Monday morning briefing: Emerging markets equities poised for a comeback?

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change for investors. A look back at the decade in VC. The importance of data ethics. And is too much choice bad for advisors? These stories and much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canadian inflation rate was 2.2% in November: Canadian inflation accelerates to 2.2%, core highest in a decade

The BoE holds Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change: Hey 60/40 investors: You need a new ‘40’

Three trends for investors and financial advisors: 3 trends investors and financial advisors should heed in 2020 

Why corporate debt could be problematic for the global economy: China corporate debt flagged as ‘biggest threat’ to global economy

Chart of the week – Emerging markets poised for a comeback?

Let’s take a look at emerging markets stocks over the past five years. Emerging markets have underperformed developed markets over the past five years, particularly over the last couple of years as trade tensions intensified. As emerging markets countries are often export-heavy economies, the slowdown in the global economy has hurt performance. However, the partial trade agreement between the U.S. and China on December 13 has sparked a surge in performance among emerging markets equities. If trade tensions ease further and global economic growth ticks higher, will emerging markets equities gain traction and outperform developed markets? It may be time. Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the hedge fund industry in NovemberState of the industry: November 2019

Risk-on sentiment among fund managers is back: Why fund managers are cranking up the risk

A look back at the decade that was in VC: VC’s decade in data: How the 2010s reshaped a market

Money market funds attracting a substantial amount of inflows: Investors favor money markets over stock and bond funds: Morningstar

Retail investors will gain more exposure to private markets: SEC votes to give retail investors more access to private markets

News and notes (Canada)

29 liquid alternative funds were launched in 2019: Fund managers have jumped into liquid alts, DBRS reports

Sun Life takes majority interest in InfraRed Capital Partners: Sun Life to expand infrastructure expertise with investment in InfraRed

What may be in store for Canadian alternative investments: A 2020 vision for Canadian alternative investments

A look at the changes to the Basic Personal Amount: New basic personal amount for 2020

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Be prepared for a bigger adoption of mobile wallets: Why banks should care about mobile wallets (even if consumers don’t)

A look at some trends in cybersecurity for the year ahead: 10 cyber security trends to look out for in 2020

The importance of data ethics: Data ethics – what is it good for?

Why demand for regtech is expected to grow: Capital markets regtech in review

PayPal enters the Chinese payments market: PayPal completes GoPay acquisition, allowing payments platform to enter China

Why too much choice may be bad for advisors: Advisers are drowning in fintech choices

High-net-worth topics

UBS makes changes to its ultra-high-net-worth unit: UBS Group to revamp unit for ultra-high net worth clients

High-net-worth individuals are increasing their exposure to real estate, cash: Here’s where the wealthiest investors are finding opportunities

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Contributions to TFSA accounts grew in 2019 (BMO): Annual TFSA contributions up 10% on average: survey

74% of investors want financial advice from a human (IIROC): Investors prefer human advice: survey

The percentage of women directors on boards rose in 2019 (MSCI): Slow gains for female board membership: report

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Monday afternoon briefing: Small caps vs. large caps

A look at the top performing hedge fund strategies. The holdings of different generations. Europe is seeing a large increase in wearable payments. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The Bank of Canada held interest rates steady at 1.75%: Bank of Canada holds rates steady, citing ‘intact’ global recovery

Canada’s unemployment rate rose: Canada posts largest job loss since 2009 on full-time drop

U.S. labour markets were strong in November: Jobs growth surges in November, beating Wall Street expectations

Institutional investors’ looking to protect their portfolios: Global institutional investors sober as markets rally: survey

The challenges 2020 may bring: What headwinds do stocks face going into 2020?

Understanding the screening process of responsible investments: Lifting the veil on RI screening

Chart of the week

Since the end of 2016, small-caps have underperformed large-caps, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index and Russell 1000 Index, respectively. It’s not surprising given global trade tensions and their influence on equity market volatility. Investors have largely turned to larger-cap securities given their relative safety. If the U.S. and China reach a phase-one trade pact, will small-caps stocks take the lead? Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Helping first-time managers raise money: These firms are helping managers beat their private capital fundraising goals

A look at the top performing hedge fund strategies: Equity long bias strategy tops hedge fund performance in 2019

Co-CEO of Bridgewater to leave firm: Murray to leave Bridgewater Associates

J.P. Morgan launches new ETF: J.P. Morgan Asset Management expands BetaBuilders suite

News and notes (Canada)

Horizons completes its corporate class reorganization: Horizons reorganizes 44 ETFs as corporate-class funds

Novacap launches Novacap Financial Services I: Private equity firm Novacap launches financial services fund

PE activity in Canada has slowed in 2019: Canadian PE industry on pace for investment slump

Onto the next step for a bitcoin fund: 3iQ files preliminary prospectus for Bitcoin fund

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

How changing technology will impact banking in 2020: The biggest technology trends that will disrupt banking in 2020

How tech and analytics are helping PE companies: Progressive VCs and private equity are using tech and analytics to revolutionize investing

Why regulators need to accept fintech in the banking industry: BankThink Charter or not, fintechs are already ‘banking’

Broadridge launches new AI tool: Broadridge launches new AI and machine learning platform for reconciliation, matching and exception management operations

A spotlight on emerging cities and fintech: Global fintech ranking shows importance of emerging cities

Europe is seeing a large increase in wearable payments: Wearable payments show sharp rise in uptake

High-net-worth topics

European private equity firms eyeing technology investments: Why Europe’s wealthy are betting on tech like never before

Younger U.S. high-net-worth investors showing interest in ESG: Wealthy, young investors driving shift to ESG, Cerulli reports

How the 2020 tax changes may impact the wealthy in the U.S.: What wealthy clients need to know about 2020 tax changes

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

A look at the holdings of different generations (Charles Schwab): Self-directed millennials invested more in cash, ETFs than older investors

Business leaders uncertain about the outlook for the Canadian economy (CPA): Survey uncovers growing pessimism about Canada’s economy

A look at the struggles facing those who entered the labour market during the financial crisis (RBC): The struggle really is real for young investors

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Monday morning briefing – October 28, 2019

Will active managers become more activist? A look at volatility in the private markets. Interest in impact investing continues to rise. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The ECB held its central interest rate steady: ECB holds rates at historic lows as Mario Draghi waves farewell to Frankfurt

Canadian retail sales dropped in August: Retail sales fell slightly in August, Statistics Canada reports

Why growth has outperformed value: The real reason value has been lagging growth

A look at what will impact markets over the next few decades: Aging population top global investment trend, institutional investors say

Interest in factor investing on the rise: Factor investing strategies becoming more popular for fixed income: survey

Will active managers become more activist?: A Wall Street revolution: Why active fund managers have ‘stopped yawning and started flexing their muscles’

Gold’s comeback: The story behind gold’s resurgence

News and notes (U.S.)

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

Hedge funds have experienced net redemptions in 2019: Hedge fund industry sees 6th consecutive quarter of outflows

Charles Schwab launches the Schwab Alternative Investment Marketplace: Schwab launches alts marketplace for advisors

Jeffrey Vinik closes hedge fund: Billionaire investor Jeffrey Vinik closes hedge fund less than a year after its relaunch

A look at volatility in the private markets: KKR: Private markets are much more volatile than they appear

U.S. executives believe M&A activity will be better next year: US M&A remains resilient despite market fears

A look at ETF flows in 2019: Where the ETF money flowed in 2019

News and notes (Canada)

Picton Mahoney to acquire funds from Vertex One: Picton Mahoney gains five funds from Vertex One

 New ETF from Mackenzie: Mackenzie launches emerging markets bond ETF

Mutual funds were in favour in September: Mutual fund sales soared in September

A look at the possible financial impact from a Liberal minority government: How a Liberal minority government could help, or hit, Canadians’ wallets

Learn about the head of the Canada Infrastructure Bank: A profile of Janice Fukakusa, chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

How finance can benefit from AI: What can AI and big data do for finance?

