Monday morning briefing: A welcome rebound

The U.S. economy and equity markets got some welcome news last week as 4.8 million jobs were added, surpassing market expectations of 3.2 million jobs. This lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 11.1%. Rising job numbers bode well for the health of the U.S. economy and should help in its recovery. Consumer and business spending could get a boost from better job numbers as well. However, the labour market could face significant challenges as new cases of COVID-19 rise in some U.S. states.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s economic growth tumbled in April: Economy posted record 11.6% plunge in April: StatsCan

The U.K. economy contracted 1.7%, annualized, in the first quarter: Coronavirus: UK economy hit by worst contraction in 41 years

The USMCA went into effect on July 1: NAFTA 2.0 comes into effect; Lightizer vows enforcement

Companies hold back from going public: Stock markets rebounded. So why aren’t companies going public?

People are saving more: Good news: Clients are saving money during the pandemic

Issuance of debt surges in the first half of 2020: Global debt markets see record action in 2020     

Expected returns from Bernie Madoff, the Mets and Bobby Bonilla: Bobby Bonilla Day is an annual reminder that fixed-income investments are worthwhile

Reasons for hope

Pfizer appears to be progressing toward a vaccine: Early trial results keep Pfizer vaccine development on track for possible 2020 distribution

Trying to stop pandemics: How the billionaire behind the movie ‘Contagion’ is working to stop this pandemic – and the next one

Taking the theatre outdoors: Walmart partners with Tribeca to turn 160 store parking lots into drive-in theaters

Adapting your business

What work may look like in the future: The future of work is not what you think

Why outsourcing can be valuable to reduce risk: Businesses focus on outsourcing as a COVID-19 survival strategy

Embracing digital innovation and the changes brought on by COVID-19: Realising the digital dream

Chart of the week: A welcome rebound

The S&P 500 Index experienced a sharp retreat in the first quarter of 2020, as COVID-19 brought the global economy to a near halt. After reaching its 2020 low on March 23, the S&P 500 came roaring back and surged higher over the second quarter. The index rose 20%, its best quarterly return since the fourth quarter of 1998. Investor optimism gained momentum on expectations of a quick economic recovery. Going into the third quarter, however, uncertainty has been rising in response to an increase in new COVID-19 cases. Will it be another strong quarter for U.S. equities, or will volatility return amid the further uncertainty? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Institutional Investor’s hedge fund industry award winners: These hedge funds thrived in 2019. Are they surviving 2020?

Hedge fund liquidations rose in the first quarter: Quarterly hedge fund liquidations rise to highest since 2015

Converting to a family office: Hedge fund celebrity John Paulson shuts firm to become a family office

Advisors expect an increase in their AUM: U.S. advisors expect 7% asset growth over next 12 months: survey

Aligning Fiduciary Rule with Regulation Best Interest: DOL reveals revised Fiduciary Rule

News and notes (Canada)

Waratah Capital Advisors to launch second liquid-alt fund: Waratah takes second shot into liquid-alt space with ESG strategy

Looking to eliminate trailers for discount brokers: Regulators sticking to their plan

Alberta’s credit rating reduced by Fitch: Fitch reduces Alberta credit rating, cites concerns on heavy borrowing

BIS Innovation Hub coming to Toronto: Bank for International Settlements tech hub coming to Toronto

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Monday morning briefing – Reverse swoosh

Speculation became reality when Canada lost its AAA-rating from Fitch Ratings last week. Fitch dropped Canada’s rating to AA+. This was largely in response to Canada’s rising debt-to-GDP ratio, which ballooned as the government initiated spending programs to help Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This could raise the cost of capital for Canada, hinder investor confidence and slow government spending. This is a downgrade from only one of three of the major rating agencies. Canada is not the only G7 country to have a credit rating of less than AAA. The impact may be minimal, but only time will tell.

Economic/industry news

U.S. GDP contracted 5.0% in the first quarter: U.S. GDP fell at a 5% rate in the first quarter, and the worse is likely on the way

Weak consumer demand could weigh on Canada’s recovery: What’s dragging down the Canadian economy as the world reopens?

Canada’s credit rating downgraded: Canada loses AAA rating, Fitch downgrades amid virus costs

IMF predicts the global economy to be worse than it projected: IMF expects global economy to shrink by 4.9% this year

Benefit from following rebalancing rules: Rebalancing rules bolster long-term performance in market stress

Commercial vacancies could rise in 2020: Working from home, shopping online weaken demand for office space

Reasons for hope

Moderna CEO bullish on company’s vaccine: Moderna CEO sees ‘high probability’ of success with COVID-19 vaccine

Surviving two pandemics: Meet the 101-year-old who was born on a ship during the 1918 flu pandemic and just beat coronavirus

Helping people avoid touching their faces: Teen invents wristband that could curb infection by warning users against touching their face

Millennials are saving more: Pandemic lockdown provides silver lining for millennials

Adapting your business

Some budgeting tips for your business, post-pandemic: Adapting your business budget after coronavirus: 5 tips to get back on track

Helping clients stay focused on their goals: What advisors can learn from investor behaviour during a crisis

Dynasty Financial Partners and its network are creatively engaging with clients: Dynasty’s pivot to virtual events

Planning for the next crisis: Preparing family offices for the next global crisis

Chart of the week

Headline retail sales figures have shown the substantial impact COVID-19 has had on the retail sector, particularly in clothing and apparel. Nike Inc. serves as a good proxy as to how bad conditions have been. The sports apparel, accessories, shoes and equipment behemoth announced it had revenue of US$6.3 billion in its 2020 fiscal fourth quarter ending May 31, 2020. This is a 38% year-over-year decline, the companies’ first year-over-year drop since the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The closure of stores around the world weighed on sales.

On the other hand, the company had a 75% increase in online sales in its fourth quarter. As economies reopen, spending should increase. But, how much of the increased spending will be put toward sporting apparel and equipment? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Market conditions could be beneficial for market neutral funds: Tide may be turning for market neutral hedge funds

It could be a long recovery, according to Bridgewater: Bridgewater’s Bob Prince says virus impact could last two years

Investment in PE isn’t going away: PE has failed to outperform stocks, research says, but LPs aren’t turning away

Introducing the Direxion Work From Home ETF: The ‘work-from-home’ ETF is here. Get ready for some surprises.

Making it easier for virtual currency firms to get a license in New York: New York to relax cryptocurrency rules

News and notes (Canada)

Looking to maintain tech changes: Pandemic-era tech changes should become permanent, says Toronto Mayor

Mark Wiseman will take over as Chair of AIMCo: AIMCo needs a savior. Mark Wiseman needs a comeback after BlackRock.

Assets under management of Canadian mutual funds rose to $1.6 trillion in May: Canadian fund sales swung back to safety in May

Companies engaged in developing tech for the health care and education industries attracting VC dollars during pandemic: How COVID-19 is impacting Canadian VC investment

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Your virtual meeting playbook

Virtual meetings are becoming the new norm. These best practices will help you run great meetings from anywhere, while leaving your clients with a positive impression.

Look your best

  1. Get ready for your close up. Position your camera so that it’s just above your head. If you are using a laptop, put it on a stack of books.
  2. Light ’em up. Avoid being backlit as your face will be shadowed, and put a lamp slightly behind your screen.
  3. Dress for success. If you wouldn’t wear it in a client’s living room, don’t wear it now.
  4. Buy a better camera. The cameras on older computers generate a grainy image. Given that you may be conducting many virtual meetings from now on, an upgrade may be a smart investment.
  5. Let the sheet shine. A simple piece of white paper placed on the desk between you and your camera will improve your lighting and enhance the video. Give it a try – you’ll be surprised.

