saved credit funds

Structural changes in the commercial real estate market: Two commercial real estate trends for 2021

Forbes’ favourite stories of 2020: Forbes favourite 2020: The year’s best finance & investing stories

Reasons for hope

Potential vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over 70% effective: AstraZeneca claims to have the ‘winning formula’ for its vaccine

Making it through the winter: COVID-19: Five ways to stay positive through the winter

Securing COVID-19 vaccines: Locked rooms, tracking devices and bulletproof glass: How pharmacies are securing COVID-19 vaccines

Adapting your business

It all starts with a plan … and a strategy: Marketing: Why you need both a plan and a strategy

Financial institutions should benefit from digitalization: Digitalization a credit positive for financial firms: Fitch 

Expanded use of technology a top trend for 2021: Top RIA trends in 2021: Joel Bruckenstein

How the pandemic may have shifted spending habits: How COVID-19 has transformed consumer spending habits

Chart of the week

What a year 2020 was for U.S. equities. After climbing to record highs in February, in part in response to a phase-one trade agreement signed between the U.S. and China, the S&P 500 Index tumbled into bear market territory as COVID-19 spread around the world, leading to widespread lockdowns. But that was not the end of the story. Optimism toward technology stocks took hold and drove the performance of the index for the remainder of the year, culminating in the S&P 500 reaching a record high in December.

It was a wild ride for investors in 2020 and, given continued uncertainty, 2021 could be another interesting year. Will another sector drive performance? Will value lead in the coming year? Are U.S. equities overvalued? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

SPAC boom may continue in 2021: No end in sight for blank-check firms after year of the SPAC

Hedge funds post positive inflows in October: Hedge funds reverse course in October with USD5.2bn in inflows

Advisors can now use testimonials and endorsements: SEC’s overhaul of advisor advertising rule allows testimonials

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past year: Mutual funds scorecard: 2020 annual edition

News and notes (Canada)

Attractive opportunities in private assets could persist in 2021: CPPIB sees ‘wall of money’ chasing private deals in frothy times

Percentage of debt-free households in Canada declines: Canadian net worth growth slows while debt builds

Mutual funds post strong net sales in November: Mutual fund sales outpace ETFs in November

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Monday morning briefing: The greenback backs down

It is finally here! The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada last week. Governments are working diligently to distribute the vaccine and ensure the most vulnerable get it first. A return to normal, both in life and in business, seems like it might now be in sight.

Economic challenges may persist well into 2021, as many countries continue to grapple with a high number of cases, and the distribution of the vaccine may take some time. Still, expectations are growing that there may be a full economic recovery next year. As the year 2020 comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge all of the front-line heroes – nurses, doctors, grocery store clerks, among others – who gave everything of themselves to take care of us. We thank you all!

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate was 1.0% in November: Inflation accelerates in Canada to fastest since pandemic hit

The Fed holds its federal funds rate steady: Fed holds rates near zero but expects economy to improve in 2021

U.S. retail sales fall in November: U.S. retail sales decline further as COVID, lack of additional fiscal stimulus weigh

Canadian retail sales rise in October: Retail sales rise 0.4% to $54.6 billion in October

The Canadian economy may fully recover in 2021: Economy set to recover slowly in 2021

Some possible trends for 2021: What can possibly go wrong? Trends for 2021

The outlook for global credit in 2021: Outlook 2021: Global credit

Reasons for hope

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford find success in COVID-19 vaccine trials: ‘Watershed moment’: First COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Canada, kicking off massive campaign

FDA to approve Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine: U.S. FDA plans to quickly approve Moderna coronavirus vaccine after panel endorsement

Stepping up to help restaurant workers: Guy Fieri praised after raising over $21.5M for restaurant workers

Adapting your business

The importance of human capital: Five lessons from the pandemic light a path forward to the future of work

18 ways to think about money: What does money mean to your client?

How fintech can help advisors: Top 3 practice management challenges

Chart of the week: The Greenback backs down

The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level since early 2018 versus a number of other major currencies last week, according to the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY Index). The decline came as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board holding its policy rate steady, along with the U.S. government working toward a new stimulus package. Since its 2020 high on March 20, the U.S. dollar has dropped 12%.