Four principles to launch unique products: 4 crucial steps to transform banking products for a fintech world

Partnership formed to launch fintech research unit: Fintech research unit founded by AMF, Finance Montreal

Why improving the onboarding process is crucial: Research shows banks could lose $22.75bn to slow onboarding

Alberta Investment Management Corp. using AI to predict stock price movements: Institutional investors turning to AI, data science to improve processes, yield alpha

Using API to better your business: How can organizations take advantage of the API economy?

Cyberattack discovered, focused on institutional investors: Cyber attack hits prominent hedge fund, endowment, and foundation

Wealthscope launched to help investors look at total portfolio diversification: New tool to help those accumulating and decumulating retirement assets

WealthBar acquires Snap Projections: WealthBar deepens financial-planning commitment with acquisition

Is there a place for blockchain in fintech?: Blockchain: Is it the future of fintech?

High-net-worth topics

The high-net-worth in the U.K. are concerned about the political landscape: Politics is more worrying than Brexit for Britain’s wealthy

Wealthy executives have specific needs from a financial advisor: What high-earning executives need, and aren’t getting, from advisors

 A look at the world’s ultrawealthy: Who are the ultrawealthy? These charts will give you an idea

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Interest in impact investing continues to rise (American Century): US, UK millennials embrace impact, ESG investing: Survey

Lacking knowledge of fixed income securities (BNY Mellon): Survey reveals severe lack of awareness on fixed income

Canada falling behind in dealing with climate risk (FTSE Russell): Canada’s climate readiness gets a thumb-down

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Monday morning briefing – September 23, 2019

A bitcoin yield fund for the high-net-worth. Private equity and venture capital outperforming public equities. Why international co-operation is needed to combat cybercrime. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The Fed reduced its central interest rate: Fed lowers interest rate by a quarter-point, and is open to the idea of more easing

Canadian inflation rate was 1.9% in August: Canadian inflation slows to 1.9% on lower gas, vegetable prices

The BoE held its Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England holds rates, warns another Brexit delay could hurt economic growth

The BoJ kept its key interest rate at -0.10%: BOJ keeps policy steady, signals chance of easing in October

A look at how liquidity affects an ETF’s trading costs: Why liquidity matters in ETF cost minimization

Does the value of benchmark data justify the cost?: Fund managers seek more insight from benchmark data

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge fund net exposure at highest level since 2018: Goldman: Hedge fund exposure to stock market at 15-month high

A conversation with Josh Harris on private marketsApollo’s Josh Harris talks private markets at delivering alpha

PE and VC outperforming public equities: Private equity outperforms and captures institutional flows

Private equity net cash flow was over US$150 billion in 2018: Eight years in the black for private equity cash flows

Vanguard to launch Digital Advisor: Vanguard preparing to offer digital-only robo-advisor

Rockefeller Capital eyes Silicon Valley: Rockefeller Capital buys wealth firm for Silicon Valley rich

The Fed took action in money markets for first time in a decade: Fed intervenes in money markets for first time in 10 years

 Looking for more customized target-date funds: Interest rising in active/passive hybrid strategies for TDFs

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

News and notes (Canada)

Horizons launches the Horizons Growth TRI ETF Portfolio: Horizons ETFs expands lineup of portfolio ETFs

CI Investments launches ESG funds: CI introduces debut ESG funds

Combining mutual funds and ETFs could be beneficial: Mutual funds and ETFs in harmony

Canada ranks “below average” in fund costs, according to Morningstar: Canada rates poorly in Morningstar survey of mutual fund costs

Foreign investors moving out of Canadian securities: Foreign investors continue to divest Canadian securities

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Five fintech trends to watch in 2020: Five trends shaping fintech into 2020

How to navigate through customers’ fear of open banking: Open banking scares customers, but they want what APIs can deliver

A look at Canadians’ comfort with AI: How Canadians feel about AI in financial services

We’re in the early innings of AI’s impact on the financial services industry: The beginning of the road for AI in finance, the best is yet to come

Building a branch as an advice centre: Transforming branches into advice centers: The long road ahead

How technology is impacting capital markets: Buyers’ brief: Fintech drives capital markets

Why international co-operation is needed to combat cybercrime: Cyber-crime best tackled by international co-operation

Arab Bank launches custody and brokerage services for digital assets: Leading Swiss private bank launches full suite of digital asset services

High-net-worth topics

Family offices incorporating ESG principles: Wealthy families pour fortunes into $31 trillion ESG opportunity

A bitcoin yield fund for the high-net-worth: Wealth manager launches world-first bitcoin yield fund

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

38% of fund managers expect a recession over the next year (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): Recession fears among fund managers rise to highest level in a decade

Immigration wage gap impacting Canada’s economy (RBC): Immigrant wage gap costing Canada $50 billion a year in GDP: RBC study

Millennials are starting to save early (E*Trade): Young investors are doin’ it for the ‘Gram

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What Grissom and Caine can teach us about investment writing

Constant innovation has enabled the investment management industry to offer new and novel solutions designed to better serve the investing public. As more sophisticated solutions are introduced in the alternatives space, as well as in other product categories, the challenge of writing to these increasingly complex investment products becomes more pronounced.

While we should always strive to simplify our business communications, just opting to “dumb down” content may do investors a disservice. Is there a middle ground between simplicity and substance? The answer might lie with an old but influential television show.

CSI: Communicating Substance to Investors

It’s been just over three years since the last new episode of the hit CSI television franchise aired, but the footprint of this 16-year-long cultural touchstone is still present. Not only are the various CSI shows still being aired in syndication, they have continued to shape the public’s perception of law enforcement.

While the franchise has been criticized for taking artistic liberties with the real nature of police work and forensic investigation, CSI was never shy about using technical, highly scientific insider jargon.

That’s significant when you consider the CSI shows have been watched by millions, and that forensic science is no less an esoteric subject than yield curves or hedge funds.

Yet these shows, despite their complexities, spawned a generation of laypeople who could proudly discuss contusions, exit wounds and DNA sampling.

So, what can we learn from the exploits of Gil Grissom and Horatio Caine? From an investment communications perspective, we might take away the following:

1. Complexity doesn’t have to be scary; in fact, by its very nature can be compelling for readers.

2. Don’t be afraid of using complex terms, but also add in enough additional information so the reader can follow along, while also feeling educated and empowered by new knowledge.

3. Keep a “CSI toolkit” handy, meaning a spreadsheet of commonly used insider terms relevant to your investment mandate(s), plus their working definitions, for the benefit of investors. This toolkit can be used by you and your team in a variety of investment communications

The best practices for investment commentaries are always evolving. See what ext. can do to help you slay all your investment communications.

For more information on how ext. can help you improve your investment content, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Going deeper with your content

If you’ve been blogging and sharing content for a few years, you’ve probably reached the point at one time or another where you’ve run out of ideas or lost interest in your topic.

It happens.

Don’t fret. A little analytics and creativity will not only get you flush with ideas once again, but these ideas will be exactly what your readers want.

Identify your top posts

Google Analytics is your friend. While you can request anecdotal evidence from the field, it’s best not to rely solely on hearsay. Data is what you want, so seek it out.

Log on to your Analytics account. Your goal today is to find your 30 most-viewed posts since you first started blogging. Found them? Good.

These are the posts – better to think of them as themes – that you’ll focus your content efforts on for the next year. Feels good to have some direction, doesn’t it?

Go deep, creatively

Now that you know your top 30 posts, it’s time to sharpen your focus on the top 10.

How can you add depth to these topics? Write down everything you can think of, from the ideas that need a little more explaining to anything on the periphery of this theme that could add value.

