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Sibos returns to Europe and here’s what to expect

Shorter days and longer nights are approaching fast. We may not be ready to let go of summer just yet, but the good news is there’s an exciting event season ahead of us - If your calendar is not set for the rest of 2016, now is the right time to get it in order. 

For financial services and technology professionals, one of the biggest events of the year is the SWIFT Sibos conference in September. Running since 1978, Sibos has long been the scene for the latest insight into financial services, and last year’s event in Singapore attracted over eight thousand delegates from more than 140 countries. Now, Financial Services providers in Payments, Security, Compliance and Customer Experience Orchestration Technology are gearing up to strut their stuff in Geneva - perhaps using these top tips for taking on events with ease - and the agenda is set to impress. 

The big question is whether Sibos is being challenged as the flagship technology event for the financial services industry? Doubt has been raised over the relevance and appeal of the event as the industry is trying to keep its head above water over digitisation. 

The evolution of technology in this space means events will no longer have keynotes and seminars about core banking processes but rather discussions about customer experience, payment apps and biometric authorisation will fill the seats. Is Sibos equipped for the change in technology and content or will another event become more relevant for the modern banker? 

Digital transformation has created a lot of new businesses and opportunities in the financial services industry. In events, Money20/20 is perceived as the hottest young rival to Sibos. Growing year on year, the event gathers the most senior audience of geographically diverse decision makers in payments and financial services innovation, an omnichannel amalgamation of mobile, retail, marketing services, data and technology. Over ten thousand attended last year and the event was covered by over 200 journalists, from media outlets including Bloomberg, Forbes, Financial Times, Business Insider and CNBC. This event is proof banks should think about new ways of communicating to a younger generation who are used to using data to find the best deals.  

To draw a big crowd and be the launch pad for many interesting ideas, the 2016 Sibos conference needs great content around its four streams: Banking, Compliance, Culture and Securities. Here’s our view on the hottest topics in the financial landscape, and what the industry is saying, to prepare you for the event: 

  • Political change: After five years abroad in North America and Asia, the conference returns to Europe at an interesting time. Post-Brexit chills are blowing predictions for the future of banking in Europe left, right and centre. Some anticipating doom and gloom for the UK Banking industry, to the benefit of other financial centres such as Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin, others remaining calmly convinced “The City” will remain top-dog. Whether jobs will be cut, relocated or remain once Article 50 is triggered largely depends on the UK’s passporting rights and access to the European free market, and much is left uncertain. Even if negotiations fail to secure access to full trading rights, updates to The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive could allow the UK a loophole in its new, out of Europe, entity. 
  • Industry growth and talent pool: While the Referendum results have no immediate effect on the status of European nationals working in the UK, it is predicted to reduce the talent pool in London in the long term. Will the growth of EU financial centres steal the cream away from London? With less talent to choose from and charges imposed on immigration skills under the new Immigration Act 2016, financial institutions may have a big fight to recruit top players. On the other hand, the absence of foreign professionals could see homegrown British talent have more opportunities to thrive. 
  • Digital disruption: Sharing similarities with the current European political landscape, the traditional financial services sector is facing turbulence from regulators, start-up banks and FinTechs. On one hand, regulators are asking financial organisations to comply with a variety of anti-market abuse and liquidity mandates, whilst start-up banks like Fidor in Germany, Atom in the UK and mBank in Poland are luring customers away with their user-friendly interfaces and their ability to deliver dynamic context-based pricing. 
  • Regulation and compliance: Banks are fighting competition from challengers under a heavy regulatory load. Since the 2008 financial crisis, more than 40 legislative and non-legislative measures have been proposed by the European Commission to manage risk and financial operations. Banks are struggling to stay within the lines, and paying big fines as a result. There is also the challenge of data protection laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will start protecting data of European citizens from May 2018. Brexit will not exempt UK financial firms from obliging with new rules if they want to stay in business with Europe. 

So what do you think the main topics of Sibos should be? Do you agree with our thoughts on the rise in a new breed of FinTech events?

SunTec at Sibos

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