Treasury Strategy & Transformation
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Lessons from Sibos 2017: Growth is Back on the Agenda

With another jam-packed Sibos week now over in Toronto, the authors reflect on the themes and developments that emerged. Following a year characterised by compliance and regulatory concerns in 2016, this year’s event saw growth and optimism restored to the agenda.

Once again, Sibos has come and gone in a flash. And as we train our sights on the year ahead, now is a chance to reflect on this year’s event in Toronto and examine the trends and themes that emerged. The key message? After years of preoccupation with regulation and compliance, the industry is once again gearing up for growth. A number of new services will soon hit the market, while bank-fintech – and wider industry – collaboration is the hot topic when it comes to meeting the most challenging client needs.

Certainly, there was a difference in tone at this year’s event. Last year, there was a sense of responsibility and caution on banks’ part, with regulatory concerns such as AML and KYC requirements featuring heavily. This year, attendees were noticeably less preoccupied with these topics. Instead, the mood was more positive and forward-looking, with the clear message from banks that it was time to get back to business and start focusing once again on growth. 

New products and services in the pipeline

How are banks looking to do this? One way is by developing new products and services. One development that is achieving particularly strong traction is SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi), a technology that dramatically improves the customer experience in cross-border payments by increasing the speed, transparency and end-to-end tracking of payments. As a pilot bank on this collaborative project, UniCredit has been live with SWIFT gpi since February, and has already reached the milestone of 100,000 payments processed via SWIFT gpi since then. Its use among other banks has grown rapidly, becoming the new standard for cross-border payments, as more than 120 leading transaction banks – accounting for over 75% of all SWIFT payments – are now signed up to the service. In September this year, SWIFT gpi surpassed two million payments made.