While refreshing content is a good start (even your tried-and-true content may not be as evergreen as you think), we’re talking about supporting content, educational content, engaging content, inspiring content, content that looks good, content that gets people thinking, content that builds your authority, and the list goes on.

“We’re talking about supporting content, educational content, engaging content, inspiring content, content that looks good, content that gets people thinking, content that builds your authority, and the list goes on.”

Think infographics, surveys, whitepapers, more blog posts, newsletter articles, brochures, microsites and social campaigns. These are the tactics you’ll use to go deeper on your chosen themes.

Once you’ve worked through your top 10, start on your remaining 20.

Three quick examples

Let’s say your top three posts are “Saving for a comfortable retirement,” “What do I do with an inheritance?” and “Rethinking investing for Millennials.”

“Saving for a comfortable retirement” could benefit from a calculator that helps explain the power of compounding over the long term.

“What do I do with an inheritance?” might reach a bigger audience if it was backed up with stat … or, better yet, a handful of stats found in a great looking infographic.

“Rethinking investing for Millennials” may need an infographic too, but it would also benefit from a series of supporting blog posts that tackle (and provide solutions to) the financial challenges that younger people face every day.

Repeat the process

Let’s look a year into the future. You’ve added depth to your top 30 posts. Now identify your top posts once again but, this time, focus on your top 20. Explore ways that you can go even deeper on these themes.

Why are you doing this? You’re expanding your content and you’re refining your content. As time goes on, you’ll see that your focus is narrowing – and this is a good thing. This razor sharp focus is on themes that your readers want.

“You’re expanding your content and you’re refining your content. As time goes on, you’ll see that your focus is narrowing – and this is a good thing.”

Stop casting a wide net. Instead, go deeper on your top posts (and themes!) with creative solutions. Your readers will appreciate the knowledge you’re sharing.

Never run out of ideas again. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or and we’ll help you explore your content options.

Monday morning briefing – July 15, 2019

Hedge funds are changing their fee structures. A new climate change index from FTSE Russell. Turning the branch into an advice center. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The BoC held its rate steady at 1.75%: Poloz flags growing trade risks but keeps rates firmly on hold

The U.S. inflation rate fell to 1.6% in June: Consumer prices edge up in June, CPI shows, but inflation is still quite tame

Canadian housing starts rose to 246,000 in June: Canadian housing starts rise in June: CMHC 

The debt ceiling may need to be raised by September: U.S. debt ceiling fears surface in “kink” in Treasury bill yield curve as drop-dead date approaches

A new climate change index from FTSE Russell: FTSE Russell launching climate change index for sovereign bonds

MSCI to provide ESG ratings on funds and ETFs: MSCI adds ESG ratings to 32,000 funds and ETFs

New guidelines on performance reporting from the CFA Institute: CFA Institute unveils new global investment standards

A look at the benefits of using multifactor ETFs: Why use multifactor ETFs?

News and notes (U.S.) 

A look at the hedge fund industry in June: State of the industry – June, 2019

Hedge funds soared higher in the first half of 2019: Hedge funds post best first half in decade

Will there be a rebound in PE-backed exits?: Will US PE exits make up for lost time in the second half of 2019?

PE funds selling at a premium: The private equity funds selling for more than they’re worth

Charles Schwab adds more funds to its commission-free ETF platform: Schwab adds 25 ETFs to commission-free platform

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: July 9 edition

News and notes (Canada) 

CIBC purchases U.S. investment banking firm: CIBC signs deal to buy Milwaukee-based boutique investment bank Cleary Gull

RBC purchases WayPay: RBC buys accounts payable specialist WayPay

Mercer and Wealthsimple partner to create a savings and advice solution: Mercer partners with Wealthsimple for digital investing solution

Canadians finding it difficult to move into higher income brackets: Canadian families are increasingly stuck in their income niche, StatsCan finds

Canadian ETFs experienced outflows in June: ETF flows flat in June as investors get defensive

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech 

A look at five fintech trends: Here is a look at where fintech is leading us and why

Understanding the bank-fintech partnership: Banks and fintech partnerships: A clash of extremes

Banking customers still demand human contact: Financial services customers set to embrace AI but human contact still vital

Turning the branch into an advice center: Branches should be advice centers, but are banks ready?  

Creating highly personalized products and services: The market of one

Keeping AI ethical in corporate finance: Preventing unethical use of AI in corporate finance transactions

Advisors should be adopting new technologies: Why more advisors are embracing financial planning technology

JPMorgan enters robo-advice arena: JPMorgan rolls out robo-advisor

High-net-worth topics

The way the wealthy spend their money may be surprising: How do the wealthy spend their money? 

The net worth of high-net-worth individuals fell: Wealth declines among the global rich after seven years of growth

A look at some traits of billionaires: The secrets of self-made billionaires

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Hedge funds are changing their fee structures (AIMA): Hedge funds replacing ‘2 and 20’ with more flexible fees: study

U.S., Canadian and Japanese investors typically hold their investments for over four years (Schroders): U.S. investors most patient, and demanding, in world, study says

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

Monday morning briefing – July 8, 2019

Bitcoin’s volatile June may impede the possibility of an ETF. Funds-of-hedge funds are making a comeback. Ontario to get 50 more cannabis retail stores. 5G technology will enhance digital banking capabilities. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news 

The Canadian unemployment rate rose to 5.5% in June: Canada’s jobs market pauses in June after monster start to year

The unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 3.7% in June: Hiring rebounds as U.S. economy adds 224,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate inched up to 3.7 percent

Global equity issuance slow in the first half of 2019: Global equity issuance dives in the first half, Refinitiv reports

State Street launches ESG money market fund: State Street Global Advisors launches its first ESG money market fund

Christine Lagarde will become president of the ECB: Christine Lagarde: Key issues she must address at the ECB

Will more tariffs come to the EU?: U.S. proposes more tariffs on EU goods in Airbus-Boeing dispute

MSCI plans to add Kuwait to its emerging markets index: MSCI set to classify Kuwait as emerging market, subject to certain conditions 

News and notes (U.S.)

Funds-of-hedge funds are making a comeback: They’re baaaaack: The investment that’s making an unlikely comeback

Europe’s interest in alternative investments growing: Interest in alternative investments on the rise in Europe

PE firms looking to raise US$1 trillion in fundraising efforts: Private equity seeks almost $1 trillion globally

Venture capitalists keeping a keen eye on companies that move people and things: Wheeling & dealing: In 2019, VCs can’t stop funding mobility startups

Fixed income ETFs see record inflows in June: Fixed income ETF inflows surpassed $25B during June

Understanding the rules of Reg BI: SEC’s Reg BI adds unexpected fiduciary hurdle for retirement advisors

News and notes (Canada)

Canadian banks meeting global regulatory standards on net stable fund ratio: Reports find Canadian banks meet global standards

Ontario to get 50 more cannabis retail stores: Ontario to issue 50 new cannabis store licences, eight to go to First Nations

Value of Canadian defined benefit pension plans stable in the second quarter: Strong equity market performance helped DB plans in Q2

Project Reconciliation preparing bid for the Trans Mountain pipeline: Indigenous group says Trans Mountain bid could be ready next week

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Using data to drive the personalized customer experience: Digital changes customer engagement playbook for financial institutions

New associations will be important to drive fintech forward: We’re all in this together – The Value of associations in fintech 

5G technology will enhance digital banking capabilities: Banking in 5G: Why financial marketers should care (now)

A look at the challenges and opportunities of AI in banking: AI in banking: The pitfalls and opportunities (research paper)

Understanding Intelligent Spend Management: Intelligent Spend Management and the evolution of procurement

Here are 10 payment start-up companies that you need to know about: 10 payments start-ups to watch

NatWest experiments with live chats on mobile, tablet and PC: NatWest trials video banking service for business customers

Online payment startups are focusing on these sectors: What sectors do online payment startups try to target?

