In recent years, global equities had slightly outpaced market forecasts for lower equity returns. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global economy, putting an end to the 10-year bull market. Equity markets have started to recover, but the pandemic introduced and exacerbated challenges that are expected to subdue financial market returns over the next five years. Looking ahead, six key themes have emerged. They also identify the trends we see affecting the markets and economy.