Monday morning briefing: Bitfarms mining for success on the NASDAQ

The wait for a U.S.-based Bitcoin ETF continues. The SEC once again delayed a decision to approve a Bitcoin ETF, citing concerns over the lack of oversight in cryptocurrencies. The SEC will seek further public comments on the proposed VanEck ETF to be listed on the Cboe. The deadline to respond was extended into July. Many hoped the Bitcoin ETFs listed in Canada and their market activity would have a positive impact on the SEC’s views, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Economic/industry news

The Fed holds steady, but signals earlier-than-expected rate hikes: The Fed moves up its timeline for rate hikes as inflation rises

Canada’s inflation rate 3.6% in May: Inflation jumps to 3.6% in Canada, highest since 2011

The global labour market is still challenged: Millions of missing jobs should make inflation hawks think twice

Why vaccine distribution will be the most important economic policy: Vaccines will be the ‘most important’ economic policy this year, IMF chief says

Fund managers do not believe higher inflation will be sustained: Is higher inflation here to stay? Fund managers don’t think so

Janet Yellen wants financial services firms to prepare for a shift away from Libor: Treasury Secretary fears the attack of the bad interest rate benchmarks

Reasons for hope

Strong results for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine: Novavax COVID shot highly effective against variants in trial

The time is now to see your doctor: The COVID-19 pandemic may be easing: Why now is a good time to see your doctor

Regeneron’s COVID-19 treatment may help save lives: Regeneron antibody ‘cocktail’ can save lives in hospitalized COVID patients, study finds

Adapting your business

Projecting the right image: 3 ways entrepreneurs can project the right image to their clients

Closing the deal: 10 useful phrases for getting clients to commit

Using “Fintwit” creatively: Stimulus checks, Elon Musk and crypto memes: How Douglas Boneparth is using twitter like no other financial advisor   

Handling the tough question about fees: Answering ‘How much do you charge?’

Chart of the week: Bitfarms mining for success on the NASDAQ

Bitfarms Ltd. received Depository Trust Company (“DTC”)  eligibility on June 17, and its common shares will be listed on the NASDAQ Composite Index beginning on June 21. The Bitcoin mining company, headquartered in Quebec, will still maintain its listing on the TSX Venture Exchange. Bitfarms’ shares surged higher in response to its NASDAQ listing. The NASDAQ listing will bring more investor attention to the company. Despite concern over Bitcoin’s environmental impact, Bitfarms notes it uses green hydroelectricity to power 1% of the Bitcoin network. With more institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies and more visibility on the NASDAQ, what’s next for the stock price of Bitfarms? Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Insurers may add to hedge fund positions: Hedge funds remain an option for some insurers, says new report

PE investors looking at secondaries: As interest in private equity expands, three quarters of LPs are now invested in secondaries

Reviewing the definition of an accredited investor: SEC plans more changes to accredited investor definition

Becoming one of the largest managers in the ETF space: Dimensional converts $29 billion of mutual funds into ETFs

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

News and notes (Canada)

Dynamic Funds launches new ETFs: Dynamic launches two active ETFs

Canada’s IPO market is booming in 2021: IPO market surges in Canada as established firms find demand

With skyrocketing prices, many Canadians can’t afford to purchase a home: For most Canadians, home ownership is just a dream

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Monday morning briefing: Industrial profits surge in China

Elon Musk recently overtook Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, for second spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Mr. Musk now trails only Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, for richest person in the world. Elon Musk is now worth approximately US$127.9 billion. Most of his net worth has been derived from Tesla Inc., which will soon be joining the S&P 500 Index, along with PayPal Holdings Inc., which Mr. Musk co-founded. There is clearly a changing of the guard occurring on the list, with the Gates and Buffetts being replaced with more “new economy” entrepreneurs like Bezos and Musk. The question now is, who might be next?

Economic/industry news

U.S. GDP growth unchanged in Q3, according to second estimate: Real U.S. GDP up 33.1% in 3Q according to ‘second’ estimate

Core capital goods orders rise in October: U.S. core capital goods orders beat expectations in October

Digital relationships can help drive flows into asset managers: Tech means asset managers reap large inflows from advisors

Could the U.S. be headed for another recession?: Picture of U.S. economy is worrisome as virus inflicts damage

Lots of opportunities in distressed debt: After years of famine, this distressed debt pro predicts a feast

Reasons for hope

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford find positive results in COVID-19 vaccine trials: AstraZeneca’s Oxford coronavirus vaccine is 70% effective on average, data shows, with no safety concerns

Brightening spirits with butterflies: Butterflies released at Ontario nursing home a ‘story of hope’ for seniors

Looking to cap delivery fees: Ontario government moves to cap delivery app fees in regions where indoor dining banned

Adapting your business

How the WWE has adapted to the pandemic: WWE’s tech leader, Rajan Mehta, is helping it fight the pandemic smackdown

Turning friends into clients: Three practical ways to ask friends for business

Video messaging may be here to stay: How will you be using video in your customer experience mix in 2021?