Giving businesses unlimited access to their PayPal account: PayPal launches its first UK debit card with unlimited cash back for businesses

Bitcoin’s volatile June may impede the possibility of an ETF: Bitcoin’s wild June is ‘slam dunk’ against crypto ETF approval

High-net-worth topics

Ways business owners can save for retirement: Eight things business owners can do to build up funds for after retirement

Financial planning for families with assets in multiple countries: Cultivating foreign clients

How insurance can mitigate some of the risk for high-net-worth investors: The secret key to protecting your client’s wealth

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Professional accountants are bullish on the Canadian economy (CPA): Business leaders feel better about the economy: survey

Canada’s economic growth is dependent on global economic conditions (Russell Investments): Canadian economy not immune to outside forces: report

Why India might be a good source of investment returns (Manulife): Investors chasing higher returns can’t skip India, Manulife says

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

Tuesday morning briefing – July 2, 2019

Spotting a financial bubble. The rising stars of the hedge fund industry. The benefits of advisors adopting technology. The affluent market is expected to grow. And much more in this week’s post.

Economic/industry news

U.S. GDP growth confirmed at 3.1% in the first quarter: US economy grew at a solid 3.1% rate in the first quarter

Optimism regarding small and mediumsized businesses in the U.S. waning: Optimism hits nine-year low at U.S. small, midsize companies

Spotting a financial bubble: Can you spot a bubble before it bursts?

What’s hurting value investing: Two suspects behind value’s apparent death

New climate change indices announced: MSCI launches climate change indexes: Portfolio products

The number of global IPOs declined in the first half of the year: A weak first half for global IPOs, EY reports

News and notes (U.S.) 

Forward Redemption Indicator was 3.81% in June 2019, lower than June 2018: SS&C GlobeOp Forward Redemption Indicator at 3.81 per cent for June

Equity leverage rising fast for hedge funds: Hedge funds boost equity leverage at fastest rate in three years 

Alternative investment managers expect moderate economic growth for 2019: Alternative investment professionals bullish on prospects for remainder of 2019

A look at the most powerful hedge fund managers: The 10 most powerful hedge fund managers this year

The rising stars of the hedge fund industry: Hedge funds might be under scrutiny – but these rising stars are their future

Will Vanguard enter private equity space?: Vanguard mulling move into private equity: report

Another strong year for PE cashflows: Global PE cashflows eye eighth consecutive year in the black

U.S. tech firms reduced hiring in China amid trade dispute: Silicon Valley cools Chinese growth plans during trade war 

Average wage earners having difficulty purchasing a home in many U.S. markets: Homebuying difficult for Americans in three-fourths of markets

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

News and notes (Canada)

Mutual funds experienced $719 million of net sales in May: Mutual fund sales rebound, despite retreat in AUM, IFIC reports

Steve Hawkins takes over as board chair for the Canadian ETF Association: CETFA welcomes new board chair 

Advisor title reform to be reviewed by new provincial regulator: FSRA to lead advisor title reform, while OSC works on other reforms 

Tax proposal could hurt Canadian ETFs: Tax proposals get pushback from ETF industry

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Wall Street is learning from Silicon Valley: Wall Street is taking cues from Silicon Valley to innovate fintech

The top trends in retail banking: The Top 5 retail banking technology trends of 2019 (so far)

Why it’s imperative that traditional banks adopt AI usage: Banking brands can’t keep pace with digital giants without AI

What is Facebook’s future in fintech?: Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency is the future of fintech

Consumer use of fintech growing: More than half of global consumers use fintech

The benefits of advisors adopting technology: Five ways advisors can leverage technology

Welcome to the new Chase retail branch: Chase makes bold statement with stunning new flagship branch

Helping VCs make investment decisions: VCs double down on data-driven investment models

A look at how the investment banking industry can benefit from AI: How AI could shape the future of investment banking

High-net-worth topics

The affluent market is expected to grow: The growing promise from affluent individuals

How to respond to the traits of wealthy investors: 12 surprising traits of the wealthy

Sotheby’s to merge with BidFair USA: Sotheby’s goes private: What it means for the art market

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

U.S. investor confidence falling (Wells Fargo/Gallup): Investors are battening down the hatches for a recession: Wells Fargo

Geopolitical and market risks affecting the outlook for institutional investors (Manulife): Uncertainty clouding institutional investor outlook: report

Canadians trust financial advisors for their retirement planning (Fidelity): Advisors top list of retirement planning resources: survey

A look at the contributors to growth in robo-advice (BMO): ETFs played a role in robo growth, fee-based shift: report

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

Monday morning briefing – June 10, 2019

Banks can make privacy a competitive advantage. High-net-worth investors are looking for private equity. The difficulties facing fintech firms as they cross borders. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The U.S. unemployment rate was steady at 3.6% in May: Jobs report: U.S. economy adds disappointing 75,000 jobs in May, unemployment rate holds at 3.6%

Canadian unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1976: Canada added 27,700 jobs in May; unemployment rate hit record low

ECB holds rate steady, pushes out possible rate increase: Euro rises as ECB pushes back rate hike deadline; raises inflation forecast

Would the Fed be willing to cut rates?: Powell hints Fed will cut rates if needed over trade wars

What the next recession could look like: Gauging the next recession’s severity

The benefits of farmland in a pension portfolio: A look at the role of farmland in pension portfolios

Sustainalytics launches ESG screening product: Sustainalytics launches new ESG screening tool and engagement service

News and notes (U.S.)

Who can replace a legend?: The race to replace Larry Fink

What to look for in an outsourced trading partner: Key considerations when choosing an outsourced trading partner

Regrets about going public: Apollo founder ‘absolutely’ regrets taking the firm public

A look at the next CIOs: II’s most wanted allocators: First team

The largest PE firms have been able to diversify across asset types: A new era of scale in the private capital markets

Fidelity reduces fees on target-date funds: Fidelity cuts target-date mutual fund fees as price war spreads

The SEC passed the Regulation Best Interest proposal: SEC passes regulation best interest by 3-1 vote

Household wealth in the U.S. up, growth rate of debt slowed: U.S. first-quarter household wealth hits record as stocks surge

News and notes (Canada)

Fidelity launches ESG funds: Fidelity launches 3 funds aimed at positive change

May was the best month in 2019 for ETF inflows: Canadian ETF inflows in May are the year’s strongest so far

The Canadian ETF industry still has a lot of room to grow: Why Canada’s ETF industry hasn’t peaked yet

An in-depth look at the Canadian mutual fund industry: Mutual Fund Guide 2019

Looking at the compliance challenges facing investments: OSC to launch new advisory committee

Protection of vulnerable investors a top priority of IIROC: IIROC sets strategy through 2022

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Regulators and fintech firms need to coordinate efforts to create a better environment for innovation: BankThink Fintechs, regulators need more common ground

Making money in mobile banking using big data: Data can move mobile banking from ‘convenient’ to ‘monetized’

The difficulties facing fintech firms as they cross borders: 3 challenges of scaling a fintech company across borders

Creighton University introduces a degree in fintech: Creighton University among the first to create a fintech degree

The opportunity and risks of deploying AI: The potentials and pitfalls of applying AI in the financial industry

The U.K. has seen a rise in mobile banking, less use of cash: Rise in mobile banking and contactless as consumers take pick ‘n’ mix approach to payments

Banks can make privacy a competitive advantage: Why now is the ideal time for banking brands to assert their privacy role

Banks’ adoption of open banking will take time and trust: Mastercard’s Wadsworth: Banks need time to fit into open banking future

Why tech talent should consider banking: The war for (banking tech) talent

High-net-worth topics

How to advise people who come into sudden wealth: Advising ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Holzhauer on his $2.5 million payday

The high-net-worth rank trust as the number one requirement in an advisor: Satisfaction and loyalty just the start for high-net-worth clients

The high-net-worth are looking for private equity: Russ Prince: Wealthy investors want more private equity

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Asset managers are looking at creating ESG products (Cerulli): More than half of asset managers considering ESG products, Cerulli says

Some doctors are worried about unexpected expenses (MD Management): Is your doctor client worried about finances?

