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Sibos 2019- A look back and Guidance for Banking 2020

In last three years, Sibos has been to three different continents with three different time zones. From Toronto to Sydney and now in London, the event is more popular than ever with record number of participants in 2019. And you may ask why, what is so special about Sibos?

While a banking conference should focus only on banking, but Sibos is much more. Sibos is an experience. Organized by Swift, the global event connects thousands of business leaders, decision makers and thought leaders from financial institutions, market infrastructures, and technology partners. The agenda covers a wide variety of topics ranging from the global economy to monitory policy, payments to trade, APIs to Open banking, data to innovation, and so much more  

Still not impressed?

Let me share some numbers with you. Sibos London 2019 attracted a record-breaking 11,500 delegates from over 150 countries. There were 680 speakers across 375 sessions and 332 exhibitors. Importantly, there were so many interesting and insightful sessions from Industry’s top leaders, innovators, and visionaries. Here are some interesting themes from the conference:

Global Economy and Macro Headwinds

From Central bankers to academicians, tech vendors to top banking executives, everyone at the conference expressed concerns around a possible global slowdown as a fallout of the ongoing trade wars. Protectionist policies across the oceans is taking a toll. Global growth is fading, low interest rates and high debt levels are making it trickier for the bankers. Banks need to be customer centric, reconsidering the old product led approach

All roads lead to Data

With regulatory developments like GDPR and Open banking, banks have to share account and transaction data via APIs. Furthermore, the success of technologies like analytics, AI/ML is also dependent and often credited to the quality of underlying data.  Consequently, most discussions in Sibos 2019 orbited around the importance of having a solid and clearly articulated data strategy. The industry used this opportunity to explore on its role as one of the data custodian in a time when mindboggling amount of data is being generated, managed and shared

Payments and all thing Real time

The payments industry seems to be heading on the right track with consultants like Mckinsey placing the global payments revenues at ~$2.7tr by 2023, up from ~$19tr in 2018 growing at around 6% p.a. on average. Mckinsey also highlighted M&A activity of over $100bn in payments space since 2018 as players are seeking scale, efficiency and integrated solutions. On the cross border real time payments, experts highlighted challenges like compliance related delays, false positive issues with multiple screenings, and lack of STP due to data quality

Trade Finance- Interoperability and Standards

Multiple speakers highlighted the rising cost of trade on account of increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment and how cost efficiencies via digitization could be a savior. New technologies like AI, robotics, optical character recognition and blockchain are being tested with mixed success. Experts also voiced concerns on limited interoperability and echoed calls for common rules/ standards and need for sustainability

APIs and Open Banking

In last couple of years, central bankers and regulators are embracing and promoting Open banking ecosystems and motivations range from promoting competition and innovation to ensuring customer data rights. Panelists explored these motivations and the reasons behind the sluggish implementation. Issues around accreditation, consent, data/liability management and customer awareness were discussed at length

Compliance and Fraud

There was also a clear consensus in the conference that banking industry by and large needs to improve financial compliance and capabilities as the drive towards cloud, open banking and real-time puts additional pressure on the incumbents and payment providers. Panelists talked about importance of leveraging technologies like ML and AI for compliance and fraud detection purposes. Swift also reiterated the on its fraud prevention and detection capabilities as well as compliance tools and data analytics during its sessions.

Swift GPI and Standards

Swift, being the host, leveraged the four-day event to promote Swift gpi roadmap for financial institutions as well as the corporates.  Many sessions addressed offerings such as Pre-validation, Request for payment, and case resolutions, which can bring better efficiencies to the banks terms of fewer corporate enquiries as well as offer more visibility for all parties. On the standards side, ISO 20022 migration took the center stage as it is poised to become the main language for high-value payments with over 22 HVPS adopting it by 2025

Final Word

The final message from Sibos was loud and clear. The next phase of winners and losers in the banking space would be decided by who is ready to address the fundamental issues around trust, liability and risk while keeping a razor sharp focus on data and everything digital. Banks must be effective in their selection and management of people, processes and technology so they can create a safe and resilient connected ecosystem



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Sachin Goel

Sachin Goel

Director, Global Marketing (Strategic Insights)


Member since

09 May 2013



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