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Listening to our future members?

After the last few hectic days at Sibos here in Boston it was a delight to sit down in the closing plenary and rest my rapidly fading voice and tired feet. There is always an inclination not to take in everything that is said during these long plenary sessions, but fortunately I found the speeches focussed and relevant.

Michael Cohrs gave one of the most relevant closing speeches I have heard for a long time and showed a clear understanding of the interactions between the events affecting transaction banking.  I hope this was from personal knowledge and not simply from a good briefing.  Given his references to Galbraith, one of the gurus from my own university days, I suspect the former.  Congratulations to Deutsche.

Lazaro's summary for the week showed not just that SWIFT had been listening to its members, but also an encouraging interpretation of the messages.  SWIFT has always had to balance the need for co-operation between its members against its members need to compete between themselves.  This will always be the case for an industry body.

The comments that interested me most were from the corporate representatives and around the players in the alternative investment markets.  Their comments of being sold short by SWIFT rung alarm bells as being exactly the type of comments I heard from the securities players when I first entered the SWIFT world in the mid 1990s.  At that stage there were large members of the SWIFT community who were against or unconvinced of the benefits of allowing securities players to have access to the SWIFT network.  It is the same situation with the corporates today.  In 10 years time I suspect we will wonder why they were not helped more sooner.

Success of moving into the new world to meet these challenges needs existing members to listen to the needs of these players.  Only when we truly listen will we understand how to move forward in a way that will provide benefits to all of us - existing SWIFT members, the new players and of course SWIFT itself.

I wish you all a sucessful year with great communication. 



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