Meet better

  1. Clean your room. If you’re working from home, clean up the room behind you. Having nice art and/or bookshelves behind you is always a good choice.
  2. Share your screen. Augment your message with sharply designed slides. These will help focus your client’s attention, plus they give you a break from being on camera for an entire meeting.
  3. Don’t avert your eyes. Eyes tend to drift off-screen, especially when people are speaking off the cuff. You can better hold people’s attention by keeping your eyes on the camera or on the faces of the people you are meeting with.
  4. Questions, so many questions. Set aside more time than usual for questions – your clients will definitely have lots of those. And they will appreciate you addressing their concerns over a medium that they might not be all that comfortable with yet.
  5. Mind the gap. Leave 30 minutes between meetings to ensure you don’t get backed up. While this might result in a less productive day, you can justify it knowing your clients are getting the extra attention they deserve.

Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or for any of your marketing questions.

Monday morning briefing: Shutting down sales

Fear of a second wave of COVID-19 infections is intensifying. There has been a spike in cases in many states across the U.S. California had its largest one-day jump in COVID-19 cases, while Texas has seen a surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. In China, Beijing was forced to close schools and cancel flights in response to an outbreak of the coronavirus. A jump in cases is causing Iran to consider another lockdown. A second wave could have a harmful impact on the global economy and hinder the economic recovery, which could also be a catalyst for further volatility in global equity markets.

Economic/industry news

Consumer prices in Canada fell 0.4%: Canada May CPI falls 0.4% as gas prices plunge

The BoC is likely to hold interest rates at their current levels for some time: Bank of Canada has no immediate intentions to raise interest rates, Macklem says

The BoE holds its central interest rate steady at 0.10%: Bank of England steps up virus fight with bond-buying boost

The Canadian economic recovery dependent on the strength of households: Household resilience a key factor in COVID-19 recovery

Asset classes highly correlated in the current market: JPMorgan sounds warning on market correlations at 20-year highs 

Investors’ risk-on sentiment rising, but proceeding with caution: ‘Peak pessimism’ in markets is over, but hope is fragile: BofA survey

ETFs and ETPs posted US$48 billion of net inflows in May: Global ETF and ETP assets surpass US$6T in May

Reasons for hope

WHO hopeful on vaccine doses by the end of the year: WHO eyes hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine does before 2021

Keeping NBA players safe with fitness wearables: The lengthy plan to restart the NBA season features fitness rings for temperature tracking

Spending on dining out should pick up again: Restaurants will be back, I promise

Adapting your business

The time is now for a digital transformation: COVID-19 accelerates urgency for digital banking transformation

How the RIA workplace may change: Will COVID-19 change the way we work forever?

Using digital tools to connect with clients: Why firm hosted more than 55,000 virtual meetings in May

Look professional during a virtual meeting: Get ready for your close-up

Experts provide tips on implementing a CRM process: CRM process automation: how to implement in your organisation

Chart of the week

April was the first full month in which non-essential businesses and forced lockdowns were in effect in Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales across the supply chain posted considerable declines. Retail sales, wholesale sales and manufacturing sales all fell at their steepest pace ever in April, declining 26.4%, 21.6% and 28.5%, respectively. This is sure to weigh heavily on Canada’s economic growth for the second quarter. The spread of COVID-19 has had a considerable impact on the Canadian economy, including Canada’s labour market. Hiring should increase as the Canadian economy begins to reopen, which may raise spending and aid in Canada’s recovery. The question is, how quickly will jobs and spending recover? A slow pace could mean a slow recovery. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

When will hedge funds return to the office?: Hedge fund industry split over return to work and client meetings, as lockdown measures ease

Bill Ackman’s next opportunity: Billionaire Bill Ackman plots his next deal

Why public tech companies could go private sooner: What happens when private equity firms fall for tech companies

Digital transformation comes to the construction industry: Pandemic speeds up digital transformation in construction

The FHFA has extended its ban on evictions and foreclosures: Home foreclosures and evictions banned through summer

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: June 17 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Wealthsimple launches two ETFs: Mackenzie and Wealthsimple unveil responsible-investing ETFs

Canadian VC activity down in the second quarter: Canadian VC investment threatened by COVID-19

Canada’s services sector could have sustained permanent damage: Report warns of ‘permanent’ economic damage wrought by COVID-19

Canadian CEOs want to reopen air travel: Open letter from 27 CEOs calls for Canada to lighten travel restrictions

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

New normals vs. eternal truths

Here we explore the things that have changed forever versus those that will remain the same within the asset and wealth management spheres.

The response to COVID-19 has accelerated several financial industry trends, while leaving other foundational truths untouched.

Every year in our annual Market Outlook , we say that we can’t predict the future and that our crystal ball is just as cloudy as everyone else’s. But we are going to break our rule and talk about where we think the financial industry is heading, as the current situation has compelled many financial services providers to change their approach. While these changes may appear like short-term fixes, we think some will have long-term implications.

New normals

Here are some things that have changed for good:

  • Working from home. Many companies have already said they are now remote-first; those that haven’t will likely be compelled to come up with a similar plan in the future. The logistics of getting everyone back into an office are daunting – think daily health screenings – and many companies will choose the path of least resistance.
  • Virtual client meetings and prospecting with webinars. Older clients aren’t going to be in a hurry to have face-to-face meetings with people who spend their days meeting other people. As such, they will prefer virtual meetings. Similarly, many people aren’t going to rush back to events occurring in halls and convention centres. Enter the virtual world of client engagement.
  • Safety and security. From cyberattacks to personal security and diversified supply chains, individuals, companies and governments are making protection a priority. Furthermore, people are will want to protect themselves from job loss and unexpected health problems with emergency funds and robust health insurance.

Eternal truths

And here are some things that will never change:

  • Focus on the long term. Because the short term is feeling more and more chaotic, the financial industry will continue to focus on the longer term. It’s far too easy for investors, advisors and investment managers to lose sight of their real goals during times of heightened uncertainty. The industry serves investors best by helping investors focus on the financial goals that matter most. Messaging in videos and social media, for example, should continue to focus on the long term, while addressing short-term challenges.
  • Value of advice. Given all the recent uncertainty, the financial industry needs to live up to its core mandate – to help individuals achieve their financial goals. History has shown that it is during uncertain times that people need guidance and experience most.
  • Increased regulation. While there may be temporary relief for filing regulatory documents, the trend of increasing regulatory scrutiny will not reverse course. In fact, we expect regulation to increase in specific areas, such as cybersecurity.

Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or with any questions about evolving your marketing or processes.

Monday morning briefing: Is Hertz back in the driver’s seat?

As economies begin to reopen, businesses are thinking about how to get their employees back to the office. For example, Citigroup plans to bring 5% of its Canadian and U.S. workforces to the office in early July.

Staggering start times, working from home either permanently or temporarily, and social distancing at the office are all on the table. Many businesses have adapted and found ways to continue operations in a more virtual world. This will all impact the financial services industry going forward.

