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As asset managers targeting the institutional market try to differentiate, many are incorporating ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors in their investment strategies to varying degrees of success. Currently, few US institutions are incorporating ESG factors in their portfolios, but use is considerably higher in the non-profit sector, where institutional investors are more apt to seek investment strategies that align with their organization’s mission.
Within the broad category of ESG investing, the individual components draw institutional investors for very different reasons. When institutional investors are asked to identify the reasons they are most likely to adopt ESG investing, the majority of pensions and non-profits point to social aspects including diversity, human rights and consumer protection.
- Environmental aspects, including climate change, nuclear energy and sustainability, resonate more with non-profit institutions.
- Governance, including management structure, employee relations and executive compensation, is more of a draw for pension investors.
- The social component of ESG investing, encompassing aspects of diversity, human rights and consumer protection, is of particular interest to tax-exempt organizations and investors representing public DB and Taft-Hartley pensions.
I live in a Fortnite house. My ten-year-old son discovered the game soon after its launch and has played it regularly on Xbox and mobile with his friends since last spring. On many mornings I have had to physically separate him from the controller (and his online friend crew) and usher him off to school. On countless evenings I have prepared chicken dinner while surrounded by the sounds of him battling and building his way toward “Battle Royale” wins. The Duo and Squad battles are the loudest, with my son and his friends shrieking in excitement with every giant sniper tower constructed and every enemy vanquished. Oh, and I mustn’t fail to mention the player dances—“emotes” that a player’s avatar can perform on-screen during a battle, not seemingly adding to a player’s ability to win but adding notably to the game’s fun factor. If you were anywhere in public in 2018, you likely saw kids and young adults breaking out into one of these dance moves—among them Take the L, Make It Rain, and my kids’ favorite, Floss.
How Fortnite Is Changing the World of Gaming
Fortnite is not just a game; it’s a social phenomenon connecting its players via the game play itself, the emotes, the live chatting, and the ability to play via various gaming platforms, both console and mobile. If you have any kind of gaming console, computer or mobile device (and your partner or mom gives you the A-OK to play), you can play and be a part of a huge global community. Continue reading
Insight Communities: A Proven Solution to Customer Insight with Serious ROI
This is the era of give your customers what they want or risk losing their attention or favor. Customer research is increasingly important to provide your company with the information it needs to maintain and attract happy customers. One challenge companies often face is the cost of implementing a reliable way to engage with their customers to drive insight that also provides a return on investment (ROI). Insight Communities are a highly effective and reliable way to engage with your customers and have been proven to drive positive ROI.
Insight Communities are an online research solution that is used to consistently engage with and provide insight on the desires and needs of your customers, stakeholders and shareholders. These communities are built to help companies answer the business issues at hand with engaged members who, ultimately, drive advocacy for their brand. Insight Communities are organizational assets that both inform business decisions and create brand advocacy among members. Continue reading
The Emotional Investment Behind the Development of New Therapies
Like the old TV commercial, I sometimes joke, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV.” What I really do is healthcare market research for the pharmaceutical industry, which requires a deep understanding of many diseases, diagnostics and treatments. I help pharmaceutical clients understand what patients need and how healthcare providers make decisions.
Sometimes people are judgmental about the pharmaceutical industry…
I know that healthcare is a hot-button issue. I understand, because the high cost of drugs for patients and families is something we hear echoed by both patients and physicians in research all the time. Physicians often provide the caveat “assuming insurance will cover this…” before explaining how they would approach prescribing a drug or when describing product preferences. There’s no doubt that this is an important issue, but in my experience, the motivation to market drugs is not all about money.
…But they may feel differently if they saw the passion that I see daily.
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Amid Rising Sales, Advisors Cite Guaranteed Retirement Income as Top Reason for Selling Annuity Products
Annuity sales are rebounding and advisors expect to maintain, or even increase, their use of annuity products in the near future. At the same time, the composition of advisors is changing, as many advisors shift further toward fee-based compensation models. Annuity providers have an opportunity to support advisors using a variety of compensation models through this transition while highlighting the important benefits annuity products can bring to advisors and their clients.
