L3F maps financial services future

In Safe Hands? The Future of Financial Services” is the brainchild of bunch of futurists and key figures from the global financial services industry including Dr Wendy Schultz (Infinite Futures), Ilaria Frau-Hipps (University of Cambridge) and Chris Skinner (Financial Services Club).

Written by Gill Ringland, CEO and fellow of UK-based SAMI Consulting, it draws on her expertise as one of the trio of authors behind the 2010 book Beyond Crisis: Achieving Renewal in Turbulent World.

All scenarios delve into three questions:

• Will the Washington consensus survive to 2050?
• What could cause it to break?
• If it does break, what will replace the international organisations and the values of the consensus?

“In Safe Hands?” picks four possible scenarios for 2050:

Second Hand: the world will use ‘hand me-down’ governance structures which will fit badly but will not be replaced.
Visible Hand: an explicit homogeneous global governance structure.
Long Hand: communities may well be religious or ethnic, exercising power remotely.
Many Hands: there will be many city states, all very different.

Ringland says the report also identifies number of “surprises”, ranging from questions on the size, location and role of financial services, to challenge for future risk assessment of insurance, and change in the nature of assets which will be valued.

All possible future outcomes are based on the basic assumptions that by 2050:

• The global population will grow to nine billion and get older, with most of the additional people in Africa and Asia. This will cause major shifts of economic power, causing turbulence as political shifts follow.

• The new centres of power may not share the value systems of the west, or the Washington consensus.

• Technology (info, cogno, bio, nano) will continue to introduce changes in personal capacity and lifestyles, while ICT will underpin much of society as well as commerce.

• Ecological, energy and environmental limits will be tested or breached as the population increases, the percentage of the population living in cities approaches 70 percent and the new middle class eats meat, uses cars, fridges and electronic goods, and travels for pleasure.

The Safe Hands project team built on the macro factors expected to affect the world in 2050 as identified in Beyond Crisis.

In that book, Ringland and co-authors Oliver Sparrow and Patricia Lustig sketch out three possible scenarios.

Their “low road” picks current economic woes spreading beyond the financial sector, with side dressing of high unemployment and low growth.

A “my road” scenario paints picture of industrialised countries continuing to take an economic bashing and new urban consumers in Asia, Africa and Latin America increasingly developing their own approaches to challenges.

A “high road” possible future outcome has newly-emerging international mechanisms kick-starting soluti

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