As SWIFT’s chief executive for the EMEA region, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Sibos back to Geneva.
It is 14 years since Sibos last visited Geneva. In that period, the global economy and the geopolitical climate have changed significantly. Part of this evolution has been a shift from west to east and the growing importance of Asia in the global story. We witnessed the vibrancy of that continent last year with the biggest Asian Sibos ever in Singapore.
Sibos in Geneva will demonstrate that EMEA has plenty to offer. The European Union is the world’s largest trading bloc and its largest economy, ahead of both the US and China. The region boasts one of the world’s largest international financial centres in London and dynamic start-up hubs in London, Berlin, Geneva and Stockholm, amongst others. Many of the world’s fastest growing economies are in the EMEA region with seven of the top 10 in Africa alone.
Sibos in Geneva will underscore the energy of this continent. With a mix of emerging and mature markets, vibrant startup hubs and established industry champions, EMEA has a lot to offer.
SWIFT plays a critical role in the region and the industry’s most ambitious financial market projects and this year some of these reach important milestones. The Single European Payment Area, for example, covers 34 countries, more than 500 million citizens, and represents over 87.5 billion electronic payment transactions annually. This October’s deadline for euro-denominated payments in non-euro area countries reminds us of the way SEPA is shaping the payments landscape across this continent.
SWIFT plays a critical role in the region and the industry’s most ambitious financial market projects – and this year some of these reach important milestones.
T2S, one of the largest infrastructure projects launched by the Eurosystem so far, marks its one-year anniversary. In Q1 this year, the roll-out continued as the Portuguese and Belgian CSDs successfully completed their migration. By the end of 2016, six more CSDs are set to join. Now, the European community will be looking at how we capitalise on the market infrastructure that is already in place and considering what further benefits new innovations can deliver.
There are similarly broad-reaching projects in other parts of the region too. In the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), comprised of 15 member states, the SIRESS payment system is making cross-border payments easier and cheaper. By helping to drive harmonisation and boost economic growth across the SADC region, it will serve as a platform for the creation of new products and services. So far, 73 banks across nine countries are live, with more scheduled to on-board in the near future.
I cannot close this welcome note without talking about the far reaching challenges that the industry is facing around security and cybercrime. Recent events have been a watershed for our industry, demonstrating the threat that they represent to our ecosystem. SWIFT is taking a leadership role in addressing this and has established its Customer Security Programme (CSP) so that it can support the SWIFT community. Sibos offers an ideal setting for the industry to come together on these crucial topics which are fully represented throughout the programme, including sessions on cyber resilience and AI predictions.
Many of you are Sibos regulars – you know what to expect and how to make the most of this unparalleled forum for industry discussion. But every year we welcome new people to this unique community and try to bring you something different and unexpected in terms of format, content and networking opportunities – this year is no exception. Please make the most of this great event and do not hesitate to ask anyone with a SWIFT badge for help.
* This article originally appeared in Monday edition of SWIFT at Sibos magazine. Download your copy of the complete Monday edition to read the latest news from the conference!