mallowstreet Flash Insights Report: Covid-19 – what’s on trustees’ minds 

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Covid-19 has changed the world. Events are unfolding at a velocity never experienced in my lifetime.  What now happens in a 24-hour period is the equivalent of what happened in a three-month period only a short time ago.   
 
Despite this, businesses still need to interact with their clients, maintain a presence in the market, and build new relationships. Pension fund trustees still need access to cutting edge content and help from experts in these volatile times. Up until a week ago, we used to do a lot of this in person.  
 
We wanted to understand how the world of pensions is reacting  to a world where they can no longer accomplish their goals face-to-face. Over the past few days, we surveyed over 56 members of the mallowstreet community to understand how pension funds are navigating the uncertainty in today’s environment. 

Click here to take part in our weekly COVID CONCERN INDEX
 
We asked a wide range of questions, and below are the headline findings. 

  • 96% of pension funds and trustees believe the macro effects of Covid-19 will last longer than 4 months
  • 58% say it will take over a year
  • 69% believe Covid-19 is at least as big of a concern as the GFC
  • 62% are satisfied with the Bank of England’s response
  • 53% are satisfied with Boris’s handling of the pandemic
  • 35% are dissatisfied with the government's approach
  • 64% are working from home for the duration of the outbreak
  • 71% plan to avoid in-person events
  • 89% will rely on conference calls to fulfil their job duties
  • 78% will rely on email

It is clear there is grave concern. 69% of participants said that they believe Covid-19  is at least as big of a concern as the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, and over half believe the macro effects of Covid-19 will last for more than a year. It is no wonder financial markets are in freefall. 
 
Furthermore, nearly half of all participants are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ worried from a professional standpoint. Topping the list of worries included major market disruptions, the viability of many businesses and those that will close their doors, and ultimately a recession (if not worse). 
 
Nearly two-thirds of participants said they are working from home for the duration of the outbreak, and over 70% said they would not be attending any in-person events.   
 
Clearly, we are living in a new normal. What remains to be seen is how governments will respond, and the population as a whole react to the new interventions. With global travel broadly halted, there is certainly great concern in the market.  
 
This is the first in a series we will be running as we build sentiment indicators to help the entire ecosystem know what pension funds are thinking. 
 
mallowstreet exists to help provide a better retirement for everyone. 

What are you doing to help with this cause, and what is front of mind for you? 
 
  • As pension fund trustees, what decisions are you taking? 
  • As consultants, what advice are you providing? 
  • As asset managers, how are you helping to protect investors' money? 
 
Please add your comments below, and stay safe everyone.

Click here to take part in our weekly COVID CONCERN INDEX