Some potential changes to the advisory business:4 advisory changes that go beyond Zoom

No reason to play it safe: Two futurists discuss why your business shouldn’t play it too safe in a pandemic

Chart of the week: Industrial profits surge in China

In October, industrial profits in China rose at their fastest pace since March 2012, surging 28.2% year-over-year. October was also the first month that year-to-date profits were ahead of the same period in 2019. Both private- and state-owned industrial companies have experienced a rise in profits in recent months, after falling substantially during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Stronger exports, along with robust local and global consumer demand, are bolstering the sector. The strength of the industrials sector has helped China avoid a technical recession thus far in 2020. Can the industrials sector now help push the Chinese economy back to being one of the fastest growers in the world? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted US$2.8 billion in outflows in September: Third quarter end saw hedge fund investors retreat, but industry assets still up, says BarclayHedge

What’s driving the SPAC boom: How SPACs became Wall Street’s money tree

VC fundraising sets a record in 2020: US VC fundraising hits record $69B in 2020 after a16z closes two mega-funds

How BlackRock’s purchase of Aperio Group will impact the industry: What BlackRock’s latest deal means for rivals, advisors

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: November 25 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Manulife launches new ETFs: Manulife gets smart

Accelerate to launch alternatives ETF with exposure to multiple asset classes: Accelerate to launch alternative portfolio ETF

Looking for better ESG disclosures: Pension managers call for strengthened ESG disclosure by companies

Time to start preparing for client identifier requirements: Don’t sleep on looming client ID demands, IIROC says

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Monday morning briefing: Bitcoin bouncing back

Cash is apparently king in Canada. According to a report from CIBC, Canadian households and businesses have compiled a record amount of excess cash, totalling $170 billion ($90 billion for households and $80 billion for businesses). Government support, particularly CERB and CEBA, has bolstered these high levels of household and business cash. Additionally, poor economic conditions and lockdown restrictions have curbed spending by both groups. Consumer spending and business investment will be key drivers of the recovery, but that recovery could be negatively impacted if this cash isn’t put to use.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate was 0.7% in October: Inflation in Canada unexpectedly accelerates on shelter costs

Retail sales growth slows in October: Stocks slip on worse-than-expected retail sales ahead of ‘difficult winter’ to come

A look at the largest asset holders in the world: Here are the world’s biggest asset owners

Is a shift from growth to value underway?: Is now the time for value investing?

Value stocks could benefit from a vaccine: Vaccine news a shot in the arm for value investing

Reasons for hope

Moderna’s potential vaccine shows promise: Moderna CEO: COVID-19 vaccine’s ‘fantastic’ results mean it could be ready next month

Final analysis finds Pfizer vaccine more than 95% effective: Pfizer, BioNTech plan filing as vaccine proves 95% effective

Important considerations for making a family charitable donation: Meet the care-package company that’s boxing up local pride in Baltimore

Adapting your business

A few tips to help avoid body pain while working at home: These are some common pains of working in a home office. Which do you identify with?

Adding real value to your customers’ lives: No office, no problem: Software Unicorn GitLab’s CEO warns you’re probably doing remote work wrong

Looking for an education in investing: Nearly half of Americans want to learn more about investing: survey

The pandemic could have a lasting impact on retirement plans: Retirement planning in a pandemic

Chart of the week – Bitcoin bouncing back

The price of Bitcoin continued its surge higher last week, reaching prices last seen in 2017. At that time, Bitcoin was rising in popularity, being accepted in more transactions and making its way into the financial services industry through options and other financial instruments. This time the price of Bitcoin has risen with much less fanfare. So what has caused the surge in prices over the last few months? Bitcoin has become more popular among institutional investors, which has helped drive up prices. JPMorgan analysts also noted that Bitcoin is a potential substitute for gold. The values of both Bitcoin and gold have been driven up during a massive rise in both fiscal and monetary stimulus. While the cryptocurrency may still have its doubters, Bitcoin appears to be here to stay, and, while volatile, is proving to be an increasingly popular investment.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Why private capital is vital for the economic recovery: Private capital is the best economic stimulus

The top corporate access providers amid a difficult 2020: Corporate access had to be reinvented this year. Investors say JPMorgan did it best.

Fidelity’s Managed Account Xchange could be a game-changer: Why Fidelity’s new advisor platform is a big deal

2020 could separate the winners from the losers: Hedge fund managers face ‘survival of the fittest’ test in 2020

Jay Clayton is leaving the SEC: SEC Chair Clayton leaving post as top financial regulator

News and notes (Canada)

Nicola Wealth is acquiring a real estate investment company: Nicola Wealth acquires Blackwood Partners

Financial firms disclosing climate-related risks: More firms disclosing climate-related risks, strategies: report

Looking to alternatives: HOOPP bolstering bonds with alternative investments

Use of DSC funds declining: Assets in DSC funds continue to drop in favour of fee-based accounts

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Monday morning briefing: What’s the no-deal?

The world received some excellent news last week about a potential vaccine for COVID-19. Pfizer Inc. said its vaccine, developed alongside BioNTech SE, showed positive results from a large trial. The vaccine appeared to be more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Importantly, no serious safety issues were found. Global equity markets surged higher on the news. The question now becomes how close this vaccine is to being distributed and used globally. Cases are rising and new restrictions are being implemented, and investors are hoping a successful vaccine could reduce continued uncertainty in the global economy.

Economic/industry news

The U.S. inflation rate slowed in October: U.S. consumer prices unchanged in October

Joe Biden is the new President-elect: Biden called U.S. election winner after bitter contest with Trump

Are we using the sharpe ratio correctly?: The sharpe ratio broke investors’ brains

A new era for financial advice: The ‘Netflix’ era of financial advice

Time to keep costs in check: Cost control is paramount during uncertain markets, say advisors

Reasons for hope

Excellent trial results from Pfizer: How close are we to a COVID-19 vaccine? What Pfizer’s early results mean for Canadians

Canada is buying more rapid tests: Canada to buy 7.6 million Becton Dickinson rapid COVID tests

Important considerations for making a family charitable donation: 15 questions to guide family charitable discussions

Adapting your business

Setting up for success while working remotely: Smart steps to setting your team up for success when working from home

Don’t expect work-from-home to go away: Remote work is ‘here to stay’ – even with a vaccine, says former IBM CEO

Adding real value to your customers’ lives: Why banks need to be an integral part of customer lifestyles

Helping yourself to help others: What advisors need to grow amid COVID-19

Successfully transitioning from doctor to financial advisor: Doctor-turned-advisor finds new ways to help clients

Chart of the week: What’s the no-deal?

