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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Monday morning briefing: The $2-trillion company arrives

Last week, the S&P 500 Index reached another record closing price, rising more than 50% from its March 23 low. What comes next? In its recent investor survey, Bank of America found that bullishness among fund managers was rising, which could bode well for equities. However, there are some signs the economic recovery may not be swift. In its meeting minutes, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board expressed some uncertainty given potential headwinds for the economic recovery.

Economic/industry news

The Canadian inflation rate eased to 0.1% in July: Annual inflation rate falls to 0.1%, Statistics Canada reports

Canadian retail sales rose by a record amount in June: Canada retail sales rise 23.7% in June: Statscan

The U.S. labour market could be challenged for years: Millions of U.S. jobs to be lost for years, IRS projections show

How will modern monetary theory impact the global economy?: Modern monetary theory and pandemic debt

Revenues of small businesses falling substantially amid the pandemic: Study finds small business revenues dropped 52% and payrolls declined 54% due to COVID pandemic

Fund managers turning bullish: Fund managers believe this is a whole new cycle

Reasons for hope

This saliva test could be the best: Open-source COVID-19 saliva test could be a game changer

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. declining: New COVID-19 cases are declining across the US, official says, but that could quickly change if people aren’t careful

Canadian government outlines CERB replacement: Ottawa unveils $37B support plan to replace CERB

Music festivals going virtual: Why this Russian billionaire is creating a virtual reality world for music festivals and concerts

Adapting your business

Reinventing during uncertainty: Even in tough times, these companies are set on reinvention

Making remote work more efficient: Four business telecoms trends set to revolutionize the mobile workforce

Navigating tricky markets to keep retirement on track: 4 tips to help clients keep their retirement on track through uncertainty

Communication still key, no matter how it is delivered: Client communications have changed. Needs have not.

Chart of the week: The $2-trillion company arrives

It was a monumental week for Apple Inc. The tech giant’s market capitalization surpassed US$2 trillion on August 19, becoming the first publicly listed U.S. company to reach this milestone. Apple reached a US$1 trillion market cap only two years ago.

Despite COVID-19, demand for Apple products remains high, with iPhones, computers and watches still favourites among consumers. The upcoming 5G iPhone could result in another surge in phone sales. Amid the pandemic, shares of Apple have climbed 60% in 2020. How long will it be until we’re writing about Apple being a $3 trillion company? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted a positive return in June: Hedge funds up 3.29 per cent in July, says Preqin

Oaktree taking a conservative approach given the current conditions: Why Oaktree is more conservatively positioned than usual

A look at the top holdings of hedge funds during the second quarter: Q2 2020 filings insights

Venture capital is an attractive investment for family offices: Wealthy families raise their VC investment profile

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: August 19 edition

News and notes (Canada)

TD launches three asset allocation ETFs: Three new ETFs from TD Asset Management

Looking at competency requirements for registered and investment representatives: IIROC consulting on competency requirements for reps

Pensions adapting to ensure they meet the required retirement benefit: How have Canada’s DB pensions changed over the last decade?

Chrystia Freeland named new Finance Minister: Chrystia Freeland replaces Morneau as finance minister ahead of Sept. 23 throne speech

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Monday morning briefing: The recovery begins in China

Is there cause for concern in Canada’s real estate market? Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) CEO, Evan Siddall, thinks so.  Siddall asked Canadian bank leaders, via a letter, to avoid providing “riskier” mortgages.

Despite a bit of a slowdown in 2019 and during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Canada’s housing market has grown at a rapid pace for the better part of a decade. Siddall now believes high unemployment and rising debt levels could put pressure on individuals when making their mortgage payments, particularly if they take on more risk with higher-valued mortgages. One of the “Big Five” bank CEOs responded that  Siddall’s concern is valid, but may be a bit extreme, as Canada’s mortgage market has been managed in a relatively prudent fashion.

Economic/industry news

U.S. consumer prices rose in July: U.S. consumer prices rose 0.6% in July, matching June uptick

U.S. retail sales increased 1.2% in July: Americans keep buying stuff despite the pandemic – retail sales rise for a third straight month

U.K. economy plummeted in Q2: U.K.’s worst slump in Europe raises pressure to sustain rebound

Investor focus will be on jobs and growth: Recession? Over. Now it’s about jobs and growth in U.S. equities

Investors expecting strong returns over the next five years: Investors expecting big returns despite COVID-19 uncertainty

Invesco’s outlook on fixed income for the remainder of 2020: 8 fixed income predictions for the rest of 2020: Invesco

Total assets in ETFs and ETPs reached a record US$6.66 trillion in July: Assets invested in ETFs, ETPs hit new record

Reasons for hope

Finding success amid the pandemic: Business as (un)usual

Helping others prepare for school: Parents pay it forward with school supply drive

Some states partnering with Ageless Innovation to eliminate loneliness: Robotic pets are helping seniors avoid loneliness

Adapting your business

The pandemic has accelerated the growth in the outsourced chief investment officer industry: The pandemic is spurring OCIO growth. Transparency will follow.