Going forward, these same factors could challenge the greenback. Could the U.S. dollar experience more downward pressure in 2021? Let us know what you think. Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted a strong performance in November: Hedge funds up 5.54 per cent in November, says Backstop BarclayHedge

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund reached US$1 trillion in assets: Vanguard makes history with the first US$1 trillion equity fund

Warehouse space attracting top PE firms: Why Blackstone and other private equity giants are gobbling up warehouses

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board joins the Network for Greening the Financial System: Federal Reserve becomes last major central bank to join climate group

News and notes (Canada)

CI launches Bitcoin fund: Canada’s CI Financial completes US$72M IPO of Bitcoin fund

Borrowell to purchase Refresh Financial: Borrowell to acquire Refresh Financial to help more Canadians gain access to affordable credit

COVID-19 has pushed interest in ESG higher: Pandemic accelerates ESG, investment and tech trends

Cash is king in TFSA accounts: Cash is Canadians’ primary TFSA investment: BMO survey

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Monday morning briefing: 30,000 reasons to love the Dow

Canada’s economy expanded 40.5%, annualized, over the third quarter of 2020. This was a record expansion that followed a record 38.1% drop in the second quarter. While gross domestic product is within about 5% of its pre-pandemic level, making up that 5% difference might be difficult and could take some time. With COVID-19 cases rising and new restrictions across the country, Canada’s economic growth slowed to 0.8% in September, down from 0.9% growth in the previous month. Statistics Canada projected an even weaker growth rate of 0.2% in October.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s GDP expanded 40.5%, annualized, in Q3: Canada’s record expansion meets reality of second COVID wave

The U.S. labour market could take years to recover: It could take 4 years to recover the 22 million jobs lost during COVID-19 pandemic, Moody’s warns

What the President-elect’s economic team may look like: Biden tapping Wall Streeters for economic team: reports

S&P Global purchases IHS Markit: S&P Global buys IHS Markit in $44B deal joining data companies

Reasons for hope

Pfizer and BioNTech hoping to get EU approval on potential vaccine: Pfizer, BioNTech apply for COVID vaccine approval in Europe

U.K. approves Pfizer vaccine: U.K. clears Pfizer COVID shot for first vaccinations next week

How to travel safely during the pandemic: 7 ways to reduce some COVID-19-related travel risk

Adapting your business

The workplace impact of Salesforce’s purchase of Slack: What Salesforce’s $27.7 billion acquisition of slack means for the workplace

Tony Hsieh’s secret to success: Zappos chief Tony Hsieh discovered the formula for attracting fiercely loyal customers

People are looking for advisors online: Advisors need to get personal in their digital efforts to compete

Financial advisors need to avoid these mistakes: Top 14 mistakes made by financial advisors

Financial firms are being cautious in returning to the office: Investment firms cautious on reopening plans, notification procedures

Chart of the week: 30,000 reasons to love the Dow

Not only did the Dow Jones Industrial Average close above 30,000 points for the first time ever in November, but it also posted its best month since 1987 – with a return of 12%. The Dow benefited from expectations that a COVID-19 vaccine will be deployed in the near future.

Leading the charge were companies expected to do well as the economy recovers. These companies included The Boeing Co., American Express Co. and Chevron Corp. While the S&P 500 Index and NASDAQ Composite Index reached record prices over the previous few months, it was finally the Dow’s time to shine. As we appear to be getting closer to a vaccine, the Dow may further demonstrate its strength in the months to come.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Blackstone has agreed to purchase DCI: Blackstone puts a quantitative spin on its credit business

Late-stage deals have attracted the bulk of U.S. deal value in 2020: Top valuation step-ups of 2020 dominated by fintech, lockdown-friendly names

Private equity becoming mindful of ESG: How ESG is sweeping private equity alongside hedge funds

Some tax tips you need to know for year-end: 10 tax tips to take advantage of by year-end

News and notes (Canada)

Mackenzie to purchase an environmental investment firm: Mackenzie Financial to acquire Greenchip

Things to consider when purchasing a property: How should your clients own real estate properties?

The number of women on Canadian boards is rising: Women on boards jump 30% in last six years

TD launches ESG ETFs: TD Asset Management launches three ESG Exchange-Traded Funds – helping clients align their investments with their values Tax rules for employee stock options are changing: Employee stock option changes to take effect July 1

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Monday morning briefing: Services sector slipping

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely changed the way we live. And it will, no doubt, impact the scariest night of the year, Halloween, which will likely look a lot different this year as a result of social distancing and fears of the virus. Not only will it affect children, it will also impact adults, who often hold Halloween parties. It also means the usual pick-up in Halloween sales for retailers may not be as robust as in past years.

Sales of candy, along with costumes for Darth Vader, Princesses and Spiderman, will be down. Market researcher Numerator found that 48% fewer households will be handing out candy this year in the U.S. Lower sales will also impact the manufacturers of candy products, along with costume manufacturers. The expected drop in Halloween sales will negatively impact businesses, up and down the supply chain.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate was 0.5% in September: Inflation ticks up but price pressures stay muted in Canada

Canadian retail sales increased 0.4% in August: Retail sales slow in Canada after strong run peters out

No decision by the Fed on issuing a digital currency: Powell says Fed has made no final call on digital currency

Strict redemption policies could be good for the entire market: When hedge funds lock up investor money, the whole market benefits

