Embracing technology and inclusive corporate cultures will help recovering and growth-focused businesses innovate and change for the better. Tiffany Welch, Head of Canada, explains.
- Canadian institutional investors increasingly believe ESG-integrated portfolios perform as well or better than non-ESG-integrated portfolios
- Technology and sustainability have become key accelerants for innovation and change.
- Wealth advisors are having to find new ways to interact with new clients, including flexible approaches to communication devices and channels.
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Financial firms have learned many lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic – and we’ve witnessed how resilient and prepared for change they have been. As diverse financial communities in Canada assess the challenges and opportunities that will likely shape the road to recovery, technology and sustainability have become key accelerants for innovation and change.
Tackling the ongoing pandemic, Canada like all affected countries needs to deploy effective drivers for growth. The OECD forecasts that the Canadian economy will grow by 3.5% in 2021, slightly higher than the U.S., which is expected to expand by 3.2% next year.
Like governments around the world, Canada’s government has introduced measures to support individuals, families and businesses facing hardship. Experts are promoting smart ways to help businesses thrive and grow, including technology upgrades and boosting an equitable recovery by embracing sustainability. At the same time, the financial community is exploring how to drive innovation and help rebuild a post-pandemic nation by using more advanced technologies and by taking decisive action to have more inclusive corporate cultures.
Wealth management: focused on digital transformation
The scale and pace of innovation that financial communities achieved in 2020 would have arguably taken many more years had they been operating in normal business circumstances. Wealth advisors across Canada are also taking action, advancing their digitization plans in 2021. They are focused on better serving their customers who have come to expect high levels of tech-powered service in all aspects of their busy lives, including how they manage their investments.
Market research specialist Forrester’s forward-looking Predictions 2021: Wealth Management study examines how and why the wealth management industry in Canada is evolving at a pace. The research explains that wealth advisors are focused on making investing easier for their clients – and that means digital tools will be more important in the coming years to maintain client relationships.
As traditional face-to-face approaches to driving client acquisition have largely been put on hold because of the pandemic, wealth advisors are having to find new ways to interact with new clients, including flexible approaches to communication devices and channels.
Supporting wealth advisors’ digital transformation
We launched Refinitiv Workspace for Wealth Advisors in early 2020 to serve the changing needs of the wealth management industry. It’s a customizable, client-centric solution tailored specifically to wealth advisors that gives them an efficient workflow and better insights on demand.
As wealth advisors digitize their businesses more this year, Refinitiv Workspace will prove to be a powerful and supportive tool. We’ve all needed more flexibility and often more speed as our working locations have changed during the pandemic. Refinitiv Workspace’s web access enables users to access their account on any device – and work faster, better and smarter at home or in the office.
Refinitiv Workspace for Wealth Advisors delivers actionable insight in seconds so users are always ready to meet their clients’ needs. With its open platform, fast and light cutting-edge technology, it brings together innovative apps and content, helping advisors deliver expert advice for their clients.
As part of financial firms’ increasing focus on sustainability, they are catering for a growing demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments from their clients. Refinitiv Workspace connects wealth advisors to a rich depth and breadth of Refinitiv ESG and sustainability data and tools that help them serve their clients and evolve their own businesses too.
Canadian institutional investors increasingly believe ESG-integrated portfolios perform as well or better than non-ESG-integrated portfolios, according to three separate Royal Bank of Canada surveys. When researching Canadian companies, more than half of institutional investors look for companies that engage in robust disclosure of worker safety, employment health benefits, workplace culture and other social factors.
Measuring diversity in corporate workplaces
As part of our deep-rooted commitment to championing sustainability at Refinitiv and across financial and business communities, we have established the Measure Up Initiative with Fortune. Powered by Refinitiv ESG data, the initiative is designed to help business leaders address racial and ethnic diversity in corporate workplaces.
Fortune and Refinitiv are working towards establishing diversity disclosure and accountability as a critical metric for stakeholder-driven businesses. We also plan to disclose our own diversity and inclusion data as well.
Though companies often commit to diversity and inclusion targets and about who leads in their organizations, very few report metrics on how well they’re executing on these commitments. Corporates need public disclosure of these measurements to help companies set benchmarks, encourage high-performing companies to reach higher, and prompt companies lagging in these areas to step up.
Why is this important to Canadian companies focused on recovery in 2021 and beyond? Well, with greater diversity and inclusion comes more innovation and improved performance. According to McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on their executive teams were proven to be 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.
Playing our part in the sustainability driven-recovery in Canada, Measure Up will help corporate leaders set transparent goals around inclusion, share their tactics and strategies, and work collectively to deliver measurable returns to a broader set of stakeholders. This important initiative will help to create more inclusive cultures at financial firms and highlight how ESG can power innovation and be a key driving force for positive change.
 Canada Sees Growth in ESG Investing as U.S. Increasingly Rejects the Trend (October 2020); Canadian Institutional Investors have High Hopes for ESG Portfolios” (October 2020); Appetite for ESG Accelerates During Pandemic: RBC Survey (October 2020).
 Appetite for ESG Accelerates During Pandemic: RBC Survey (October 2020).