Economic/industry news

The Fed holds key interest rate steady: Fed sees interest rates staying near zero through 2022, GDP bouncing to 5% next year

The U.S. inflation rate was 0.1% in May: Consumer prices drop again as pandemic cuts rate of inflation to near zero

The Fed doesn’t expect a quick recovery in the U.S. labour market: Jerome Powell sees long road ahead for jobs market

Belief is high that asset managers can navigate through the crisis: Institutional investor poll shows faith in asset managers still strong

The U.S. economic recovery could take two years: Expect extended recovery following U.S. recession

A look at the error in the jobs forecast and what this means for the future: Big error on jobs forecast could have policy ramifications

Advisors looking to increase use of ESG funds: More advisors turning to ESG funds

Reasons for hope

Canadians helping each other amid the pandemic: 45+ good news stories from across Canada amid coronavirus emergency

Zero COVID-19 cases in New Zealand: New Zealand declares itself ‘virus free’ as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Social distancing is working to lower respiratory-related illnesses: Social distancing sharply lowers respiratory illness in Thailand

Helping people with their commutes: Google Maps updated with COVID-19 info and related transit alerts

Adapting your business

Some keys to maintaining strong collaboration: How to maintain collaboration during lockdown

How to help recently unemployed clients: 3 steps for newly unemployed clients

Making businesses stronger through the pandemic: How one young advisor navigated his first downturn

The impact on the advisory business will be different this time: McKinsey report warns against applying 2008 lessons to coronavirus crisis

IPO roadshows are going online: Virtual IPO roadshows could become the new post-crisis standard

Preparing for the next pandemic: 8 ways financial institutions must prepare for the next pandemic

Chart of the week

Is it back from the brink for Hertz? It has been an interesting period for the shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the rental car company faced immense financial pressure as global travel was brought to a standstill. In response, the company filed for bankruptcy protection on May 22. Shortly after, the company’s shares continued to plummet to a low of $0.55, falling 97% from their 2020 high. But as economies began to reopen and investor sentiment improved, particularly for companies expected to do better as economic conditions improved, Hertz’s share price increased substantially. Now Hertz is looking to sell US$1 billion in shares to raise working capital to get the company back on its feet. A global recovery and higher working capital may help the company, but will it be enough to outlast Hertz’s massive debt burden? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Activists seeking new leadership amid the pandemic: In the age of coronavirus, activist shareholders are going after company bosses

PE sees opportunity in distressed assets: Private equity managers eyeing distressed funds, private debt

BlackRock invests in Trustly: BlackRock invests in online payments firm Trustly

How IRS rule changes may affect business owners: IRS rules are changing (for the better) for business owners due to COVID-19

News and notes (Canada)

Many liquid alt funds performed well during market downturn: Liquid alternatives get their test

Mackenzie launches the Mackenzie Alternative Enhanced Yield Fund: Mackenzie launches alt fund

Fidelity launches new ETFs: Fidelity expands Fidelity Factor ETFs and launches new global fixed income ETF solution

A new platform for advisor training: New digital education tool for Aligned Capital advisors

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

8 social media tips during these challenging times

We are living in unprecedented times. And investors need guidance from their advisors more than ever before. The value of advice is clear – and a great path to adding more value is through your social media accounts.

Here are eight tips for using social media to inform and help your clients:

1. Limit your opinions about COVID-19

Leave the health policies and science to the experts. Your thoughts on this pandemic might end up being wrong – and could make your clients more anxious in the process.

2. Focus on long-term trends

Rather than focusing too much on short-term market events, try to steer your clients’ attention to their longer-term financial goals, such as retirement and education savings.

3. Use LinkedIn as intended

LinkedIn was created to help advance peoples’ careers. During the COVID-19 pandemic – which has become an era of high unemployment – you might want to share interesting tips and articles about job hunting in the current work-from-home reality.

4. Share with a strategy

Here at ext., we recommend resharing content that has been written by your centres of influence. This is a win-win because you are sharing trustworthy content (we do, however, recommend you review anything you share regardless). And if your clients engage with this content, you can make an introduction, which will strengthen your network and reputation.

5. Connect, connect, connect

Now is the time to connect with as many of your clients and peers as possible on social media. While this should be part of every advisor’s growth strategy, now is a good time to offer to help clients and prospect any way you can.

6. Focus your efforts

If you have been struggling to find success on a social media platform, this is a good time to decide if it is even worth the effort. For example, if Facebook is a dud for your business development while LinkedIn is showing potential, consider doubling down on your LinkedIn networking efforts.

7. Vet your sources

As a corollary to #4 above, be sure you are sharing content from trusted sources. By only sharing high-quality content, you will become a trusted source for informed content.

8. Offer to answer financial questions

There are many investors out there who aren’t getting the advice they need or the attention they deserve. Use this to your advantage by offering to answer questions via direct message or inviting these individuals to leave comments to your post. You can also offer to set up calls or answer questions over email.

A final thought. Periods of great adversity also tend to be times of great opportunity – and we are here to help you succeed.

Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or for any of your marketing questions.

Monday morning briefing: The people want to work

The Bank of Canada took a more positive tone this week, believing the worst of the economic downturn from COVID-19 might be over. Economists, however, disagree on how quickly the Canadian economy may rebound, with some believing it could be a choppy few years.

The U.K. and the European Union did not make much progress on trade talks last week. The end of June is the deadline to extend trade negotiations past 2020. Without an application to extend negotiations, we might see a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020. This will be a hot topic leading up to the end of June.

Economic/industry news

U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May: May sees biggest jobs increase ever of 2.5 million as economy starts to recover from coronavirus

Canada adds jobs in May: Canada unexpectedly adds 290,000 jobs on gradual reopening

The BoC holds its central interest rate steady: Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate at 0.25%

It could be a long road to a recovery for Canada: Despite optimistic signs, it will be 2022 before this is over says CIBC

How modern monetary theory may play out: Modern monetary theory meets moral hazard

The rise of small caps: Why some small companies are better positioned for a crisis

The changing business environment and what it means for investors: After the great lockdown: COVID-19’s lasting impact on business models

Reasons for hope

A look on the progress being made on a COVID-19 treatment and vaccine: Here’s exactly where we are with vaccines and treatments for COVID-19

A conversation with Dr. Fauci; where he is excited, cautious: Anthony Fauci on COVID-19 reopenings, vaccines, and moving at ‘warp speed’

Saying thanks through art: Banksy pays tribute to ‘superhero’ nurses in new piece donated to hospital

Raising billions to help vaccinate children in poor countries: Bill Gates-backed vaccine alliance raises $8.8 billion from world leaders and businesses 

Adapting your business

Webinars have expanded the reach of advisory firms: Weekly webinars during pandemic have been a boon to this advisory firm

Keeping a strong culture amid remote work: Culture can’t be lost in shift to remote work

Unique ways Wall St. is meeting with clients and prospects: Wall Street sends wine, masks to clients with steakhouses closed

The pandemic will lead to a transformation of the workplace: How COVID-19 changes the future of work in banking

Most U.K. workers prefer to continue working from home, and are being more productive at home: One in four UK workers willing to return to the office full-time

Chart of the week

U.S. labour market numbers for May were released last week and stoked optimism that the U.S. economic recovery might be upon us. Non-farm payrolls rose by 2.5 million in May, the highest number of job additions ever. This is a substantial rebound from the record decline of 20.7 million jobs in April. The unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May.

