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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

Defined benefit (DB) pension plans’ inevitable demise is a long-held truth. Or is it? RBC Investor & Treasury Services in February 2018 revealed that Canadian defined benefit pension plans ended 2017 in positive territory, posting an annual return of 9.7 percent. In addition, a recent RBC Investor & Treasury Services poll of Canadian defined benefit pension plan sponsors showed their median funded status stands at 96 percent. The poll,

75 percent of U.S. employees believe their health plan has never alerted them to a health risk, according to the HealthMine 2018 Rising Risk Survey that underscores the challenges health care plans face when educating members about potential health risks and when motivating them to take action to prevent becoming ill. Bryce Williams, President and CEO of HealthMine, pointed out that 86 percent of the US$2.7 trillion annual health

The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS), together with the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces (ICHW) at UC Berkeley, in February 2018 released their guide, Finding Fit: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully, which is a helpful resource for organizations offering wellness programs for their employees. The employer guide features an emphasis on small and medium organizations and focuses on the types of wellness programs that have been shown to

Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) in February 2018 released a report, What will Work Look Like in 2030?  that takes a look at the future of the workplace. The report asks the reader to imagine ‘four radically different scenarios for how companies will manage people and how people will manage their work and careers. Authors Jeff Hesse and Scott Olsen write, ‘We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way

Wolters Kluwer Legal and Regulatory U.S. in January 2018 announced the release of a new white paper: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Will Present Retirement, Benefits, Executive Compensation and Payroll Professionals with New Challenges in 2018, which examines the impacts of the tax bill recently signed into law by President Trump. The white paper looks at aspects of the new law, which will affect a wide range of retirement,

‘Why is it so unpopular,’ the editorial asks, ‘to work longer even among people with longer life expectancy and in good health? Is the proposition of retirement and leisure so much more attractive than work, even if working longer is rewarded with higher pensions? Does it perhaps make no economic sense to work longer? Or are people being pushed out of work by their employers who do not see

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide will die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year, higher than a previous estimate of 250,000 to 500,000. These findings are based on a multinational survey from a collaborative study by CDC and global health partners. The study appeared in a December 2017 issue of The Lancet. The new estimates, which exclude deaths

The Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) has released a report that provides ‘a series of policy recommendations aimed at enhancing the contribution of the cyber insurance market to managing increasingly prevalent risk’. The report, based on questionnaire responses culled from insurers, reinsurers, and brokers active in the global market, as well as the ministries of finance and insurance regulators responsible for overseeing that market, identifies the growing cyber risk

Thomsons, the company behind the online benefits platform Darwin and a member of Mercer, in December 2017 released its Global Employee Benefits Watch Report 2017/8 entitled “The next wave of globalization and digitization.” The report focuses on the pace and scale of change in the global benefits market and especially the importance of the adoption of a technology infrastructure which is “three times more likely to see a reduction

Pensions at a Glance 2017, a new report issued in December 2017 by the OECD, warns that further reforms are needed across OECD countries to mitigate the impact of population aging, increasing inequality among the elderly and changing the nature of work. The OECD also says that public spending on pensions for the OECD as a whole has risen by about 1.5% of GDP since 2000; however, the pace

Deloitte in December 2017 released three reports discussing potential developments in the insurance industry for 2018 and beyond. 2018 Insurance Industry Outlook – Industry trends, strategies to stay competitive Page with link to report 2018 U.S. Insurance Regulatory Outlook – Forging ahead amid uncertainty Page with link to report IAIS update: 2017 annual meeting – Insurance supervisors focus on risk and regulatory standards Page with link to report The

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report, Technology and Pensions, was released in December 2017, providing an overview of how technology (FinTech) is being used to improve pension design and delivery and how regulators are managing these changes. The report comes after a discussion on the challenges that regulators face to support FinTech from a roundtable held at the G20/OECD Task Force on Financial Consumer Protection meeting held

Governments in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, and Rome sent a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in mid-December 2017 warning him of the risk of tax treaty violations arising from the tax reform under discussion in the United States. If Donald Trump is relying heavily on the tax reform submitted to Congress in autumn − to rebuild his image − he is sending shudders through

Randstad North America, a global provider of HR services, in December 2017 released its 4th Quarter Talent Trends Quarterly, an analysis of current hiring and workplace trends that will impact the U.S. workplace in 2018 and beyond. The report opens with a warning to human capital and business leaders: ‘embrace change to (their workforce’s) advantage or potentially fall behind’, and recommends that employers ‘become more agile, open, and flexible

The Organization for Economic Development (OECD), in December 2017 released a new report, Robo-Advice for Pensions, which looks at the rising trend of technological innovation in finance, specifically the robo-advice model. This model has been proposed as one potential solution for helping individuals manage pensions and invest for retirement. Essentially, ‘robo-advisors’ propose to make investing more affordable and accessible for consumers by relying on user-friendly digital platforms, algorithms, and

UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in December 2017 launched its annual Handbook of Statistics to celebrate its fiftieth year of publication. The 2017 edition has been overhauled, making it user-friendly, and features a wealth of maps, charts, and infographics. Of particular interest to anyone involved in global mobility or multinational business, the Handbook provides a coherent overview of trends worldwide, as well as novel summary

Employee benefit consultants (EBCs) are forecasting market growth for the United Kingdom, despite concerns about major challenges from newly-introduced data regulations and the impact of Brexit. New research* published in November 2017 by MetLife Employee Benefits shows that more than two out of five consultants (42%) expect their businesses to grow over the next year and another 41% believe they will, at the very least, stand still. Just 13%

According to early versions of the 2018 U.S. budget that in November 2017 is making its way through the legislative process, a new 20% excise tax is to be introduced. The tax shall apply to almost all payments made by U.S. companies to non-U.S. affiliates of the same group (an “international financial reporting group”: subsidiaries, parents companies, and sister companies). The tax will not be deductible from U.S. corporate

U.S. employer premiums rose an average of 6.6 percent in the first three fiscal quarters of 2017, according to the 2017 United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Health Plan Survey released on 26 October. This is a significant increase from the five-year average increase of 5.6%. Two states, Connecticut and New York, saw stunning increases of 24% and 14% respectively, while some states, such as Arizona and Washington, saw decreases of

China in November 2017 announced it would lift the current foreign ownership cap for life insurance companies to 51 percent in 2020 and remove the limit altogether two years later. Other segments of the financial industry will see their limits relaxed even earlier. The limits for fund management companies and for securities ventures will be raised this year to 51 percent, then completely removed in three years, whereas banks