September 10, 2020
A few of the key takeaways:
Uncertainty about the policy outlook has pushed the U.S. savings rate up sharply. Although that may in part explain a rising interest in personal investing, it’s also one of the biggest impediments to economic recovery, according to Bloomberg Economist Yelena Shulyatyeva. Consumer spending plummeted in the spring, she said, and it has not come back, either in absolute terms or as a growth trend.
Recent data has exceeded economists’ expectations—but the big question is how the recovery will proceed. “The economy has potential, but there’s a lot going on under the surface,” Shulyatyeva said. For example, millions are simply leaving the labor force—so-called “shadow unemployment.” That’s why Shulyatyeva believes the most important indicator is how the labor force fares going forward.
There’s an opportunity for financial services brands to help guide investors beyond the portfolio. “People need us to help them cut through the clutter and make cogent decisions right now,” said Invesco’s Emily Pachuta. “That means we need to be guiding and adding value beyond investing. That’s a critical piece of what we do.”
That could mean programs that help advisors have better conversations with clients, for example, or providing critical context at the right time. And all of that is now done virtually. “On-demand content has never been more relevant,” Pachuta added. “We’ve been able to deliver much more for clients, in a more immediate fashion, than ever before.”
Paradoxically, the rapid acceleration of digital-first contact can deepen relationships. “The good news about digital adoption and engagement is that it’s easy to get feedback from clients—what matters to them, what they’re interested in, what they want more or less of. We activate that and turn it into a strategy for ourselves,” said PIMCO’s Cathy Stahl.
“Clients and consumers have so much more power now. Not only are they all there, they are raising the bar. They have demands and want different experiences,” she explained. “Listening is number one. This is an inflection point for humanizing the brand.”
Brands can benefit from stepping back to understand how media experiences have changed. As daily routines have shifted, so have consumption habits, said Bloomberg Media’s Michelle Lynn. “That’s where OTT and on-demand plays a big role—because it’s following the way that people are consuming now. Location has never been more important in consumer behavior; new media moments have replaced the old ones.”