Pension plans feeling the pressure from the pandemic: Pandemic puts pressure on global pensions

Reasons for hope

Remdesivir gets approval as a COVID-19 treatment from the FDA: FDA approves Gilead’s remdesivir as coronavirus treatment

Onto the final stage of COVID-19 trials: Moderna gets 30,000 patients for final stage of vaccine trial

Improving the face mask: There’s finally a face mask that delivers equal parts protection and breathability

How to help lonely seniors: Help is here for lonely and isolated seniors

Adapting your business

The keys to the turnaround at Airbnb: 3 important lessons from Airbnb’s pandemic pivot

Combining banking, lending and investing: Financial services must be frictionless to truly serve future clients

Overcoming the challenges of business development amid the pandemic: Developing new clients remotely

Overcoming the fear of becoming an entrepreneur: 7 obstacles that prevent people from starting businesses (and how to overcome them)

Chart of the week: Services sector slipping

The European services sector weakened in October, according to a preliminary estimate from IHS Markit. This marked the second straight month the sector contracted. Coming out of the lockdowns, the services sector had surged higher, but a second wave of COVID-19 cases, and more restrictions in response, has put pressure on the sector.

Of notable concern was a significant drop in expectations for business conditions over the next 12 months. While the manufacturing sector continues to expand at a robust pace, the services sector could dampen the recovery in Europe. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted positive inflows in August: Hedge funds add USD5.6bn in August

Hedge funds’ top go-to research firms: The world shut down. This is who hedge funds called.

A look at the richest self-made women in the U.S.: America’s richest self-made women

Those participating in their companies’ stock plan also save more in 401(k) plans: Fidelity: Participants in both 401(k)s, stock plans save more for retirement

News and notes (Canada)

Fidelity enters liquid alt market: Fidelity Investments releases four new funds

Brookfield invests in U.S. annuities firm: Brookfield Asset Management to buy stake in U.S. annuity firm

Sun Life purchases 51% of U.S. alternative credit firm: Sun Life buys majority stake in Attanasio’s Crescent Capital

Cyber attacks are on the rise in 2020: Cyber attacks becoming a fact of life

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Monday morning briefing: Vehicle sales making a comeback

Ext. is honoured to be recognized as one of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies by Canadian Business magazine. A little over a decade ago, we set out to create a marketing agency that could move in lockstep with financial services clients by becoming an extension of their team. It’s a promise that continues to resonate with our clients who increasingly trust us with more of their communication needs and solidified our reputation as the leading financial services marketing firm.

Today, we have offices in New York and Toronto to support our growing roster of clients ranging from start-up and fintech firms to many of the world’s largest banks, insurers and asset managers. We could not have accomplished our growth without the hard work and dedication of our exceptionally talented writers, designers and account managers.

Jillian Bannister, Co-Founder and CEO

Richard Heft, Co-Founder and President

Economic/industry news

The U.S. inflation rate was 1.4% in September: Inflation rate slows to 0.2% in September

U.S. retail sales posted strong growth in September: U.S. retail sales climb most since June, topping estimates

Growth of existing home sales slowed in September: Growth in Canadian home sales slows amid record-tight supply

BlackRock recommends more alternative investments for portfolios: Here’s how advisors should position portfolios now: BlackRock

What may be in store for the retail industry: The future of retail

Reasons for hope

Pharma companies continue their late-stage clinical trials: Pfizer, BioNTech COVID vaccine trial remains on track, CEO says 

Halloween may still be a go, but safety rules must be followed: COVID-19 won’t scare off trick-or-treaters if safety rules followed: Health officers

Some skills employers are looking for: Making sure you always have a job

Entrepreneurship surging amid the pandemic: COVID recession spawning entrepreneurs in U.S. amid joblessness

Adapting your business

Finding and closing high-earners: High-earning prospects are easier to find than you think

How to test your crisis management plan: 3 ways to ensure your crisis management and communication plans will work

The challenges of getting advisors back to the office: Advisors struggle to reopen offices

The pandemic has created many lessons for entrepreneurs: 4 crisis-proofing lessons for small-business owners

Chart of the week: Vehicle sales making a comeback

In Canada, new motor vehicle sales were 172,000 in the month of August. This marked the fourth straight month of gains following the substantial fall that occurred earlier in the COVID-19 outbreak. Sales have been helped by concern about public transit, along with continued pent-up demand.

