I’ve just returned from Sydney, where Chantal van Es and I had the pleasure of meeting with the New South Wales and Sydney community to kick off the preparations for Sibos 2018. Just in case you didn’t know, Chantal will be taking over from me as Head of Sibos at the end of this year.
First stop was the brand new International Convention Centre ICC Sydney (ICC Sydney), which opened last December following three years of extensive reconstruction and a revamp of the entire district.
The venue offers 32,000 square metres of exhibition space, three theatres, an outdoor event deck and numerous meeting and conference rooms - everything that a successful Sibos needs.
The design is both simple and sophisticated, mixing natural materials such as wood with polished concrete and using pastel-like colours. Combined with loads of natural daylight and stunning views of the surroundings, ICC Sydney will be a perfect home for next year’s Sibos.
Helen Mantellato, ICC Sydney’s international business development manager, captured the excitement amongst the locals, telling me that "the team sees Sibos 2018 as a major highlight event for next year, and will go above and beyond to make the magic happen".
We also caught up with Business Events Sydney. Kristian Nicholls and Anne Camenzind have been involved in the preparation of Sibos 2018 since … May 2014! And their enthusiasm hasn’t cooled down since. On the contrary, bringing Sibos to Sydney has built up a strong city-wide alliance, from hotels to airport authorities, to ensure that the Sibos delegates will be treated to a unique experience.
As Kristian put it: “we are genuinely thrilled that Sydney will again host Sibos and will work in true partnership with SWIFT to make it the best one ever.”
That ambition was clearly confirmed when we met with the New South Wales Government. For them, Sibos is an opportunity to showcase Sydney as a financial centre and the NSW Government are committed to going the extra mile.
Susan Calvert, Acting Deputy Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry was very clear: “Bringing thousands of senior professionals from the global financial services community to Sydney provides us with a platform not only to connect and do business, but to demonstrate some of the innovative services the Australian banks and FinTech companies offer - some of them as a result of the implementation of the NPP platform, in collaboration with SWIFT”.
Which brought us to Danielle Szetho, CEO of FinTech Australia. The Australian FinTech scene is thriving and similar to what we did in Geneva, and will be doing in Toronto, we want to create a forum where the global financial community and local FinTech companies can meet and learn from each other, hopefully resulting in leads and contracts. The exact concept is to be defined, but as Danielle said “it’s all about connecting, discussing challenges and solutions and hopefully doing business together.”
We finished off the trip by meeting ten very senior representatives of the Australian financial sector - a big thank you to Bill Doran, head of the local SWIFT office, for setting up the productive meeting. We shared with them what we will be doing in Toronto and all the ideas that we’ve so far collected for Sibos 2018. And we were given a lot more ideas!
A very intense week indeed, but the type which gets you fully energised before starting the trip back. Sibos 2018 is definitely kicked off - and we’re still four months away from Sibos 2017. I’d like to leave you with some pictures of the impressive new ICC Sydney: