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Sibos Corporate Forum: Shaping a New Era in Corporate-to-Bank Relationships

Marcus Treacher, Chair, SWIFT Corporate Advisory Group

Sibos is recognised globally as the flagship annual event for the financial community to collaborate, innovate and share experiences on the issues shaping the industry of today and tomorrow. Corporate treasurers play an essential role in this community and as such, have a vital contribution to make to Sibos, and the potential to acquire considerable new insights by attending. In addition to plenary sessions throughout Sibos that provoke discussion, debate and innovation, one of the integral, specialist streams is the Corporate Forum, a two-day event with a programme specifically targeted at corporate treasurers and finance managers. When the Corporate Forum was first launched eight years ago, it was designed to facilitate discussion between the pioneers in corporate-to-bank connectivity via SWIFT. With SWIFT now a well established communication solution for multi-banked corporations, the Corporate Forum retains the pioneering and innovative spirit of the early years, but now covers a far wider range of issues with which treasurers are occupied.

Regulatory challenges and opportunities

New regulations are having, and will continue to have, a profound effect on the entire corporate banking community. Not only does this include regulations such as Basel III, but issues such as sanctions screening are also having an impact on banks and corporates alike. However, regulatory change brings potential advantages as well as challenges. Gradual liberalisation of RMB, including rapidly developing opportunities for cross-border trade and liquidity management, is driving substantial change in the way that corporates do business in China. The panel on Day Two of the Corporate Forum enables corporate treasurers to share insights and experiences with their peers, and discuss the ways in which their banks can facilitate business in China.

A digital era for international trade

The shifting regulatory landscape, together with continued globalisation, is impacting on international trade in all regions. In tandem, however, growing collaboration between banks, corporates and SWIFT is resulting in substantial progress in digitising international trade, eliminating the manual, time-consuming and error-prone processes of the past. During the Corporate Forum, participants will discuss emerging opportunities for process automation and acceleration, enriched information and new instruments such as BPO (Bank Payment Obligations). Furthermore, the growing trend towards corporate-to-corporate trade finance initiatives is eroding traditional industry roles.

Together, these initiatives are laying the foundations for a new, digitised era in international trade. The Corporate Forum addresses what this means in practice, and discusses new demands that corporates have of their banks, including the need to finance commerce efficiently, based on electronic data flows rather than the paper-based processes of the past. Participants will have a unique opportunity to interact with key players across the trade and cash community to share insights and practical experiences and ultimately contribute to a new model for international trade.