Future of Finance

By Quartz | Exploring the "new normal" in global finance

Big banks are more excited about Donald Trump than any other president in almost 100 years

In the final few weeks of the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump warned that his rival, Hillary Clinton, “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty.” Out on the trail, he suggested everyone from Goldman Sachs to the Federal Reserve were in on a …

Republican Party

Saving money isn’t the only thing you need to do to prepare for retirement

Most people don’t realize until it’s too late, but the hardest thing about saving for retirement is deciding what to do after you quit working. Retirees must figure out how much they can spend, leaving enough to cover health expenses for the rest of their lives (and their partner’s), however long …

Retirement

China’s central bank is hiring blockchain experts to help it kill off cash

China’s central bank is hiring blockchain experts to help it develop its own digital currency, according to a recruitment ad (in Mandarin) published by the bank on Nov. 9.<p>The central bank has been working to create and issue a digital currency for years in order to replace cash, the bank’s …

China

One week of demonetization in India: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Just seven days in, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s massive demonetization drive has snowballed into an unprecedented financial emergency in Asia’s third-largest economy.<p>On Nov. 8, Modi announced that all notes in denominations of Rs500 ($7.40) and Rs1,000 ($14.70) would be illegal in the …

India

Miserable Wells Fargo employees say they’ve been denied bathroom breaks

The ouster of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was supposed to signal that the scandals plaguing the bank were winding down. But the company, which was fined $185 million by US regulators for opening more than 2 million bank or credit card accounts without the consent of its customers, can’t seem to …

Wells Fargo

An elegant math trick borrowed from the business world helps you find cash you didn’t know you had

An arcane budgeting trick from the 1970s is making a comeback with big companies, and its lessons can be transferred to your personal spending.<p>The unifying idea of the budgeting scheme, known as zero-based budgeting, is to allocate funding for the future based on what has worked in the immediate …

Money

Venezuelans are turning to bitcoin as the bolívar crumbles

Venezuela’s currency has lost so much of its value that people have given up on counting the notes—they just weigh piles of cash. So far this year, the bolívar has lost nearly half its value compared to the dollar, while inflation has shot up as much as 15 times. That’s according to best estimates, …

Bitcoin

Americans are finally about to get online banking features that Brazil has enjoyed for years

Electronic bill paying. Instant cash transfers between friends. Same-day check clearing. Digital banking is entering a new age in the US—but it’s an age that many developed and developing countries have been living in for some time already.<p>Previously repressed by US regulations, industry inertia, …

Banking

Wall Street’s blockchain obsession hasn’t produced a global revolution so far, just a lot more consulting work

Bring on the thought leaders.<p>Blockchain technology holds out a promise to dramatically reduce back-office costs, increase transparency, and speed up antiquated processes such as settling and clearing trades in a variety of asset-classes. With so many potential benefits, here’s how enthusiastically …

Wall Street

Another reason to envy Canadians—their student loans just became much easier to repay

As though it’s not enough to have a prime minister who looks great shirtless and speaks eloquently about the power of diversity, a cabinet that is half female, and a parliament that edited the national anthem to make it gender neutral, Canada’s government is now making it easier for young people to …

Loans

Bitcoin is closing in on its 2016 peak. A handful of theories attempt to explain the rally

In a year of monster hackers, the rise of new cryptocurrencies, and its own unresolved “civil war” over how to enlarge its transaction capacity, bitcoin has not only survived, but thrived.<p>The price of bitcoin has risen by 19% this month to a high of $718, putting it within touching distance of its …

Bitcoin

A hypothetical conversation with a Wells Fargo chatbot

Joining publishers, pizza-makers, and airlines, big financial firms are getting into chatbots. This week, Bank of America and MasterCard each announced plans to launch chatbots (named Erica and KAI, respectively) that will let customers handle routine transactions and financial advice, all sans …

Wells Fargo

With an unexpected profit, Deutsche Bank has a funny way of showing it’s in crisis

“In the past few months, a great deal has been said about us which deflects attention from our clients.” When you run a bank that’s described as “the next Lehman Brothers,” that’s an understatement.<p>Today (Oct. 27), John Cryan, the CEO of downtrodden Deutsche Bank, could cite 278 million reasons why …

Deutsche Bank

The BRICS have given South African president Jacob Zuma enough cover to criticize the major credit-ratings firms

South Africa’s economy is struggling. The country barely escaped junk status when the major ratings firms assessed South Africa earlier this year. But asked by opposition lawmakers about how he would handle a credit downgrade, president Jacob Zuma was unfazed, and suggested that perhaps it’s time …