Vehicle sales are still down, however, compared to 2019. The year-over-year decline is not surprising given the financial uncertainty that households now face. COVID-19 may also be accelerating a secular trend of lower automotive sales, which is supported by a rising interest in bicycles and the ongoing success of Uber. Is this a short-term blip or a long-term trend? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted a small decline in September: Hedge fund industry down 0.65 per cent in September, says Backstop BarclayHedge

Interest in venture capital funds strong in 2020: Venture capital funds on track for record fundraising year

Savings rising, but so are health care costs: Americans saving more during pandemic, but sweating health-care costs

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: October 13 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Wealthsimple reaches a $1 billion valuation: Wealthsimple hits unicorn status with $114-million financing round

More money being spent online: Canadians spend more money and time online during COVID pandemic: StatCan

Should there be more urgency for central banks to create a digital currency?: BoC deputy: Pandemic means central banks must ‘move faster’ on digital currency plans

Gender diversification on boards: ISS to boost Canadian board diversity benchmarks

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Tuesday morning briefing: Deferrals pushing down insolvencies

Equity markets have been somewhat volatile in recent weeks, with the main driver of this volatility the ongoing stimulus talks in the U.S. From discussions to halted negotiations to a piecemeal solution, and then back to a potentially full stimulus package, uncertainty has gripped investors. Among economists, the only certainty appears to be the necessity for further stimulus, which may help boost the world’s largest economy.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board reiterated its belief that more stimulus is absolutely necessary to support the recovery. Meanwhile, initial jobless claims were higher than expected, signaling a slower recovery in the labour market. This may put more pressure on the government to put a spending package together, sooner rather than later. While investors monitor progress on a new package, financial markets could experience even more volatility.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 9.0% in September: Canadian job gains unexpectedly accelerate in September

The global recovery may be longer than expected: Global economy’s recovery from pandemic seen extending past 2021

More government support needed: Powell warns of weak U.S. recovery without enough government aid

Why everyone needs to consider liquidity risk: Have you thought about liquidity risk lately?

Looking to alternatives for diversification: What’s driving multi-asset funds into alternatives

The importance of staying invested: Nearly half of investors sold stock in March; most now regret it: Survey

A look at the performance of value stocks: Is value investing still relevant in a volatile market?

Reasons for hope

Canadian government purchases rapid antigen tests: First antigen rapid test for COVID-19 gets Canadian approval

WHO believes we could have a vaccine by the end of this year: WHO boss: ‘By end of this year, we may have a vaccine’

How pandemic helped this business grow: This company’s cooling chip became an essential tool during the coronavirus pandemic

Adapting your business  

How Pershing has responded to the pandemic: Pershing CEO: ‘Pandemic forced us to rethink everything’

Some helpful tips to beat Zoom fatigue: Beat Zoom fatigue with these 6 tips

The line between home and work life have blurred: Microsoft CEO says remote work can feel like ‘sleeping at work’

Chart of the week: Deferrals pushing down insolvencies

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, personal insolvencies, including bankruptcies and consumer proposals, were down 2.4% in August. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, personal insolvencies have dropped markedly, largely in response to mortgage and other credit product deferrals, which have helped ease the burden on highly leveraged households.

With some government benefits scaled back, unemployment still high and deferrals ending, however, we might start to see a rise in personal insolvencies. In a speech last week, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem indicated the central bank is closely monitoring household debt levels, particularly with historically low interest rates. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.) 

Not all hedge funds on board with potential new disclosure rules: Hedge funds skeptical of SEC plan to let firms conceal stocks

Reputation matters for activist investors: Peltz, Ackman, Icahn: How their ‘hostile’ reputations really work

The EU removes the Cayman Islands from its tax-haven blacklist: Hedge fund industry welcomes removal of Cayman from EU tax ‘blacklist’

Charles Schwab completes acquisition of TD Ameritrade: Schwab: $26B TD Ameritrade deal is done

News and notes (Canada)  

Franklin Templeton launches new ETF: Franklin Templeton launches growth ETF

Trade between Canada and China on the rise: Trade between Canada and China reaches record levels

Equity ETFs posted net outflows in September: Flows into ETFs cool to $1.1B in September

A look at why advisors aren’t including ETFs in their portfolios: Why aren’t advisors using ETFs in their portfolios?

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Monday morning briefing: Job cuts rising in the U.S.

All across Canada, cases of COVID-19 have increased and given rise to concerns about a second wave. Quebec is shutting down restaurants, cinemas, bars and museums for 28 days in an attempt to contain the spread.

Active cases in the province have increased to approximately 5,000, almost double the amount at the beginning of August. Meanwhile, the government of Ontario is considering restrictions as new cases climb. Canada’s gross domestic product is now within 6% of pre-pandemic levels after rising 3% in July, but increasing COVID-19 cases and new restrictions could hinder the recovery.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s economy expanded 3% in July: Statistics Canada says economy grew 3% in July

U.S. gross domestic product dropped 31.4% in the second quarter: U.S. economy plunges 31.4% in the second quarter but a big rebound is expected

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.9% in September: U.S. employment growth slows in September; unemployment rate drops to 7.9%

A potential second wave is making investors nervous: Rising COVID-19 cases “unnerving investors,” report says

The dangers of panicking: The price of panic

Alternatives helped reduce risk: How to look at alternatives in the middle of market volatility?