The U.K. recently reported a preliminary estimate for its third-quarter gross domestic product (“GDP”), which expanded at a record pace (up 15.5%), after plummeting 19.8% in the previous quarter. This is similar to other major economies, like the U.S. and Europe, which recently announced record-setting expansions in the third quarter. Much uncertainty remains, however, regarding the U.K.’s economic recovery. Cases of COVID-19 have risen at a sharp pace, prompting additional restrictions, while a trade deal with the European Union remains elusive. With year-end fast approaching, the ultimate impact a potential no-deal Brexit could have on the U.K. economy remains largely unknown.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Changing landscape for hedge fund operations: How the MiFID II review and COVID-19 are reshaping the hedge fund operational landscape

Keys for PE to attract capital, deals and talent: Where private equity firms need to step it up to win capital

The race for robo-advisor dominance: Schwab vs. Fidelity: Who’s winning the robo race?

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: November 11 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Another RIA acquisition for CI: CI to acquire Roosevelt Investment Group

The pandemic could have a lasting impact on Canada’s economy: Canada will exit pandemic with lower potential, Wilkins says

Ontario defined benefit pension plans’ solvency up in Q3: Ontario DB pension solvency up again in third quarter: FSRA

High household debt could weigh on economic recovery: Indebted households put recovery at risk, says report

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Monday morning briefing: Manufacturing soars

Canadian cannabis companies got some positive news last week, which helped lift share prices. The news may open up more of the U.S. market for these Canadian companies. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his desire to legalize recreational cannabis in 2021. Furthermore, optimism rose that five more states may remove restrictions to marijuana sales (Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota). Meanwhile, Aphria Inc. announced plans to acquire U.S. brewer Sweetwater Brewing Co. Inc, which distributes beer to 27 states. This should give Aphria exposure to the U.S. consumer market, and perhaps expand its other cannabis offerings into the U.S. one day.

Economic/industry news

The Fed held the target range for its federal funds rate steady at 0.00% to 0.25%: Fed holds interest rates steady near zero, says economy is still well below pre-pandemic levels

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October: America added 638,000 jobs last month but is still down 10 million since the pandemic started

Canada’s unemployment rate largely unchanged in October: Canadian jobs recovery fizzles in October on renewed closures

Bank of England keeps Bank Rate unchanged at 0.10%: Bank of England boosts bond buying as new coronavirus lockdown begins

Uncertainty sparking concerns for client portfolios: Advisors feeling uncertain about the future, PGIM says

Reasons for hope

Hoping for good results: Vaccine chief in Britain hopes for positive data on 2 coronavirus candidates in early December

Starting trials for an oral vaccine: Canadian company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate begins clinical trial in Australia

How to spread holiday cheer through the screen: Five jolly holiday engagement tips for remote employees

Adapting your business

Forming relationships during the pandemic: Forming relationships in the new normal (panel discussion)

Bringing charities to the front of the line: How this serial entrepreneur is transforming the way corporations support charities

A good time to review the basics of finance: Use the pandemic to teach finance basics

Overcoming retirement savings’ blind spots: Retirement saving is hard even for those who can afford it

Chart of the week – Manufacturing soars

Manufacturing activity in the U.S. has been surging, contributing to the U.S. economic recovery. According to the ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index, manufacturing activity expanded in October at its sharpest pace since 2018. The gains in manufacturing come as demand picks up across the world. Meanwhile, production and inventories are both on the rise. Employment also rose in October, rebounding from a drop in September. Purchasing managers were optimistic about the future, and believe they can increase output amid factory changes.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Expect private equity assets to continue to grow: Private equity assets could surge past $9 trillion by 2025

Shifting to the fast-growing tech sector: Mega-deals underscore PE’s growing embrace of VC deals in tech

Looking to litigation for high returns: Litigation finance finds its feet targeting returns up to 20%

Some stats about retirement that you need to know: 11 scariest retirement statistics: 2020

News and notes (Canada)

Scotia launches new ETFs: New index-tracker ETF suite from Scotia GAM

CI Financial with another U.S. RIA acquisition: CI Financial marks 10th U.S. RIA acquisition with Stavis & Cohen deal

Canadians bullish on the real estate market: Canadian home price optimism reaches post-pandemic high

CIBC launches new online tool: New planning tool from CIBC

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Monday morning briefing: Sharp rebound

Technology stocks that had previously been outperformers came under pressure last week. These companies included a number of tech giants that announced relatively strong quarterly reports, but pointed to some uncertainty as a result of the pandemic. Inc. reported solid sales results, but said profitability could be challenged by the spread of COVID-19. Twitter Inc. reported weak user growth, while Apple Inc. experienced a substantial drop in iPhone sales.

Economic/industry news

The BoC held its key interest rate steady at 0.25%: Bank of Canada sees interest rates on hold into 2023

U.S. GDP expanded 33.1% in the third quarter: U.S. GDP booms at 33.1% rate in Q3, better than expected

The ECB kept its main refinancing rate unchanged at 0.00%: ECB leaves key rates unchanged in October as expected

Currencies should be used in a diversified portfolio, says Goldman Sachs: What’s the new 60/40? Goldman has part of the answer.

