International Payments Summit 2014: Show Report

By Saajan Raja | 14 April 2014

bobsguide was present for the International Payments Summit 2014 (IPS) at the Hilton Hotel in London. The week-long event, principally sponsored by VocaLink, was a valuable opportunity to learn of global concerns regarding payments; regulatory burdens and emerging technologies.

The event annually brings together 400 senior executives from banks, corporations, technology and infrastructure providers, regulators and service providers from around the globe.

Significant trends and innovation in international payments were the focus. There were a fantastic number of keynote speakers, panel discussions and streams. The programme was clearly driven by extensive research within the payments community, thus ensuring wide-scale coverage.  The stream formatting enabled attendees to create their own agenda over the three days.  

Day one consisted of two separate events; The Payments Regulation Boot Camp and The Future of Money Unconference. The first was chaired by Ruth Wandhöfer, Global Head of Regulatory & Market Strategy, Transaction Services, CITI. Key topics included assessing the drivers for change in payments regulation. SEPA was of course also a major point of discussion as well as how evolving legislation may impact payments cards.

Consult Hyperion Director, Dave Birch chaired The Future of Money Unconference. The unconference format meant that delegates were able to create their own agenda and the knowledge of the entire audience was harnessed. The unconference was run under The Chatham Rule so that everyone could speak in total confidentiality. 

The following days of the event followed a stream structure with attendees able to carve out an itinerary based on their preferences. One of the highlights of IPS came from Keynote Speaker Hamish McRae, Chief Economic Commentator at the Independent. He brought delegates the latest thinking about the global economic outlook. McRae gave a whistle stop tour of the prospects for Asia; the US; Europe and the emerging economies with an emphasis on the new competitive landscape and the ascent of new players.

The Transaction Bankers Electronic Polling Session on day two looked at key strategic challenges now facing the industry. Leading transaction bankers discussed their aspirations in a new environment - and why a clear vision for your business has never been more important. The audience were able to share their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the industry via electronic polling.

Thought leaders including Chris Skinner and Mary Carol Harris; disruptors including iZettle & Zapp debated the central issues and asked if new services are to be driven by the needs of the digital native and new players are ready to take centre stage. The role of banks in all of this was also questioned.

The final day’s focus on bitcoin this year is a very striking thing considering it was such a peripheral topic of discussion last year. It shows how far the virtual currency has come within a year and its importance in the space. It has been incredibly disruptive and controversial in the financial space and it’s great to see it as a topic of major discussion this year.

Overall the week-long event was a fantastic opportunity for some of the most senior professionals in the industry to congregate and positively discuss the current state and future of the payments space. Attendees would surely have left with a greater sense of direction in their relative fields as they were treated to a host of expert opinions at IPS 2014.

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