Combining human advice with robo may become the best approach (IFIC): Hybrid distribution channels set to rise: IFIC

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

Dig deep to build your hedge fund’s value proposition

There are a vast number of hedge funds hitting the scene every year – 735 were launched in 20171 – with a total of US$3.6 trillion in AUM by the hedge fund industry overall.2 That’s a lot of funds vying for investors’ attention.

To elevate your hedge fund above the fray and pique more interest from investors, you should start with a compelling, well-thought-out value proposition. A value proposition summarizes what makes your offering unique and why it’s well-positioned to deliver performance for investors. It can form the foundation for all your sales and marketing efforts, including your pitchbook and website.

Value propositions can take on many forms and vary in length, but an ideal structure consists of a powerful headline, sub-head and bullet points of all the factors that separate you from the pack. It should take on a tone and use language that resonates with your audience and, above all, be easy to understand.

Understanding your edge may take some soul searching

Figuring out the most compelling competitive advantages of your hedge fund isn’t a quick process. It requires profound self assessment and, perhaps, wider feedback from your team and partners. While these distinguishing factors may not seem apparent at first, if you dig deep enough, you may be surprised with what you find. Here are some avenues you may not have fully explored yet:

  • Exceptional leadership. Your management core’s pedigree, pioneering ideas, accomplishments or shared work experience with other leaders may demonstrate a sound foundation and unique formula for success
  • Productive culture. A collaborative environment, rigorous debate, uniquely structured team meetings or other distinct cultural traits may help to generate great investment ideas and attract investors
  • Proven or potential success. A strong track record of performance immediately elevates your hedge fund above others. If you’re growing, you can still differentiate yourself by calling out past accomplishments that highlight the fund’s potential
  • Distinct opportunity. The particular sectors/subsectors, regions, special situations, etc. your hedge fund is focused on – and how you capture this potential – may point to enhanced opportunity
  • Special parts of your process. It may seem pretty standard from your vantage point, but your research methodology, proprietary technology, selection criteria or other tactics you integrate are compelling – and may directly delineate you from the rest

Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or today if you would like to explore and communicate your hedge fund’s distinct qualities through a persuasive value proposition. 


1 Hedge Fund Research, Inc., HFR Market Microstructure Report, March 2018.

2 Hedge Fund Research, Inc., HFR Global Hedge Fund Industry Report, Q2 2017.

Monday morning briefing – March 4, 2019

An in-depth look at how Amazon is entering the financial services industry. Eleven fintech firms to keep an eye on. How to attract high-net-worth investors. The four key pillars to help protect your company against cyberattacks. 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

U.S. GDP grew 2.6%, annualized, in the fourth quarter: Fourth-quarter GDP increases 2.6%, better than expected

Canadian GDP growth slowed to 0.4%, annualized, in the fourth quarter: Canadian economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter

Canada’s inflation rate fell to 1.4% in January: Canada’s inflation rate falls to 15-month lows on lower gas prices

Global ESG ETFs experienced $730 million of inflows during January: Global inflows into ESG ETFs steady in January

The Financial Conduct Authority found fee disclosures lacking: U.K. Regulator zeroes in on asset managers’ fee disclosures

Bondholders could benefit as companies fear a downgrade: No BBB bust as $140 billion bet on fallen angels is ‘overpriced’

What retirement will look like in the future: 5 trends that could reshape retirement

The challenges of an index becoming more concentrated: S&P 500? More like the S&P 50

A look at four major real estate markets: What’s driving demand in global real estate

News and notes (U.S.)

The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index rose 2.35% in January: Hedge funds record best January since 2006

Hedge funds more concentrated in managers’ best ideas: Never before has the fate of hedge funds turned on so few stocks

Hedge fund assets rose despite redemptions: Hedge fund assets up in January as performance offsets investor redemptions

It could be another strong year for PE fundraising: Here’s why 2019 could be another fundraising boom year for US PE

Cost-cutting alone cannot help companies grow: The lesson of The Kraft Heinz nosedive: Radical cost-cutting is out, brands are back

A comprehensive look at women in VC: The VC female founders dashboard

Fidelity has expanded its multi-factor ETF lineup: Fidelity debuts three multifactor ETFs

Another vote on Brexit could be helpful: Carlyle’s David Rubenstein wants second Brexit vote as UK PE deals dwindle

Mutual fund assets rose 5.3% in January: Mutual funds add $947 billion in assets in January

News and notes (Canada)

Mackenzie launched three more liquid alt funds: Mackenzie introduces liquid alt funds

Franklin Templeton launched three ETF portfolios: Franklin Templeton enters ETF portfolio fray

The BoC proposed reforms to the Canadian Dollar Overnight Repo Rate Average: Bank of Canada unveils benchmark reform proposals

The OSC declined a Bitcoin fund application from 3iQ: Regulators refuse proposed Bitcoin fund amid investor protection concerns

Canadian mutual fund assets grew in January, despite net redemptions: Mutual funds saw $53 million in net redemptions for January

Tips to successfully invest in your RRSP: 6 rules for successful RRSP investing

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Automating testing can have a big impact on the success of a digital transformation: Driving a successful digital transformation strategy

Canadian’s usage of alternative payment tools has increased 14% since 2016: Canadians are increasingly choosing alternative payment tools

The growth of payment alternatives will bring new and complex regulatory requirements: Harnessing regtech to build payments reputation

An in-depth look at how Amazon is entering the financial services industry: Everything you need to know about what Amazon is doing in financial services

Financial services companies are expanding their use of AI: The world’s biggest banks are doubling down on artificial intelligence

Cybersecurity spending expected to grow: Cybersecurity spending to reach $223.7 billion by 2024, says Rethink

The four key pillars to help protect your company against cyberattacks: Four steps in cyber risk management

UOB integrating AI to speed up loan process: UOB applies AI to transactional data to speed up loan approvals for SMEs

11 fintech firms to keep an eye on: Fintech focus – 11 to watch now

Retail shopping through virtual reality and blockchain: The convergence of blockchain and online VR retailing

High-net-worth topics

The high-net-worth demand personalization: Themes from the 2019 U.S. Millionaire Report: Personalization

How to attract high-net-worth investors: You don’t need a Super Bowl ad to attract high-net-worth clients

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Global corporate debt reached $13 trillion at the end of 2018 (OECD): Why corporate debt is a risk to the global economy

The majority of economists expect a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021 (National Association for Business Economics): 75% of business economists expect a US recession by 2021: survey

Women don’t believe they will be able to afford their desired lifestyle in retirement (RBC): A third of Canadian women not confident about maintaining lifestyle in retirement: survey

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

Monday morning briefing – February 11, 2019

A look at long/short equity hedge funds during the fourth quarter of 2018. Preparing your employees for the age of digital disruption. The impact of regulation on fintech. Will we see a shift back to active management? 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 Canadian unemployment rate rose to 5.8% in January: Canadian job market surges on record private-sector hiring

European GDP expanded 0.2% in the fourth quarter: EU’s GDP growth rate slows down to 1.5 pct in Q4 2018

BoE holds its Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England leaves policy rate unchanged at 0.75% as expected

The RBI cut its benchmark interest rate: Five key takeaways from India’s new central banker’s maiden policy review

Global net flows into investment funds were $606 billion in 2018: Global fund flows had worst year since 2011: Morningstar

Here are some ESG trends for 2019: Emerging MSCI ESG trends to watch in 2019

The three categories of ESG investments: 3 ESG investment strategies: passive, integrated and active

The green bond market is set to grow in 2019: Global “green bond” issuance set to surge in 2019

Clients showing more interest in sustainable investing: How sustainability is becoming an industry focus

Will we see a shift back to active management?: Is the index bubble about to burst?

