Head of Sibos on demystifying delegates and what to expect in Geneva

By Madhvi Mavadiya | 1 September 2016

bobsguide spoke to Sven Bossu, who heads up Sibos, the biggest event in banking technology, put on by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or more commonly known as SWIFT. This year’s event is expected to bring in thousands of attendees to discuss the transformation of the financial landscape, as well as what we can expect from financial crime compliance, technological innovation and cultural shifts.

This month, we will be focusing on Geneva as a fintech hub, alongside Switzerland as a financial centre. Alongside this, we will be publishing pre-interviews with speakers on what they think needs to be addressed in fintech, their predictions for the future and what we can expect from their session at Sibos. We’ve spoken to industry experts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ACI Worldwide, Standard Chartered, the World Economic Forum and many more!

There’s lots to look forward to this month on bobsguide in the run up to Sibos, but let’s start with what Sven Bossu had to say.

Why Geneva?

Geneva is a very important financial marketplace within Europe and has a very strong private banking presence there. The location of the event is decided at a minimum of three to four years in advance; at present, we’ve planned until 2023. We chose Singapore last year as we believe that the city is the gateway to the Asian region and of course, fintech is moving fast there. Switzerland also has a lively fintech scene.

How will Sibos be addressing the explosion of European fintech?

We are doing something very special and new this year. In the exhibition space, we will have an area called the Swiss Lounge, which will ultimately be a networking area but will provide a space and a voice to 25 fintech companies that we have selected to showcase their products and services to our community. This is the first time that we have done this and we have worked with some Swiss fintech associations so that we were able to do this. This is also something that we would like to do going forward, especially for the next two years.

Sibos has been around for a very long time, how has it evolved?

SWIFT ensures that there is a secure network in place between financial institutions and corporates worldwide, or what is now called, financial messaging. We started in 1973 and in 1978, for the first time, we brought together our customers to figure out how to implement messaging standards. Having this common problem, our mission is to find a common solution; from 300 delegates in 1978 to 8200 in Singapore last year, the core challenges that we have are very different now.  

It’s not just about messaging, it’s about financial compliance, it’s about anti-money laundering, it’s about cyber security, amongst other things. The goal is still to bring people together and make them think about how to solve common challenges and that is what we’ve always tried to do with an event like Sibos.

What can we expect this year that’s new?

This year, we’ve completely reshaped the conference. After having around 13 forums last year, we’ve restructured and reformed the programme into four streams, Banking, Compliance, Culture and Securities. This should make it easier for the attendee to find their way around, especially with the filters you can apply on the website and the ability to send yourself a personalised conference programme.

What will the most interesting sessions be centred around?

There are two big topics that I find interesting, on one hand, there will be a discussion on the use of data in private banking and wealth management which also focuses on robo-advice. The other topic is cyber security and we will be having an in depth session, workshops and an educational session where delegates can expel any mystification around this subject. We have more to talk about now than we did decades ago, but we still have to talk about payments and securities, but now we have topics like cybersecurity.

You also see shifts in the industry. For example, last year in Singapore, blockchain and distributed ledger technology were considered hot and innovative. This year, blockchain is almost considered mainstream. 

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