Round-up of Expert Predictions for 2021

Following a year that no-one could have predicted, we have looked at some of the many expert predictions for 2021.  Below are a few of the articles that we think are interesting and would like to share with you.

Every year LinkedIn ask “Influencers, Top Voices and frequent contributors to share the Big Ideas they believe will define the year ahead”.  The article offers 24 big ideas for 2021 including how ‘the office will win you back’, changes in our need for technology, increased regulation for Big Tech, a new wave of entrepreneurs and a continued global recession.  The article also draws on an opinion piece from The Economist that highlights the impending changes to the investment industry being brought about by Millennials as they reach their peak earning years.

Two of Deloitte’s financial services leaders produced a podcast where they discuss Financial Services during 2020 and examine of the move towards the ‘next normal’ in 2021.

A closer look at what 2021 holds for the banking industry is provided by Forrester Research.  Though mainly focussed on the US, it does offer insights into the changes banks will need to make to ensure  they retain customers.  Deloitte’s also present their views for banking and capital markets using feedback from 200 industry leaders.  A key finding is that “banks can institutionalise the lessons learned during the pandemic. These may include operating with agility, flattening hierarchies, speeding up decision-making, empowering employees, and introducing flexible workplaces and workforces. Future success may very well hinge on how well these lessons have been internalized and implemented.”

Citywire offer a global view on professional investors in 2021.  Their editors examine the impact of ESG on mainstream investing in the US, whether Europe will continue to invest in China and the threat of increased competition from tech firms in the UK that could lead to more consolidation.  Consultancy Capgemini produced the Wealth Management Top Trends 2021 report that identifies nine trends including digital transformation, next-gen client reporting, changes to fee structures and the need to deepen client relationships.

Mike Barrett from The Lang Cat, writes an excellent article for Professional Adviser giving his view (in the uniquely Lang-cat style) of 2020 for advisers and platforms.  He also offers his predictions for 2021, including platform M&As, FCA regulation and the potential for a tax-year end spike in flows.

ESG is a common theme throughout the predictions.  It isn’t a new concept by any means, but the pace of change of investment towards ESG seems to have been accelerated by the events of 2020 and it is the consensus view that this pace will only increase in 2021.  Investment Week discuss whether 2021 will bring in a new era – the age of Anthropocene investing.  With scientists debating the new geological epoch that denotes significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystem – investors seem to acknowledge that “humans have changed the world for the worse and trying to correct that”.  MSCI have published their 2021 ESG trends to watch which include biodiversity, social inequality and coping with a deluge of data.  The Research Team at PIMCO share their views on social themes in an article for ESG Clarity identifying five areas for the post-pandemic world.  These include health and wellbeing, changes to the way we work, supply chains and cybersecurity.

Many technological changes that were implemented through necessity in 2020 may continue to drive adaptation and transformation in 2021. This article from Fintech Futures talks about the five fintech trends to watch in 2021.

However, the FT suggests a degree of caution and highlights what could go wrong in 2021 where “dangers lurk in inflation, a virus setback, and the sheer weight of optimism”.