Monday morning briefing – November 18, 2019

Private equity looking at the financial advisory industry. Government and companies must work together to combat cyber risks. Asset allocation among alternative investments is changing. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

U.S. inflation rate rose in October: U.S. consumer prices rise most in 7 months on higher gas prices

Economic growth in Japan stalled: Japan’s economic growth slumps to 1-year low in third quarter as trade war bites

The U.K. unemployment rate declined in September: U.K. unemployment falls while wages slow in September

VC funding had another strong quarter: Global VC funding remains strong in Q3

A look at the top research firms: The top research firm in the world is…

How to navigate through a market of lower expected returns: Navigating a slow growth market environment

Understanding the new economy: Understanding the 21st century economy

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the hedge fund industry in October: State of the industry: October 2019

According to SS&C, hedge funds returned 1.15% in October: SS&C GlobeOp Hedge Fund Performance Index up 1.15 per cent in October

Private equity looking at the financial advisory industry: Private equity investors are zeroing in on financial advice business

JPMorgan invests in Limeglass: JPMorgan invests in financial research startup Limeglass

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

News and notes (Canada)

iA Clarington goes fossil-fuel free in Inhance SRI funds: iA Clarington ensures certain funds are fossil-fuel free

A look at liquidity levels across Canadian funds: Currency & sector liquidity analysis report: Q3 2019

Lower mortgage rates helping housing affordability: Housing affordability improves thanks to lower rates, higher incomes

Looking for safety: The safest bet in Canada is also one of the hottest ETF trades

Taking a flexible approach to title reform: What’s next for title reform in Ontario

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Security a concern for digital-only banking: More consumers will leave banks if digital offerings don’t improve

Why banks and big tech partnerships may work: Big banks and big tech (not versus)

A chequing account from Google: Google to offer checking accounts in partnership with banks starting next year

Customer experience should be at the forefront to combat disruptors: How to thrive in financial services in the age of digital disruption

How to better help small businesses: Big changes ahead for small business banking

A look at possible trends in the financial services industry over the next 10 years: Financial services in the 2020s: From open banking to open finance

Government and companies must work together to combat cyber risks: Bank of Canada urges public-private co-operation on cybersecurity

The data curation challenge: The challenge of data curation

Bringing cryptocurrency payment services to Swiss businesses: Bitcoin Suisse and Worldline to offer crypto payments acceptance in Switzerland

The CME will offer bitcoin options in the new year: Bitcoin options coming to the CME

High-net-worth topics

The wealthy are moving to cash: Geopolitics clouding the outlook for wealthy investors, UBS finds

Wealthy investors making direct investments in private firms: Wealthy families using 600-year-old plan to disrupt PE

How advisors can build trust with the high-net-worth: How to get wealthy people to trust you

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Institutional investors have an eye on China (Invesco): 80% of institutional investors planning to raise allocations to China: survey

Asset allocation among alternative investments is changing (EY): Investors are taking money out of hedge funds and putting in private equity

Canadians need help managing investments in retirement (Mackenzie): Value of advice more important as Canadians near retirement: study

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

Monday morning briefing – November 26. 2018

The names you need to know in fintech. Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector. Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank. 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

Canada’s inflation rate rises again:Canada inflation ticks up, central bank seen keeping rates steady

Japan’s economy contracts in the third quarter: Japan GDP: Natural disasters hit economic growth

Could there be changes to the BoC’s mandate to keep prices stable?: Bank of Canada plans thorough review of inflation targeting

Protecting your portfolio against the next recession: The next recession is coming: Here’s how to protect your portfolio

A look at the currency market: How currency differs from other asset classes

Canadian ETF assets fell in October: Canadian ETF assets lower in October

The number of distinct indexes rose by 12% in 2018: Number of indexes on the rise, led by fixed income: report

Sir Ronald Cohen on the importance and outlook for impact investing: Impact investing: A multitrillion-dollar market in the making

Businesses should focus on the new, “circular economy”: ING Portfolio focuses on financing for sustainable economy


On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Fully transitioning to digital is much more than just a mobile app: Are you really ‘doing digital’?