Reopening efforts across the country contributed to the job gains, and provided hope that economic activity will rise. This is a strong signal that the U.S. economy might be headed in the right direction. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Macro hedge funds were the strongest performers in May: Macro hedge funds lead the pack in May – but Lyxor urges caution on oil rally 

Where GPs are turning to for liquidity: Creative capital: How cash-strapped funds bridge liquidity gaps

PE funds may make their way onto DC plans: DOL issues guidance allowing private equity in DC plans

Holdings not available: BlackRock moves ahead on plan for ETF that keeps holdings secret

News and notes (Canada)

TD launches new ETFs: TD launches 5 new actively managed ETFs

Hamilton ETFs launches the Hamilton Financials Innovation ETF: Hamilton sets sights on financial-services innovation

Equity ETFs had $1.9 billion of inflows in May: ETF flows rebound in May Canadians optimistic about their finances, despite pandemic: Despite everything, Canadians have sunny outlook for their money

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or


Communicating through a crisis is always difficult, but communicating through COVID-19 presents new challenges that many hedge fund managers haven’t faced before.

With travel restrictions and physical distancing measures still in being enforced, in-person pitches are out of the question. Instead, managers have to rely on their marketing materials to speak for them. But those materials might seem a bit stale today as a result of the speed and severity of the impact from COVID-19.

To stand out, hedge fund managers need a marketing strategy that can differentiate them as much as their strategy does. Managers who can be agile and find effective ways to capitalize on all available marketing channels will improve their chance of success in the post-COVID-19 world.

Here are some key areas to strengthen your communications strategy during (and after) this crisis:

Be clear about losses, while highlighting your recovery

When it comes to performance, it’s critical to be upfront about any large redemptions or material impacts to your firm as a result of the pandemic.

The chaotic market reaction to the virus caught many fund managers off-guard. Use this opportunity to talk about the lessons you have learned from this event, as well as the steps you have taken to reposition and/or recover losses.

If you have halted redemptions or if there were delays in filing requirements, be sure to state why that happened and how you are making improvements that are in your investors’ best interests. Along with your pitchbook, website or any marketing materials, it is important to have a strong, updated due diligence questionnaire to address any important changes you have made.

Demonstrate strength going forward

Be sure to describe any changes you have made – or additions you are going to make – to your team to help you navigate any future volatility that may occur. It may also be valuable to highlight whether you have more than one prime broker, or you are planning to add another prime, in an effort to minimize counterparty risk or diversify relationships in advance of any future market turmoil.

While COVID-19 has created unprecedented volatility, it has also shed light on new opportunities. If applicable to your fund, it’s important to convey how your strategy aligns with the evolving climate and can capitalize on potential growth opportunities. Is your strategy able to capitalize on market instability or identify companies unfairly punished by the pandemic? Do current or newer holdings have strong fundamentals that may lead to their potential rebound? If so, make sure your investors and prospects know that.

Diversify your connection with investors

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the importance of using technology to communicate, particularly when it comes to keeping investors informed about their holdings. You might want to consider how you can make your marketing materials more dynamic and flexible enough to address any concerns your investors might have.

Beefing up investor-communication pages in your pitchbook or on your website is one way to accomplish this. These pages can provide details about the importance of regular communications and your commitment to keeping clients up to date.

Providing virtual reporting and Q&As on an annual or quarterly basis are great ways to engage investors. For a personal touch, your marketing can include links to infographics or short video clips of your founders or CIOs, providing assurance or illustrating how your strategy is managing this crisis.

Articulate operational strength

During uncertain periods, hedge funds need to re-visit and improve any language related to disaster recovery and business interruption. Is your team able to communicate in real-time via work-from-home tools, such as secure video conferencing, file sharing and so on? It may also be worthwhile to note any insurance you have for business interruption.

Key-person risk is another factor that should be noted. While the risk of an unexpected death and disability to a key decision-maker is always an important consideration, COVID-19 has added a new level of complexity to the story. If there is one key person at your firm, it is important to articulate your succession plan.

Our firm is experienced in helping hedge funds communicate their key messages.

Contact us today at or 1-844-243-1830 today for help with your pitchbook or other marketing strategies and tools.

Monday morning briefing: A look back at Q1 GDP

Increased tensions between the U.S. and China might impact global trade activity and financial markets. Economic reopening efforts continue across the U.S. and Canada. Investors are closely monitoring economic results to see if the worst is behind us.

The “Big Six” Canadian banks put aside a total of $10.9 billion for credit loss provisions, given the potential impact of COVID-19 on their customers and businesses. While this weighed on profits, Canadian banks remain well-capitalized and should emerge from this pandemic in a strong position.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s economy fell 8.2% (annualized) in Q1: Canadian output plunges with further damage expected

From blue chip to junk?: Inside the $2.5 trillion debt binge that has taken S&P 500 titans including Boeing and AT&T from blue chips to near junk

Fitch says the worst may be over: Economic collapse may be close to bottoming out: report

Goldman Sachs sees an uneven recovery: Goldman Sachs warns global economic recovery could be bumpy 

A look at some industries that may face challenges in the recovery: Some industries won’t have a reopening comeback

Reasons for hope

Merck looking to develop COVID-19 vaccine and treatment: Merck in collaboration to develop coronavirus vaccine, with clinical trials to start this year

Creating a hospital unit for people rehabbing after a COVID-19 infection: Coming back from COVID-19: A rehab story

Finding ways to adapt, and give back, amid the pandemic: Caledon businesses adapt in a COVID-19 world

Looking to help businesses impacted by COVID-19: Google expands tools to help businesses impacted by COVID-19

Adapting your business

Maximizing social media to enhance customer service: How social media closes the physical gap with banking customers

Getting the best out of your remote customer service team: 4 ways to set your remote customer service team up for success

Transitioning your marketing efforts as the crisis stabilizes: How to shift your marketing now: Tips from billion-dollar RIAs

The COVID-19 pandemic may force change upon the financial advice industry: How practices will change thanks to COVID-19

What’s ahead for working from home: Can we just work from home forever?

Chart of the week

The spread of COVID-19 significantly impacted the Canadian economy in the first quarter of 2020. Canada’s gross domestic product contracted 8.2%, annualized, which was its steepest decline since 2009. While all facets of the economy saw weakness, none was more pronounced than consumer spending. That sector fell at its fastest pace ever, declining 9.0%. Given widespread shutdowns and higher unemployment, the decline in spending was not surprising. Adding to economic weakness was a decline in the price of oil. A disagreement between OPEC+ members and lower global demand dragged down the price of oil. While the economy might be weak again in the second quarter, rising oil prices and reopening efforts could help the economy. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Insurers have reduced their holdings in hedge funds: Insurers continue to reduce hedge fund exposures

A look at hedge funds’ holdings amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Q1 2020 filings insights

Hedge funds looking for, and hiring, talent: Hedge funds pay up in U.S. to poach from rivals stung by turmoil

Private equity closings and commitments dropped in the first quarter: Private equity activity slumps in Q1: report

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: May 27 edition

News and notes (Canada)

CI acquires a strategic position in U.S. RIA firm: CI acquires stake in another U.S. RIA, launches new private pools

Investing in real estate companies challenged by COVID-19: Slate launches COVID-19 real-estate strategy

BMO to eliminate DSC funds from its lineup: BMO to discontinue DSC funds later this year

Canadian Pension Plan’s assets increased by $17.6 billion in fiscal 2020: CPPIB’s assets under management increased in 2020. The fees it paid increased even more.

Over a quarter of burden reduction efforts have been completed: OSC provides update on burden reduction efforts

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: This would make Sam Walton proud

Perhaps a sign of the new normal, Shopify Inc. announced its employees will work from home permanently. This is not specific to the tech industry, however. Many major banks across the U.S. and Canada have announced they are considering how, when and where their employees will be working in the post-pandemic world.

