What top themes emerged from Sibos 2018?

Over 7,500 attendees – including bankers, technologists and FinTech influencers – travelled to Australia from more than 150 countries to discuss the forces reshaping the financial services industry. Following four days of in-depth debate at ICC Sydney, several common themes emerged.

Embracing a richer payments landscape

Participants across the conference agreed that the future payments landscape will be characterised by partnership and collaboration. What many leading FinTechs are doing well is creating a great customer experience - and the banks can give them the reach and wider base of expertise needed to succeed. The wave of new entrants is seen as a positive which will provide opportunities for collaboration, as well as competition, and a vibrant infrastructure for the industry.

In the week’s first Big Issue Debate, ‘Re-engineering international payments for a fast, digital age’, experts discussed how the international payments landscape is evolving in response to these new entrants and innovative technologies. One panelist also highlighted that, despite the emphasis on digital, cash is still alive and kicking, with a recent study showing that the percentage of people around the world using cash has only dropped from 85% to 83% over a 10-year period.

Speakers in a number of sessions reiterated that customer-focused, collaborative and data prioritising institutions would be the ones who do well.  Organisations must now expect the unexpected and embrace change, whilst leveraging technological developments to set themselves up for the future.


Staying alert to cyber threats

The dangers coming from the Dark Web and the rise of effectively organised cybercrime were a common thread throughout Sibos 2018. No matter how good the technical controls that we build become, they are still controlled by organic human matter which must be appropriately trained and upskilled. Just as we are all now accountable for health & safety in the workplace, so must we all become equally accountable for cybersecurity in our organisations.

‘Is a ‘cyber 9/11’ event inevitable?’ highlighted that cybercriminals’ sophistication is never that far behind the latest security innovations.  As there is a huge financial incentive, information sharing is very advanced amongst cybercriminals and therefore industry co-operation must be paramount.

A sobering audience vote revealed that a clear majority expect a major cybersecurity event in the next 10 years. The panelists agreed, citing the problem of people not understanding the full impact of their actions working as adversaries on the internet. 


Innovation, data and the rise of Asia

At the opening plenary session, Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, set the tone for the week by describing the threat to the universal banking model from a lower cost of digitalisation, warning that banks must be increasingly agile. He stated that the banks that will succeed are the ones who best blend technology with the best of mankind, from an operational and delivery point of view, but also from a customer experience perspective.

The Innotribe sessions looked ahead to the year 2030, presenting a vision of the future where technology and people are closely integrated. The provocative content explored trust, quantum computing and AI. As we move into an age of algorithms and robotics, the trust in who has our data, who uses our data and who can see our data is an important dynamic to deal with.

For ‘The Rise of Asia as a source of innovation’, speakers looked at the region’s booming financial services industry and the myriad innovations emerging. Asia Pacific is well placed for further growth due to a rise in entrepreneurship and increasing self-confidence in what the region can achieve. In addition, mobile technologies are driving financial inclusion across local communities.


The closing plenary was delivered by Australian cultural anthropologist, technologist and futurist Professor Genevieve Bell, who summed up the week’s activity with a view of the human experience of technology.

Professor Bell took delegates on a trip into the distant future with an eye-opening look at how AI will challenge our work lives, and our lives as consumers and human beings.


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