Last Updated May 6 2021

COVID-19 infection rates remain high. The virus has now spread to over 195 countries with a total of more than 153 million confirmed cases. India has emerged as the new epicentre of the pandemic, with WHO data indicating that last week India accounted for almost half of all COVID-19 cases reported globally. India became the second country to record a total of 20 million infections (the US was the first), with the health system buckling under the strain and running short of both oxygen and beds.

Vaccine progress is the key positive. Total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered has now surpassed the total number of confirmed cases. China leads in the total number of vaccinations, with the US hitting the milestone of 200 million vaccinations faster than any other country. At the present rate, it will take 98 days to vaccinate 85% of the adult population in the United States. The rate of vaccination in the US has slowed down due to many refusing to receive the vaccine. Encouragingly, the US, UK and Israel have all seen decreases in hospitalization rates following their vaccination programs.

COVID-19 has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, socialise, participate in sport, and entertain ourselves will all be different. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan ahead for multiple eventualities.

Wealth managers are adapting to remote working while managing clients at a key moment of truth: portfolio losses. Millennials are experiencing their first severe market downturn. Baby boomers will appreciate help on how to manage their investments online and assurance that digital channels are effective.


IMF has revised its 2020 global GDP forecast to -4.4% from an estimate of -4.9% made in June.


The global economy is estimated to contract by 4.2% in 2020 and bounce back by 5.3% in 2021.

Impact of Covid-19 on equity indices

- SECTOR IMPACT: Finance -

Last Updated March 12, 2021

Clinical trial market impact


Trial disruption is leveling off and disrupted trials saw a small dip, with 1,032 trials still disrupted and 579 pharma/biotech companies and contract research organisations associated with disrupted clinical trials.


There are currently 3,414 clinical trials underway for Covid-19, including 172 multinational trialsroboto slab and 2,818 single-country trials.

Advent mulls stake sale in Indian wealth manager ASK Group

Advent International is reportedly weighing options to divest its stake sale in Indian investment and wealth management firm ASK Group.

The company is in talks with Japanese broker Nomura for a potential sale, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Advent is looking for a valuation of over $1bn for ASK Group in a deal, which may take longer owing to the raging Covid-19 outbreak in India, the report says.

Founded in 1983, ASK Group primarily caters to HNW and UHNW individuals, institutional clients, family offices, pension funds, funds of funds, and sovereign wealth funds across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The company has four ley businesses, namely, ASK Wealth Advisors, ASK Property Investment Advisors, ASK Pravi Capital Advisors, and 20 offices and branches across India, Dubai, and Singapore.

As of 31 March 2021, ASK Group managed more than $9bn (INR660bn) in assets.

Advent purchased a significant holding in the firm in 2016 for an undisclosed amount.

DWS in talks to offload majority stake in fund platform to BlackFin

DWS, the asset management arm of the Deutsche Bank, is reportedly carrying out final discussions for the sale of a controlling interest in its IKS fund platform to French private equity firm BlackFin Capital Partners.

The French firm is in exclusive negotiations to buy the stake for approximately $362m (€300m), Bloomberg reported citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Terms of the potential deal have not been finalised, according to one of the sources.

DWS is expected to finalise a deal in the next few weeks, the sources divulged.

Notably, in January last year, the firm picked a 24.9% interest in Arabesque AI, a UK-based technology firm with an AI engine to forecast the stock price.

DWS was also in the news earlier this year for plans to reduce office space in Frankfurt as its employees continue to work from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Goldman Sachs plans to bring back US staff to office next month

Goldman Sachs Group is planning to bring back its US workers to the office from next month as daily Covid-19 cases continue to decline.

In an internal memo, Goldman CEO David Solomon asked its workers in the US to be prepared to return to their workplace by 14 June. The message was for the employees who are yet to resume work from office.

The memo was also co-signed by COO John Waldron and CFO Stephen Scherr.

The executives were quoted by CNBC as saying in the message: “While each community is at a different stage of managing through the pandemic, we continue to be encouraged by the rollout of vaccines in a number of jurisdictions, as well as by the effectiveness of the health and safety protocols we have put in place across Goldman Sachs campuses to protect our people.

“We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together, and we look forward to having more of our colleagues back in the office so that they can experience that once again on a regular basis.”

Separately, Reuters reported that the investment bank also intends to call its UK-based staff to offices by mid-July.

Goldman Sachs has around 40,000 employees around the world.

Last month, the firm reported net revenue of $17.7bn and net earnings of $6.84bn in the first quarter of this year. Both the figures represent quarterly record for the firm.