When asked how important a list of factors was as reasons for selling annuities to clients, advisors cite the ability to generate guaranteed income in retirement as the top factor. In fact, over three-quarters (76%) of advisors, regardless of compensation type, cite this factor as very important. Diving into different types of annuities reveals that retirement income products and guaranteed rates are also among the leading consideration drivers for variable and fixed annuities, respectively. Continue reading
Lessons from the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry
The telecom industry has always been innovative, but the innovation has been mostly incremental. Over the past century, we had telegraphs, then wired telephones, then wireless phones, then cell phones, and now we have smartphones. Up until the smartphone, the iterations were not fully reimagined products, just significant improvements on the existing products of the era. Today, we have high-speed internet and smartphones that put most of our communication and entertainment literally at our fingertips. Never has the telecom industry had to reinvent itself to the extent that it does today.
Telecom companies are now essentially media companies, not phone and internet companies. To accommodate all of these changes and to rapidly adapt, telecoms are engaging in an unprecedented number of mergers and acquisitions. A combination of these factors means telecoms need to constantly rethink their products and positioning. They also have to build and market new products—and they have to do it quickly. Continue reading
Virtual Reality Is More Than Fun and Games
Over the past four years, a flurry of product introductions has created significant buzz around the area of virtual reality (VR), and much of the hype is well deserved. Users confirm that VR offers an incredibly immersive experience. In practical terms, this means that VR users feel swept away from their actual, physical environment and transported into an entirely separate virtual environment that fully engages their senses of sight and sound. Fighting off robots in the land of Robo Recall when one is actually standing in one’s living room is both thrilling, fun and magical. However, academic research indicates that the benefits of virtual reality go far beyond offering a novel experience for gamers. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: If you’re attending the 2018 Corporate Researchers Conference, please join Gwen Ishmael and Paul Ponsford of Delta Faucet Company for “#TomBradyFail—An Innovation Lesson from the New England Patriots” on Wednesday, October 10. Their talk will dive deep into this blog topic of how different consumer types can support (or inhibit) innovation. Contact us for a registration discount code.
As noted in Forging a Clear PATH to Corporate Innovation, it is critical to involve the right types of consumers at the right points along the Innovation Journey. Instead of simply focusing on your Target Consumer, it is important to recognize how other types of consumers—Lead Users, Creatives, Early Adopters and Brand Advocates—can contribute to and strengthen the innovation process.
These different consumer research groups form naturally around shared traits and preferences, the exact kind of commonalities that can spell gold for marketers—and market researchers. But the keys to tapping into their potential lie in understanding and identifying members of each group and knowing when exactly in the Innovation Journey they can contribute most.
Consistency sounds boring. We’re going to have chicken and broccoli for dinner again. I ran my 30 minutes on the treadmill again. Consistency doesn’t lead you to discover the perfect town when you’ve made a wrong turn or meet the band when you’ve stayed well past the encore at a random weekday concert. But consistency can be powerful. Continue reading
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Despite new challenges in the financial services landscape, changing market dynamics offer new opportunities for those willing to adapt.
The economy is strong, with record low unemployment and robust market performance. Furthermore, the Dow topped 26,000 for the first time in January. However, rising trade tensions, divisiveness and political uncertainty are causing many investors to question when the bottom will fall out. For active managers, many of which lost share to index funds during this period of stability, the question arises, could there be a silver lining?
At first glance, the competitive environment appears inhospitable to firms lacking the scale to compete on price. Vanguard and iShares have amassed record inflows over the past year, pressuring competitors to lower their expense ratios. We’ve also seen increased M&A activity among mid-sized managers seeking global scale and broader distribution for their products as broker-dealers constrict the number of managers on their platforms. Continue reading