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New Financial Finesse Research Finds Financial Wellness Compounding Effect

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New Financial Finesse Research Finds Financial Wellness Compounding Effect

Companies With Multi-Year Programs Show Substantially Bigger Employee Gains

Companies who have had comprehensive financial wellness programs in place since 2015 are seeing a substantially bigger increase in the financial health of employees who repeatedly use the benefit, according to Financial Finesse’s Financial Wellness Think Tank 2017 Year in Review research. Employees who repeatedly engage with financial wellness programs offered by their employer are benefiting from a compounding effect, where gains in financial health grow over time.

“We’re seeing solid evidence that a long-term program which engages employees in multiple ways, including online, in workshops, over the phone, and in person, works as predicted,” says Liz Davidson, the CEO who founded the nation’s first financial wellness firm in 1999.

Researchers found that for companies with multi-channel programs in place for three years or more:

The average Financial Wellness Score™ of repeat users improved 22 percent from their first assessment (5.0 out of 10) to their last assessment (6.1 out of 10). Using Financial Finesse’s ROI model, researchers predict this would result in an average gain to a 10,000-employee company of more than $500,000 per year from reduced absenteeism, wage garnishments, and increased tax savings from contributions to HSAs and FSAs. This estimate does not include additional gains that could result from reduced turnover, financial stress, and costs of delayed retirement.
Repeat users are twice as likely to be on track for retirement. Forty-three percent of repeat users are on track for retirement, compared to just 19 percent of employees who are engaging in the financial wellness benefit for the first time. Improvements in retirement preparedness are critical to both employers and employees because of the costs that delayed retirement presents. According to research conducted by Prudential, the average cost of delayed retirement averages over $50,000 per employee per year.
Repeat users are nearly half as likely to suffer from unmanageable financial stress. About one in seven repeat users (14 percent) report high or overwhelming levels of financial stress, compared to one in four (27 percent) new users. Reducing financial stress from debt reduces employee health care costs by lowering the frequency of chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease, based on survey research conducted by the Associated Press and AOL.
Repeat users are significantly more confident investors. Sixty percent of repeat users are confident their assets are allocated correctly, compared to just 39 percent of new users.
Employees keep coming back. Repeat users have increased from 33 percent of total financial wellness benefit users in 2016 to 58 percent in 2017.
“Early adopters of comprehensive workplace financial wellness programs, which include unbiased financial coaching, have proven successful,” noted Think Tank Director Greg Ward, CFP®. “From our experience, trying to address employee financial wellness with a technology-only approach has had limited success, which may have contributed to the recent shutdown of several financial technology companies.”

The Financial Finesse report outlines employer best practices to encourage repeat usage of financial wellness benefits by employees in order to affect financial behavioral change and generate employer ROI on a broad scale. Financial Finesse is holding a live stream event to discuss these findings and implications on employers, employees and the future of the financial services industry on Thursday, May 31st at 10 am PT. Click HERE to register.

Financial Finesse is the largest independent provider of unbiased workplace financial wellness programs in the country, delivering holistic financial coaching and guidance that helps employees improve their financial wellness. The firm’s programs cover every area of financial planning – from basic money management to advanced estate planning – and cost employees nothing out of pocket, since they are fully paid for by their employers. Financial Finesse’s programs are proven to change lives, provided through a variety of channels such as mobile financial coaching, live events, interactive webcasts, one-on-one financial counseling sessions and a financial helpline staffed by Certified Financial Planner™ professionals who do not sell any financial products or manage assets. www.financialfinesse.com.

Download the report: https://ffinesse.box.com/v/FWTrends2017YrInReviewReport

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 1

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 2

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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