Customer centricity vital for the banks of the future: It pays to be personalised

How to manage your cloud infrastructure: Managing cloud infrastructure post-migration – a CTO guide

The names you need to know in fintech: Fintech finance’s power players

Technology could help private bankers become more productive: Making private bankers more productive

Open banking not well known or understood by end consumers: Open banking slow burn means just 22% of consumers have heard of the concept

Starling Bank launches Client Money Accounts, helping professional practices that hold money on behalf of their clients: Starling Bank launches CASS-compliant accounts helping firms manage third-party funds

Regtech will be an important component for the future success of financial institutions: Saxo Bank on why regtech is key to scalability in financial services

How to be innovative in the insurance industry: How to become an innovator in insurtech

Capital One purchases WikiBuy: Capital One buys online shopping comparison startup

Many firms don’t believe that they are resilient enough to combat cyberattacks: Cyber security implementation: firms want it, but less do it, finds survey

BitSpread launches BitSpread Financial Solutions, designed for investing in blockchain assets: BitSpread launches new financial solutions division

Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank: IMF: Nations need to consider a central bank backed cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies may not be banned in India: A ray of hope for cryptocurrencies as India readies draft regulations


News and notes (U.S.)

The Barclay CTA Index fell in October: Barclay CTA Index loses 1.29 per cent in October

Hedge fund assets fell to $3.06 trillion in September: Hedge funds redemptions surge to $39.1 billion in September, highest in more than 5 years

Management expenses no longer a tax break for hedge fund investors: Hedge fund investors lose key tax break for management expenses

Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector: Industrials are No1 target sector for activist investors in Europe

Secondaries still generating a lot of interest: Why secondaries fundraising is surging

Morgan Stanley launches new advisory platform, WealthDesk: Morgan Stanley unveils new advisory platform

AllianceBernstein to purchase Autonomous Research: AllianceBernstein announces offer to acquire Autonomous Research 

Further trade tensions between the U.S. and China could hurt the stock market: Expect more stock market losses if US-China trade war worsens 

Long-term funds experienced $29.1 billion of outflows in October: Morningstar: Passive equity funds gain, actives lose big

An interview with Abigail Johnson and Kathleen Murphy of Fidelity: The most powerful woman in fund management gives a rare interview


High-net-worth topics

High-net-worth investors expect further equity market declines: The equity party’s ending, say wealthy investors

How Tiger 21 helps the ultra-rich: Tiger 21 philosophy: Learn from your (very wealthy) peers

Life insurance can help reduce estate taxes, but not eliminate taxes entirely: Can HNW clients still use life insurance as a tax and financial tool?


Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Canadian investors have trouble understanding the concept of risk and return (Natixis): Investors may have an unrealistic understanding of risk and return: survey

Over the next 25 years, $68 trillion of wealth will be passed on to younger generations (Cerulli): Generational wealth transfer to hit $68 trillion over 25 years: Cerulli

Correlating share value with ESG ratings (MSCI): Are ESG ratings the new credit rating for stock prices?


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

Liquid alternatives: challenges and opportunities for the financial services industry

Liquid alternatives – hedge fund strategies delivered to retail investors in a mutual fund or ETF – are coming to Canada. And they’re going to be disruptive.

By opening up a whole new asset class to retail investors, mutual fund managers and alternative investment managers are going to face plenty of challenges and opportunities. Liquid alternatives will be good for the industry and investors, but investment managers must do things right.

The big challenge: understanding

Helping investors and advisors to truly understand liquid alternatives (from the different strategies to the benefits) is a two-step challenge for the industry: there will be confusion about the strategies and they may not be adopted if the benefits aren’t deeply understood.

Liquid alternatives are not simply a new investment solution, they’re not even a new strategy. Rather, they’re a new asset class consisting of a new set of strategies.

It seems likely that liquid alternatives will be labelled “higher risk” and “ideal for more experienced investors.” Neither is 100% accurate.

Liquid alternatives have a wide range of strategies, some of which are less risky than a typical equity mutual fund. Other strategies could benefit less experienced investors if they allocate a smaller percentage of their broadly diversified portfolio to liquid alternatives.

The big opportunity: a new and/or bigger market

Investment managers can provide access to this asset class to every investor, helping them diversify their investments and better manage the risk-return profile of their portfolios.

We expect most of the major mutual fund and alternative investment managers to launch retail-friendly liquid alternative funds and ETFs in the coming years.

