Richard Worzel - Futurist - Speaker - Consultant
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Keynote & Workshop Topics
Financial Advice & Services

Taming the Wild Blue Future: What’s Next in Finance and Lending

The rate of change in business is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. This creates the threat of falling behind a rapidly mutating marketplace, as well as the opportunity of grabbing a valuable edge over less nimble competitors. But to gain this requires the exercise of foresight, the ability to size up coming changes and prepare for them, an aptitude to innovate new solutions to both current and future needs, and the capacity to respond rapidly as the marketplace changes.

Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation, he both describes the astonishing changes coming to the lending markets, and addresses the ways in which participants can steal a march on their competitors, including:

• How IT is changing qualitatively as well as quantitatively, with important implications in Big Data, customer relations, risk management, and speed-to-market. In particular, new techniques such as evolutionary algorithms combined with increasingly sophisticated applications of rule-based computing, mean that risk assessment of borrowers, risk management relating to loan documentation, and due diligence may all move to a human/computer hybrid model that can respond to client needs and market shifts far faster than traditional approaches.

• Given the increasing acceleration of change in business & technology, and the wide-ranging uncertainties relating to national politics that is driving change in regulation, no one player has a complete view of how the marketplace is evolving. This increases the value of cooperation and collaboration up and down the supply chain so that all parties can respond more rapidly as new developments emerge. There is well-established precedent for this: car manufacturers, which have much longer lead times owing to the nature of their product lines, have had to coordinate their actions with their suppliers, and to share more information about their own future intentions in order to slash the length of the product development cycle.

• Rapid-fire changes, and novel market conditions demand greater innovation, both in products and in internal processes. Yet, despite motherhood declarations of the importance of innovation, most organizations are quite reluctant to actually innovate. Not only does innovation require them to take significant risks and to do things they are not good at, but it forces professionals into a position of asymmetric risk: the potential rewards of a successful innovation are normally far less than the personal costs of failure and dismissal. But there are ways of flipping this asymmetric risk, and creating an environment of consistent, persistent innovation that can lead to major gains in market share if managed well.

• Given the uncertainties of the future, with the political, economic, market, and technological risks ahead, it is foolish to attempt a point forecast of the future and to gamble everything on it, no matter how macho that might seem. Instead, an approach using structured foresight to produce alternative possibilities or scenarios, and the consideration of potential contingency plans, is a more nuanced approach that brings a higher likelihood of success. The well-established techniques of scenario planning bring these advantages, and Richard will close with an overview of how they might be applied to the future of the lending business. He will also provide a toolkit to help participants improve their application of scenario planning to their businesses.

Wonderful and Terrible Times: What’s Ahead for the Financial Industry

America is in the midst of several major transitions that will offer wonderful opportunities, and carry terrible risks, over the next 5-10 years. Those who are prepared for the shocks and potential triumphs ahead will gain disproportionate advantages. Futurist Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a business visionary. In this overview of the future for financial companies, he will cover:

• The economic environment – Why America is doing well, and should do even better. What’s slowing the growth of developing countries like China and India, and what does that mean for us? How long will this expansion last, and what might bring it down?

Technology – Not only is the rate of technological change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. And disruptive technologies are appearing in a broader range of industries, such as manufacturing, than ever before, widening the problems and potential of disruption. How will this play in finance?

Shifting demographics – There are three age cohorts that are shifting into new phases of their lifecycles, which means their needs and demands will change. And there are two additional groups that are rapidly emerging as critical markets. Who are these people, and what will they want in the future?

Black swans aren’t that rare – The shocks of the last financial cycle were partly caused by faulty – wishful – thinking. What are the potential shocks ahead of us, and what can you do to prepare for them?

Innovation beyond motherhood – Everyone talks a good game when it comes to innovation. What does it take to make it a real part of your everyday business plan?

Richard will provide a roadmap of what’s ahead for financial institutions and their customers, allowing conferees to prepare to capitalize on tomorrow’s business. And he’ll leave conferees with a set of future planning tools that can help them develop a marketplace edge for the future.

Capitalizing on Tomorrow: Wealth Management and Your Future

The future of wealth management is going to be very different from the past, so the needs for high-performance are going to change.

Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and today's leading financial futurist. In this presentation, he will lay out a roadmap of the future for those high performance wealth managers who want to continue their winning ways. To do so, they'll first need to understand how the future of financial & wealth management will change. Such changes include:

• A baby boom generation with many things on their minds: how much they need to save in order to retire; how to generate income from investments without running too much risk; how to help their rapidly aging parents through the ends of their lives; how to help boomer children find meaningful careers and find affordable homes; how to help their grandchildren into successful education; and how to successfully fend off the tax man.

• Economic growth will be slower, so investment returns will be lower. Thus, the challenges of wealth management will be investment selection and asset allocation, a much more difficult task that buying index funds and riding the general rise in the market.

• An aging population will steadily increase the stresses on the health care & pension systems, on government finances, and on the physical well-being of those who are aging. In such a situation, new financial vehicles will be needed to achieve tax efficiency in an environment of rising taxation, and make it easier for those who are aging to manage their financial affairs with a minimum of time and attention.