Africa

The new rule that could save the US from billions in bailouts

The US has taken another step out of the bailout business. And despite warnings from Wall Street, all is calm.<p>Well, unless you run a “prime” money market fund, which invests in assets other than the safest government bonds. In that case, funds in your industry have lost $1 trillion in assets over …

Greece

Everything we know about the great Indian debit card hacking

One of the biggest security breaches in the history of India’s banks was uncovered last week, placing millions of debit card users at risk.<p>Customers of India’s biggest lenders, including the State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Yes Bank, were affected, with an estimated Rs1.3crore …

Security

China’s tech giants will shape international blockchain standards, with Beijing’s backing

The Chinese government has published a “whitepaper” (link in Chinese) that sets out key milestones for the development of blockchain technology in the country, in the strongest signal yet that it’s encouraging the growth of the technology there. The move will give further impetus to firms pushing …

Asia

The CEO of Africa’s most innovative mobile company warns his “clumsy” product needs to diversify or risk dying

The future of M-Pesa, the world’s leading mobile money-transfer system, lies in transforming the service’s “clumsy” technology into something more efficient, innovative, and collaborative. At least that’s the vision spelled out by the company’s CEO.<p>Speaking to an audience in New York on Oct. 17, …

Africa

The simple, popular, and naive way to address the looming pension crisis

Stock markets are volatile, interest rates are low, and people are living longer than ever. This is an ugly combination for pensions, which are struggling to fund increasingly long retirements with increasingly meager returns.<p>But there’s a solution: just guarantee a certain level of investment …

Economics

Weirdly, JPMorgan Chase is now making money from litigation

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of bank accounting. In the third quarter, like the two others before it, JPMorgan Chase somehow made money from litigation. That is, over the first nine months of the year it has reported a negative “legal expense” worth nearly $550 million, boosting its …

JP Morgan Chase

It took a fraud as simple as Wells Fargo’s to bring down the CEO of a big US bank

In retrospect, it seems obvious that John Stumpf wouldn’t keep his job.<p>The Wells Fargo CEO retired yesterday (Oct. 12), capping a brutal five weeks that began with the revelation that thousands of the bank’s employees were misusing customer information to open accounts they never asked for. The …

Banking

The designers behind Fitbit’s trackers invented a tiny device to stop you from impulse shopping

Thanks to credit cards, digital payment apps, and smartphones, it’s easy to spend money without ever having to touch cash.<p>In fact, it can be too easy. Research indicates that paying with cash can actually feel painful—and thus act as a deterrent to mindless spending. It’s also long been shown that …

Shopping

The simple reason you should move your money to an online bank

Would you pay a 23% fee to access your own money? That’s how much, on average, Americans are forking over when they withdraw $20 from an ATM that doesn’t belong to their bank.<p>ATM withdrawal fees in the US are at an all-time high. The average fee to use an out-of-network ATM machine is now $4.57, …

Money

Britain’s most hated bank is rolling out a robot teller that shows empathy

Just about every service industry—from retailers to restaurants to hotels—has developed some kind of robot to attend to your needs on the cheap.<p>The latest effort in the banking world (there are already robotic bank receptionists in China and Japan) is to take the rote responses of bots to the next …

Banking

Crowdfunding could be huge in Africa but regulatory laws need to catch up

Crowdfunding platforms in Africa raised $32.3 million for various projects in 2015, data from the Afrikstart Crowdfunding in Africa (pdf) report shows. But that figure could be much higher over the coming years if African governments develop regulation on crowdfunding.<p>Despite its rising popularity, …

Africa

A big Dutch bank is replacing 5,800 people with machines, at a cost of $2 billion

European banks are desperately trying to find ways to save money in these straitened times. ING, a major Dutch lender, announced this week that it plans to save €900 million ($1 billion) a year by cutting 5,800 jobs as part of a “digital transformation.” A further 1,200 employees will have their …

Banking

BlackRock’s Larry Fink has a grand unified theory for fixing everything

Say this for Larry Fink: He thinks big.<p>The influential CEO of BlackRock, the asset manager that oversees almost $5 trillion in investments, Fink is known in financial circles for his hectoring letters of instruction to the companies he invests in. His name has also been floated as a possible …

Black Rock

Wall Street’s backwards rewards system gives executives a direct incentive to commit crimes

The public scourging that the US senate banking committee gave Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on Sept. 20 was cathartic to watch. Senator Elizabeth Warren particularly summed it up when she said, “You should resign. You should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be …

Financial Markets

The US Congress now has a caucus dedicated to bitcoin and blockchain

Blockchain is permeating the world’s spheres of influence. A U.S. Congressional group dedicated to studying the technology underpinning the bitcoin cryptocurrency was set up today (Sept. 26) by two congressmen. The Congressional Blockchain Caucus was formed by Jared Polis, a Democrat congressman …

Congressional Caucuses