22 March 2017
Toronto, Canada

SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2017

The SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2017

Experts gather to discuss cybersecurity and innovation in Toronto

On 22 March, over 330 delegates gathered in Toronto for the SWIFT Business Forum Canada – making it the highest attended Canadian forum to date. This year’s theme focused on “Building the Future” of financial services, with cybersecurity and innovation featured prominently in the agenda throughout the day.

SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2017After a brief welcome address, Stephen Grainger, SWIFT’s Head of North America, joined Javier Pérez-Tasso, SWIFT’s Chief Executive, Americas & UK Region, and Lisa Lansdowne-Higgins, SWIFT Board Member and RBC’s Vice President, Business Deposits & Treasury Solutions, for a discussion on key themes in the Canadian payments space.

According to Lansdowne-Higgins, one of the top priorities for the country’s payments' system is the modernization of the payments infrastructure. This will involve five “first step” initiatives put forth by Payments Canada to assist in the modernization of the Canadian payments system: build a new core clearing and settlement system, enhance automated funds transfer, establish a real-time capability, align with global regulatory standards, and modernize the rules framework.

The challenge of maintaining cybersecurity, while staying relevant through innovation, is central to the financial industry. “The rollout of new digital services in the banking industry increases the importance of data risk management,” said Pérez-Tasso. “That's why innovation and cyber prevention need to go hand in hand.” He emphasized that SWIFT has stepped up its focus on its customers’ cybersecurity in response to reported customer security breaches last year, mentioning SWIFT’s Customer Security Programme (CSP), which aims to reinforce the overall security of the global financial industry.

The rollout of new digital services in the banking industry increases the importance of data risk management. That's why innovation and cyber prevention need to go hand in hand.

Javier Pérez-Tasso, SWIFT’s Chief Executive, Americas & UK Region

Lansdowne-Higgins noted that a collaborative mind set and combined efforts are key to strengthening the industry’s overall defences, because cybercriminals are ever more sophisticated. “SWIFT’s CSP will help raise the security bar in local communities worldwide,” she said.

SWIFT’s CSP will help raise the security bar in local communities worldwide.

Lisa Lansdowne-Higgins, SWIFT Board Member and RBC’s Vice President

SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2017Following the keynote, Lewis joined a cybersecurity panel of CISOs from Scotiabank and Payments Canada, a director from FS-ISAC, and the senior director of cyber from RBC. The speakers agreed on the importance of addressing human vulnerability in cybersecurity planning. Richard Livesley of FS-ISAC exclaimed: “Technology cannot solve this problem. It’s a human issue.” 

A subsequent digital poll revealed that 41% of the audience views ‘reputational damage’ as their primary concern when it comes to the threat of cyber breaches. The runners up were ‘loss of data/intellectual property’ and ‘financial loss’, coming in at 27% and 25% respectively. Another poll inquired about the frequency of their institutions’ boards briefings on cybersecurity, of which 38% said they occurred ‘as needed’; while 35% of attendees said it was discussed in ‘every meeting’.

In the fintech plenary session, Michael King from Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab, addressed the question: “Is fintech a disruptor or enabler?” King commented: “Fintech innovation will enable banks to grow through partnerships and collaboration.” The audience agreed with this sentiment and voted 81% in favour of ‘fintech as an enabler’. Interestingly, King pointed out that this same poll would have likely revealed different results just a year ago.

Fintech innovation will enable banks to grow through partnerships and collaboration.

Michael King, Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab

SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2017Work sessions on standards, CSP and SWIFT gpi were standing room only.  As expected, CSP was a big draw for the community and the promotion of ISO 20022 adoption in the DLT space was the highlight of the Standards session. Innovation around SWIFT gpi was discussed at length during the SWIFTLab session. 

At the event’s final plenary session, Jan Pilbauer, Executive Director of Modernisation and CIO of Payments Canada, spoke about the way forward for modernisation in Canada’s payments space. Pilbauer believes the future of payments in Canada will be “frictionless.”

This year’s recipient of the CSR contribution was Evergreen - a Canadian charity working to transform public landscapes into thriving community spaces with environmental, social and economic benefits.

Business Forum Canada 2017 wrapped up by reminding everyone that this years’ Sibos would be held in Toronto from 16-19 October, where SWIFT hopes to welcome both the Canadian and global financial community.

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