• Meanwhile, younger generations will be facing a more difficult work environment. Foreign competition for jobs will continue, but the pressures from automation will dramatically increase as massively more powerful and more sophisticated technologies enter the workplace, replacing any worker doing routine work, regardless of pay level or nature of the work. In such an environment, more people will become entrepreneurs, inventing their own jobs. In all eventualities, they will need bankers who can help facilitate their professional ends while helping them secure their personal objectives.

• And as technology advances, social and economic structures will change as well. Think of how much banking has changed over the last 20 years because of technology. The next 10 years will see changes which are much more dramatic than those of the last 20.

All told, retail clients, high net worth individuals, and high achievers will all need a different kind of banker and wealth management partner, capable of looking at their financial picture, professional as well as personal, holistically, and not just in terms of products and services.

The future is going to see a polarization of service providers: those who sell products and services, and compete with everyone else in the market; and those who become trusted advisors through customization, attention to detail, awareness of all the customer’s needs, and an ability to deal with them all instead of just selling off-the-shelf products and services. It is by following this way that this year’s winners can put multiple Oscars on their mantelpieces.

Finally, Richard will provide a set of future-oriented tools for personal and corporate goal-setting and extraordinary achievement.

The Dangers and Opportunities Ahead

As the Financial Panic of 2008, the Great Recession of 2009, and the crises that have struck governments in Greece, Ireland, Iceland, and now Wisconsin have shown, we live in unsettled and perilous times. Indeed, the levels of indebtedness of the federal government and the compounding burdens of Social Security and Medicare are leading investors and financial markets into uncharted territories, threatening us with a possible third major crash in a decade. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of tomorrow’s world, he deals with:

• The potential for further financial crises. With the level of indebtedness within major developed countries, there is a real risk of a renewed financial crisis, this time triggered by sovereign debts. At home, the risk of state and municipal defaults are relatively small in financial terms, but could produce major shock waves that could lead to a much bigger crisis.

• The technological revolution of the last 20 years has changed the way people communicate, the way businesses plan and operate, the way organizations market, sell, and supply, and the way governments deal with their constituents. Yet, the real technological revolution is just beginning, with changes that will make those of the past decades look tame in comparison. These range from the emergence of everyday robots, computer intelligences, and the rise of transhumanism. These changes will transform human interaction, customer service, productivity, and labour markets, conferring enormous first-mover benefits on those that take advantage of such changes.

• Civil strife is rising from the perceived differences in compensation and security between civil servants and private sector employees. This is a indirect consequence of the aging of society and the lack of adequate anticipation from many governments and corporate planners, and will poison the debate on the country’s future.

• The burdens that an aging society will place on government revenues throughout the developed world, and the subsequent shifts in power and influence in geopolitics and global trade.

• The strengths of the developing world are widely publicized, but their weaknesses don’t get as much attention. Yet, the problems that automation create for employment, the limits to growth that water shortages are imposing, a lack of much-needed infrastructure, and the problems of crony capitalism will come back to haunt them.

Someone always benefits from change, and with the range and extent of the changes ahead, there is both more danger, and greater opportunity to make gains than at any time since the end of World War II. We are headed for a hazardous and exhilarating time, and only those with foresight will benefit.

Planning for the Planners: The Future of Meeting Planning in the Financial Industry

Samuel Johnson once said that the prospect of hanging in the morning focuses the mind wonderfully, and the financial industry is certainly finding its focus. It has received a kicking the likes of which it has not had this generation, and arguably not since the Great Depression. This makes has made it difficult to create meetings that are attractive and relevant to industry players – but what’s to come? Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this presentation specifically tailored to meeting planners who work with and serve the financial community, he describes:

• The prospects for the financial markets and the global economy: when will the pain abate?

• The aftermath: who's likely to remain standing? And how will the major players’ (especially banks and insurance companies) positions change?

• The forces that will drive change in the financial community’s future, including the prospects for new financial instruments and client needs, shifting demographics, rising global competition and opportunity, increased longevity, postponed retirements, and the rapid changes in jobs and work in tomorrow’s world; and

• The changes coming to meeting planners: the inroads and innovations coming from technology, the intensity and intent of younger meeting planners, the changing attitudes of suppliers; and how societal shifts are forcing changes in content and presentation styles.

The times ahead are going to be harder for all purveyors of financial advice and instruments, yet that merely underlines the need for superior preparation. Richard’s presentation provides a roadmap of what’s ahead for the industry and those meeting planners who work with it, and identifies the pivotal issues and approaches the offer the most promise.

Dark Clouds & Silver Linings: Facing the Future of Investing

The future hasn't happened yet, but many people act as if it has, and is predictable. The truth is that the future will catch us by surprise – but that doesn't mean we can't prepare for it. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and one of today's leading futurists. In this presentation he maps out some of the issues facing investors in the future, including:
  • What if we're wrong? We all expect that the economy is approaching bottom, and will steadily improve. But what if something else happens, something less predictable? What might it be, and how should we prepare?

  • The past 20 years have been a period of relative demographic calm, but the next 20 will be anything but. Three key cohorts are moving into new stages of their lifecycles, which will precipitate dramatic changes for individuals, society, governments, and the markets, and two others will have dramatic long-term implications.

