Innovation I have seen during COVID-19

2020 was a watershed year due to COVID-19. Being Melbourne-based, the McGing team navigated a new working environment as we continued to support our staff and clients.

For the broader super industry, we watched as they had unprecedented interaction with members during the early release of super, investment markets went on a roller coaster and employees were re-deployed on work-from-home policies for longer than we all could imagine.

My take is that we will continue to see more innovation including:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on ethical and sustainable investing –  The Corona virus saw the world’s airports and factories grind to a halt and the result for billions of people was cleaner air. De-carbonisation was talked about in mainstream media. Combined with global action on climate change, super funds have the opportunity to consider where long term growth will come from if the world is moving away from carbon and fossil fuels. We are seeing a rise in awareness of the connection between greater sustainable long term returns and the environment.
  • Insurance for super members – Aside from retirement, superannuation can provide protection against a catastrophic event of death and disablement. We see that early access for super and previous protecting your super changes have changed insurance in super. Funds will need to drive a review of how to provide value for money insurance against the worst outcomes for a member
  • Hunt for yield – Long term returns are forecast to be lower for longer with quantitative easing in place and historic low cash and bond rates. Traditional defensive assets provides little long term growth. The hunt for long term yield will require the ability to invest in long term projects and will lead to a likely increase in merger activity to find scale to invest in stable long term investments.
  • Democratising remote working – This will be a huge win for people managing work-life balance. We see men and women being more confident asking to work from home and companies embracing the change.
  • Collaborative workspaces – We recognise humans need face to face contact. The workplace may be re-imagined as an innovation hub where people share positive experiences and express innovative ideas that can be carried forward.