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Economic growth is picking up and unemployment has reached record lows in some OECD countries but wages continue to stagnate. Unless countries can break this cycle, public belief in the recovery will be undermined and labor market inequality will widen, according to a new report, published in July 2018 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD Employment Outlook 2018 states that the employment rate for

Fueled by large life deals, the U.K. insurance sector saw more mergers and acquisitions activity in the first half of 2018 than in either the full year of 2017 and 2016, according to consultant Ernst & Young (EY). U.S. Tax Reform One of Many Drivers Telecommunications, automotive and healthcare top the list of sectors for deals with the highest value, with strong levels of UK/U.S. M&A expected to continue,

The OECD in July 2018 released its Annual Survey of Investment Regulations of Pension Funds 2018, which describes the main quantitative investment regulations that pension funds are subject to in OECD and a selection of IOPS member countries. It covers all types of pension plans, and concerns all forms of quantitative portfolio restrictions applied to pension funds at different legal levels. The 356-page survey’s findings conclude, in part, that:

Preliminary data, released in July 2018 by the OECD, shows an increase in life and/or non-life gross premiums of domestic insurance companies for 2017, with 40 out of 43 countries reporting. Gross premiums of domestic insurance companies rose in real terms in 15 countries in both the life and non-life sectors, and in 10 other countries in the life sector only, while another 15 reported rises in the non-life

Swiss Re’s annual sigma report on premium volumes and growth trends for 2018 reveals that global life premiums increased to roughly USD 2.7 trillion in 2017, while global non-life premiums rose to about USD 2.2 trillion, while growth in both the life and non-life sectors slowed, partly due to falling life premiums in advanced markets such as the U.S. or Western Europe. Nevertheless, emerging markets remain an important driver

Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to Delivering Quality Health Services – a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage, a joint report published in July 2018 by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. Factors that hinder progress include inaccurate diagnoses, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatments, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices,

A new OECD Health Statistics 2018 report, released in June 2018, shows that health spending in 2016 grew by its fastest rate in seven years, with further growth expected in 2017. OECD countries spending on health care increased by 3.4% on average in 2016, its highest rate since 2009. That percentage is still below pre-global financial crisis levels, when average health expenditures rose by around 4-6% per year (in

From automated check-outs in grocery stores to autonomous vehicles, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay, prompting fears of robots replacing humans. The latest McKinsey Global Institute briefing note, which was published in June 2018 for the Tech4Good summit organized by the French government, addresses “both the promise and the challenge” of automation and AI in the workplace and provides a list of ten things we need

UNCTAD in June 2018 released a simulation of the impact of an all-out trade war on tariffs based on classical economic theory as validated by past observations. UNCTAD stands for United Nations Conference on Trade And Development. According to the report, the U.S. would impose average tariffs of 30% (vs. 7% now); the E.U. would increase its own average tariffs from 3% to 35%; Canada from 3% to 53%;

OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in June 2018 issued a new report, A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility, that provides new facts on social mobility in the context of increased inequalities of income and opportunities in OECD and selected emerging economies. It looks at the issue across and within generations, in income, education, health and occupation, and at how these are linked to

The smooth transfer of personal data between the European Union and the UK is of critical importance for many British and Continental businesses and may be jeopardized by the Brexit process. The 1995 EU Directive on Privacy establishes EU citizens’ right to privacy, including the protection of their personal data and the “right to be forgotten” from search engines. Countries that conform to these rules receive “adequacy agreements” that

Aon Employee Benefits in May 2018 said that its Benefits and Trends Survey 2018 shows marked sector differences in the number of UK employers reporting employee stress and mental health-related illnesses. Eighty-four percent of employers overall said that they consider themselves responsible for influencing their employees’ health behaviors. Of the five markets analyzed (pharmaceutical, manufacturing, law & professional services, technology, and finance), the legal and professional services sector showed

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell by 23% in 2017, to $1.4 trillion from $1.9 trillion in 2016, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2018 that was released in June 2018. The decline contrasts with other macroeconomic variables, which saw substantial improvement in 2017. The global fall was caused in part by a 22% decrease in the value of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As). But even discounting the

Swiss Re in June 2018 published its SONAR Report, which identifies emerging geopolitical risks, the re-emergence of asbestos, especially in high growth markets, and the risks arising from new technologies such as cyber risks, biased algorithms, and the erosion of risk diversification as some of the key risks facing the re/insurance industry as well as society at large. The SONAR report is a publication based on the SONAR process,