Economic/industry news

Canadian inflation rate declined in April:Inflation falls below zero in Canada for first time since 2009

Canadian retail sales experienced a sharp decline in March: Canadian retail sales fell 10% in March, April expected to be worse

Japan enters recession: Japan’s economy falls into recession as virus takes its toll

A look at some companies using tech to make better products: Finding transformative tech in unusual places

Why the U.S. could see a ‘Y-shaped’ recovery: Liz Ann Sonders: What the post-pandemic world might look like

Economy will need the services sector to lead the recovery: Services sector key to economic recovery

How liquid alts can benefit a portfolio: The stabilizing force

Reasons for hope

Moderna sees success with virus antibody, but further testing required: Experimental coronavirus vaccine generated virus antibodies in small, early stage study

How one company turned into a manufacturer of PPE: Pivoting manufacturing operations to support COVID-19 efforts

Not just athletes, they are health care pros: Canadian Super Bowl winner, Olympians Wickenheiser and Rochette join COVID-19 frontlines

Keeping workers safe with digital tools: Technology, properly applied, keeps workers safe during COVID-19 

Adapting your business

Financial institutions will need to be focused on helping clients achieve “financial well-being”: Financial peace of mind may be key banking product in COVID’s wake

What the workplace may look like after COVID-19: ‘Not going to be like it was’: Post-pandemic workplace takes shape

Business practices that may change for financial advisors: What new practices will you adopt in the next chapter?

The key to building trust is a great team: Build client trust through each team member

How Edward Jones is adapting amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Edward Jones: How we’re adapting to the COVID-19 ‘new normal’

Chart of the week

Walmart Inc. reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings last week and its financial results were impressive. One-year revenue growth advanced 8.6% in the quarter. Walmart’s online sales increased 74% year-over-year, which is quite an achievement given that just a few years ago online sales were a weak spot for the retail behemoth. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Howard Marks expects volatility to return to equity markets: Add Howard Marks to the list of notable investors who believe the market comeback has gone too far

Daniel Loeb to become sole CIO of Third Point: Exclusive: Third Point founder Daniel Loeb takes over as Munib Islam leaves firm

Aladdin adds private assets: The relentless ambition of BlackRock’s Aladdin

How Regulation Best Interest will impact Broker-Dealers: Implications of Reg BI for Broker-Dealers and advisors

JPMorgan to close ETFs: JPMorgan plans to close four ETFs that mimic hedge-fund styles

News and notes (Canada)

CI to create CI Direct Investing after purchasing remainder of WealthBar: CI Financial buys remaining stake in WealthBar, will create CI Direct Investing

CI launches CI Marret Alternative Enhanced Yield Fund: CI launches new liquid alt fund 

A look at the impact of COVID-19 on first quarter earnings: How the pandemic impacted Q1 earnings

Morgan Stanley bringing wealth management expertise to Canada: Morgan Stanley to expand wealth management business into Canada

Canadian ATS firm MATCHNow purchased by CBOE: CBOE to acquire Canadian alternative trading system

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

COVID-19 is changing financial services marketing. Are you ready?

COVID-19 has led to widespread business shutdowns in the hope of containing the spread of the virus. This has, in turn, resulted in a severe global economic disruption and financial market volatility.

It’s safe to say that most investors are facing financial stresses to some degree right now. And the way they interact with their financial services providers – including their banks, advisors and investment firms – has likely changed for a long time.

As a result, how you deliver your message to clients will need to change too. This is a challenge the team at ext. understands. We have our fingers on the pulse of the financial services industry, and we are acutely aware of how marketing is evolving during these unprecedented times. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about the opportunities available to you today:

Stay in touch with email

Mailchimp found that the financial services industry has a 22% email open rate (Source). Your audience is looking for – and at – your emails.

At a minimum, your clients want you to stay in touch, to know that you are there for them and to be reminded that things will get better, especially during these uncertain times.

But now is also a time for business building. Captivate your audience with great storytelling to describe what you and your brand represent, as well as how you can help your clients and prospects navigate this time of uncertainty.

Email has proven to be an effective tool for financial services companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will continue as we move past this crisis.

Use best practices for virtual meetings

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a new normal for both the way we live and the way we do business. It will also reduce the number of face-to-face meetings you will have with clients going forward.

As businesses shut down operations and people are forced to work from home, client meetings have gone from the home or office to the computer. It is important to maintain the same principles in a virtual meeting as you would in a face-to-face meeting:

  • Prepare and stick to an agenda to ensure all points are covered
  • While it is tempting to wear a more relaxed wardrobe, dress professionally as you would in a face-to-face meeting
  • Proper lighting and a clean background gives a professional, upbeat tone
  • Don’t forget the audio! Test your mic beforehand and make sure your voice is clear

Illustrate your message with visual cues

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual leaners (Source).

Your clients and prospects need to understand the message you are conveying, particularly during this period of uncertainty. Adding more visuals to your presentations, emails, pitchbooks and social media posts is a great way to capture your clients’ attention and ensure they understand what you’re telling them. It is important, however, to keep your design consistent with your brand.

We’re here for you during these unprecedented times. For help with your marketing and portfolio manager commentaries, contact us at or 1-844-243-1830 today.

Monday morning briefing: GDP down … but is it out?

In the U.S., federal and state governments are planning to ease restrictions and allow some businesses to reopen. In Canada, various provinces have already started to reopen as well. These provinces have taken small steps and are demanding reopened businesses maintain proper health and safety measures.

Germany, Italy and France, among other European nations, are in midst of loosening restrictions and restarting parts of their economies. While it may take some time for economies to recover, this is an important first step to get commerce moving and people working.

Finally, all eyes were glued to jobs reports coming out of the U.S. and Canada on Friday, May 8th. These reports showed historical numbers of job losses in both countries.

Economic/industry news

Canadian unemployment rate rises to 13.0% in April: Canada lost about 2 million jobs in April, less than feared

U.S. economy loses 20.5 million jobs: Record 20.5 million American jobs lost in April. Unemployment rate soars to 14.7%

Tiff Macklem named the new governor of the BoC: New BoC governor named

A look at what happened to the oil market: Inside the biggest oil meltdown in history

What COVID-19 could mean for ESG strategies: Five ESG implications from COVID-19

Preparing the capital markets industry for post-crisis life: Charting a course for capital markets post-COVID-19

Canadian equities lagged other asset types in the first quarter: Canadian equities were worst hit asset type for fund managers in Q1, report says

Reasons for hope

A thank you to all of the nurses on the front lines: 14 meaningful ways people are saying thank you to nurses

Donor contribution to nonprofits exceed goal: Fidelity Charitable donors step up funding for COVID-19 relief

Stories of those making a difference: 7 good news stories from around the world to end your week

Remaining bullish on the U.S.: Warren Buffet just made one optimistic bet that you can make too

Adapting your business

Maximize your virtual meetings: Meetings aren’t what they used to be. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Helping your clients get through this crisis: Coaching clients in times of crisis

A shift to customers’ financial preferences poses a challenge to marketers: COVID-19 brings tectonic shifts in banking consumers’ life views

Going virtual to keep sales crown: How JPMorgan adapted to selling remotely

How to work with pre-retirees whose nest eggs have been impacted by COVID-19: The conversation you need to have with retiring clients … now

Chart of the week

COVID-19 has brought global economic activity to a near halt. In its World Economic Outlook in April, the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) projected that global economic growth will decline by 3% in 2020. But the IMF expects growth to accelerate by 5.8% in 2021. As economies begin to reopen across the world, there are reasons for optimism that growth will return after a rocky 2020. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Private equity still has eyes on the wealth management industry: Despite COVID-19 disruption private equity firms are still acquiring wealth managers