  • Technology is the predictable wild card. Not only is the rate of change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Accordingly, we only think we know what to expect, but the reality will be much more startling.

  • We are seeing a shift in power in the global economy. America will remain the largest and most influential player, but its influence will be diluted by other players growing in importance, lead by China, India, Brazil and Mexico.
The future ahead of us is going to be vastly different than the present. Those who are prepared will prosper; the rest will be left behind.

The Next Fifty Years in Investing: or, How to Avoid Making Dangerous Decisions in a Crisis

Because they are inundated with information, investment professionals tend to believe that they have seen and heard it all, and worse, that they know it all. Yet, each of us knows that there is so much more that we don't know that when a crisis hits the markets, as it has now, we tend to be overly impressed with the urgency of the emergency and forget or overlook the bigger issues. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a former institutional investor, best-selling author, and is, today, one of today's leading futurists. In this long-term overview, Richard points out what's important, as opposed to what's urgent, including:
  • Where does economic growth come from, and why is it going to be harder to come by? And is there hope we can change that result?

  • Which nations have hidden weaknesses that threaten their relative prosperity?

  • How will you be able to tell those nations that will move ahead compared to those that merely plod forward? What's the touchstone of success?

  • Everyone knows that technology will continue to be a game-changer; but how? What technological advances are we not expecting, or if we are expecting them, are we not prepared for? And where will they lead us?

  • And what's the one wild card that virtually no one is talking about that will wreck the finances of nations and change the future of society and humanity, gradually at first, and then with gathering momentum?
John Maynard Keynes once famously said that in the long-run we're all dead, but for a pension fund, which must think in terms of decades, today's urgent issues must be kept in perspective. This presentation deals with the important issues that will decide the long-term success of a pension fund.

Anticipating Wealth: Tomorrow's Edge for Financial Advisors

Every investor longs to buy an IBM in the 1960s, or a Microsoft in the 1980s, or even the broad indices in the post-war period because of their dramatic growth patterns. That's part of the potential offered by investing in emerging economies: to invest in tomorrow's above average growth. Rapidly growing economies host more companies that can show outstanding growth and offer superior returns than mature economies. Moreover, aside from increasing diversification in a world where currency swings and economic surprises are virtual certainties, foreign investing offers financial advisors a competitive edge, and a more sophisticated way to seek out superior returns, even when North American markets are in the doldrums. Advisors who are knowledgeable about international investing can differentiate themselves from competitors in a crowded marketplace, and enhance their clients' returns at the same time. In this global prospectus, futurist and Chartered Financial Analyst Richard Worzel surveys the investing landscape of tomorrow's world markets, and identifies what will be hot, where, and why, plus assessing the key conditions for growth, and the traps that await the unwary, offering advisors a leg up into the future.

How High Is Up? And How Do We Get There?

The financial services industry is going through a transformation. Driven by changes in technology, demographics, and government regulation, the industry is being re-shaped in fundamental ways. Richard Worzel explores these changes in a dramatic and far-reaching presentation. He will touch on:

Technology: how the next wave of the IT revolution will alter the financial services industry.

Consumers: how changing consumer expectations and needs will intersect with demographic changes to transform the relationship between financial service providers and their customers.

Governments: how the shift in the role and responsibility of governments, and what and how they regulate business and social life, will play a major role in shaping financial service providers.

If you work in the financial services industry, this is the one presentation that you need to hear.

Where's the Money? The Future of Financial Planning

Why is the economy acting this way, and why have the economists all been so wrong for so long? Why are clients behaving so strangely, and how do you integrate the new technologies - websites, blogging, RSS, and podcasting - into your offerings? Among other topics, this keynote address on the future of the financial planning industry will identify the four, key demographic groups that are shattering the demographic calm we've experienced for the last fifteen years to pinpoint where the opportunities lie; help you discover what your clients really want; explore the dangers and opportunities being produced by the global and North American economies; and finish by unearthing the sales potential of this uneasy and uneven economy. Where's the Money? will help you and your people make more money by providing perspective, pinpointing opportunity, and creating sustained motivation to explore and exploit a unique period when everyone's uncertain, and market share is up for grabs.

Simple Confidence: Creating Your Desired Financial Future

(Client Appreciation Event)

Just when things seemed to be setting down, the rules changed again. Microsoft cleared the anti-trust hurdles and seemed to offer a clear, steady choice as a future investment - until Google popped up, seemingly out of nowhere, and challenges them in ways they had not expected. China continues to hold out enormous promise, but is it safe to invest there? Household names in established industries, like General Motors and United Airlines, are teetering or going bankrupt, underlining that risks clearly still exist, yet Allan Greenspan warns that the 'risk premium' in the market is too low. And safe investments in fixed income securities offer little or nothing in return. How does an individual cope with these conflicting trends to shape a secure financial future? This survey of tomorrow's investment markets by futurist and Chartered Financial Analyst Richard Worzel explains the apparent contradictions in the market place and will help you and your advisor map out a strategy to give you the simple confidence you want and need for your financial future.

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