With more than one million cases globally, COVID 19 remains the global story of the day. So, here are the insights we have collected over the past 24 hours to share with you.

International news

  • Videoconferencing platform Zoom has come under growing pressure over privacy concerns, as it faces challenges to manage breakneck growth. CEO Eric Yuan has told media that he recognises trust needs to be won back, saying: “If we mess up again, it’s done. This kind of thing shouldn’t have happened…”, adding that “we need to slow down and think about privacy and security first”. Read more in The Australian here. (Subscriber access)
  • Goldman Sachs is predicting a slow recovery, with its latest forecast showing a very gradual rise in GDP, which will not reach its pre virus path before the end of 2021. Read the full article in the Financial Times. Meanwhile, the AFR’s economist survey for the March quarter showed economists are forecasting a median 3.9 per cent contraction in calendar 2020. View the full table of Australian economist predictions in The AFR. (Subscriber access).
  • As you hanker down from home, The Economist shares stories from a former hostage, a writer with chronic fatigue, and an astronaut, who reflect on life during lockdown. Read the article here. (Subscriber access)

Australian company news 

  • Despite more than $25 million in CEO and executive pay already cut, investors are urging for more
    • Investor groups say the salary cuts are not enough when compared with the estimated wage bill for affected companies. KPMG’s remuneration consultants are urging companies to share the pain on executive pay: “We suggest these should be material (somewhere in the 10 – 25 per cent range) depending upon the size of the workforce cuts.” Read more in the AFR. (Subscriber access)
  • Bankers are considering private equity-led funding combined with equity raisings for company recapitalisations  
    • Macquarie’s head of ECM said private equity are calling about companies they’ve got pretty good knowledge on, highlighting the benefit of continuous market engagement for companies. It is predicted the upcoming equity funding spree will be the biggest shareholder bailout since the 2008 financial crisis. Read The AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • In an act of sheer determination, employees of the Sunraysia Daily who were last week stood down, brought the “Sunny Daily” back to life on the weekend
    • Volunteers will continue to publish a printed version of the paper once a week during the COVID-19 crisis, as local residents rely on it as their primary source of local news, especially the older generation. Read more in The Sunraysia Daily here.

Australian markets 

  • Company directors are seeking to have the Corporations Act changed to protect them in case of legal action against forecasts
    • The Australian Institute of Company Directors is urging the Federal Government to amend the Corporations Act in relation to earnings guidance and forward-looking statements to protect them from legal action. AMP Chairman David Murray is leading the push, saying “a target safe harbour limited to COVID-19 related disclosures preserves an informed market while removing directors’ potential exposure to class action when companies eventually must report”. However,  the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors is strongly opposing the push citing that “continuous disclosure provisions are fundamental to market integrity and should not be diminished, even on a temporary basis”.  Read the AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • Transparent and open communication winning out
    • New global research from CT Group shows that 55% of people are watching more TV and 57% are spending more time online. Read more on the changes to consumer behaviour in The Australian.
    • With the continued demand for information, consumers have also made it clear they want transparency. That may explain why the Federal Government has agreed to release its epidemiological modelling used to guide its COVID-19 response. Read The AFR article here.  (Subscriber access)
    • David Rowe’s dark cartoon in today’s AFR depicts how we are flattening the curve.

Our daily briefing is not meant to be a summary of media coverage but rather, insights that may be helpful in understanding how organisations are communicating with stakeholders in a time of crisis – and what comes next. Sign up via email