Finance in 2040 by our experts : Cara Williams

I met Cara 20 years ago in New York and followed her impressive and very consistent career over the years. What strikes you about Cara, which is not as common, is the integrity that transpires what she does and who she is, and the great career she has been able to conduct. An example certainly. Her vision of 2040 is short and smart. Efficient. Zoé Charny

We are in 2040, how do you see the world around us?

I see two major trends arising by 2040:

  1. the fast rise of regulations. In 2040 we will live in a world highly regulated. Putting my ESG hat on, I think regulators will impact on mission, production principles, supply chain management. We are heading to a world with more positive impact, where long term sustainability will influence all projects.
  2. The second trend that will, I believe significantly amplify by 2040 is surveillance. We will live in a big brother atmosphere where our actions and movements are tracked for business as well governmental purposes. The trend may be perfectly well intended (more security, advanced technology, more freedom in information), but nevertheless that will impact our privacy, and freedoms.

How will the financial markets have evolved?

I think the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and the meta verse will play a very significant role in 2040. Machine learning will necessarily impact equity and fixed income markets. Lots of the work would be done by machine learning technologies.

The search for alpha will increase the move towards more inefficient markets. At the core asset management will remain core to savings but how those are delivered will be drastically different.

What role will asset management professionals play in 2040?

I expect much more consolidation in asset management. Less liquid markets players and an increased role of engagement within asset managers. Engagement in the sense of taking responsibility for one’s own investments and engaging with companies. More sophisticated technology and IT capabilities will also impact asset managers where potentially human beings will be less needed, markets will be more efficient.

Looking back, what is the biggest forecasting/anticipation mistake you have made?

I don’t really have a big mistake haunting me, but truly what I feel is that mistakes are really part of a learning process. I have a very positive attitude towards mistakes. I don’t think I had really realized 15 years ago how much ESG will play a key role in asset management and investments, and look where I am now, dedicating my career to ESG!
La Finance en 2040 vue par les experts : Cara Williams, responsable de la stratégie ESG chez Mercer
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