Concerns to watch for in retirement portfolios: 4 concerns retirees must watch thanks to high stock prices

Reasons for hope

Reducing the need for medical care: Regeneron’s COVID-19 therapy reduces viral load, need for care

The WHO is cautiously optimistic about a COVID-19 vaccine: WHO says COVID vaccine trials are ‘encouraging’ but it’ll take time to ensure it’s safe for everyone

Helping to improve mental and emotional health: 10 apps to protect and boost your mental health during the pandemic

Adapting your business

Be open to quick pivots amid uncertainty: Alexa von Tobel: How to grow a company during uncertain times

To be a successful entrepreneur, it is important to overcome fear: Venus Williams’ advice for entrepreneurs: Don’t let fear take over – just push through it

Investors benefit from using a financial advisor: Advisors get an ‘A’ from investors on pandemic response: survey

Finding and keeping great talent at family offices: Help Family Office clients create an employee retention plan

Chart of the week – Sharp rebound

After dropping 31.4%, annualized in the second quarter, U.S. gross domestic product (“GDP”) expanded 33.1% in the third quarter. Consumer spending, business investment and exports all surged higher as economic activity improved with lockdown restrictions easing. While the record expansion was widely expected, GDP remains below the level reached before the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is now how quickly will the economy make up the final 3.5%? Cases are rising, new lockdown restrictions may be introduced and further stimulus may not be coming anytime soon. The recovery ahead could definitely be choppy. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Is the asset management industry prime for consolidation?: Consolidation is coming for the asset management industry

ETFs can use more leverage: SEC allows ETFs to expand use of leverage, derivatives

IRS releases contribution limits for 2021: IRS boosts 2021 income limits for deductible IRA contributions

News and notes (Canada)

TD Direct Investing launches the TD GoalAssist: TD launches financial planning app

ETF flows should remain robust in the fourth quarter: Where to expect ETF growth

The top 40 under 40: Canada’s top 40 under 40: The next leaders for 2020

Canadian DB plans post a positive return in the third quarter: Canadian DB pension plans post 3.2% return in Q3: report

MFDA serves mass market investors: Fund dealers focus on middle-class investors

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Monday morning briefing: A bicycle built for gains

There was big news on Wall Street last week. Citigroup Inc. announced Jane Fraser will become CEO in 2021 after current CEO, Mike Corbat, retires. Jane Fraser will become the first woman to be CEO of a major Wall Street bank. Across her career at Citigroup, she has headed the company’s Latin American operations, consumer unit and private bank. She has served as President since 2019. Across the U.S., there are 31 women leading companies on the S&P 500 Index.

Economic/industry news

The BoC holds its central interest rate steady at 0.25%: Bank of Canada re-commits to rate freeze and bond purchases

U.S. inflation rate hits 1.3% in August: U.S. consumer prices increase solidly in August

Why Ottawa should slow down on more stimulus: No reason for more fiscal stimulus right now, says Rosenberg

Responding to a dysfunctional market: A three-part strategy for upside potential and downside protection

Begin preparing for inflation risk: Investors are unprepared for a long-forgotten risk

Is now the time for ESG to shine?: Is this ESG’s big break?

What may be ahead for the global economy: 6 economic predictions for the next 5 years: Northern Trust, 2021

Reasons for hope

A look at the COVID-19 vaccine candidates: Dozens of COVID-19 vaccines are in development. Here are the ones to follow.

How banks are helping Canadians: Canada’s banks are standing by Canadians

Fund developed to help local small- and medium-sized businesses: New fund helping businesses survive, retain local jobs

Looking to make the seafood industry environmentally sound: How this impact investor is generating double-digit returns cleaning up the seafood business

Adapting your business

Best practices for a virtual AGM: Virtual annual meetings are here to stay: Best practices for re-imagining the AGM for our remote world

How some international CEOs are steering their companies through the pandemic: ‘Exceptionally challenging’: How Top CEOs are confronting COVID-19

The importance of capital markets in uncertain times: Amid COVID-19 uncertainty, public markets are more important than ever

Helping clients by using behavioural finance techniques: How behavioral finance can help clients and advisors

Groceries flown to your home: Walmart to test drone delivery as race to deliver the goods heats up

Chart of the week: A bicycle built for gains

With gyms closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are working out at home these days. How do they do this? By using equipment from Peloton Interactive Inc. In its fiscal fourth quarter ending June 30, 2020, Peloton’s revenue increased 172% over the same quarter in 2019. Sales of the company’s stationary bikes and treadmills, along with monthly membership subscriptions, surged in response to people being forced to stay in shape while staying home. This marked the company’s first profitable quarter, which had a net income of US$89.1 million. The company also provided bullish projections for future sales. Can Peloton keep its momentum going, or will the eventual widespread reopening of gyms stall its growth? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

The richest hedge fund managers in the U.S.: The richest hedge fund managers on the 2020 Forbes 400 list

Hedge fund industry holding up strong amid the pandemic: AIMA and KPMG survey: Industry remains resilient during pandemic, with hedge funds “actively hiring” throughout market dislocation

Non-transparent ETFs could be popular among the advisor community: Why nontransparent ETFs may appeal to advisors

JPMorgan enters green bond market: JPMorgan makes debut in green bond market with US$1B deal

News and notes (Canada)

RBC launches four new ESG ETFs: RBC iShares launches 4 sustainable ETFs

Canada Life to launch 18 new mutual funds: Canada Life to launch new shelf of mutual funds

CI seeking a U.S. listing: CI Financial considers U.S. listing to boost deal spree

