Sibos 2022: Uncovering value for banks in the Metaverse

Sibos 2022: Uncovering value for banks in the Metaverse

As Sibos edges ever closer, Finextra has reached out to a clutch of the conference’s expert speakers to share their thoughts on leading industry trends and what they expect to take from Sibos 2022.

Catherine Zhou, global head of ventures, digital partnerships and innovation, HSBC, seemed a fitting individual to kick off Finextra’s Sibos coverage.

Joining a the panel titled, ‘Spotlight on Digital Value: Conquering the metaverse - should securities firms start buying plots of virtual land,’ Zhou will dive in to the meaty Metaverse world, sharing the perspective of one of the globe’s largest financial institutions.

In March this year, HSBC entered the Metaverse after inking a deal with The Sandbox gaming platform to buy a plot of digital land. This was followed in April with the bank's launch of the HSBC Metaverse Discretionary Strategy, an investment fund focused on five segments of the virtual ecosystem; infrastructure, computing, virtualisation, experience and discovery, and interface.

If research by Citi is to be believed, the Metaverse would be a sage alignment for HSBC, as the Citi findings show that the industry could be worth up to $13 trillion by 2030. Despite such predictions, support of the Metaverse is far from unanimous across financial services, and many questions whether banks, which are historically very traditional institutions, be at the forefront of novel technology such as the Metaverse.

According to Zhou, in order to stay relevant and competitive, banks need to proactively and safely explore new areas of innovation, especially those which could have a material impact on customer interaction. “Web3 technologies used in the Metaverse, like blockchain, tokenisation and smart contracts could transform areas of financial services, so it is right to investigate their potential.”

When it comes to predicting timelines for the mainstreaming of the Metaverse - a context where we begin witnessing stock exchanges and asset managers operating within the space - Zhou states that the first priority for regulated companies is keeping their customers safe.

“Although there has been a lot of movement in the last few months, global regulations around Web3 and the Metaverse are still developing, so many organisations are waiting to see how this landscape evolves. However, there are also indirect ways of engaging - for example, HSBC launched a Metaverse Discretionary Strategy portfolio for select clients in Hong Kong and Singapore to invest in Metaverse themed companies.”

Metaverse isn’t the only experiential technology trend that Zhou believes will build in momentum over the next five to ten years. She notes that HSBC is closely watching multiple disruptive trends including quantum computing, tokenisation of “everything” (rights, ID, experiences), and climate technologies. “All of these will have profound impact on our and our customers’ lives,” Zhou concludes.

Finextra will be covering Sibos live from Amsterdam from October 10th to October 13th. Be sure to keep up to date with all of the event’s news and announcements via Finextra’s Live@ Sibos page throughout the week.

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