Mutual fund managers can expand into the alternative investment space using their brand recognition to help grow the liquid alternatives asset class. At the same time, alternative investment managers can enter the retail investment space using their experience and expertise as a key value proposition.

But offering liquid alternatives is not just about increasing assets under management. Investment managers can better engage their clients and prospects by taking an educational approach. This approach will help investment managers strengthen their brand because they will be providing value … not just products.

Given liquid alternatives is a relatively new asset class to many investors in the retail space, educating the retail audience about the language/terms, investment strategies, differentiators, etc. of this asset class will likely be key to widespread understanding and acceptance of liquid alternatives. It will also help position manufacturers that provide this information as leaders in the space.

Ext. is on the front lines of financial services marketing. We can help your firm market new strategies, such as liquid alternatives, to the broad retail and advisor markets in an engaging, educational manner that positions you and your clients for success. Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

The importance of continuing education

Financial services marketers are talented and creative problem solvers. They have to be. And since the financial services landscape – from client needs to regulatory demands – is constantly changing, financial services marketers should always be building their knowledge through continuing education. Here are four reasons why:

1. People still trust experts

Regardless of how social media may be changing this perception, people still lean on subject matter experts to complete the task at hand correctly. By continuously upgrading your education, you will ensure you remain an invaluable asset on your team.

2. Helps you stay ahead of the curve

Knowing your industry inside and out – and being on top of the ever-changing landscape – will help you form more insightful opinions about what industry trends may be coming.

This forward-thinking mentality is a great way to build trust.

3. Your network will grow

People want to connect with experts. So don’t be shy when you complete a course or achieve a certificate.

Update your LinkedIn profile, let people in your office know and start sharing your newfound knowledge with others.

4. Generating content will be easier

The more you know, the more topics you’ll have to write about.

In an age where content is king (or very important at the least), anyone looking to build their profile should be generating content in one form or another.

For marketing and investment commentary support, contact us today at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

How to communicate with investors about underperformance

Financial services marketers face challenges every day, from writing investor education articles to managing complex rebranding initiatives. There’s one marketing challenge that we all wish would never happen, even though it’s inevitable: communicating with investors about an underperforming investment solution.

So, tip #1: don’t hide from underperformance. Quite the opposite. Get in front of it, be transparent and talk about what matters most to investors. Trust and understanding will go a long way to building a strong, enduring relationship.

Identify investor concerns

Any project that tackles underperformance must start by identifying investor concerns. And when it comes to performance, investors typically have two highly important concerns:

  • Am I overpaying for my investments?
  • Will I achieve my financial goals?

Once you know investor concerns, use them to identify your key messages. Fees and the value of advice are hot-button topics in the financial services industry but for the purposes of this article, let’s move forward with the idea of reassuring your investors that they will meet their goals.

A note on the causes of underperformance

The reasons why a fixed income solution may underperform are different from those for an equity solution, and within equities, a Canadian solution may underperform for different reasons than a global solution. For example:

  • A bond fund could underperform because of unexpected interest rate moves
  • A Canadian fund may underperform because of its weighting to energy companies
  • A global fund could underperform as a result of its geographic allocation

The point here is that no one-size-fits-all strategy exists for communicating about short-term underperformance. To do it right, you need robust product and industry knowledge, and the ability to make complex issues investor friendly.


You’ve identified the primary investor concern: they’re uncertain whether they will achieve their financial goals. Could there be a more valid concern? We don’t think so. So, now it’s time to execute.

1. Create a special brochure

By crafting a special print- and web-friendly brochure, you create an opportunity to talk about the benefits of the underperforming solution. For example, you can highlight:

  • The manager’s philosophy and process – this is especially important if your firm has a strong history or if the manager has a truly unique approach
  • The solution’s role in a diversified portfolio – investors may question why a certain solution made it into their portfolio, offering you the opportunity to talk about asset allocation
  • The importance of focusing on long-term goals rather than short-term volatility – remind investors that they are on the right path

2. Build a microsite

If you want to reinforce the importance of diversification and asset allocation, you can create an interactive microsite that uses the underperforming solution to diversify investor portfolios. Microsites are a great choice since they can have a long life. Why? Because, in this example, the asset allocation story is important at all times.