Virtual models of providing advice are likely to persist beyond the pandemic: Vanguard: The pandemic proves the value of digitally driven advice

The importance of an estate plan for parents, and grandparents: Estate planning, COVID-19 and grandparents

The ins and outs of working from home, and what is means for you: Taxes, VPNS and office hours

Chart of the week: The recovery begins in China

China’s economy began to recover in the second quarter of 2020, as gross domestic product rose 11.5%. After shrinking 10.0% in the first quarter, it now appears the country has avoided a recession. While China has worked to increase consumer demand over the past decade, it may be the manufacturing sector that leads the recovery as the country emerges from the pandemic. Industrial production rose 4.8% in July (over the same month in 2019). This was the fourth straight advance for the country’s industrial production.

Meanwhile, retail sales have fallen behind and declined 1.1% year-over-year in July, marking the seventh straight monthly fall for retail sales. While the pace of the slowdown in retail sales has been easing, the effects from the pandemic are still weighing on consumers, who are not returning to stores as expected. Although the economy appears to be recovering, will a slowdown in retail sales activity hinder the accelerated growth figures China has been used to? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted strong returns in July: Hedge funds turn up the heat with strong gains across equities, macro and activist strategies

Forget about math when it comes to investing: Meet the hedge fund manager who thinks math is overrated (when it comes to investing)

T. Rowe Price enters ETF market with actively managed offerings: T. Rowe Price debuts four active equity ETFs

Will capital gains tax be reduced?: Trump looking ‘seriously’ at capital gains tax cut

News and notes (Canada)

CI makes fund available to retail investors: CI opens institutional fund to retail investors

Mark Carney returns to Canada: Mark Carney’s quiet return to Ottawa

BoC reduces five-year mortgage rate to 4.79%: BoC cuts benchmark mortgage rate to lowest level in three years

Canadian pension funds are producing robust returns versus their peers: The world’s best pension funds are Canadian. Sorry.

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Monday morning briefing: Concerned consumers

Let’s play ball! Major League Baseball had its opening day last week, with other major sports leagues returning to play – or kicking off their seasons – in the next few days and weeks. Sports is a significant contributor to local economies, as fans buy tickets and purchase concessions, while hotels and local restaurants benefit from increased patronage.

The usual economic pickup will be somewhat muted, however, as capacity restrictions and lockdown measures limit spending at local establishments. That said, many of us are just happy we can finally root, root, root for the home team once more!

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate rose to 0.7% in June: Canadian inflation accelerates in June on gasoline, shelter costs

Canada keeps its AAA rating at S&P: S&P Global Ratings reaffirms Canada’s AAA credit rating

The EU introduces a massive recovery fund: European stimulus package introduces shared borrowing

Could there be a spike in asset management firms?: The COVID-19 crisis could launch a wave of new asset managers

Some operational trends in the investment management industry: Private fund industry veteran reveals top 3 operational trends in the investment management business

Looking to safe-haven assets: Gold, silver are surging to multi-year highs on virus spreading

Mercer looks at the relevance of value investing: Is value investing still relevant?

Reasons for hope

Positive results from early testing: Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine shows dual immune action

Helping the community, and each other: How helping the community has helped retired residents during COVID-19

Doing whatever it takes: This biotech business won’t let cost get in the way of a COVID cure

Adapting your business

Preparing the workplace for returning employees: 10 ways to change your traditional office as you head back to work

Transitioning to a new operating model in the new normal: Next-generation operating models for the next model

How companies can help working caregivers: 6 ways businesses can support working caregivers during COVID-19

The top concern of RIAs is business continuity planning: COVID-19 planning is top RIA compliance concern

Chart of the week: Concerned consumers

The stock market is rising and economic activity has improved, but could the U.S. economy be on shaky ground? According to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, consumer confidence unexpectedly declined in July. Consumers expressed concern about current economic conditions and the economy, as well as their own personal finances. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that initial jobless claims rose for the week ended July 18; the first weekly rise since earlier in the pandemic. Could the decline in sentiment lead to a pullback in consumer economic activity, or is this just a hiccup on the return to pre-pandemic levels? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Net redemptions of hedge funds declined in May: Hedge fund redemptions down again in May

Concerns over raising the AUM threshold for 13F filings: Don’t mess with 13Fs

Private equity and sports are connecting: Hard-hit sports world finds new fans: private equity firms

The doors may be opening for banks to offer crypto custody services: Top US regulator paves the way for banks to offer crypto custody

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: July 22 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Digital app for insurance applications: Sun Life launches app for advisors

Stability in the housing market may help avoid mortgage defaults: Mortgage defaults after COVID-19 could look different than 2008, says economist

Canadians more confident about their financial future, according to IG: Can clients’ financial confidence last?

Sales of ETFs hit $23 billion in the first half of 2020: ETFs power fund industry sales in 2020: IFIC

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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

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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

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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

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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

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