Strong Canadian banks will survive the pandemic: Report says banks can weather COVID-19 storm

Amazon opening two fulfillment facilities in Ontario: Amazon to create more than 2,500 jobs in Ontario by opening new fulfillment centres

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Monday Morning Briefing: How low can yields go?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated some individual and business trends, including increased work from home and online shopping activity. The movie industry has also been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Production of many movies has been halted, while cinemas remain closed, resulting in the delay of feature presentations. Home video streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ have benefitted as a result. Disney announced this week that Mulan, a major motion picture expected to pull in hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts from global theatres, will now be released through Disney’s streaming service. The cost to watch the movie will be approximately US$30. Theatre owners are worried that this could be the start of studios releasing big-budget movies via streaming services.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s unemployment rate falls to 10.9% in July: Canada adds 418,500 jobs, recouping 55% of losses in pandemic

U.S. economy adds 1.8 million jobs in July: U.S. added 1.8M jobs in July as recovery from COVID-19 continues, but slowly

The BoE held its central interest rate steady at 0.10%: Bank of England holds rates steady but warns of a slower economic recovery

Could the end of CERB reduce spending?: Spending trends positive, but risks remain: TD

The U.S. dollar could remain under pressure: U.S. dollar’s plunge could persist

Looking beyond standard diversification: Investors are clinging to an outdated strategy – at the worst possible time

Think globally and across multiple asset classes: A rational approach to expected returns

Reasons for hope

Positive results from a potential COVID-19 vaccine: Novavax says its coronavirus vaccine produced immune response in small study

Trying to help all parts of the world: Bill Gates lays out a possible timeline for a ‘stop-gap’ COVID vaccine

Small businesses prepared for the next crisis: Small businesses are optimistic about the future, even as they continue navigating COVID-19

Adapting your business

COVID-19 has brought on new challenges for CEOs: 4 major pandemic challenges facing leaders and how to solve them

Key take-aways from the pandemic: 4 lessons from the coronavirus

Changes that will impact the advisory business: Adapt or be left behind after COVID

Encourage your clients to have financial conversations with their children: Clients’ financial relationships with their kids

Chart of the week: How low can yields go?

Last week, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield reached another record low, falling to 0.507% at close on August 4. A massive amount of government bond buying by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (“Fed”), lower interest rates from the Fed and economic uncertainty have pushed the 10-year yield to these low levels. The low yield is signalling expectations of a weak economy and low interest rates for an extended period. On the other hand, U.S. equities, as represented by the S&P 500 Index, appear to be signalling an economic recovery, as the index has been approaching its record-high closing price of 3,386. With new cases of COVID-19 on the rise in parts of the U.S. and rising U.S.-China trade tensions, will there be more downward pressure on Treasury yields, or a downturn in stocks? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Interest in hedge funds could be on the rise: Outlook “bright” for hedge funds as industry seizes on surging volatility, JP Morgan Asset Management officials say

PE getting creative in its deal making: Private equity’s answer to a frozen deal market

Morgan Stanley increasing insurance offerings for the HNW: Morgan Stanley adds P&C insurance for wealth clients

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: August 5 edition

News and notes (Canada)

CI to purchase U.S. RIA: CI Financial to acquire BDF

Fixed income ETFs attracted strong flows in July: ETFs see their second strongest month of the year: National Bank

Many businesses have been forced to close amid the pandemic: Business closures doubled at height of pandemic: StatsCan

Canadian ESG funds had strong relative performance in the second quarter: Almost 60% of Canadian ESG funds outperformed in Q2

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Tuesday morning briefing: McDonald’s not lovin’ it

U.S. economic growth plummeted in the second quarter of 2020 in response to lockdown measures. Gross domestic product shrank 32.9%, annualized, but was slightly better than the 34.5% decline economists had expected. Now the recovery is expected to begin, but how quick will it be? Rising COVID-19 infections in some states are forcing reopening efforts to be scaled back. Meanwhile, initial jobless claims rose for a second straight week. It’s likely to be a choppy recovery, but the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (“Fed”) appears ready to serve as a partial safety net. At its meeting last week, the Fed reiterated its commitment to do whatever is necessary, using all available tools, to help support the U.S. economy through this challenging period.

Economic/industry news

U.S. GDP shrank 32.9% in the second quarter: Economy shrank at historic 33% annual rate in second quarter – but that’s not the whole story

The Fed keeps its target range unchanged, committed to supporting recovery: Fed sticks to whatever it takes with no signs of virus easing

Canada’s economic growth rebounded in May: May’s GDP growth beat economists’ expectations

It may not be a smooth recovery for the global economy: Outlook looks stormy for rest of 2020

An opportunity in emerging markets equities: Investing in emerging market equities during the COVID-19 crisis

The ins and outs of factor investing: Back to basics on factor investing

The price of gold continues to surge higher: Gold’s lustre grows as investors hedge in uncertain times

Reasons for hope

Potential Johnson & Johnson vaccine began human trials: J&J’s COVID vaccine protected primates with single shot

How to help amid the pandemic: Can I afford to be generous during a pandemic?

