4 key takeaways from Sibos 2019

Anna Flach 11 October 2019

In the last week of September the Qadre team lived and breathed one of the most renowned events the financial world has to offer: Sibos 2019. For four days 11,572 great minds gathered to learn from over 600 speakers, network and share insights about what the future of financial services holds. We have collected four key takeaways of Sibos 2019, which we wanted to share with you.

Courtesy of Sibos

1. The world of finance is fundamentally changing

One of the notions that resonated throughout the conference is that the financial world as we know it is fundamentally changing. We are at an inflection point, where the truth of yesterday is not necessarily going to hold true tomorrow.

This is largely driven by shifting customer expectations. Whether B2C or B2B, today customers demand a smooth experience and instantaneous results — matching the level of service provided by the likes of Google and Amazon. People expect these standards from any service provider in any industry, and banking is no exception. The traditional finance industry has not been built with these expectations in mind. The shifting customer mindset and newly emerging banks and fintechs have been challenging the business model for some time.

There has never been such a high degree of change and innovation in banking as today. For us, this is a great opportunity to innovate — an opportunity to provide solutions and create ecosystems that the customers of today and tomorrow do not only use and tolerate but use and enjoy.

2. People as a core topic

Most of the panels and conference streams touched upon the human factor. At the end of the day, everything that companies want to achieve — growth, profit, funding — can only be achieved by people for people.

We can see a shift within the banking industry from product orientation to customer centricity. Companies and professionals alike are starting to put customer needs in the front and centre of everything they do.

However, this is not only about meeting the needs of the customer. The whole industry has come to the realisation that collaboration is needed to tackle today’s challenges and benefit as the industry changes. Collaboration is key when driving efficiencies and streamlining industry-wide process with technologies, such as blockchain.

3. The technological revolution is here today

Unsurprisingly, a key topic of discussion at Sibos was technology. There is a huge amount of innovation going on in the industry at the moment and emerging technologies such as machine learning, AI, big data, and blockchain play a vital role. It is an incredibly exciting time as we discover how to use technology to drive efficiencies, increase transparency, reduce costs, generate new revenue streams and improve customer experience.

Looking particularly at blockchain in financial services, there are some significant use cases that have started to emerge. At Sibos the discussions circled around blockchain in trade finance, payments and identity. For example, with blockchain, we can re-imagine how we protect, prove and use people’s identity — a crucial asset to anyone. Within the payment space, especially in wholesale markets, the door is opening to atomic synchronisation: instantaneous exchange of diverse assets.

This creates opportunities for incumbents and challengers equally and we have seen some major achievements on both sides.

4. Sustainability becomes a business driver

A final key takeaway from Sibos 2019 is the rise of sustainability, and especially ESG (environmental, social and governance), a metric to measure impact from an ethical, non-financial perspective. Historically, ESG has been a feature that many financial institutions have paid lip service to, but in reality, nobody truly understood too much about it or gave too much attention to it.

However, today the generic population is increasingly aware of global issues and are actively looking to solve them.

Especially millennials, born between 1981–1996, or anyone who joined the workforce after the financial crisis, tend to be increasingly interested in a green, clean, ethical and socially responsible way of living. The offspring of baby boomers are entering their peak earning period and are set to soon inherit their parents’ wealth — hence asset managers are doing a lot to attract investment by this key target audience.

Sustainability is no longer something that can be neglected — it needs to be built-in right at the core values. For example, in one of the sessions, 60% of the audience believed that ESGs will be mainstream within the next three years. We clearly see the growing traction and demand for seriousness of ethical practices and investments.

However, this brings along a significant challenge — capturing the source of truth and the actual impact a company or financial instrument makes. People need to see proof that their bank is truly helping the world. This is where blockchain technology can be a great tool.

With blockchain technology, we can capture the provenance of the impact right at the start and provide proof throughout the value chain. This way the end customer can be sure that the information provided is a hundred percent accurate and true.

Thank you for a fantastic event Sibos 2019, see you in Boston next year!

Change, people, technology and sustainability — these were the four areas that stuck out for us at Sibos this year. All of these are incredibly close to what we do at Qadre with a team that has largely come from the tech and banking world.

For anyone interested in innovation, particularly from a blockchain perspective, get in touch with us via the comments, LinkedIn or Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you.

We’d like to send a huge thank you to the team at Sibos for organising such a fantastic event. See you next year at Sibos 2020 in Boston!

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