Reasons for hope

Regeneron’s potential COVID-19 treatment shows positive signs in early trials: Early data shows promising results from Regeneron’s antibody cocktail for coronavirus

Tracking potential vaccines: COVID vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

A rapid test for COVID-19 approved by Health Canada: Health Canada green lights first rapid COVID-19 test

Helping retirement plan participants: Transamerica offers free advice to small-business clients

Adapting your business

The pandemic has created a shift in culture at many organizations: Most executives think COVID-19 changed their companies forever

Don’t make these estate planning mistakes: 16 big estate planning mistakes clients make: Advisor’s advice

Most financial professionals hope for a combined office/work-from-home arrangement: Finance pros say WFH boosts productivity – but what does that mean for the office?

Chart of the week: Job cuts rising in the U.S.

According to Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc., announced job cuts in the U.S. rose 2.6% to 119,000 jobs in September. Even as the economy reopens, the impact of COVID-19 is impacting employers. Weak demand and restructuring plans were the major reasons for the announced job cuts. Year-over-year announced job cuts rose 186% in September, demonstrating the substantial impact the pandemic has had on the U.S. economy.

The announced layoffs have been widespread across industries, with the likes of The Walt Disney Co., Dow Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. announcing significant job cuts. While the U.S. labour market has improved over the past few months, the announcements of more layoffs may be signalling a slower-than-expected recovery for the U.S. labour market. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge fund launches have dropped amid the pandemic: Hedge fund launches at “historically low” levels despite Q2 recovery, but liquidations ease following COVID crash

New ESG products from industry heavyweights: Vanguard, BlackRock, Transamerica launch new ESG ETFs: Portfolio products

Taking a long-term perspective: Are endowments contrarians?

U.S. equity funds posted substantial outflows for the week ended September 23: U.S. stocks see third-biggest outflow ever

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: September 29 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Canadians looking for more retirement security: Most Canadians would choose greater retirement security over more money now: survey

Canadians optimistic about the real estate market: Canadian housing market optimism climbs amid second wave

Population growth in Canada has slowed: Canada’s population growth stunted: StatsCan

Companies may lose business after suffering through a data breach: Canadian cybersecurity poll finds 84% rethink doing businesses hit by data breach

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Monday morning briefing: U.S. real estate demand building

Canada’s parliament returned last week as the Liberal government gave its Throne Speech on September 23. The message was clear: do “whatever it takes” to help Canadians and the economy get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ambitious plan will likely cost billions, but it will provide much needed support to Canadians and businesses. More support will also be provided to provinces for better testing. The government plans to bolster employment by making a significant investment in infrastructure and other areas of the economy. While the government revamps employment insurance (“EI”) and ends CERB, it will look to provide the Canada Recovery Benefit for those who don’t qualify for EI but are still struggling.

Economic/industry news

U.S. manufacturing activity expanded at a faster pace in September: US manufacturing sector activity hits 5-month high in September, IHS Markit says

The Fed will help the U.S. economy: Powell pledges the Fed’s economic aid ‘for as long as it takes’

Will higher inflation occur?: Economists ‘push back’ on arguments for higher inflation

The potential economic impact of a pullback in further fiscal stimulus: What happens if there is no second stimulus package?

Don’t forget about the importance of asset location: Asset location is as important as asset allocation

Reasons for hope

Canadian government strikes another deal for a potential vaccine: Public health officials urge limited contact as Canada signs vaccine deal

How Google is helping small businesses: Exclusive: Ruth Porat on leading through crisis and Google’s latest moonshot to rebuild the U.S. economy – One small business at a time 

Developing a vaccine for the flu: Moderna says it will begin developing a vaccine for seasonal flu

Adapting your business

Working from home will result in new work habits: Apple CEO impressed by remote work, sees permanent changes

Marketing tips to keep your brand strong: Marketing during COVID-19: How to communicate your brand in a crisis

Growing your business: Barbara Corcoran’s 5 tips for surviving and thriving in the pandemic

How to handle your personal finances during the pandemic: How to cope if the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched your finances to the limit

What advisors are looking for from asset managers: Advisors need asset managers to adapt in pandemic times

Chart of the week: U.S. real estate demand building

U.S. real estate activity came to a near halt in response to COVID-19 lockdowns. Pent-up demand, low mortgage rates and a shift in living arrangements, however, are contributing to a swift recovery in the U.S. real estate market.