Sustainability becoming top-of-mind: Despite coronavirus, 85% of Americans are thinking about sustainability as much as or more than ever

Adapting your business

Conferences may go virtual in the future: The new normal for conferences (#Money2020)

Clients now want frequent contact: Personalized and frequent contact is what clients want now

It’s important to help clients feel confident: Tips to instill client loyalty

Digital marketing tools can help with client retention: Pandemic leaves advisors worried about client retention: survey

Chart of the week: McDonald’s not lovin’ it

It was a tough second quarter for McDonald’s Corp. Physical distancing measures and lockdowns shut down in-store dining for the fast food behemoth. While drive-thru and delivery were still available, these were not enough to stop a massive decline in sales. Same-store sales fell 23.9% in the second quarter, while year-over-year revenue growth dropped 29.6%. However, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Sales have picked up recently as reopening efforts continue, while the company pledged to increase marketing efforts to help its recovery. Furthermore, notable analysts maintained or raised their outlook for the share price of McDonald’s. Will people return to the golden arches or has the pandemic brought about changes in eating habits that could slow the company’s recovery? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Almost half of investors are satisfied with hedge fund performance this year: Hedge fund investors split down the middle on 2020 performance, says new investor poll

Contributions to hedge funds muted: Hedge funds still struggling to win back investors

PE giants return to profitability in the second quarter: Carlyle, Apollo both back in the black after grim Q1

Homeownership in the U.S. at an all-time high: U.S. homeownership rate soars to highest level since 2008

Wells Fargo to enter ETF market: Wells Fargo plans to offer its first ETF

News and notes (Canada)

CIBC launches two actively managed ETFs: CIBC adds to ETF shelf

Increasing access to capital for small businesses: OSC issues interim order on startup crowdfunding exemptions

Canada’s Big Five banks onboard with the launch of the Financial Data Exchange: Big banks back Canadian launch of Financial Data Exchange

Canadian DB plans experienced strong performance in the second quarter: Canadian DB plans see upsurge in second quarter: report

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Monday morning briefing: Is it Netflix’s turn to chill?

Central banks were in the spotlight last week, as the Bank of Canada, European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan all made their interest rate announcements. The message from all three was largely the same: wait and see.

The central banks left key interest rates unchanged and maintained their bond-buying programs, believing the current levels of stimulus should support an economic recovery from COVID-19. The group acknowledged the pandemic still poses considerable risks to their economies.

Economic/industry news

The BoC held its key rate steady at 0.25%: ‘A long climb back’: Tiff Macklem stresses recovery as BoC holds

The Chinese economy rebounds in Q2: China’s economy expands in second quarter

What’s in store for consumer spending?: How the pandemic has shifted consumer spending

Predictions for the second half of 2020: 10 midyear predictions for 2020

The HNW are concerned about fees: World’s rich question fees with wealth hitting $74 trillion

Reasons for hope

Positive early results for a potential vaccine: Moderna fires up COVID vaccine race with promising early results

Oxford scientists see breakthrough in an early trial: Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine this year have been boosted by a reported breakthrough in Oxford’s human trials

Keeping children entertained: Got bored kids? Here are 20 fun activities for a pandemic summer

Adapting your business

How your business can overcome COVID-19: 7 successful battle strategies to beat COVID-19

Creating a virtual office: Sidekick embraces remote working with always-on teleconferencing hardware

Many workers are now planning to retire later: The COVID-19 retirement reset stresses the need for income planning

The pandemic has changed how the wealthy think about money: Wealthy investors anticipate long-lasting lifestyle changes after COVID-19: UBS

Chart of the week: Is it Netflix’s turn to chill?

As tech stocks came under pressure last week, one of the darlings of the “stay-at-home” stocks, Netflix Inc., posted a significant decline. It’s share price fell 11% over the week as a result of its announcement that new subscriber growth would drop markedly in the third quarter, to 2.5 million. This is well below market expectations of five million new subscribers. Netflix added more than 15 million subscribers and 10 million subscribers in the first and second quarters of 2020, respectively, as more people were forced to stay home. With lockdowns easing and competition in the space rising, it’ll be interesting to watch what happens next to Netflix. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds returned 2.04% in June: Hedge fund industry gains 2.04 per cent in June, says Backstop BarclayHedge

SEC considering changes to holdings disclosure rules for hedge funds: Lots of hedge funds could keep trade secrets under SEC plan

Fewer wealthy families expect private equity to outperform public investments: World’s wealthiest lower their private equity expectations

Fixed income ETFs attracting institutional investors’ money: Institutional demand is driving record growth in fixed income ETFs

What Bill Gross has to say about the current market environment: Bill Gross has some thoughts about the market

News and notes (Canada)

NEI launches impact bond fund: New bond fund rounds out NEI’s impact suite

A venture capital offering from National Bank: National Bank launches venture fund, looks to raise $200 million to support COVID-19 recovery

Wealthsimple to offer platform to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum: Wealthsimple to launch crypto trading platform

BDC Capital helping firms with intellectual property to accelerate growth: Canada starts fund to invest in firms with intellectual property

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Monday morning briefing: Gold bugs are buzzing

The retail industry took another hit as DavidsTea Inc. announced it is filing for creditor protection. COVID-19 lockdowns put substantial pressure on the company’s finances. In its plans to restructure, DavidsTea will close 82 stores in Canada, all of its stores in the U.S., and will bolster its online presence.

As online sales continue to grow, particularly amid the pandemic, more retailers may consider streamlining operations across fewer stores and focusing more on online sales. How will employment be impacted? Will there be an impact on commercial real estate? The pandemic is sure to result in a new normal for the retail industry.

