Conversations at Sibos


Sibos 2015 will be held at the Sans Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands. Photo: Irwin Soo

The experience of attending any conference can be greatly enriched by a bit of background reading and an expanded knowledge of the conversations already in progress. Here are three topics that presenters at Sibos will add their voice to, and background on each that will help participants put them in context.

Customer-centric banking

The last few decades in banking have been characterized by a technology-spurred shift to a business model that focuses more closely on the needs of individual customers. Consumers, accustomed to the ease and access of conducting most of their business on the internet, have begun to expect more of the same from their banks. One of the results of that shift is an ongoing conversation about how to view and meet the needs of customers, especially as digital natives come of age.

In 2012, McKinsey published an exhortative banking practice directive on the absolute necessity of customer-centric products and services. This sentiment has been echoed by Deloitte, BCG, and countless other banking insiders and outsiders alike.

Author Andrew Keen will present on customer-focused analytics.

Marion King, MD and EVP at Royal Bank of Scotland, talked about the changing needs of her customers with the UK Business Reporter, saying “We have a very tech-savvy population in the UK. We’ve seen online payments grow at twice the rate of offline physical ones.” King will speak on how payments transformation can help achieve customer-centricity through innovation.

Leader of BBVA’s Millennial Initiative Scarlett Sieber will tackle how to engage with the millennial generation; a group of customers who have never known a world without online communications, transactions, and banking. When asked for her advice to millennials by Tech Republic, Sieber responded, “Be fearless.”


The importance of compliance has increased significantly since the last financial crisis, and pursuant to an increased focus on terrorist activity worldwide. Because of factors like those, regulations have gotten tougher and compliance has become a very hot topic. The Wall Street Journal launched its own Risk and Compliance Journal blog in 2013 to publish for this very specific segment of its own audience. Despite the industrywide increases in hiring and spending for regulatory compliance, Deloitte has argued that reactionary provisions for better oversight in this area may not be sufficient.

There are more than 40 scheduled presentations at Sibos on the subject of compliance.

Michael Bellacosa of BNY Mellon will speak on recent initiatives to bring standards and regulations together in practice.

Christine Duhaime told the WSJ’s Risk and Compliance Journal that most of the work in compliance isn’t in regulation; it’s in implementation, saying, “If we actually had the controls in place like we said we would…then we would have stopped the financing of terrorism.” Duhaime will speak on reinventing regulation, as well as presenting on the impact of payment platforms on social change.

Guillermo Horta of Bank of America Merrill Lynch will present on the past, present, and future of compliance.


Finally, payments and payment platforms have been a focus in the financial community for the last decade. To borrow a succinct explanation from International Banker: “Today, the pace of payments system innovation is unprecedented. The extensive growth of retail banking and payments; from customer base to the number and range of product and services on offer has led to the birth of young, dynamic and specialist players offering quick-to-market, innovative products all fighting for market share.” The G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion reported that these rapid innovations could have far-reaching social implications for economic growth and empowerment.

This conversation is as varied as the payments sphere itself, as more voices and more entrants seem to join in every day. Over 100 speakers at Sibos will address the subject of payments.

Jeremy Light, Managing Director and EVP at Accenture, spoke with Ripple’s Alec Liu: “It’s instant gratification, essentially cashless cash. If you give cash to someone, a $20 bill, that’s it. The transaction is done and you can move on. That’s the beauty of real-time payments. Light will speak on the vital importance of catching up payments to real-time for the digital economy, exploring the benefits to both banks and non-banks.

McKinsey EVP and Managing Director Philip Bruno spoke with Forbes on the encroachment of tech companies into the payments sphere:

“I don’t think banks are going to lose. Back in the days of Internet 1.0 it was popular to say the world needs banking it just doesn’t need banks. The threats then were mostly small startup while today banks face potential competition from large, tech-savvy companies with ample treasuries — Google and Apple, for example. The payment market then was $112 billion and banks owned it end to end, Today in US it is $290 billion and banks have well over a 90 percent share.”

At Sibos, Bruno will present in a panel on the firm’s latest report on global payments.

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