Some wealth management trends for 2019 that you need to know: 10 wealth management trends in 2019: Aite

Operating margins falling despite higher assets: Asset growth no longer equals fatter profits for fund managers

News and notes (U.S.)

Bill Gross announces his retirement: Bill Gross retires after storied four-decade career in bonds

Hedge funds with a poor December rebounded in January: December’s strugglers bounced back in January, says Lyxor

A look at long/short equity hedge funds during the fourth quarter of 2018: Fourth quarter 2018 review of the long/short equity hedge fund space

Carlyle Group had a sharp increase in pre-tax distributable earnings: Carlyle outperforms rivals in latest earnings report

U.S. retail investors out of the stock market: Mom and pop sit out rally, with stock exposure at 6-year low

Fidelity launches two model portfolios that will use ETFs: Fidelity debuts its first Model Portfolios that employ ETFs

Ark launches the ARK Fintech Innovation ETF: ARK rolls out fintech ETF

Institutional plans in the U.S. struggled in 2018: ‘Worst calendar year performance’ for U.S. institutional plans since 2008: report

Looking to improve U.S. retirement savings: Rep. Kind to reintroduce Retirement Savings Act

BB&T to purchase SunTrust Banks: BB&T to buy SunTrust in biggest bank merger in a decade

News and notes (Canada)

Canadian ETF assets fell 3.9% in the fourth quarter: Q4 asset drop couldn’t stop Canadian ETF boom

The S&P/TSX Composite Index could be a strong relative performer in 2019: It’s time to stop ignoring the TSX

Institutional portfolios benefited from the strong performance of Canadian real estate in 2018: Canadian real estate boosted institutional portfolios in 2018

Know Your Client shouldn’t be the same for all clients: MFDA warns against one-size-fits-all approach to KYC

IGM Financial invests more money into fintech firm: Personal Capital raises $50 million in new funding

Vanguard adds two more asset allocation portfolios to its lineup: Vanguard launches two asset allocation ETFs

A rough equity market in the fourth quarter hurt Canadian defined-benefit pension plans: Canadian DB pensions finish 2018 in negative territory: reports

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

The impact of regulation on fintech: Fintech innovation – is regulation a significant barrier?

How fintech will help the unbanked and underbanked in 2019: How will fintech offer disruption to financial services in 2019?

Canada is behind in its potential to adopt open banking: Canada lags in readiness for ‘open banking’

How AI can help perform testing in your digital initiatives: Artificial intelligence in testing: Top five use cases in financial services in 2019

Fintech’s impact on the future of wealth: Wealth is the next big fintech game changer

Fintechs aren’t providing the necessary help to millennials: How fintech companies are failing to help millennials with financial security

How to access the mobile ad market: How financial marketers can tap the surging mobile ad market

A look at why companies should consider a digital transformation: Why digital transformation? Challenge vs opportunity

Preparing your employees for the age of digital disruption: Learning and development in the digital age

A look at why bank branches shouldn’t be closed down: Why banks should stop closing branches

Automating trade data: A smarter way to report on financial trades?

Goldman Sachs and HSBC invest in tech start-up: Goldman Sachs and HSBC invest $20m in startup trying to make banks more like Apple

Barclays makes investment into fintech start-up: Barclays invests in payment-linked loyalty startup Bink

Scotiabank to launch fintech lab in Mexico: Scotiabank partners with Mexican university to open fintech accelerator

Trade groups team up to push digital assets and blockchain forward: Blockchain associations form new lobby group

High-net-worth topics

A look at family offices and their potential future: Multi-single-family offices are the future of UHNW families

Here a few mistakes the high-net-worth make: 10 big financial mistakes wealthy families make

A look at how the ultra wealthy are currently investing: Tiger 21 annual conference: CNBC interview with Tiger 21 founder Michael Sonnenfeldt on how the ultra-wealthy invest

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Asset managers see steady growth over the next seven years (Bloomberg): 5 asset management predictions for the next 7 years

The Canadian housing market and consumption could slow in 2019 (PIMCO): Downside risks for Canadian economy: PIMCO

Looking after a family member in cognitive decline has significant impact on family finances (RBC): The impact of cognitive decline on families’ finances: RBC survey

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

Monday morning briefing – January 14, 2019

Bank and fintech partnerships took a big step forward in 2018. Expected trends for the hedge fund industry in 2019. How to improve the customer experience during digital onboarding. Here’s what matters to millionaires’ children. 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

U.S. inflation rate falls to 1.9% in December: US consumer prices drop for the first time in nine months

The Bank of Canada maintains its benchmark rate at 1.75%: Bank of Canada holds steady as oil slump kills urgency for hike path

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board can take its time with future rate increases: Fed can be ‘patient and flexible’ with rate policy: Powell

Proposal on risk ratings for alternative investments: AIMA, CAIA propose new risk ratings for alternatives

Seeking more ESG fixed income solutions: Advisors say they want more ESG fixed-income options

Fitch to produce data showing how ESG factors affect a companies’ credit rating: Fitch Ratings launches ESG relevance scores to show impact of ESG on credit

RBC and BlackRock to partner in ETF offerings: RBC iShares is now Canada’s largest ETF provider

Regal Assets enters Canada: US alternative investment firm makes Canadian debut

Could ETFs cause systemic risks in a market downturn?: Bear market may increase risks in ETF sector

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Bank and fintech partnerships took a big step forward in 2018: 2018: The year that banks and fintech started to figure things out

TD introduces Clari to its mobile app users: TD integrates chatbot into app

With the payments industry expected to grow, here is how AI can help: How will artificial intelligence ultimately benefit the financial services sector?

Revenues from robotic process automation in banking expected to grow by over 400% by 2023: Robotic process automation revenues in banking and financial services to reach $1.2bn by 2023

Financial services executives believe that big tech companies could enter the retail banking space: Two-thirds of financial decision-makers believe tech giants will offer retail banking in five years

Here is what could be in store for the payments industry in 2019: It’s all about convenience: the payments industry in 2019

The trends you need to know in wealthtech: Wealthtech trends to watch in 2019

The U.S. is falling behind in financial services technology: The US is losing the AI, blockchain & fintech arms race (but is crypto-friendly)

Understanding digital transformation: What is digital transformation in business: Everything you need to know

How to improve the customer experience during digital onboarding: Digital customer onboarding – are you doing it wrong?

Digital transformation slow for financial services firms: Digital transformation challenges firms: survey

Some cryptocurrency predictions for 2019: Crypto forecasts for 2019

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the hedge fund industry in December: State of the industry – December, 2018 

Hedge funds’ performance weak in December: Hedge funds down 0.82 per cent in December

A look at hedge fund winners & losers in 2018 (video): Hedge fund winners and losers in 2018

Expected trends for the hedge fund industry in 2019: Top hedge fund industry trends for 2019

Jeff Vinik to reopen hedge fund: Investing titan Jeff Vinik to reopen hedge fund: ‘The fire in my belly still burns’

Pershing Square starts 2019 strong: Ackman’s Pershing Square fund powers ahead in new year

Private equity year in review: 2018 in review: Top 5 global PE deals, exits & funds

Just over $130 billion was invested in VC deals in 2018: Venture capital investing soared to a record in 2018

Bitwise submits application for bitcoin ETF: Bitwise hopes to crack SEC code with proposed bitcoin ETF

U.S. money market funds gaining assets amid market volatility: U.S. money fund assets rise above $3 trillion for the first time since 2010

Predicting U.S. stock performance: The 30-year outlook for U.S. stocks

High-net-worth topics

Here is what is important to millionaires’ children: What the children of millionaires value most

Why a market-neutral strategy could work in the current market environment: Is it time to put your investments in neutral?

