Over the past few years, the world's financial media have observed and commented on a gradual shift in the global economic centre of gravity from West to East. "This shift is reflected in our customers' activity," says Alain Raes, Chief Executive, Asia-Pacific & EMEA, SWIFT. "The region is increasingly important to SWIFT and its community."
Raes is particularly pleased that Singapore will be acting as the host country for Sibos 2015, the year in which the Republic celebrates its 50th national birthday. The event will also coincide with two other auspicious anniversaries: Singapore's 35th anniversary on SWIFT and the 10th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the intergovernmental organisation founded to encourage free trade among the 10 member-countries in the region.
"We firmly believe that successful regional integration as envisaged by ASEAN is enabled and sustained by financial integration," Raes says. "This is particularly true in the collaborative space where our cooperative operates. SWIFT is committed to helping the ASEAN community succeed in that financial integration."
He sees Sibos in Singapore as a valuable opportunity to showcase the region more broadly. "Singapore's lead within ASEAN creates a strong draw card for customers from South Asia as well as the Indian sub-continent and north Asia," says Raes.
It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the progress made in specific initiatives that individual communities in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region have undertaken with SWIFT's help. "We hosted an India Workshop this week and have been very pleased with the response to the ‘Go Local India' project," says Raes. "We expect further progress to be unveiled at Sibos 2015." In Singapore itself, the Singapore Stock exchange (SGX) is meanwhile building a new post-trade system with SWIFTNet connectivity planned for participants as of May next year.
Beyond showcasing the Asia-Pacific region to the SWIFT community as a whole, Raes regards Sibos as an opportunity for a two-way information flow with more and more Asian delegates coming to Sibos as part of the global economic integration process.
Raes himself relocated to Singapore last year after assuming the role of CEO, APAC, in addition to his position as CEO, EMEA. "SWIFT has much to offer the community in Asia as this region increasingly becomes a global growth engine," says Raes.
Sibos 2015: 12-15 October, 2015, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
For more SWIFT news stories from Sibos, visit the Sibos website.