As more people shift to work-from-home arrangements, they are moving into houses outside of big cities, which has increased demand for housing, including previously owned and newly built homes. Existing home sales rose to 6.0 million units in August, the highest level since 2006.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Secretive family offices are difficult to reach: Elusive family offices want upstart asset managers…but won’t take their calls

Hedge funds attracted positive flows in July: Hedge funds post a second straight month of inflows adding USD10.5bn in July, says Backstop BarclayHedge

A look at what is contributing to the surge in SPACs: Private equity plays a starring role in 2020’s SPAC boom

Using AI to align portfolios with values: How Merrill, Schwab, Fidelity are using tech to build values-based portfolios

News and notes (Canada)

CI purchases another RIA: CI Financial buys Bowling Portfolio Management

Contract with Ford extended: Canadian auto workers extend Ford contract, delay strike

Mutual funds posted strong net sales in August: Mutual fund sales solid, ETF sales slump in August

Fewer mutual fund investors are working with advisors: Fewer investors depend on advisors to purchase mutual funds: survey

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Monday morning briefing: Cineplex’s not-so-excellent adventure

To work from home or not work from home? That is the question. Industry leaders are carefully considering whether to establish more permanent work-from-home arrangements for their employees. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is leaning toward having staff in the office. He told analysts his firm has seen a drop in productivity in response to employees working from home, and a lack of in-person interaction is hard to replace.

Big tech companies appear to be going in the opposite direction, with a caveat. Some tech companies will allow a permanent work-from-home policy, but salary will be adjusted depending on where the employee lives. As far as employees are concerned, a recent Wells Fargo survey found approximately 66% of respondents would prefer to work from home.

Economic/industry news

The Fed held its key interest rate steady at 0.25%: Fed holds rates steady near zero and indicates it will stay there for years

Canada’s inflation rate 0.1% in August: August inflation rate holds steady at 0.1%, Statistics Canada reports

What a second wave could mean for the economy: Could a second wave mean a second shutdown?

Amazon is on a hiring spree: Amazon is hiring a further 100,000 people to keep up with pandemic-induced demand

A look at the largest wealth managers around the world: World’s top 20 biggest wealth managers

Reasons for hope

The U.S. could get a vaccine before the end of 2020: Pfizer CEO says Americans could get COVID shot before year-end

Cases of COVID-19 trending downward in the U.S.: Positive COVID-19 trends emerge in August across much of the U.S., and elsewhere

Focused on helping entrepreneurs: Marlo Richardson helping people create businesses

Adapting your business

Entrepreneur pivots his business amid the pandemic: How this 24-year-old entrepreneur pulled off a coronavirus pivot before his company even launched

Getting the most out of your IT team: Whether you know it or not, this team in your business needs your attention

Lesson learned; be prepared for any scenario: A new definition of being prepared

Tips to build a successful financial services practice: 5 ways to build a financial services practice

Think like an entrepreneur in times of crisis: We need entrepreneurial leaders now more than ever

Chart of the week: Cineplex’s not-so-excellent adventure

S&P Dow Jones Indices announced Cineplex Inc. will be removed from the S&P/TSX Composite Index on September 21. This adds to a challenging year faced by the theatre operator. COVID-19-induced lockdowns forced Cineplex to close its theatres. Then its planned takeover by Cineworld PLC unraveled. Now, theatres must operate at restricted capacity, while studios are delaying the release of big-budget movies or taking them online via a streaming service. Cineplex’s revenue dropped 95% year-over-year during the second quarter of 2020. Since the beginning of the year, its stock price has dropped 76%. Can the theatre business regain its footing? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds post a positive return in August: Hedge fund industry up 2.42 per cent in August, says Backstop BarclayHedge

Large banks could start new VC or direct lending vehicles: An influx of VC funds could be coming from banks 

Turning to hedge funds for protection: Morgan Stanley’s rich clients shift to hedge funds for defense

A look at the new Bloomberg GSAM Risk Premia Indices: Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs Asset Management launch alternative risk premia indices

News and notes (Canada)

BMO launches four new ESG portfolios: BMO launches new line of ESG portfolios

Evolve launches Evolve Future Leadership Fund: New evolve ETF invests in sector leaders

The U.S. removed tariffs on Canadian aluminum: U.S. lifts tariffs on Canadian aluminum

Still hunting for deals: He’s 91 and worth billions. Now Jimmy Pattison is hunting deals

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Wednesday morning briefing: Tech taking over the Dow

Kids across many states and provinces returned to school this week, although under much different conditions than last September. Social distancing, cohorting and masks will make this school year look and feel a lot different than, frankly, any other school year. Spending on backpacks, pencils and new clothes have boosted retail sales in years past. How much will spending be and what items will experience the biggest sales in 2020? A survey by the Retail Council of Canada found the average spending on back-to-school items will be approximately $727, down from $919 last year.