Economic/industry news

Canada’s unemployment rate declined in June: Canada adds 952,900 jobs in June, blowing past monthly estimates

U.S. services sector returns to expansion: June US ISM non-manufacturing index 57.1 vs 50.2 expected

The Canadian government expects low growth through 2021: High unemployment, $343B deficit projected in Liberals’ fiscal snapshot

Fundraising for private debt is picking up: Private debt gets all the action

Understanding indexes, and index-tracking ETFs: Understanding the role of indexes in today’s markets

Reasons for hope

A look at the top COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the challenges they face: How a coronavirus vaccine will get to market

Working together on a potential vaccine: Canadian company to collaborate on potential coronavirus vaccine with GSK

A few companies thriving amid the pandemic: 3 innovations meeting new demand in the COVID-19 era

Adapting your business

Collaborating while working apart: Collaboration in the new world of work

The pandemic has sped up the digital transformation of broker-dealers: Financial firms speeding tech adoption due to pandemic: survey

Gen Z’s money habits could change in response to COVID-19: How the coronavirus changed Gen Z’s views about money

Calling Google Assistant for account information: Schwab clients can now say ‘Hey Google’ for account info

Needing more holistic wealth planning: Think you’re meeting enough with clients? They don’t agree

Chart of the week: Gold bugs are buzzing

The spot price of gold passed the US$1,800 per ounce mark last week, reaching levels last seen in 2011. After remaining weak for many years, the price of gold started to rise in late 2018, as U.S.-China trade tensions gave rise to heightened uncertainty about the global economy.

Prices have again spiked in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the global economy to a near halt and resulted in a sharp rise in fiscal and monetary stimulus. The question now is how high can gold go? With more cases of COVID-19 challenging the global economic recovery, and potentially more stimulus on the horizon, is US$2,000 within reach?

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Starting a career in tough market conditions: Is Wall Street’s youngest talent doomed?

Accepting new capital: Soros Family Office, Texas pensioners lead rush into hedge funds

Some VCs are increasing their investments this year: Not all VC investors are being slowed down by the pandemic

T. Rowe Price to launch four actively managed ETFs: T. Rowe Price gets final nod for active ETFs

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: July 8 edition

News and notes (Canada)

National Bank raises investment in Nest Wealth: Nest Wealth and National Bank expand partnership

Helping plan sponsors and members with sustainable investing: Sun Life launching ESG framework for pension plan sponsors

Year-to-date net flows into Canadian ETFs were $22.4 billion: ETF flows in Canada surge in first half of 2020 Hoarding fifties: There’s a shortage of $50 bills in Canada after pandemic hoarding

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Tuesday morning briefing: Retail sales way down in the U.S.

Some investing heavyweights recently sounded the alarm on equities. Stanley Druckenmiller believes the risk-reward tradeoff for equities is not attractive, while David Tepper thinks the market is overvalued. U.S.-China tensions appear to be growing as the U.S. Commerce Department looked to put restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the Bank of Canada expressed downbeat tones about the U.S. and Canadian economies, respectively.

International Nurses Day was on May 12. We are grateful to have these brave individuals standing on the frontlines and helping our families, friends and neighbours during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic/industry news

U.K. GDP falls in the first quarter: UK economy posts sharpest monthly decline on record as coronavirus lockdowns begin to take toll

Could Canada lose its AAA-rating?: Soaring Canadian deficit may jeopardize AAA rating: Macquarie

The Fed is uncertain on the U.S. economic recovery: Recession could be prolonged: Fed

Bank of America forecasts lower returns in the decade ahead: Investors should brace for higher inflation and lower returns in 2020s, Bank of America warns

Could private assets be susceptible to a downturn?: Trillions are flowing to private assets on recession front line

Sustainable funds performed relatively well during the recent market decline: Sustainable funds outperformed during sell-off, report finds

Reasons for hope

A look at the steps being taken to find a vaccine for COVID-19: What is the world doing to create a COVID-19 vaccine?

Drone delivery team shifting gears: Amazon is designing and building face shields to sell to frontline workers

Coffee4Frontline is saying thanks to our frontline heroes: Family delivers coffee, baked goods to ‘heroes’ in Ontario battling COVID-19

Adapting your business

How businesses could come back stronger post crisis: From surviving to thriving: Reimagining the post-COVID-19 return

Flexibility is key to getting through a recession: How to reinvent your business to survive a recession

Get clients to take a long-term view: Try this when consoling clients about investment losses

Pandemic highlights importance of digital marketing for advisors: The value of digital marketing clearer now more than ever

Solidifying a long-term relationship with trust: How to build client trust during the pandemic and beyond

Chart of the week

One of the main drivers of economic growth over the past decade has significantly weakened recent months. Retail sales in the U.S. posted a record decline in April, falling 16.4%, after dropping 8.3% in March. The spread of COVID-19 largely halted economic activity in the U.S., resulting in a substantial rise in unemployment. This all significantly dragged down spending. As the U.S. economy begins to reopen, consumer spending should rise. But will it be enough to lift the U.S. economy to a quick recovery? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds had a particularly strong month in April: Hedge fund industry gains 5.46 per cent in April, says Backstop BarclayHedge

A look at how much salaries could fall in the asset management industry: How far will asset management pay fall?

PE firms still standing strong: Private equity firms have a ‘fair amount of dry powder,’ Carlyle Group co-founder says

PNC exiting investment in BlackRock: BlackRock says PNC selling stake, plans $1B buyback

News and notes (Canada)

CI taps DoubleLine Capital for new fixed income funds: CI launches three new fixed income mandates

ATB launches PE fund: ATB Financial launches small-business PE fund

Use of cash declining: Cash usage plummets during pandemic

Pre-signed forms were still a problem in 2019: Pre-signed forms the top MFDA enforcement issue – again

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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.

Upcoming macroeconomic events – June/July 2019

Do you write or edit portfolio manager commentaries? Do you want to stay on top of the macroeconomic events that shape your day-to-day life as a financial services marketer?