Where are the headquarters of the world’s eight pooling networks? Brussels used to be the location of choice for multinational pooling networks, owing to its status as (one of) the capital(s) of the European Union. It is still is home to three networks, but Luxembourg appears to gain traction as GEB in May 2018 followed Swiss Life in relocating there. Network City / Cities IGP Brussels BE, Boston MA

MAXIS GBN in May 2018 published research revealing that three quarters (75%) of employee benefits professionals believe the enhanced use of data and the application of innovative technologies to improve the employee experience are the primary growth opportunities for the employee benefits sector globally over the next two years. The findings, from the inaugural MAXIS Global Perspectives report, reveal the majority of sector professionals are bullish about the opportunities

Global Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flows decreased by 18% to USD 1 411 billion in 2017 compared to 2016. This represents 1.8% of global GDP, compared to 2.3% in 2016 and 2.5% in in 2015. The drop in FDI reflects a drop in financial and corporate restructuring, possibly as a result of U.S. tax reform, which decreased incentive to engage in those types of transactions in 2017. The US

McKinsey’s research division McKinsey Global Institute, in April 2018 published a discussion paper on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). Applications and relevance of AI are broken down by industry and by corporate function, for an in-depth and nuanced analysis. “Notes From the AI Frontier: Insights From Hundreds of Use Cases” in particular focuses on the relevance of so-called “deep learning” techniques. Deep learning refers to techniques known as

Randstad US in April 2018 released results from its quarterly Randstad Workmonitor survey (Q1 2018) that suggest that although 82 percent of U.S. workers surveyed say the ability to work from anywhere at any time allows them to maintain a healthy work-life balance, more than half (62%) still prefer to work in the office — and this number is even higher among young workers. Sixty-five percent of those aged

Most organizations significantly lag behind their employees’ expectations for total rewards offerings, according to Bersin’s High-Impact Rewards (HIR) research, a new study area that focuses on employee total rewards. The study released in April 2018 suggests that, with the right strategies in place, organizations that fall short of employee expectations can build a rewards brand that attracts, retains and motivates the most talented workers. As employees and candidates become

Almost one third of U.K. business leaders (30%) are cautious about the operating environment – three times more than at any point in the past year, with 80% characterizing it as ‘moderate to high’ risk. This is according to the latest edition of CNA Hardy’s Risk and Confidence Survey, conducted in Spring 2018. While the report indicates that business leaders from Continental Europe are more confident in their ability

The Conference Board’s economic indicators for the U.K., published in April 2018, indicate a possible downturn is ahead for the British economy. The Conference Board’s leading indicator, the Leading Economic Index (LEI), turned negative at -0,4% in February 2018 ; whereas the current indicator, the Coincident Economic Index, still is in positive territory at +0,2%. The U.K. is one of several large economies with a negative outlook as determined

After a decade of almost continuous slowdown, global productivity is beginning to recover. Following an uptick in 2017, global labor productivity growth will continue improving through 2018, according to the March 2018 release of annual productivity growth rates for 123 countries by The Conference Board, the global business research organization. The 2018 Productivity Brief, based on data from The Conference Board’s Total Economy Database, projects global productivity to improve

U.S.-based think tank The Conference Board in March 2018 released its global business cycle indicators for February 2018. The Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.6 percent in February 2018 to 112.3 (2016=100). The Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.1 percent in February 2018 to 102.9 (2016=100). The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal

Employers around the world report optimistic hiring outlooks in Q2 2018, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. Employers in 43 of 44 countries say they plan to add staff, with hiring confidence strongest in Croatia, Taiwan, Japan, Hungary and the U.S., followed by 17 countries including Canada, France, Germany and the UK. Employers in Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic report the weakest hiring prospects. “We are

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) for the U.S. increased sharply in February 2018, after also increasing in January. The index now stands at 107.74, up from 106.50 (a downward revision) in January. The change represents a 5.6 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago, “suggesting that strong job growth is likely to continue in the coming months,” according to Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North

In an assessment of the business costs of Brexit published in March 2018, Oliver Wyman and Clifford Chance have calculated the impact of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on companies if the EU27 and U.K. revert to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading relationship with each other. The cost of Brexit in red tape alone could total around £31 billon for EU exporters and around £27 billon for U.K. exporters,