Economic/industry news

U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August: Payrolls increase by nearly 1.4 million as the unemployment rate tumbles

Canada’s unemployment rate fell: Economy added 246,000 jobs in August, unemployment rate 10.2%

Why some sectors will perform better than others: Winners and losers of the pandemic economy

How much new stimulus will be enough?: Economy needs at least $1.3 trillion in new stimulus to sustain recovery, Bridgewater CIO says

New research on the endowments vs. 60/40 portfolio debate: All those studies showing endowments lost to 60/40? Cherry-picked data, Academic says

Stronger relative performance by female-led large-capitalization equity funds: Large-cap funds managed by women are outperforming in 2020: Goldman

Active equity funds outperformed in Q2: Investors in active funds outperformed in Q2

Reasons for hope

Will a vaccine be ready for distribution by November?: CDC tells states to get ready for Nov. 1 vaccine distribution

Canadian CEOs bullish on economic growth: Canadian CEOs more optimistic about growth than global peers

The success of Conquer COVID-19: $2 million in fundraising and 3 million PPE donations later, Conquer COVID-19 wraps up operations

Adapting your business

How to reboot your business: 5 steps to reboot business in the COVID-19 era

Staying creative while working remotely: How to stay creative when your team is working remotely

Using social media to maintain communication with clients and prospects: Advisors’ social media use surges during pandemic

Adapting to new opportunities: Why entrepreneurs need agility now more than ever

A look at the meaning of “distributed”: Why you should be thinking about distributed 4.0

Chart of the week: Tech taking over the Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average made its biggest component changes since 2013, signalling strength in the information technology sector and weakness in energy. Exxon Mobil Corp., Pfizer Inc. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. were replaced by Inc., Amgen Inc. and Honeywell International Inc. Exxon Mobil, which once held the title of the largest company in the world, was a particularly notable change. Over the past decade, oil prices have fallen, as has the market capitalization of Exxon Mobil, which dropped 60%. The only remaining energy company still listed on the blue-chip stock index is Chevron Corp. Can more energy companies make their way back onto the Dow or is this more of a secular change? Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Are stocks a little long in the tooth?: Billionaire Leon Cooperman warns investors of stock market ‘euphoria’ and shares three big risks to an economic recovery

A bitcoin fund for the wealthy: Fidelity launches inaugural Bitcoin Fund for wealthy investors

NYSE to offer share sales through direct listing: SEC expands direct listing options on NYSE as IPO alternatives abound

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: September 2 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Updating financial planning standards: FP Canada and IQPF update document of financial planning standards

Toronto fintech firm launches lending platform: New platform allows users to invest in consumer credit

Continued focus on integrating behavioural tools into wealth management: TD extends partnership with behavioural economics centre

Canadian ETFs experienced $2.8 billion of inflows during August: Canadian ETF inflows top $30B year-to-date

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Three tips for building a more compelling pitchbook

Hedge funds need a strong pitchbook for one main reason: to make a clear and persuasive case for why investors should invest in their fund.

In our role as financial services marketers, we have seen our fair share of pitchbooks. While some come to us fully formed, the majority aren’t formulated in a way that will drive success with investors, no matter how strong these hedge funds’ performance might be.

Investors are looking beyond performance data. They want to see that you are using next-gen data to support your investment process, attracting and retaining top talent and, increasingly, looking to see if a company has an ESG policy influencing investment decisions. They are also looking for funds that bring something new to the table, although getting this message across to investors can be challenging. More than three-quarters of asset managers feel their messages were differentiated from their peers, but only 21% of consultants believe that managers’ messages varied. (Source)

Here are three tips for sharpening your pitchbook to raise more capital: 

Avoid information overload

Trying to fit too much copy onto a single slide is a common mistake. While telling a detailed story might seem like the best way to fully communicate a point, too many words and stats on a page will obscure your message and confuse your audience.

How you describe your strategies in writing can influence investors’ opinions. One study found that managers that demonstrated a well-rounded vocabulary were viewed as being more intelligent and trustworthy. (Source) The study adds that investors could regard confusing sentences and poor syntax as a sign that managers have something to hide. The more text a reader must comb through, the harder it is to appreciate your value proposition.

Quick wins:

  • Less is more. Highlight the benefits of your fund in fewer words by focusing your content, writing in an active voice, adopting a more direct tone and, where possible, using bullets.
  • Keep it simple. Each slide should have no more than one to two key messages and to focus on the main benefits.
  • Punch up headlines. Use compelling headlines to summarize slides and guide readers through your story.
  • Use attention-grabbing graphics. Imagery helps investors conceptualize points and helps reduce text .

Grab the reader’s attention

To pique the interest of potential investors, a pitchbook must tell a concise and compelling story about the fund.

The information needs to be organized logically and address the most common questions investors would have about the opportunity.

Your pitchbook should lead with the most important aspects of the fund, and the rest of the presentation should be structured accordingly. This approach helps readers promptly grasp the essentials – the who, what, when, where, why and how – and digest the following pages with ease.

