Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

What Wall Street Will Look Like in 50 Years

By Morgan Housel - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:40AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

David Cowen on financial history.

Fifty years ago, Goldman Sachs (GS 0.30%) was a partnership, most stock transactions occurred by face-to-face contact, and no one had ever heard of a credit default swap.

Wall Street changes, fast.

What will it look like 50 years from now?

That's anyone's guess, but I asked David Cowen, CEO of the Museum of American Finance and a financial historian, what he thought. Here's what he had to say (transcript follows):

Morgan Housel: As a historian who focuses on the past, what do you think Wall Street will look like, let's say, 50 years from now?

David Cowen: So, Morgan, you're asking me about my crystal ball and, as you allude to first, financial historians and economic historians look backwards first. There's a couple of sweeping trends: we alluded to one much earlier, which was the shift in paradigm to Asia, but I think the second one is the whole concept of Wall Street as a physical location. Right, it starts here: 1792 is one of the inaugural events, the Buttonwood Tree, and people have to come together at a physical space or add exchanges, and what we're seeing now is Wall Street is virtual. It's everywhere, and so the role of having to come to an actual physical place will be entirely, I believe, diminished, as we look forward.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Stock Quote
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
$314.90 (0.30%) $0.95

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.