The evolution of the Sibos community

An innovative journey from humble origins in Brussels in 1978 to global reach today

Chantal Van Es
Head of Sibos

The seed for the modern day Sibos was planted way back in 1978 as 300 participants gathered in Brussels for a banking operations conference. In an era before mobile phones or the internet, telex, letters and face-to-face meetings were the communication means of the day. In 1982, we broke new territory, taking Sibos outside Europe for the first time to the shores of the United States. Since then, we’ve reached many milestones, criss-crossing the globe along the way and developing a community of over 8,000 delegates, 200 exhibitors and hundreds of expert speakers. In 2019, it’s time for another landmark as London plays host to Sibos for the very first time.

As our community and industry has evolved, so has Sibos. The banking and wider financial sector has been irrevocably changed by technological advancement and evolving customer demands. The latest phase of the digital revolution is underpinned by collaboration with agile, innovative fintechs, energising the industry with sophisticated solutions and heralding a new era of artificial intelligence, instant payments, blockchain and open banking. Sibos has always been at the intersection of finance and technology, and tech companies are now even more central to the financial sector’s present and future direction and the lines between the two industries are becoming blurred. This is reflected in this year’s Discover Zone at Sibos, a platform for the best and brightest innovators from around the globe to showcase their insights and solutions. We have ambitious plans for this year’s Discover Zone and as a bustling fintech hub, London is a fitting home.  

Alongside and to some extent driven by this digital revolution, we as an industry have become increasingly reflective about our future. We are eager to explore new ways to attract a diverse range of talented individuals, with fresh viewpoints and ideas. Talent Thursday on the fourth day of Sibos will include a bespoke programme for the future leaders of the financial industry, comprising specialist talks, activities and networking experiences, designed specifically for aspiring individuals. We can see real value in bringing the leaders of the future together with the figureheads of our industry, fuelling critical dialogue.

From my time as a SWIFT trainer, I know how important it is to share insights and deliver knowledge in an impactful manner, actively involving your audience. We select speakers on this basis, ensuring Sibos has the most knowledgeable presenters, each with their own particular style and technique to engage their audience. Driven by the demand of our diverse and global community, we are determined that Sibos 2019 will be the most engaging and immersive to date. The scale and flexibility of ExCeL London means we can blend conference and exhibition to deliver a real event experience for our delegates. We’re making it easy to navigate and will ensure delegates have the break out spaces they need, whether it’s to network or a quiet area to catch up on emails between exploring the exhibition or listening to the varied programme of speakers. 

Some of the sessions on this year’s Sibos programme, such as ‘Compliance and blockchain’ and ‘The Cloud debate’, wouldn’t mean a thing to the bankers congregated in a modest conference room in Belgium in 1978. However, the value they placed in face-to-face meetings still holds true today. Technological innovation in the last 40 years has facilitated a multitude of ways of keeping in touch but taking the time to attend the right event is still invaluable in creating business opportunities, catching up with contacts and developing new professional relationships. We owe credit to the group that gathered in 1978 for their vision, and as we look to this year’s Sibos in London and beyond to future iterations, we will strive to accurately represent our growing, shifting and thriving community.

You can register today to attend Sibos 2019 London and subscribe to Sibos Insider to receive a monthly newsletter with the latest exclusive announcements.