London's burgeoning reputation as the tech and financial capital of Europe is to be rewarded in 2019 when it will play host to the annual Swift international banking conference, Sibos, for the first time in the event's 37-year history.
Following a successful bid by ExCeL London and London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company, more than 7000 financial services professionals from across the globe will converge on the capital in 2019 for the annual week-long meet-up.
The last time Sibos came to the UK was in 1985, when the seaside resort of Brighton played host to the gathering. The 500-or-so delegates who made the trip were fed fish and chips wrapped in newspapers and entertained by pearly kings and queens at the event's farewell party.
In the intervening year's, Sibos has grown into a mammoth shindig, requiring levels of insfrastructure and services that can only be found at a limited number of global capitals.
David Pegler, CEO, ExCeL London, says the venue has been keen to run the show for many years, but has only now been able to meet with Swift's approval.
"The huge investment in ExCeL’s world-class event facilities coupled with London’s new transport and hotel infrastructure mean that we have been able to meet the criteria outlined by Swift for the very first time," he says. "By 2019, Sibos delegates will be able to travel across our city in record time using Crossrail, arriving at ExCeL’s dedicated onsite station."
The choice of London has been welcomed by the City's leading banks. Ashok Vaswani, chief executive, Barclays Personal and Corporate Banking, says: "London’s vibrant financial services sector and its growing reputation as a centre for fintech innovation make it a fitting host for this gathering of industry leaders from around the world.”
London claimed the top spot as a centre for technology readiness, business, finance and culture in PwC’s latest Cities of Opportunity index, which ranks 30 major cities internationally and the capital currently employs more workers in financial technology than either New York City or San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. The city also hosts a growing number of fintech accelerators, and the UK and Ireland accounted for more than half of Europe’s fintech deals in 2013 - as well as more than two-thirds of total financing - according to Accenture.