Week InReview
Friday | Nov 13, 2020
Have pod, will travel.
Photographer: Janne Iivonen/The Wall Street Journal
After months of sheltering in place together, some families and tight groups of friends are slowly venturing farther than the patio. Hotels and tour operators, eager to fill the vacancies and compete with vacation rentals, now offer packages tailored to those sets of travelers who wish to be together but at a comfortable remove from other guests.

You don’t need a private-island budget to get away with your inner circle of family and close-knit friends. From Hawaii to Puerto Rico, hotels and tour companies are catering to Covid-wary groups.

— The Wall Street Journal
let's recap...
Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Getty Images
The Federal Reserve is going green, and that could mean a substantial change for the way financial institutions have to prepare for the unexpected. In recent days, several central bank officials have spoken about the importance of taking climate change into effect when considering dangers posed to the system. Along with that, the Fed’s financial stability report, which usually talks about how economic and market forces could impact banks, insurance companies and other firms, mentioned climate for the first time. (CNBC | Nov 12)

The drumbeat for change to rules surrounding money-market mutual funds may be growing, with U.S. central bank official Eric Rosengren once again taking aim on the subject. Money funds “failed again” during the coronavirus-related market upheaval that took place earlier in the year, and there needs to be a focus on reforming the rules that govern them, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president said on Tuesday. It was prime funds – those which are able to invest in non-government-backed instruments – “that were the problem” and that the situation surrounding money funds is “quite disturbing,” he said. (Bloomberg Markets | Nov 10)

Companies should create closer links between their compliance departments and risk managers who focus on an array of corporate hazards, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission said in new guidance issued Tuesday. (The Wall Street Journal | Nov 10)

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Heath Tarbert expects significant rules concerning swap execution facilities, exemptions for derivatives clearing organizations, electronic trading and bankruptcy to be finalized by year-end. The rules on electronic trading and bankruptcy have bipartisan support, Tarbert says, and "their final adoption should be noncontroversial and welcome revisions to our existing regulations." (Politico Pro | Nov 10)

The United States may still face a wave of debt defaults and “significant declines” in asset prices because of the coronavirus pandemic and recession, the Federal Reserve warned on Monday, in a stark reminder the economy is far from out of the woods. (Reuters | Nov 9)
SEC gives limited direction on new workforce disclosures
(Nov 11) — The Securities and Exchange Commission won’t likely give companies formal guidance to help them report details about how they manage their workforces under new disclosure rules, an SEC official said Wednesday.

That’s because any guidance could limit the type of information that companies might report, Lindsay McCord, chief accountant for the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC, said in remarks to the annual Financial Executives International corporate reporting conference.
  • Companies should look to workforce-related information and metrics they have shared with their boards, and past discussions about human resource needs as a starting point for drafting the new human capital disclosures. “I encourage you to think about how management and the board use its human capital resources and provide tailored disclosures specific to the company’s facts and circumstances,” McCord said.
  • The new workforce rules, which took effect along with other changes to the commission’s Regulation S-K this week, require companies to describe their human capital resources such as efforts to retain and develop staff. Previously investors and others criticized the rules for giving companies too much leeway to decide what to report or omit.
  • The division posted some transition guidance related to other aspects of the rules last week. Separately work on a project related to the commission’s requirements for management’s discussion and analysis disclosures is ongoing, McCord said.

Source: Amanda Iacone/Bloomberg Tax
the cyber cafe
Photo: ThinkStock
Why employees should know cyberthreats are high stakes
Employees should realize a cyberattack could threaten the financial health of their employer, writes Pete Schile of MorganFranklin Consulting. Schile outlines a nine-step cybersecurity plan for companies in the financial sector, concluding with using "a company-approved password manager tool for each employee."

Pressure grows to reinstall White House cyber czar
Lawmakers believe that President-elect Joe Biden is likely to install a key cybersecurity official in the White House. Pressure to appoint a national cyber director, who would coordinate cybersecurity activities across government, has been growing since a federal commission recommended creating the post in March. A similar position was eliminated in 2018 by the Trump administration, which has opposed any new such appointment.
— The Hill

Cybersecurity industry adds 700,000 workers in past year
Significantly more cybersecurity professionals joined the industry this year than the year before. A closely watched annual workforce study from the trade association ISC2, published Nov. 11, found that, as a result, the skills shortage in the global industry dropped from 4.07 million to 3.12 million. However, some of this reduction is due to positions being eliminated amid the coronavirus pandemic.
binge reading disorder
Image: United Nations Covid-19 Response on Unsplash
Why some people get Covid-19 and never feel a thing
According to various estimates, between 20 and 45 percent of the people who get Covid-19 – and possibly more, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – sail through a coronavirus infection without realizing they ever had it. No fever or chills. No loss of smell or taste. No breathing difficulties. They don’t feel a thing.
— Undark

How a lame duck Trump can upend financial markets before leaving
After President-elect Joe Biden’s win is certified, Trump will enter the so-called lame duck phase of his presidency with a capacity for disruption that is formidable. Any number of executive decisions might leave investors on tenterhooks. Already, he’s ousted his defense chief and remade the leadership at the Pentagon.

Why you know less than you think — and depend more on others to know it
You may know that diesel fuel is bad for gas engines and that plants use photosynthesis, but can you define diesel or explain photosynthesis, let alone prove photosynthesis happens? 
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