Use of alternative data expected to increase: Hedge funds’ use of alternative data tipped to surge, new industry study finds

Larry Fink sounds warning for corporate America: BlackRock’s Fink delivers grim outlook with tax hikes for corporate America

Investment funds experienced substantial withdrawals in March: Mutual Fund, ETF assets ravaged by double-digit declines in March: Cerulli

News and notes (Canada)

Private Debt Partners launches closed-end fund: New private lender launches senior secured direct lending fund

Franklin Templeton introduces new bond fund that invests in popular ETF: Franklin Templeton launches global bond fund

Desjardins launches new ESG ETF: Desjardins adds to ESG ETF stable

Shopify surpasses RBC by market capitalization: Shopify displaces RBC to become Canada’s most valuable company

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: Markets rise while economies struggle

Potential COVID-19 drug showed positive results. The keys to running a successful remote meeting. Could M&A be banned during the pandemic? And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

U.S. economic expansion ends: US GDP shrank 4.8% in the first quarter amid biggest contraction since the financial crisis

Europe’s GDP contracts: Europe’s economy just had its worst quarter since records began

Canada’s GDP unchanged in February: Canada’s GDP growth was already flat in February, StatsCan data shows

Fed keeps its central interest rate steady: Fed holds near-zero rate, Powell sees severe impact from pandemic

Investments in real estate could decline in 2020: Institutional investors set to pull back on real estate investments in 2020: survey

A look at the benefits of a merger arbitrage strategy: Five reasons why merger arbitrage is a must-own strategy

Five tips for investing during this crisis: T. Rowe offers 5 rules for investing during time of pandemic

People are turning to financial advisors for help: How a surprise pandemic reinforced the need for financial advice

Reasons for hope

Potential COVID-19 drug showed positive results: Gilead says early results of coronavirus drug trial show improvement with shorter remdesivir treatment

Some stories of human compassion: 5 uplifting stories of people showing up for each other during the coronavirus pandemic

Looking for faster tests: Federal government launches $500 million ‘Shark Tank’ style challenge to speed development of better coronavirus tests

Assisting your clients

How companies should plan for the future: How to plan your company’s future during the pandemic

Taking a proactive approach with clients: Acting, not reacting, during the pandemic

The keys to running a successful remote meeting: How to host remote meetings without chaos

Keeping track of actions by federal regulators: Better Markets launches COVID-19 regulatory tracker

Chart of the week

The S&P 500 Index, NASDAQ Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average posted their strongest monthly returns in 20 years, after reaching multi-year lows in March as a result of the spread of COVID-19. All 11 sectors on the S&P 500 Index advanced, with over 90% of stocks on the index finishing higher. This comes despite a significant drop in economic activity across the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., initial jobless claims continue to be in the millions, while first-quarter gross domestic product fell by 4.8%. Lower valuations and hope that economies will soon begin reopening boosted the performance of equity markets. Will the expectations of getting past this crisis drive market performance in May, or will investors demonstrate concern over weak incoming economic data? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Could M&A be banned during the pandemic?: Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want mergers halted due to COVID-19

VC funds under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic: VC funds face bigger risk than in financial crisis

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

News and notes (Canada)

Oak Trust purchased by Raymond James: Investment firm Raymond James Ltd. acquires Oak Trust Co.

Horizons Canada makes changes to oil ETFs: Horizons announces effort to save troubled oil ETFs

Canadian DB plans had a significant decline in the first quarter: Canadian DB plans return negative 7.1% in first quarter

Canada’s fund industry lagging behind other countries in tax and regulations: Canada’s fund regulation, taxation falling short for investors: Morningstar

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: Will Shopify rise above them all?

Leading your business out of the COVID-19 crisis. Helping businesses calculate the wage subsidy. The environment has benefited from widespread business shutdowns. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate falls to 0.9%: Inflation in Canada slows to lowest since 2015 on oil glut

Could COVID-19 change capitalism?: Leon Cooperman says the coronavirus crisis will change capitalism forever and taxes have to go up

Fitch expects the global economy to contract by 3.9% this year: Global economy takes harder hit: Fitch

COVID-19 could force change in the wealth management industry: We are in the midst of a ‘total reboot’ of wealth management

Prices for WTI crude went negative last week: Covid-19 cripples demand for oil

ESG investments may gain even more interest: COVID-19 will boost interest in ESG investing: Nuveen

Reasons for hope

60 uplifting stories you need to know: 60 positive news stories you may have missed during the coronavirus outbreak

Helping the families of front-line workers who have lost their lives: Fund to help the survivors of workers who die fighting COVID-19

How to help support COVID-19 relief efforts: Giving in the time of COVID-19

The environment has benefited from widespread business shutdowns: The surprise emerging from the pandemic

Assisting your clients

The increased importance of video conferencing: Zooming in on the remote workplace

Leading your business out of the COVID-19 crisis: Five keys to the decisive action you need to accelerate out of COVID-19

A look at how financial advisors can grow their business amid COVID-19: 3 ways to maintain and grow your financial advisory practice during the coronavirus crisis

Setting up bank branches post COVID-19: Retail banking reboot: How COVID will force branch changes for safety

Handling clients while in self-isolation (video): How advisors can manage their business in self-isolation

Brands should adapt to a new reality: Want to save your brand? Adapt now

Chart of the week

Last week, Shopify surpassed The Toronto-Dominion Bank to become the second-largest company in Canada. The company’s market capitalization passed $100 billion. The share price for the e-commerce platform has already risen approximately 69% so far in 2020, and the company’s website has seen a strong uptick in traffic since people began to stay home. Can Shopify surpass Royal Bank of Canada as the largest company in Canada in 2020? Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Secondary market trading for private equity has slowed: Trading of private equity stakes will plummet this year

Tax benefits from the CARES Act: How the CARES Act impacts your clients’ taxes

Fidelity launches eight new thematic funds: Fidelity launches thematic funds with time-based fee discounts

Morningstar to purchase remaining 60% of Sustainalytics: Morningstar to take full control of Sustainalytics

News and notes (Canada)

CI Financial takes a position in Cabana Group: CI Financial acquires strategic interest in Cabana Group

Helping businesses calculate the wage subsidy: CRA launches wage subsidy calculator for employers

It was a tough market environment for hedge funds in Canada: Hedge fund wipeout in Canada leaves only 5 gainers in Q1

Mutual fund assets under management fell 10% in March: Mutual funds, ETFs lose assets in March

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: Tech stocks that shine during COVID-19 crisis

Thank you for reading Monday Morning Briefing.  For this edition, and going forward, we have decided to change the format of the briefing to provide you with relevant information you will need to weather the new realities we face today – and the challenges that will likely continue over the coming months. As small business owners ourselves, we know that access to timely news, human stories and tools to help you operate better, can be invaluable at times like these. Please let us know if you have any feedback on our new format or want more information on our stories. We want to hear from you, our readers.

