Another COVID summer on the cards despite vaccine rollout 

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COVID concern indices have registered a solid decline, with professional worries down the most (by 12%). The start of vaccinations in the UK is the clear reason for this development, but has it turned UK pension professionals optimistic? 

Views on duration of outbreak remain unchanged 

The optimistic horizon for the end of the pandemic has shifted into August 2021. Another COVID summer lies ahead, as our COVID research panel does not expect a complete vaccine rollout until the summer. In addition to whether or not it can stop transmission, the effectiveness of the vaccine depends on take-up, so there are still many unknowns. With Christmas shopping underway and celebrations ahead, mixing has already increased and is likely to push up the transmission rate. 
The minimum expected duration of the macro effects of the pandemic is also roughly stable. While the vaccine is undoubtedly good news, UK pension professionals think unemployment is accelerating. With some sectors now considered unlikely to recover, it will take a long time for global economies to rebalance, so economic activity is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels before at least July 2023. The UK also still has to work its way to a Brexit trade agreement, the implications of which are still a major unknown. 

Concerns about government guidance persist 

After a temporary retreat, the proportion of those who are ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ worried about the UK government’s COVID-19 related guidance has increased again to 43%. Mixed messages around what is safe and allowed during the holiday period mean UK pension professionals remain cautious, with some concerned the relaxation of rules over Christmas will give people even more reasons not to comply. 

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About the COVID Concern Index 

This short survey helps gauge sentiment of our community on the pandemic. The results are distributed via the community newsletter. Until 31/08/2020, this was a weekly survey. From 01/09/2020, the survey shifted to a bi-weekly cadence. 
The COVID Concern Index values should be used as indication only and do not constitute advice. Their values are bound by the choices available in the survey on which they are based. 
COVID Concern Index: 
  • 0 = respondents are not worried at all 
  • 100 = respondents are extremely worried 
Expected minimum duration of outbreak: 
A methodology change took place on 06/10/2020, affecting data from 20/10/2020 onwards. 
Prior to 06/10/2020: 
  • Lowest possible value = 1 month 
  • Highest possible value = 6 months 
Following 20/10/2020: 
  • Lowest possible value = 1 month 
  • Highest possible value = 12 months 
Expected minimum duration of macro effects: 
A methodology change took place on 15/04/2020, affecting data from 21/04/2020 onwards. 
Prior to 15/04/2020: 
  • Lowest possible value = 3 months 
  • Highest possible value = 12 months 
Following 15/04/2020: 
  • Lowest possible value = 3 months 
  • Highest possible value = 60 months 
Macro rates index: 
  • -100 = all respondents think rates will fall 
  • 0 = all respondents think rates will stay the same 
  • +100 = all respondents think rates will rise 
Sector sentiment index: 
  • -100 = all respondents think the sector will be a ‘loser’ in the pandemic 
  • 0 = all respondents see a neutral outlook for the sector 
  • +100 = all respondents think the sector will be a ‘winner’ in the pandemic 
Concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and its macro implications? Click here to take part in the bi-weekly COVID-19 survey.