If so, here are the big macro events that the ext. team is keeping an eye on over the coming weeks.

  • The U.S. will announce its final first quarter gross domestic product (“GDP”) growth rate on June 27. In its second estimate, GDP growth was revised down to 3.1%, from an initial estimate of 3.2%. Fixed investment and private inventories were revised lower, while exports was revised higher. Despite the downward revision, economic growth was still strong and an improvement over the fourth quarter of 2018
  • On July 3, the U.S. will announce its balance of trade for May. In April, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to US$50.8B, versus US$51.9B in March. With fresh new tariffs imposed on China, along with retaliatory tariffs from China, this will be an important reading to determine what type of impact these actions are having on U.S. trade results
  • The Canadian unemployment rate for June will be announced on July 5. In May, the unemployment rate was 5.4%, an improvement from the 5.7% in April. This is the lowest rate since 1976. The labour market has been particularly robust, adding jobs and seeing wage gains. Despite weakness in other parts of the economy, labour continues to be a strong spot, which bodes well for the overall health of the economy
  • The Bank of Canada (“BoC”) will announce its interest rate decision on July 10. At its last meeting in May, the BoC held its benchmark overnight interest rate steady at 1.75%. The BoC will closely monitor economic data to determine whether or not further rate increases are needed. In its statement, the BoC noted that it will closely monitor consumer spending, the price of oil and developments in global trade. Of particular interest is the BoC’s belief that the recent economic slowdown was temporary
  • On July 15, China will announce its GDP growth rate for the second quarter. The Chinese economy expanded 6.4%, annualized, in the first quarter of 2019. Personal spending contributed to growth, partly as a result of the government’s stimulus measures. However, China is deeply embroiled in a trade war with the U.S. and what impact further tariffs by the U.S. government will have on Chinese exports is yet to be seen

For investment commentary support (including monthly and quarterly commentaries, as well as MRFPs), contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing – April 8, 2019

A look at why fintech firms’ valuations are surging in Latin America. New hedge funds are raising minimum investment amounts. A look at how liquid alts can add value to an investor’s portfolio. How to establish digital trust. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8% in March: Job market bounces back in March with 196,000 gain in payrolls

The Canadian unemployment rate was steady at 5.8% in March: Canada’s job run stalls in March with first drop in seven months 

Financial institutions need to be prepared for a possible no-deal Brexit: Financial firms should prep for “no deal” Brexit: report

Europe holds the largest amount of sustainable investing assets: Global sustainable investment assets grew by a third in 2 years: report

Preparing investors’ portfolios for a slowing global economy, possible recession: Why investors shouldn’t panic over the yield curve inversion

Regulation is required to protect retail investors: Behavioural economics are useful, but regulation is essential: report

News and notes (U.S.)

New hedge funds are raising minimum investment amounts: New hedge fund study shows funds placing premium on strong start

Institutional investors may increase allocation to private capital: Stock market fears push investors toward alternative assets

Blackstone closing in on largest PE fund ever: Blackstone surpasses $22B mark for what could be biggest PE fund ever

BlackRock undergoes massive organizational changes: BlackRock starts big reorg of leadership, units

A review of M&A activity in 2018: 10 charts detailing the state of M&A in 2018

Year-to-date, 73 funds added ESG criteria to their investment strategy: More funds are formally considering ESG in their investment process

Fixed income ETFs continue to attract investor money: Fixed income ETFs received over $34B in flows during Q1

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

SEC extends deadline for two bitcoin ETF applications: SEC delays decision on 2 bitcoin ETF filings

News and notes (Canada)

A look at how liquid alts can add value to an investor’s portfolio: Investing in liquid alts

Dynamic launches another liquid alt: Dynamic Funds expands its liquid alt offerings

Russell Investments launches liquid alternative fund: Russell Investments launches new Yield Opportunities Pool

Robust equity markets this year have helped defined benefit plans: Canadian pension plans in strong solvency position in Q1 off surging equity markets

Fiera Capital purchases majority stake in Palmer Capital: Fiera acquires 80% stake in Palmer Capital

Canadian ETFs had net inflows in March, led by fixed income: Net inflows for Canadian ETFs hit $1.9 billion in March

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Banks must remain flexible to adapt to the changing technological landscape: Bank strategy in the world of fintech 

The time is now for digitalization: Banks’ digital experiments need to produce results

A look at how banks and fintech firms can work together: Banks and fintech: Why the future looks brighter together

Why machine learning can help in the stock selection process: Machine learning can help with stock selection: study

 A look at why fintech firms’ valuations are surging in Latin America: Why fintech startups are rapidly becoming unicorns in Latin America 

How to establish “digital trust”: How to empower secure collaboration, communication and sharing in financial services

Interest in cryptocurrencies on the rise in private banks: How private banks are demonstrating interest in digital currencies

Bitcoin’s price spikes: Bitcoin surges as cryptocurrency market suddenly springs to life

High-net-worth topics

Careful estate planning an absolute must for high-net-worth families: U.S. billionaires are living longer, making heirs wait

High-net-worth investors show preference for independent advisors: HNW clients favour independents

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Most retirement plan participants aren’t saving enough for retirement (Natixis): What retirement plan participants want, need

Canadians need to focus on better tax planning throughout the year (CIBC): CIBC poll finds 63% of Canadians view tax refunds as an unexpected ‘windfall’ 

Advisors should strive to create a great client experience (Cerulli): How focusing on client experience helps advisors get ahead

Teens not confident about their financial futures (Junior Achievement USA and Citizens Bank): When it comes to finance, the kids are not all right: survey

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