Brace yourself. Or, more accurately, log on
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This letter has been written as part of the Financial Times’ ‘Letters to the New World’ brand campaign, which calls on those in our global community to inspire each other around what this new world should and could look like
Regulators and investors are sometimes akin to military generals: they are trained to fight the last war. Or, more accurately, to become obsessively interested in the issues that caused the last financial boom and bust. So it is no surprise that much of the chatter around financial markets in recent years has been about the state of banks, mortgage markets and equity prices.
These still matter. But there are much bigger questions emerging. One is the impact of ultra loose monetary policy. Can investors smoothly adapt to a world where central banks may eventually try to withdraw support? (My guess is that a bond market shock might yet loom.)
Another question is whether China can ever liberalise its capital account and financial system in a way commensurate with its economic power? (I suspect this could also create jolts). A third is whether investors can adjust smoothly to the impact of climate change, something that has barely started yet.
However, perhaps the biggest question of all is the impact on finance of the digital revolution. Cryptocurrencies, blockchain and artificial intelligence platforms threaten to reshape how money travels around the world. It is not always easy for financiers to get their heads around this. Journalists find it even harder. And regulatory silos undermine efforts to develop sensible policies. But the tech sector is reshaping the ecosystem so fast that I predict this will be the most important tale of all in the coming years. Brace yourself. Or, more accurately, log on.
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