Future trends

I'm usually cynical about futurists but found Future Files: A history of the next 50 years by Richard Watson interesting.

Published in 2007 I would have said last year that its section on banking and financial services was obvious. But the section on debt does say this:

Eventually there will be a major global recession..And when it does come, the severity and hardship will be almost unprecedented because of the amount of debt built up by individuals, corporations, an even entire countries. ..Businesses that will do well in such a situation include local lenders and banks with physical branches. Why? Because customers will seek security and familiarity, ideally with a human face attached.

So here are the other 4 trends he suggests will transform financial services:

  • mobile, pre-pay and contactless payment;
  • intermediaries;
  • regulation;
  • foreign and non-bank competition.

On regulation he says:

Big banks.. will come under increasing scrutiny about their lending practices, and there will be calls for salary and profit caps…Smaller operators will be deluged by a sea of red tape, regulation, and compliance requirements, and will find it increasingly difficult to operate profitably.

By the way he also predicts the extinction of getting lost, retirement, keys, coins and peace and quiet.

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