For the high-net-worth, consider these asset protection strategies: Asset protection of high net worth individuals

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Higher rates and volatile markets will affect Canadian’s wealth in 2019 (RBC): Expect wealth creation, homeownership challenges in 2019: RBC

Advisors should take some time to discuss bear markets with their clients (Hartford): Warning to advisors: Your clients don’t always listen to you

49% of Canadians do not have any emergency savings (Refresh Financial): 53% of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque

Women are worried about not having enough money for retirement expenses (HSBC): Women more worried about financial security in retirement than men: survey

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

Wednesday morning briefing – January 2, 2019

Creating an excellent customer experience will deliver solid financial results for banks. Private equity expected to surpass hedge funds in terms of assets over the next few years. The high-net-worth are looking for tax-efficient, and legal, options. Tightening monetary policy and sustainability among the themes to watch in 2019. And more in this week’s briefing. Enjoy!

Economic/industry news 

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

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board raises its target range to between 2.25% and 2.50%: Fed raises interest rates, signals more hikes ahead

U.S. and Chinese officials to discuss trade in early January: U.S. and China said to hold trade talks in Beijing in early January

Canada’s economy expanded 0.3% in October: Canada’s economy grew 0.3% in October

The focus on the Fed may change from interest rates to its balance sheet: Markets signal 2019 focus will be Fed’s balance-sheet unwind

Could 2019 be the year for emerging markets’ outperformance?: Emerging markets expected to outperform in 2019 (for real this time)

Finding investment opportunities as the number of seniors in Canada rise: Opportunities for institutional investors in an aging society

Education will be key as liquid alternatives are set to formally launch on January 3: AIMA prepares for investment ‘sea change’

Canadian mutual funds experienced $2.4 billion of net redemptions in November: Mutual fund sales slump continued in November

Canadian ETF assets rose to $160.9 billion in November: Canadian ETF assets up in November

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Real-time payments generating interest from large technology firms: Big tech companies throw their support behind Fed-run real-time payments network

Creating an excellent customer experience will deliver solid financial results for banks: Customer experience has massive impact on banking providers’ bottom line 

Some key trends to watch out for in the banking industry: What’s in store for banks in 2019?

According to McKinsey, here are the key fintech trends that you need to know: Synergy and disruption: Ten trends shaping fintech

 Here are the top fintech startups in New York: Top 20 fintech startups in New York

Demand for regtech solutions expected to grow: Demand for regtech solutions to intensify as regulatory burden looms larger

 Insurance executives should keep these key insurtech questions in mind during 2019: 5 insurtech questions for 2019

Despite the rise of robo-advisors, human financial advisors still play an extremely important part in financial advisory: Why we still want humans, and not (just) robots, to invest our money

Using technology to identify potential credit risks: ING develops early warning system for credit risk

Banks are making substantial progress as innovative organizations: From innovation theatre to real innovation

Automating the office: 5 business uses of voice based virtual assistants

CI acquires majority stake in WealthBar: CI enters robo game with WealthBar acquisition

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds fell 0.28% in November: Barclay Hedge Fund Index down 0.28 per cent in November 

Hedge funds experienced outflows in November: Hedge funds see third consecutive month of outflows in November

Private equity expected to surpass hedge funds in terms of assets over the next few years: What lies ahead for the hedge fund industry?

Take-private deals could grow in 2019: Expect the number of take-privates in the US to spike in 2019

Alternative investments could provide an opportunity for growth in an investor’s portfolio: Looking for growth? Consider the alternatives

Private equity managers perform better when they aren’t rushed to make deals: Faster isn’t better for private equity managers

A look back at the VC industry in 2018: 60 big things: Scandals, scooters and the year that was in VC

Investors want to see innovation in cost management: How fund managers are innovating around fees

Regulatory issues that broker-dealers need to keep top-of-mind in 2019: Regulatory changes to watch: Taxes, retirement, fiduciary rules

Changes coming to fund-of-funds?: SEC proposes rule changes for fund of funds arrangements

What we can learn from 2008 in 2018: Lessons from 2008 for 2018

These were the 10 largest ETF launches in 2018: Biggest ETF launches of the year 

Weekly outflows from mutual funds accelerate: ETFs gain $25.2B while mutual funds lose $56B

High-net-worth topics

Hedge fund-like strategies to help the high-net-worth navigate through market volatility: UBS Wealth’s hedge fund-like playbook to beat market mayhem

Helping the high-net-worth preserve their wealth: How to hold on to the wealth you’ve got

The high-net-worth are looking for tax-efficient, and legal, options: Offshore tax scandals haven’t deterred HNW investors: report

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Tightening monetary policy and sustainability among the themes to watch in 2019 (Mercer): Four investing themes will shape financial markets in 2019: Mercer

Slower growth expected for the Canadian economy (Vanguard): Canadian outlook skewed toward the downside, says Vanguard

Canadians looking to pay down debt in 2019 (CIBC): Canadians say paying down debt is top priority in 2019: Poll

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

5 steps for a successful marketing materials audit

If your department is undertaking a wide-sweeping marketing materials audit to identify stale messages and outdated figures, or if your firm is taking its marketing initiatives in a more digital direction, this five-step process will help you lead your team through this seemingly complicated process.

Step 1: Setting your auditing goals

Before jumping into writing and design, before you even begin hunting down all of your firm’s old marketing materials, we recommend that you clearly define your goals. Why are you conducting the audit? How will the audit help your marketing initiatives going forward? Typical answers are:

“We want our marketing materials to be relevant and have a longer life.”

“We want to lower our long-term marketing costs via fewer refreshes and fewer print runs.”

“We want our marketing materials to be read by a wider audience.”

“We want to engage our clients and prospects in new ways.”

Step 2: Create a content map

Now that you’ve clearly defined your goals, it’s time to categorize and reprioritize your marketing materials.

Start by using the goals that you defined in Step 1 to determine your grouping methodology. Ways that are more traditional include grouping your materials by product or campaign. Lately, however, we’ve seen a shift to grouping materials demographically or by life stage. For example, if you are trying to target millennials, you would list in a spreadsheet all the materials that apply to this cohort.

If you group materials demographically, you’ll find that many of them apply to savers and investors at different life stages. Make sure these materials end up in both buckets. Why? When you rethink formats in Step 3, you may decide to deliver similar content in radically different formats depending on who you’re engaging.

Step 3: Rethink formats

There’s a good chance the majority of the materials that you’re auditing are print brochures. And there’s an even better chance that your firm wants to take many of them in new digital directions. A marketing materials audit is the ideal time to have these discussions.

While you may simply update these brochures, keep in mind that infographics, microsites and online articles are all great ideas because they are engaging, sharable and easy to update, all of which deliver on the goals outlined in Step 1.

Step 4: Audit your resources

Is your team big enough to handle the updates and fill in the gaps that you identified? If the wide-ranging scope of a marketing materials audit seems too large, complex or time consuming, think about hiring a content partner who can help create a strategy for your refreshed content.

If you need additional resources, make sure that your content partner has the product and industry knowledge to effectively round out your team.

Step 5: Production

Now that you know what marketing materials you have and which ones you want to refresh, it’s time for your writers, designers and developers to get to work. Coordinating your resources is time consuming. But clear timelines and focused work – that is, strategically working through your list without running too many refreshes at once – will help your team deliver great results.

