Monday morning briefing – February 4, 2019

A look at digital trends for 2019. Private equity continues to attract assets from public pension plans. ESG measurements are improving. Risk models still require the human touch. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

International Economic Data Snapshot – includes aggregated data of the worldwide economy: Snapshot: International economic data

The Fed holds its target range steady at 2.25% – 2.50%: Fed holds rates stable, pledges ‘patient’ approach, expects ‘ample’ balance sheet

Given a more cautious tone, will the Fed stand pat in 2019?: Fed unlikely to hike rates in 2019

The U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.0% in January: U.S. job growth jumps; unemployment rate rises to 4.0 percent

Canadian GDP contracts in November: Energy slump drives Canada’s second GDP decline in 3 months

Debunking some misconceptions about liquid alternatives: In defense of liquid-alt ETFs

Family office allocations to hedge funds expected to grow: Family offices increasing hedge fund allocations in 2019

Looking to improve ESG measurements for corporate ratings: S&P Global Ratings, Morningstar raise bar on ESG measurement

ESG ETFs are attracting investor assets: ESG ETFs are gaining traction

A comprehensive look at factor investing: Factor investing: An overview

Data is crucial in selecting equities, but so is the role of humans: The role of data in equities management

News and notes (U.S.)

The Mizuho-Eurekahedge Index outperformed global equities in 2018: Hedge funds recorded best outperformance over equities since 2011 in 2018

It may be a good year for macro hedge fund managers: Where some of the world’s top hedge funds will invest in 2019

Willis Towers Watson is recommending a new approach to selecting hedge funds in institutional portfolios: Willis Towers Watson calls for change in hedge fund industry

A look back at the U.S. venture capital market in 2018: 18 charts to illustrate US VC in 2018

PE continues to attract assets from public pension plans: Public pensions pour more money into private equity

PE middle market fundraising slowed in 2018: Fundraising is flat in the US PE middle market, but it’s not time to panic

U.S. investment banks to move a portion of their London business to Europe: Banks to flee London even if Brexit is cancelled  

Average 401(k) account balances fell in the fourth quarter: Fidelity’s average retirement account balances dropped – the reason why may surprise you

According to Backend Benchmarking, the best overall robo-advisor is Fidelity Go: Fidelity Go ranked best overall robo-advisor

Expect delays from the SEC: SEC back to work, but expect slow response times

News and notes (Canada)

Canadian mutual fund assets fell in 2018, and were negatively impacted by weaker markets: IFIC releases 2018 year-end report

Congratulations to the Fundata Canada award winners: FundGrade A+ Awards

Canadian companies backed by VC attracted $3.5 billion in 2018: Canadian VC-backed companies saw record funding in 2018

A look at the tax environment for 2019: What’s new in taxes for 2019?

NEI’s corporate engagement list for 2019: NEI Investments announces corporate engagement list

Horizons launches two new tax-efficient ETFs: Horizons ETFs expands its innovative lineup of tax-efficient funds

SmartBe Wealth announces launch of first ETF: First SmartBe Wealth ETF trading on NEO

Wealthsimple launches new service for those with over $500k: Wealthsimple unveils premium advice service

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Open banking should be positive for big banks: Big banks poised to gain from open banking

Consumers are concerned about data security in open banking: Data security is the key to unlocking open banking for consumers

A digital strategy can start with financial documentation: Sponsor insights: The growing need for digital tools in financial services

Digital investments could have a big impact on bank’s bottom line: Financial institutions see huge payoffs for digital investments

Risk models still require the human touch: AI replacement of current risk models “a long way” off

Organizing the bank around customer data: Banks need to be technology giants

AI is making “Nudge” techniques even better: AI, behavioural economics and marketing converge

Global Financial Innovation Network announced launch of a pilot program: Regulators open global sandbox

The benefits of a collaboration between insurance companies and insurtech: Why insurtech and incumbent insurers should cooperate

Insurance companies need the right data and the right tools to use that data: Better data, better business: Quality and consistency is key

A look at digital trends for 2019: Digital trends 2019: Every single stat you need to know about the internet

The Cayman Islands could become a hot-spot for digital asset projects: Cayman’s laws well equipped for maturing digital asset market

High-net-worth topics

Helping the high-net-worth spend their money: Merrill Lynch is creating a guide to help wealthy people choose how to spend their money, and there are only 4 options

Business titans express a more cautious tone at Davos: Business elite at Davos strike somber tone this year: ‘Everybody’s a little depressed’

How the high-net-worth can cope with potentially higher taxes: Richest in US have a few tricks to avoid democrats’ tax plan

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Global credit facing headwinds in 2019 (Moody’s): Global credit conditions weaken: Moody’s

ETF assets will continue to grow over the next five years (BMO GAM): Global ETF industry set to surge in five years – but not as much as Canada

Debt inhibiting purchasing decisions of Canadians (Angus Reid): How debt is interfering with clients’ plans

RRSP savings have risen, led by millennials (BMO): RRSP holdings increase, driven by millennial savers: BMO study

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