Blockchain will be ‘hugely disruptive’ to the finance industry: Jenny Johnson

Franklin Templeton President & CEO Jenny Johnson joins ‘Influencers with Andy Serwer’ to discuss cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and their impact on the financial industry.

Video Transcript

JENNY JOHNSON: I think things like Bitcoin, I’m not a big fan. I– you know, and I’ve obviously been wrong in so many ways, although you could have lost 50% if you bought in at the kind of the peak noise pre-Elon Musk’s tweet, I think.

But the tokenization and blockchain are going to be hugely disruptive to the financial services industry. And I think we are at the very, very early stages of that. I’m not even sure if folks completely understand how disruptive that could be. And I think that it is something I’m spending a lot of time and my team is spending a lot of time just trying to think about it and understand.

ANDY SERWER: Could it disrupt your business, you mean?

JENNY JOHNSON: Oh, I think that– I’ll use an example of– here’s where I think it can be really exciting. You know, one of the things that we’ve seen in the last decade– let’s face it, Andy. If you had money, and you’re a qualified investor, and you could take advantage of illiquidity premiums in alternative assets, you did better than the average person, which, by the way, is a problem, right?

So we’re actually spending a lot of time trying to think about how can you appropriately get some of these alternative illiquid assets out to, really, the masses? And we think retirement plans are a good way to kind of do something like that, bundled in a managed product.

But I think that, you know, if you think about real estate, you could sell the– if you owned the Empire State Building, you could sell it to a million people– probably get a higher return because you’re able to sell it to a lot more people. And they can then go and sell it without [INAUDIBLE] the title company and all those intermediaries because the entire contract, including who’s managing that building, is built into the token. So that becomes really interesting, right? And start to unlock these illiquid assets.

You know, you think about sports teams, the Green Bay Packers. They essentially sold a piece of the team. It’s all tokenized. It’s almost a loyalty program. But you can see how there could be some interesting ways in which you can repackage ownership. And I think that blockchain enables that.

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