Next steps

Although a marketing materials audit will create some challenges, especially as your typical day-to-day responsibilities aren’t going anywhere, following these five steps will ensure that this challenging and exciting initiative goes more smoothly.

If you want to read more about auditing your marketing materials, read our post on how to better align your materials with your sales team.

Does it sound like it’s time for a marketing materials audit? Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or


Modernizing an education brand

A fresh, modern look. A brand to drive the business forward. Capturing the energy of your leadership in the industry. These are some of the goals of a rebranding project.

IFSE Institute recently underwent a successful rebrand, and we sat down with Christina Ashmore, Managing Director, and Fatema Nazarali, Director of Sales and Business Development, to uncover the best practices they implemented to take the IFSE Institute brand to the next level.

ext.: The new brand looks great. Can you tell us a bit about why you chose to rebrand IFSE Institute?

Christina Ashmore: Over the past few years, IFSE Institute has really come into its own in terms of the relationship with the brand of its parent company, The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (“IFIC”).

We had a challenge with name recognition despite exceptional loyalty among our clients and IFSE’s great reputation in the industry.

At a practical level, we needed to standardize our look and feel, given that the many small changes made throughout our history had led to inconsistencies.

“We had a challenge with name recognition despite exceptional loyalty among our clients and IFSE’s great reputation in the industry.”

ext.: Can you tell us about your rebranding process?

Fatema Nazarali: Given that we wanted to modernize the look and feel of IFSE Institute and bring the company into the future, we took a comprehensive approach and started from the ground up.

Our first step was to ask probing questions about what we wanted our brand to convey. This was long before we thought about the minutia of creating a nice, new website. We asked questions regarding how we wanted to be positioned in the industry as ourselves and among competitors.

All of our branding work needed to be in line with our strategic mission and play to the strength of the organization; namely, exceptional customer service and a high-value education.

And from here the agency started working with us on developing our key messaging framework.

“Our branding work needed to be in line with our strategic mission and play to the strength of the organization.”

ext.: Did you face any challenges along the way?

Christina: One of the biggest challenges early on was finding the time to get everyone involved. We knew we wanted to get everyone’s buy-in at all stages and show the team what we were trying to achieve. We regularly showed the team how the work was progressing and asked for their feedback on creative.

Getting the whole team involved was a great experience. They provided valuable insights as we developed the creative. We believe it helped the team to embrace the new brand.

“Getting the whole team involved was a great experience. They provided valuable insights as we developed the creative. We believe it helped the team to embrace the new brand.”

Cost is obviously a challenge. So, you need to lay out the strategy from beginning to end and request customized solutions when required. While measuring the return on investment for branding is difficult, it’s important to remember that revenue generation is not immediate and there are many intangible benefits to consider. It’s definitely worth the effort.

ext.: Why did you decide to work with an agency for the rebrand?

Fatema: We recognized that we needed marketing expertise to be able to execute a rebrand strategy. By working with an agency, we could stay focused on our day-to-day deliverables and strategic goals without needing to add headcount.

“We could stay focused on our day-to-day deliverables and strategic goals.”

Our agency ensured we asked the right questions up front, long before jumping into execution. They set up the branding strategy and helped identify where we wanted to be positioned and who we were targeting.

Given the uniqueness of the financial services industry, we needed to work with a team that had specialized knowledge. They knew our clients and business partners, and were able to tie everything together seamlessly and on point.

ext.: How has the new brand been received?

Christina: The new brand has been very well received. It’s elevated our professionalism and demonstrated to the industry that we’re taking the company to the next level.

“It’s elevated our professionalism and demonstrated to the industry that we’re taking the company to the next level.”

More than ever before, people are asking to keep our brochures in their office. The new brand has really strengthened client confidence and loyalty.

Fatema: Internally, too, there’s been a strong reception. The IFSE team takes great pride in the new brand and the company. The rebrand was a positive experience for everyone involved.

Visit to check out the new brand.

Read more:

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Investor education done right

Investor education should be top of mind for all financial services marketers. Why? Because we think teaching your clients about investing will help you build trust.

But what kind of education should you offer? What do your clients want? Here are three tips to improve your investor education efforts.

1. Start at the beginning

Where are you going to start? Even before explaining a mutual fund, examine the importance of saving.

“Why is saving so important?” is an important question that many current and would-be investors don’t have a clear answer to. An added bonus is that you can speak about this subject without getting into technical language.

Lay a strong foundation in “Saving 101” and then build your way up to mutual funds.

Suggestion: Create a microsite with videos and accompanying one-page brochures.

2. Engage them

How are you going to engage your clients and prospects? Try gamification.

Doesn’t it seem like we learned a lot more and a lot faster when we were children? That was actually the case and it’s because we were learning in a much more interactive manner.

Gamification is all about offering interactive learning that is fun, challenging and goals-based. Sites like use design elements and the mechanics of games to improve learning, helping people retain more information and offering a better user experience.

Suggestion: Create quizzes built around a story – and make sure you reward people with points and certificates.

3. Stick with them

How are you going to do this? By planning for the long term.

Investor education isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. A three-month education campaign just isn’t enough because if people see that you are light on content, they may question the value of getting involved.

Educating your clients will take time and cost money, but we believe it is an unmatched opportunity for financial services firms to build trust and get their clients engaged in their businesses.

Suggestion: Create a detailed editorial calendar, and be prepared to produce comprehensive briefs and find data to back up your requests.

Getting investor education right means providing top-notch investor education to your clients and prospects, creating truly informative material, delivering it in interesting and engaging ways, and then sticking by their sides for the long haul.

We can help you strategize and execute on your firm’s investor education initiatives. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

5 best practices for better online videos

More than ever before, Canadians are consuming their information and news through online video. It’s no wonder financial services firms are capitalizing on this trend and boosting their online video production capabilities.

Here are five tips to help ensure that you’re capturing attention and driving interest in your services and solutions with online videos.

1. Great sound is essential

Sometimes the most important aspect of a video is the audio.

We can’t overstate how essential audio is to video. You may be talking about the most interesting subject in the world but if your audience can’t hear you clearly, they’ll go somewhere else. So invest in the right audio gear and recording equipment for the best results.

2. Have the right words

You don’t want to “wing it” when it comes to conveying your message. Be prepared with a strong script and compelling content for your video. If you can’t get it right, bring in a professional to polish the wording.

Once your plan’s in place, fill in the blanks with the right speaker. Remember, though, a speaker who is at a loss for words and starts using fillers like “umm” could hurt your company’s image. Try to find a presenter who is passionate, authentic, speaks clearly and intelligently, and can relate to your audience.

3. Keep it short and sweet

We are often asked “What’s the best length for a video?” Sometimes people are surprised by our answer. We think one to two minutes is ideal. That’s right, just one to two minutes.

This time frame works because it doesn’t ask much from your viewer and, if written well, is more than enough time to convey one to three key points.

Note: longer videos do serve a purpose too, but they should be targeted to those who are highly engaged in a topic.

4. Hold off on the hard sell

The most engaging videos are not sales pitches. Instead, they solve problems.

If you focus too much on your company’s history and successes, you run the risk of boring your audience. You don’t want them asking “What’s the point of this video?”

The best approach is to use your corporate videos to outline solutions to the challenges your clients and prospects may be facing. An educational approach can also build credibility and is a great way to showcase your company’s expertise.

5. Close like a pro

Just like brochures and newsletters – and every other type of marketing material – corporate videos should end with a clear call to action.

Remember: if they have made it to the end of the video, you’re not imposing on your audience. The viewer probably wants more. So help them out by inviting them to contact you or offering a link for something to download.

Do you need help creating a video that will engage your clients? We can make it happen. Contact us at 416.925.1700 or