By Douglas Myers, LCI Senior Director
San Francisco Business Times brought members of the technology, real estate and financial services communities together this past week for an engaging discussion on industry trends and the economy.
Below are insights that jumped out to me – all great fodder for leadership platforms and issues-driven PR campaigns.
- Financial innovation. Ideas on how to make the banking experience more efficient and “smarter” are percolating in the Bay area. Expansion of mobile platforms, more layered customer experiences and enterprise efficiencies are all hot for 2014. Start-ups are developing solutions to address these issues, and, in many cases, using crowdfunding mechanisms to “kick start” their ideas.
- Community banking. The death of community banking reported a few years back has been greatly exaggerated. Customers are looking for a more personalized and local approach to banking. The best place to open a community bank, said one participant, is right in between two of the largest global players.
- Retirement. Not surprisingly, there is concern about retirement, especially with the Baby Boomers retiring and the subsequent impact on the stock market. Furthermore, there is a freight train regarding social security and entitlements headed for Washington, said one participant, and they can’t avoid it much longer.
- Government Policy. Many in the room conveyed deep discontent with both the Federal Reserve and Washington on behalf of their clients. The threat of higher taxes, income disparities and an inability to make any significant progress on the economy universally concerned all types of investors.
- Real Estate. Not to be left out of this discussion is the real estate boom in San Francisco. You can’t go a day without coverage on this issue on www.landcentury.com. One of the factors contributing to the spike in rents and home values is the lack of any new building projects following the recession. As one participant mentioned, the pent up demand has spilled over and new developments can’t be made fast enough.