Facing the future

It\'s hard to remain cheery amongst so much grim news. The next 12 months will bring some depressing messages not only from the HR departments of your clients, but also from the personnel departments of many providers and firms of advisers. The recession is in full swing and what were hypothetical predictions about how bad 2009 will be are hitting home in terms of erosion of jobs and asset values.

Everywhere we look our long-term assumptions are being turned on their head. Even the assumption that equities are the best bet over the long term is under question, in light of the fact that the MSCI World Index is in negative territory over 10 years.

In this issue we have attempted to address some of the issues facing corporate intermediaries in this most difficult period. James Phillipps looks at alternatives to lifestyling, which is looking like it may not be the safe option some will have hoped, while Sam Barrett looks at the effect the downturn is having on the mental health of the workforces of the nation’s companies and Jenny Keefe examines what the recession will mean for employee benefits across the board.

Addressing these issues doesn’t help lift the gloom, but it does remind us of the valuable work that corporate intermediaries are doing at this time of national economic crisis. This in turn explains why despite the constant drip of negative stories that we have all by now become so used to, the corporate advisory sector appears so far to be holding up to the downturn better than most other sectors.

Nowhere was this mood more apparent than at the Corporate Adviser Awards held in London last month. On the night I did not detect an industry lacking in confidence – rather one that was taking the opportunity to get closer to clients at a time of need.