For microsite tips, read Why microsites are a big deal.

3. Produce a whitepaper

We think that an investor-friendly whitepaper is equally valuable as a brochure in this situation because they naturally have a more sophisticated feel that relies on data. Talking about underperforming investment solutions isn’t about whitewashing poor returns, it’s about explaining the situation effectively and data can help you do this with clear examples.

For more on whitepapers, read Whitepaper tactics that work and Five best practices for creating better whitepapers.

4. Write an advertorial

Support your investors by supporting advisors. We recommend writing a piece specifically for a trade publication that not only references, but also builds, on the whitepaper mentioned above. Advertorials are a great way to reach a broad audience, and you can tie them into other marketing and ad campaigns.

5. Host a PM roadshow

Although portfolio manager roadshows might be falling out of favour as a result of their high costs, and while they aren’t our first recommendation, they’re still effective and beneficial if the portfolio manager believes a roadshow could help with retention efforts.

Since mutual fund underperformance is unavoidable, we think you should turn the challenge into an opportunity for you and your firm. Your honesty and transparency will help you build stronger relationships with investors. And don’t forget to equip advisors with relevant materials first, since they are the ones who communicate directly with clients and field many of the performance questions from them.

If you need help writing about an underperforming investment solution, contact us at 416.925.1700 or info

Investment scams: Are your clients at risk?

As an advisor, you don’t recommend just any investment to your clients. You know their financial goals, investment time horizon and tolerance for risk, and you make suggestions that suit them at each stage in life. You provide sound advice and educational information that you hope makes your clients more savvy investors.

It’s no surprise, then, that many advisors are caught off-guard when a long-term client falls for an investment scam. Yet it happens a lot more often than you might think.

Defining investment scam

First things first. An investment scam isn’t a legitimate investment that loses money. You can recommend an investment in a blue chip stock in good faith, and the stock can tank. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not a scam. In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off. In most cases, the investment never existed to begin with.

In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off.

Older Canadians at risk

In 2014, more than 42,000 Canadians filed a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). Almost 15,000 were actually classified as victims of a scam. About 70% of these victims were Canadians over the age of 50. Also in 2014, victims of fraud reported total losses of almost $75 million, of which more than 85% was lost by victims over the age of 50.

These CAFC statistics cover all types of fraud, not just investment scams, but older Canadians are more at risk for those too. A recent study of Canadians over 50 (from the Ontario Securities Commission) found that 46% of respondents had been asked to buy a fraudulent investment. The same study also found that investment fraud affects 60 out of 1,000 older Canadians.

This could be because older Canadians have had more time to accumulate wealth, and are therefore targeted by scam artists. But that’s just one theory among many. What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam. Losing your nest egg is far more devastating at 65 than it is at 25.

What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam.

Advisors can’t be expected to monitor or be responsible for every decision a client makes. However, there are steps you can take to help educate your clients about spotting an investment scam, as well as reporting investment fraud if it does happen. We’ll cover those steps in next week’s blog post.

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Advisor communications series: A few thoughts on continuing education and content

Advisors are talented and creative problem solvers. They have to be because the financial services landscape is constantly changing.

And to stay on top of that change, the best advisors are always building their knowledge through continuing education. That’s true of financial and investment skills … and it’s true of content and marketing skills as well.

Move ahead of your peers and competitors

Knowing your industry inside and out – and being on top of the ever-changing landscape – will help you form more insightful opinions about what industry trends may be coming.

This forward-thinking mentality is a great way to build trust – and you build that trust through your communications such as emails, blogs, videos and social media. We’ll be writing about this in more detail over the coming weeks.

Become an authority

Regardless of how social media may be changing this perception, people still lean on subject matter experts to complete the task at hand correctly. By continuously upgrading your content and marketing education, you’ll ensure you remain an invaluable asset to your clients.

Expand your network

People want to connect with experts … including other experts. So don’t be shy when you learn something new. Put your new skills into practice immediately. For example, if you just learned some news ways to write a strong call to action, send out an email with one.

In the end, content creation will be easier

The more you know, the more content you’ll be able to produce.

In an age where content is king, anyone looking to build their profile should be generating fresh content in one form or another.

Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or for actionable content marketing tips.