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Innovation and transparency, critical to Latin America’s growth and competitive prowess

Innovation and transparency, critical to Latin America’s growth and competitive prowess

Regional Conference,
20 July 2016

The region’s potential is clear, but it calls for a steadfast commitment to collaboration, innovation, and transparency

New York, 20 July 2016 – On June 28, more than 450 financial services professionals gathered in Mexico City at SWIFT’s Latin American Regional Conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the region. The theme, Global View, Regional Transformation, was echoed by speakers and attendees who unanimously reached consensus on the critical role that innovation and transparency play in the ongoing transformation to secure the region’s economic growth and strengthen its competitive prowess.

During an encouraging session with Julie Katzman, Chief Operating Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank, the promise of FinTech innovation as fuel for economic growth was clearly depicted with success in the peer-to-peer lending market highlighted as a direct enabler for the expansion and growth of small-to-medium enterprises across the region. Katzman commented: “Latin America has tremendous entrepreneurial spirit; some of the most important entrepreneurial activity is happening on the social side as people recognize that inequality is a huge problem. They are trying to make it a social mission.”  

As the conversation evolved and touched on the measures taken by the Latin American financial community to ensure financial inclusion and tackle de-risking, she encouraged Latin American countries to communicate more extensively on how they are working to become more transparent, noting that “the Latin American countries should be their own advocate.”

Similarly, Manuel Rivero, Chief Executive Officer, BanRegio, called for a collaborative approach between traditional banks, regulators and FinTech companies to better serve clients’ needs: “We are working with Mexico’s governmental agencies to ensure that the regulatory environment is one where the FinTech community can indeed thrive,” he added: “traditional banks should not feel threatened by startups, they must collaborate and join efforts to address clients’ needs in a more creative way. We need more FinTech startups capable of solving Mexico’s big challenges.”

The idea of traditional banking collaborating with FinTech companies and regulators was beautifully portrayed by the first-ever Innotribe Startup Challenge for Latin America. The three winners embodied the perfect balance between the use of new technologies and the need to build on the existing infrastructures. Aligning with Mrs. Katzman’s remarks, two out of the three startups focused on the use of nascent technologies to enable financial inclusion by providing access to credit to those segments usually excluded from the financial system – namely students and SMEs.

Echoing the need for industry-wide collaboration in the fight against cyber-crime, SWIFT held a dedicated session on its new Customer Security Programme which aims to improve information sharing throughout the community, enhance SWIFT-related tools for customers and provide audit frameworks.

Juan Martínez, Managing Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, SWIFT, said: “This year’s LARC took the discussion to a whole different level. The quality of speakers, coupled with the vibe created by our more than 450 attendees, was unprecedented. I look forward to continuing these conversations with our Latin American community at Sibos this September and throughout the year.”

SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services.

We provide our community with a platform for messaging and standards for communicating, and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration, identification, analysis and financial crime compliance.

Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to communicate securely and exchange standardised financial messages in a reliable way.  As their trusted provider, we facilitate global and local financial flows, support trade and commerce all around the world; we relentlessly pursue operational excellence and continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies.

Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. SWIFT’s global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

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Adriana Villasenor