The Sibos financial services conference is an annual event that sets the agenda for the banking industry. Like always, ANZ will be there in 2022, with the success of its customers front of mind.
Primarily a payments conference, Sibos will see industry participants from across the globe meet and discuss all elements of the banking ecosystem – from stablecoin to supply chains and more.
To discuss the upcoming event and what it means for the sector, we sat down with Michael Lim, Head of TB Financial Institutions, and Mark Harding, Global Head of FIG at ANZ Institutional - both part of the ANZ delegation going to Sibos. Below is an edited transcript of that discussion.
They started by addressing what Sibos is all about – and why ANZ is sending a delegation of bankers to the event.
ML: We take Sibos seriously. It’s like a military operation in terms of preparation – there is so much going on from organising the space, catering, invites to customers, briefing notes, agendas and more. There’s a huge amount of work going on right now.
ANZ will send a delegation of roughly 25 people to the conference, from a range of disciplines within the bank - our relationship coverage teams, transaction banking, technology, innovation, wholesale digital, and financial crime.
A day at Sibos for a delegate is a very busy one. Every delegate will have somewhere between 20 to 40 meetings over a four-day period, which is quite intense. We do 45-minute meetings so we have 15 minutes to get to the next one. It's pretty full on.
I've used the term ‘speed dating’ to describe it in the past, but I don't think that does it justice to be honest. I think it underplays the amount of preparation and planning that goes on. We've got 45 minutes in a meeting with customers to plan what we’re going to do over the next year and/or exchange best practice. There’s very little time to waste.
MH: It's going to be brilliant to be able to get everyone together under one roof at Sibos. I think people in the industry are really looking forward to it.
Many businesses have travelled different paths along the pandemic, particularly outside ANZ’s home markets. I'm based in Singapore and work with our global team, and therefore the interactions we’ve had with clients over the last three years have all been different.
But now there’s a sense of real relief we have a chance to get together and really interact with each other on a personal basis. People have had enough of talking to each other through a screen. We're already seeing a lot of Sibos meetings and invites come through already.
It's such an important event to help set the agenda for the new bank year. We need to make sure we get all our points across in 45 minutes and then hear from our customers, too. It’s good two-way interaction.
Sibos is finally back. After two years in the digital wilderness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the best minds in the financial services industry will meet in person again – this time in Amsterdam.
From October 10 to 13, the Sibos Financial Services Conference will provide a platform for industry participants to delve into the trends which will shape the sector into 2023 and beyond.
As always, ANZ Institutional Insights will provide market-leading insights in the lead up to the event. These thought-leading conversations from ANZ’s industry experts will offer a sneak peek at the ideas set to dominate the conference – and the future of the industry.
ML: Everyone I've spoken to is really looking forward to the event because it's the first time we've had a face-to-face Sibos since 2019. We haven't seen some of our customers in person for that length of time. It's going to be great.
I agree, Mark, that everyone’s a little bit over video chat. It was clear at the 2021 virtual event the number of meetings we were involved with were starting to drop off.
I also think when you're having a formal meeting on video and you've only got 45 minutes to discuss things, the agenda can dominate, and the discussion can be limited. But it’s the in-person social interactions around Sibos that are inevitably different.
Events like Sibos are so important to our relationships with customers and peers because that’s where you get genuine colour and insight into not just what the business is doing, but why - and their motivations. This helps us get a greater insight into their organisation, allowing us to better give them what they need to succeed.
MH: Sibos is all about banks getting together to meet with other banks and people in the payments industry.
At ANZ, we're proud of the quality of our work in payments and the service we offer our customers. We've consistently been rated the leading bank in Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar clearing for several years.
There has been a huge amount of change in payments technology and platforms over the past few years. As bankers, we want to make sure our customers are aware of what's happening – globally and in our local markets - because we know that is important to them.
Our customers rely on us as a trusted advisor that understands the space extremely well and we pride ourselves on that. Likewise, we want to learn what our customers are doing on the edge of innovation. It’s a continuation of our partnership approach.
ML: We want our customers to know we are committed to them and sending 25 people overseas to Sibos is a pretty big commitment from the bank.
There’s been some understandable concern in the industry around the commitment of Australian banks to the payments space based on some recent activity in the sector.
It's a priority for us. We are continuing to invest in the area. We have several innovation projects underway. From the front of the business to the back, we’re all committed to payments. And we want to be for many years to come.
MH: The conversations at Sibos should be interesting. I think we'll hear quite a bit around the changing sanctions environment. That’s been a busy space with the conflict happening in Europe.
It’s a fast-moving and evolving environment, so there is much to be learnt from the way banks are staying nimble in the face of that. I think that's something that will continue to be a theme in the years to come.
ML: Yes, that sanctions piece is so important. I think geopolitical issues and supply chain disruption, and how as banks we can support our customers through that, will be a popular topic of discussion.
The innovation piece is always a theme as well. It's always interesting to see the new and exciting things other banks are doing. Digital assets have had an interesting ride over the past 12 months and that should attract a lot of questions.
How that technology can be used to solve customer problems and industry issues is going to be a key point of discussion. We’ll be talking about our own work in stablecoin, but also be seeking out peer banks to discuss some of the things they've been doing in the space.
The digitisation of trade is always on the table – along with ongoing automation, machine learning, all those sorts of things. There'll be plenty to talk about, that is the bottom line.
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