What’s in the Financial Stars? A Money Honcho’s Bold Forecast

Anna Williams
Posted

future moneyFast-forward 100 years. What will money look like?

While no one can claim to be able to read the financial tea leaves, Morgan Stanley C.E.O. James Gorman has some educated guesses—and he offers up his prognostications in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed.

His conclusions: Your local bank branch (and the paper currency it holds) will soon become a relic of the past—but big global financial institutions will only grow bigger.

If you just Venmo-ed your co-worker the $10 you owed him for lunch and checked your savings account balance on your iPhone, you’re part of the masses that are making Gorman’s first forecast come true. Thanks to the popularity of mobile payment technologies and online-only accounts, Gorman predicts that just 10,000 of the 97,000 branches currently standing in the U.S. will still be standing in the near future. Related to that, “cash as a physical entity will virtually cease to exist,” Gorman writes. “Coins and checkbooks [will be] consigned to museums.”

But while small brick-and-mortar branches are seemingly headed the way of record stores, Gorman predicts that “Inexorable consolidation will make the big banks even bigger. Economies of scale and the boundary-less nature of electronic technology will doom most small institutions.” Translation? He’s saying—perhaps in hopes of job security—that big global banks will only continue to grow as they service large-scale clients like corporations and governments.

At the same time, a growing global middle class means more people will be looking for help managing their money. Thus, they will place increased value in relationships with financial advisors—even if that relationship is conducted via the web—and will expect their investments to not only build wealth for them, but also create positive social return.

Want to try out some of the new technologies influencing this brave new world? Check out these six new apps that make managing your money easier.