Jillian Bannister, CEO
Richard Heft, President

Economic/industry news

The BoC kept its central interest rate at 0.25%: BoC sees risk of ‘structural damage,’ ramps up bond-buying

Economic growth in Canada slumped in March: Data indicate economy plunged in March: StatsCan

China’s GDP contracted over the first quarter: China says its economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter as the country battled coronavirus

The value of alternatives through volatile markets: Alternatives can smooth market bumps

Cash levels among fund managers rising: Fund managers at highest cash levels since 9/11: BofA survey

COVID-19 has resulted in more cashless payments: Contactless payments skyrocket because no one wants to handle cash

Reasons for hope

A look at the potential cures for COVID-19: Handicapping the most promising of 267 potential coronavirus cures

Private equity firms stepping up to help first responders and portfolio company employees: Private equity firms promise millions for coronavirus relief

Restaurant changes operations to help community: Vaughan restaurant now making hand-sanitizer, keeps staff employed

Assisting your clients

Generation Z reconsidering how they view money: Why COVID-19 is rebooting how Gen Z feels about money and banking

Best practices to follow when RIAs are working from home: Key tech steps for RIAs working from home

Eight principles to keep in mind with your marketing efforts in the current market environment: PR and marketing: How to communicate during COVID-19

It is important to remain in constant contact with your clients: Communicate with clients clearly and often, consultant says

Looking after yourself while working from home: Pandemic, stress and luxury

Chart of the week

Despite significant volatility in financial markets over the past two months, there have been a number of stocks that have performed well. Some stocks have benefited from higher expectations for sales given that more people are at home. Here are a few of these “stay-at-home” stocks, which have outperformed the broader market, even producing share price gains. Netflix Inc., Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. are all seeing gains. As people eventually return to work, and social distancing measures are relaxed, what will be in store for the share prices of these companies? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

The hedge fund industry experienced net outflows in February: Hedge funds see USD8.1bn in outflows in February

BlackRock raised US$5.1 billion for its latest alternative fund: BlackRock just closed its largest alternative fund yet

Allocators demonstrating cautious sentiment toward private market investments: Investors are cautious on private markets during shutdowns, Pitchbook survey shows

Investment funds experienced significant outflows in March: Funds saw largest ever exodus in March, Morningstar says

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: April 15 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Purpose Investments launches new fund: Purpose unveils new structured equity yield portfolio

A look at the federal government’s assistance programs: Understanding CERB, EI and the feds’ wage subsidy

CI Financial partnering with private-market investment company: CI Financial forges private-market investment partnership

IIROC is delaying fee collection: IIROC gives dealers a breather on fees

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: Labour market faces challenges

International securities regulators focused on COVID-19. Many executives planning acquisitions in the next year. Handling client data with care. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canada loses 1 million jobs: Canada sheds record 1.01 million jobs in March

The impact of short-term losses on long-term value: So how much wealth destruction has truly occurred since February?

Be careful trading based on Fed actions: Investors need to be selective in following the Fed

International securities regulators focused on COVID-19: Global regulators all-in on pandemic perils

A look at the similarities and differences between current conditions and the 2008 financial crisis: Comparing the current crisis to 2008

How governments can get people back to work, but keep them safe: How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis

Chart of the week: Labour market faces challenges

Canada’s job report for March showed a significant deterioration in its labour market. In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, many businesses were shuttered, at least temporarily, resulting in mass layoffs across many industries. In March, the Canadian economy lost over one million jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.8%, its highest level since 2010. Markets will be carefully watching how the federal government’s wage subsidy program helps businesses, and if it keeps people employed. Let us know if you think this will be enough to bolster Canada’s labour market.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at some strong and weak performing hedge funds in March: The winning and losing hedge funds of the March pandemic

Hedge funds’ returns declined in March: Hedge funds down 4.40 per cent in March, says Eurekahedge

Capital raised by private debt funds declined in the first quarter: Private debt funds struggle to raise capital in pandemic

Many executives planning acquisitions in the next year: While M&A grinds to a halt, many executives plan for future deals

Target-date funds experience declines amid extreme market volatility: Target date funds not immune to COVID-19 selloff: Morningstar

News and notes (Canada)

Canadian government relaxing restrictions on accessing wage subsidy program: Trudeau promises ‘relaxed’ rules for wage subsidy, more support for student jobs

A look at the impact of COVID-19 on the cannabis industry: Can pot stocks weather the COVID-19 hurdle?

How DB plans can navigate through the current market environment: A coronavirus game plan for defined benefit pension plans

Canada’s oil industry challenged by a confluence of factors: Alberta’s Kenney sees negative oil prices, $20 billion deficit

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

The use of fintech apps has risen in response to COVID-19: Coronavirus drives 72% rise in use of fintech apps

Now may be the time for financial institutions to improve its digital platforms: COVID-19 provides opportunity for digital transformation

Digitalization requires effective communication among different teams and departments: How to break down team and department silos for digital transformation

Helping banks and other organizations with customers’ COVID-19 questions: Google launches bot to help organizations answer COVID-19 questions

Handling client data with care: Why tech vendors must start taking our user data seriously

Insurers turning to digital tools for the sales application process: Insurers adapt underwriting, digital channels in pandemic response

High-net-worth topics

How the wealthy are navigating through the choppy markets (video): Tiger 21 Chairman Michael Sonnenfeldt on how his clients are navigating coronavirus-driven volatility

The wealthy should return to U.S. equities: Goldman tells rich clients U.S. stocks still offer best returns

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Canada’s economic recovery may not be rapid (CIBC): No quick recovery in sight, CIBC economists say

Financial advisors in the U.S. see more downside in stocks (Ned Davis): 4 in 5 advisors say stocks haven’t hit bottom: Survey

In this time of rising uncertainty, please know that ext. is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact – current and potential – on our firm, our clients’ businesses and the overall financial services industry.

We remain committed to seamless service for our clients and the well-being of our employees during this time. If you have any questions about business continuity at ext. – or how you can effectively communicate these and other timely issues with your clients, please reach out to your account manager or contact us 1.844.243.1830 or


Monday afternoon briefing: Services sink

We may not see a v-shaped recovery. Why PE firms may be looking at publicly listed companies. How COVID-19 may change banking. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s economy grew 0.1% in January: Economic growth slowed in January to 0.1%, Statistics Canada says

U.S. unemployment rate rises to 4.4%: US payrolls plunge 701,000 in March amid the start of a job market collapse

We may not see a v-shaped recovery: Economists are losing hope in a ‘v-shaped’ post-virus recovery

The Fed is stepping up to help global debt markets: Fed steps in once again to try to smooth out lending markets

How pension plans are approaching rebalancing amid the market volatility: Investment portfolio rebalancing in the time of coronavirus

Happy birthday to ETFs: Getting better with age: ETFs turn 30

Chart of the week

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, the services sector has been particularly hard hit. Travel, accommodation and food services, among others, have all come to a halt. In its most recent results from IHS Markit, services across the U.S. and Europe have had their steepest decline ever. Even if the spread of COVID-19 is flat-lines and people quickly return to work, it will likely take some time for the services industry to fully recover. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Stay defensive in down markets: Billionaire Howard Marks pitches a defensive investing outlook

Why PE firms may be looking at publicly listed companies: Private equity will go after listed companies. And corporations will welcome it.

The impact of the U.S. government’s stimulus package on private markets: What $2T in stimulus does – and doesn’t do – for private markets

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: April 1 edition

News and notes (Canada)

From skates to medical equipment: How private equity-owned Bauer pivoted from hockey gear to medical masks

Tax planning for business owners in the current environment: Tax tips for business owners navigating the pandemic

Real estate market in Canada could see significant declines: Distancing, economic uncertainty to hurt home sales: RBC

Counsel Portfolio Services makes changes to pricing: Counsel enhances tiered pricing program

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

With challenges come opportunities: Coronavirus: New challenges and opportunities for fintech

How COVID-19 may change banking: Reimagining banking during and after COVID-19

Fintechs can benefit from partnerships with private banks: Private banks may prove profitable partners for fintechs

Improving cash management systems: Firms look to better cash management capabilities

Answering questions about a digital transformation: Banks questions about doing digital transformation

Improving the process for online account openings: When opening accounts in branches becomes impossible

Helping advisors with remote client engagement tools, free until July: Wealthtech firm offers tool free of charge 

High-net-worth topics

Reviewing your estate plan: How to take advantage of new estate planning opportunities caused by the coronavirus

The wealthy still bullish on the economy over the long term: Wealthy U.S. investors and business owners look hopefully to long term

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Canada’s stimulus measures could help ease the impact of COVID-19 (DBRS): Thumbs up for Canada’s large stimulus effort: DBRS

24% of millennials bought stocks despite volatile markets (Bankrate): Quarter of millennials bought stocks amid recent volatility: Bankrate

In this time of rising uncertainty, please know that ext. is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact – current and potential – on our firm, our clients’ businesses and the overall financial services industry.

