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In A Year Combining 1918, 1929, 1968, Financial Services Leaders Talk Strategy

In A Year Combining 1918, 1929, 1968, Financial Services Leaders Talk Strategy

This year to me has been like 1918, 1929 and 1968 all wrapped into one. As financial services is central to our economy — and society — I held a September 10, 2020 conversation with four industry leaders to discuss their strategy; the Zoom audience was about 500. Here are some key lessons from these leaders on topics like the customer experience, diversity & inclusion, technology and the opportunity for transformation.

Chetan Kandhari, SVP, Chief Innovation Officer and Digital Officer, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company talked about the concept of true dialogue, “We have to stop viewing things as a transaction but really as a constant engagement dialogue. Go away from episodic behavior to make sure we know the journeys we all want to be on, and the transaction is only part of that. This requires advanced analytics, it requires an emotional connection, and it requires the contextual information to make it personalized. I think that’s where you have to start heading if you really want to put the customer in the center which respects that today’s customer is very digitally savvy.”

Mary McDuffie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navy Federal Credit Union, discussed their approach towards customer centricity, “Radical simplicity is how we’re approaching change to the member experience. How do you leverage the opportunity for emotional connection through the digital interaction? Now more than ever, we have to think, ‘what does the consumer want?’ Because nobody wants something more complicated. We take a lot of time training people on empathy because at the end of the day, if the member can’t make something work, they’re going to want to talk to someone. So, I think it’s a mistake to focus solely on digital. We’re all in

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Amazon’s first-ever fall Prime Day brings new challenges in the midst of a tumultuous year

Amazon’s first-ever fall Prime Day brings new challenges in the midst of a tumultuous year

Amazon and its army of logistics workers are bracing for the first-ever fall Prime Day starting Tuesday, as the extraordinary circumstances of 2020 bring new challenges for a shopping event that has become key for Amazon’s e-commerce business.

a truck on a city street: An Amazon Prime truck in downtown Seattle near Amazon HQ. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

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An Amazon Prime truck in downtown Seattle near Amazon HQ. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

The pandemic created unprecedented change and disruption for Amazon. The company has seen its sales surge, and it has rapidly added staff and infrastructure to keep up. Typically, Amazon holds the contrived shopping holiday in July to boost sales during the slow season, but this year, the company pushed Prime Day to the fall when it was struggling to keep up with a deluge of orders from customers sheltering at home.


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Prime Day offers sales on hundreds of items for members of Amazon’s Prime subscription service. It began in 2015 and has become a reliable revenue boost for the company.

But the shift to October presents new challenges, coming just weeks before the holiday shopping season, amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and a period of acute environmental concerns. Meanwhile, the company’s treatment of its third-party sellers is under a microscope following the release of a House subcommittee’s antitrust report last week.

Amazon’s plan to forge ahead with Prime Day despite those complications reveals how essential the six-year-old shopping holiday has become to the company.

An extra long holiday

The decision to hold Prime Day Oct. 13-14 effectively adds an extra month to Amazon’s peak season, the holiday rush that starts with Black Friday in ordinary years. It’s a major effort for Amazon’s logistics and delivery team. Amazon staffs up warehouses with seasonal workers and requires employees to work overtime to keep up with demand.

This spring, Amazon was caught unprepared by

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Govt to give cash vouchers to staff in lieu of LTC this year, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Govt to give cash vouchers to staff in lieu of LTC this year, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The Minister has announced a slew of measures to spur spending and stimulate economic demand.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled new proposals to stimulate demand in the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference, Ms. Sitharaman said that she has broadly classified the proposals into two different compartments — consumer spending and capital expenditure.

She said: “There is no gain saying that the pandemic has affected the economy adversely. The needs of the weaker and poor sections have been addressed somewhat in the various packages announced so far. Supply constraints have somewhat eased but consumer demand still needs to be given a bit of a boost. The proposals presented today are defined in such a way — by frontloading some expenditure or advancing some expenditure with some offsetting charges later. The others are directly linked to an increase in the GDP.”

Consumer spending proposals

The Finance Minister said that the consumer spending proposals include a LTC cash vouchers scheme and a special festival advance scheme. The LTC Cash Vouchers scheme is mainly targetted to employees in the government and other organised sectors.

The Minister described the scheme as follows: “Government and many organised sector employees have their jobs and salaries protected and some initial indications suggest savings have increased as many couldn’t spend their usual expenditure during the lockdown.”

She continued: “Central government employees, in a block of four years — between 2017-18 and 2020-21 — employees would have normally availed of one leave travel concession for any destination of their choice plus one visit to their hometown. If they didn’t choose leave travel to one destination of their choice, they would usually go twice to their native village. This would mean air or rail fare as per their pay scale is reimbursed to them.

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U.K. Launches Third Job Program This Year to Counter Economic Slowdown

U.K. Launches Third Job Program This Year to Counter Economic Slowdown

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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (L) in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.

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Faced with the prospect of a massive rise in unemployment by the end of the year, the U.K. government announced on Friday another significant job-support program to supplant the more ambitious one set up earlier this year to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement came on the day the Office for National Statistics said that gross domestic product grew 2.1% in August, less than half of what was forecast by a Reuters poll of economists. The U.K. economy remains more than 9% smaller than its pre-pandemic February level, and most of the August bounce was due to the government restaurant-subsidy program, now expired, known as “Eat out to help out.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, just three weeks after announcing his “winter economy plan,” had to change tack once again to adjust his policy to the prospects of a worsening economic situation in the coming months.

Under the new program, the government will pay up to two-thirds, with a cap of £2,100 a month, of the salaries of employees working for businesses forced to close due to the pandemic-related restrictions.

A Treasury source told Reuters that the new wage support measures, to last for six months, will cost hundreds of millions of pounds a month.

“I hope that this provides reassurance and a safety net for people and businesses in advance of what may be a difficult winter,” Sunak said.

Only a week ago, the U.K. chancellor announced a £9 billion program in the form of a “job retention bonus” to be paid to companies who keep their furloughed workers on the payroll until at least February, 2021. The job-furlough program he had announced in March

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Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) Share Prices Have Dropped 25% In The Last Year

Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) Share Prices Have Dropped 25% In The Last Year

It’s easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 25%. That’s well below the market return of 23%. At least the damage isn’t so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 20% in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 25% in the last 90 days.

Check out our latest analysis for Ionis Pharmaceuticals

To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Unfortunately Ionis Pharmaceuticals reported an EPS drop of 68% for the last year. The share price fall of 25% isn’t as bad as the reduction in earnings per share. So despite the weak per-share profits, some investors are probably relieved the situation wasn’t more difficult. Indeed, with a P/E ratio of 50.08 there is obviously some real optimism that earnings will bounce back.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).


We know that Ionis Pharmaceuticals has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.


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