Quick wins:

  • Choose your words carefully. Telling a succinct story is an art. Distilling your core messages down into a compelling executive summary takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.
  • Time is of the essence. You have a lot to say, but don’t say it all at once. Provide a quick overview of who you are and what you do, and then sell that story in your meeting with investors.
  • Sharpen your edge. Summarize your main competitive edge early on and order the rest of the pitchbook according to your key differentiators.

Speak to your audience

A golden rule of marketing is that you should always communicate with your audience’s interests in mind. Building your pitchbook is no different. You need to be aware of what will resonate most with prospective investors when crafting content.

Quick wins:

  • Make it accessible. You understand your process, but never assume your reader does. Consider the level of sophistication needed to understand your strategy or the markets you’re targeting, as well as your audience’s expectations.
  • Don’t talk down to investors. Individual investors may require more education to understand your story, but don’t make the content dense. They respond better to punchy content, a conversational tone and simple, to-the-point infographics to communicate important concepts.
  • Steer them in the right direction. Institutional audiences require less in-depth explanations. However, even savvy investors often need help understanding the opportunity, especially if it’s not their area of expertise. They may respond better to a more formal and informational tone, and appreciate intricate illustrations about your strategy and operation.

Contact us today at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or for help creating a pitchbook that tells your story more effectively.

Monday morning briefing: Q2 GDP was down, way down

U.S. Federal Reserve Board (“Fed”) Chairman Jerome Powell gave his highly anticipated speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium last week. Powell announced the Fed will take a new strategy with monetary policy, looking to meet its 2% inflation target over time. In a material shift, the Fed will allow periods of above-target inflation to prevent prices from sliding lower following periods of economic downturn.

The new approach signals that the federal funds rate will likely stay near-zero for some time. This is welcome news for equities, which love an accommodative Fed. It may also contain borrowing costs, which could help individuals, organizations and the government, which is working under extremely high debt levels.

Economic/industry news

Canadian GDP falls an annualized 38.7% in Q2: Canada’s economy posts a record 38.7% annualized second-quarter contraction

U.S. GDP fell 31.7% in Q2, according to a second estimate: Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 31.7% as economy went into lockdown

New strategy to achieve inflation target: Powell’s Fed shifts to more relaxed approach to fight inflation

Changes in spending patterns may have BoC reconsidering inflation: Bank of Canada looks for broader input in updating inflation target framework

Some factors that are affecting equity markets: In an uneven recovery, advisors should mind these 3 key market factors

Consider the time horizon in the value vs. growth debate: The convergence of value and growth

Reasons for hope

FDA approves quick and inexpensive COVID-19 test: FDA-approved rapid US$5 coronavirus test doesn’t need specialty equipment

Helping those who need it: Brazilian high schooler hands out hygiene kits to poor neighbors who can’t afford hand sanitizer

What ambulances could look like in the future: The ambulance of the future will be flying and possibly hydrogen powered

Adapting your business

How to network online: Tips for virtual networking

How the top advisor firms remained strong during the 2008 Financial Crisis: What advisors can learn from the ‘standout’ firms of the Great Recession

Increased use of digital tools is here to stay: Advisors’ tech use: there’s no going back

Has there actually been a digital transformation?: The crucial role of digital in the UK’s economic recovery

Changes in business operations in response to COVID-19 have helped Asana: The anti-Facebook: 12 years in, Facebook Cofounder Dustin Moskovitz’s slow-burn second act Asana finally has its moment

Chart of the week: Q2 GDP was down, way down

Canada’s gross domestic product plummeted 38.7%, annualized, during the second quarter of 2020, which came as a surprise to no one. This is the steepest decline ever for Canada. Much of the country spent the quarter in lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer spending, business investment and exports all fell sharply. After declining 8.2% in the first quarter, the Canadian economy is now in a recession.

How long will it take the Canadian economy to return to growth and fully recover? That growth may be well underway as Canada’s economy expanded 6.5% in June and Statistics Canada estimates a 3.0% growth rate in July.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds had positive inflows over July: Hedge funds see inflows after four consecutive months of redemptions

Who will end up getting the money?: Four lawsuits, 17 companies, and $900 million: The story behind Citi’s ‘mistaken’ loan repayment

Expanding who qualifies as an accredited investor: SEC expands accredited investor definition

Pandemic has weighed on bank profits: U.S. bank profits slump 70% as virus rakes businesses, households

News and notes (Canada)

Former central banker joins Brookfield: Mark Carney joins Brookfield Asset Management

Deloitte sees benefits from SRO merger: SRO merger could save industry up to half a billion dollars: Deloitte

Canadian insurers taking advantage of favourable bond market: Canadian insurers tap bond markets with record issuances: DBRS

The pandemic has put substantial pressure on Canadian media outlets: Media study says hundreds of Canadian radio stations, TV outlets risk closure

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