We remain committed to seamless service for our clients and the well-being of our employees during this time.

If you have any questions about business continuity at ext. – or how you can effectively communicate these and other timely issues with your clients, please reach out to your account manager or contact us 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: Jobless claims go vertical

Providing help to small businesses. Protecting cryptocurrencies from theft. PE firms facing uncertainty between helping portfolio firms and making acquisitions. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The BoC makes another emergency rate cut: Bank of Canada cuts key rate to 0.25% as virus, oil fallout deepens

Canadian government’s stimulus plan becomes law: Federal bill with more than $100B in COVID-19 aid is now law     

Breaking down the US$2 trillion stimulus package: What’s in Congress’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

How banks can help small businesses: COVID-19 is crushing small business: Can banks move fast enough?

Understanding the underperformance of value stocks: Moving beyond the naive definition of value investing

How COVID-19 may impact the asset allocation of DB plans: The impact of coronavirus on DB pension funding status, asset mix

Bond ETFs trading at large discounts to NAV: Bond ETFs’ liquidity tested amid market stress

Chart of the week


Initial jobless claims in the U.S. rose to 3.28 million for the week ended March 21. This sharply surpassed market expectations of 1.70 million jobless claims, and is the highest amount ever recorded. COVID-19 is causing a massive disruption to the U.S. economy, which is causing many Americans to find themselves out of work and running out of money. The US$2 trillion spending plan may provide some assistance to those hurt by COVID-19, but will it be enough? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

COVID-19’s impact on commonly held hedge fund stocksHow COVID-19 is impacting popular hedge fund stocks

For some, it’s buying timeHedge funds legends quietly contacting investors, citing historic buying opportunity

PE firms facing uncertainty between helping portfolio firms and making acquisitions: Flush with cash, PE firms confront their new reality

Providing support to registered funds: SEC provides temporary flexibility to funds hurt by coronavirus crisis

News and notes (Canada)

CSA announces temporary blanket relief: Securities regulators get flexible in face of COVID-19 concerns

Providing help to small businesses: BMO offers relief to small businesses

Mutual funds and ETFs saw strong net sales in February: ETF and mutual fund sales neck and neck in February

JR Shaw passes away at 85‘Titan of business and philanthropy’: Telecom giant JR Shaw dead at 85

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Mobile video banking usage increasing: Will the pandemic catapult mobile video banking into the big time?

Some virtual tools for working from home: 5 tools for remote working

Understanding low-code: What’s low-code all about? An interview with Mike Heffner, Appian

Trade processing can benefit from new technology: In pursuit of trade processing perfection

Protecting cryptocurrencies from theft: The most proven ways to protect crypto money from hackers

The self-employed need protection: COVID-19 exposes urgent need to protect the self-employed

High-net-worth topics

How the wealthy are responding to COVID-19: Billionaire tracker: Actions the world’s wealthiest are taking in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Family offices hopeful a recovery will come soon: Family offices see market recovery within 12 months: Survey

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Many plan sponsors expect a recession (NEPC): Plan sponsors expect recession, negative S&P 500 returns in 2020

Canada likely headed for a recession (CIBC): Recession is inevitable, but how long will it last?

In this time of rising uncertainty, please know that ext. is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact – current and potential – on our firm, our clients’ businesses and the overall financial services industry.

We remain committed to seamless service for our clients and the well-being of our employees during this time. If you have any questions about business continuity at ext. – or how you can effectively communicate these and other timely issues with your clients, please reach out to your account manager or contact us 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing: A lost decade?

Spotlight on fintech as more people stay home. ESG funds performing relatively well. Private equity will be challenged by the spread of COVID-19. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate was 2.2% in February: Annual pace of inflation cools to 2.2% in February

The BoE reduces its Bank Rate by 15 basis points: Coronavirus: UK interest rates cut to lowest level ever

More stimulus measures from the ECB: European Central Bank announces massive stimulus plan to calm markets

Will actions by central banks help?: Liquidity measures abound, but markets remain spooked

ESG funds performing relatively well: ESG investments performing well on relative basis during downturn

NYSE to move to all-electronic trading: NYSE to shut equities, options trading floors

Chart of the week


The S&P/TSX Composite Index declined 14% last week alone. Since the beginning of February, when concerns heightened over the spread of COVID-19, the S&P/TSX is down approximately 32%. As a result, the S&P/TSX Composite Index has lost almost all of the gains achieved over the past 10 years. While the global economy is going to suffer in response to the spread of COVID-19, we expect quality companies to recover and persevere over the long term. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds had positive inflows in JanuaryHedge funds reverse two-month redemption trend with USD21.2bn inflows in January

PE will be challenged by the spread of COVID-19How COVID-19 is shaping up to be a major test for PE

A look at the value of PE managers: Private equity essentials: How private equity managers create value

Guaranteeing safety of money market funds: Treasury proposes to guarantee money market funds in stimulus

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeksMutual funds scorecard: March 19 edition

Bond fund flows increased in February: Investors fled to bonds in February: Morningstar

News and notes (Canada)

Canadian federal government introduces massive spending plan: Liberals pledge up to $82 billion in spending, deferred taxes

Caldwell Investment Management launches first ETF: Caldwell enters Canadian ETF market

The CSA announced extension to its filing deadlines: CSA extends filing, comment deadlines

Canada may be headed towards a recession: Canada facing recession: TD Economics

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Bigger spotlight on fintech as more people stay home: Fintechs getting a boost from coronavirus outbreak

Is America ready for open banking?: Is it finally time for open banking’s debut in America?

Understanding the ethics of AI: The Ethics of AI: AI in the financial services sector: grand opportunities and great challenges

It’s important that companies maintain their focus on customers: Even in the age of COVID-19, you need to stay focused on the customer

Helping kids develop good money habits: Revolut launches app for kids

Why COVID-19 could speed up the digital revolution: Ad mogul Martin Sorrell says coronavirus will “accelerate the digital revolution”

High-net-worth topics

Preparing to put cash back into the market: Ultra-rich families poised for spending splurge after stock rout

Structured notes gaining popularity among the wealthy: Citigroup’s wealthy clients are snapping up structured notes

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Fund managers’ sentiment falling fast (Bank of America): Historic collapse in global fund manager sentiment: BofA survey

Spread of COVID-19 affecting the finances of Americans (LendingTree): 63% of Americans say virus outbreak has impacted their finances

In this time of rising uncertainty, please know that ext. is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact – current and potential – on our firm, our clients’ businesses and the overall financial services industry.

We remain committed to seamless service for our clients and the well-being of our employees during this time. If you have any questions about business continuity at ext. – or how you can effectively communicate these and other timely issues with your clients, please reach out to your account manager or contact us 1.844.243.1830 or