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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

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,

In a year deemed by many to be both one of global economic growth and geopolitical uncertainty, Hong Kong-headquartered Crown World Mobility (CWM) in March 2018 announced the launch of its 2018 Global Mobility Trends report. According to CWM, “This year, we expect millennials to have an even greater influence on mobility trends. Talent has arguably never been more globally mobile than it is today, and millennials are hungry

Roger Ibbotson, economist and creator of the “Stock, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation” (SBBI®) chart, in March 2018 unveiled his latest research that analyzes the emerging potential of Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIA) as an alternative to bonds in retirement portfolios. Researched and written by Ibbotson and his team at Zebra Capital Management, the white-paper, Fixed Indexed Annuities: Consider the Alternative, suggests bond returns in today’s historically low interest rate environment

Efforts to increase workforce productivity have focused on upgraded technology, process improvement and better governance. A white paper released in March 2018 by Morneau Shepell suggests that it is now time to tackle the most complex element of improving workforce productivity: ensuring commitments to total health from employers and employees. Total Health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle, by Dr. Bill Howatt, explains that workforce productivity, or

A pioneering study from Source Global Research and published in March 2018 by Odgers Connect, shows evidence of a growing ‘professional gig economy’ of highly-skilled, independent workers that is flourishing in both the U.K. and Europe. This growth is driven by companies that have cut back on core staff and which increasingly rely on outsourced professionals. Brexit and new regulations are the two factors that favor independent consultants because

According to the OECD’s Interim Economic Outlook released in March 2018, the pace of expansion over the 2018-19 period is expected to be faster than in 2017, as robust investment growth, an associated rebound in trade and higher employment drive an increasingly broad-based recovery. At the same time, tensions are appearing that could threaten strong and sustainable medium-term growth. The OECD projects that the global economy will grow by 3.9

In a paper published in March 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s anti-trust authority, has raised concerns about the level and nature of information provided by consultants and fiduciary managers, indicating that investment consultants and fiduciary managers are not clear enough about fees and performance, which suggests a lack of effective competition. The findings echoed those of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which initially referred the

Generali Global Assistance in February 2018 published a white paper titled The Impact of Cybersecurity Incidents on Financial Institutions, which provides financial organizations with information on today’s cyber and identity threat landscape, the potential impact on those threats, and existing solutions that can mitigate risks and fallout from these threats. Financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and credit card companies were among the most impacted in 2017, which was

The Pacific Research Institute in February 2018 released a study, Breaking Down Barriers, that examines the economic impact of duplicative licensing regulations for independent claims adjusters and underscores the need for increased licensing reciprocity among U.S. states. According to the study, the average claims adjuster holds between ten and twelve different state licenses, which can cost as much as $1,000 each. These burdensome requirements make it more difficult for

A new ESIS whitepaper published in February 2018, Why Employers Should Consider Integrated Medical Programs to Manage Workers Compensation Costs explores how companies may reduce their workers compensation medical costs by implementing a centralized approach to claims management while ensuring optimal claims outcomes. ESIS, a wholly owned subsidiary of property and casualty (P&C) insurer Chubb, provides claim and risk management services to commercial clients. According to ESIS, with medical