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Toronto look-ahead

Toronto look-ahead

16 October 2017

Javier Pérez-Tasso, chief executive for the Americas & UK region outlines the major themes for SWIFT and its community in 2017 that will be on the Sibos agenda

I look forward to extending a very warm welcome to you as we gather in October for Sibos 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Several of you may have been present in Toronto for Sibos back in 2011, and will be familiar with the great attributes of this host city –a thriving, dynamic financial centre, a growing hub for technology and innovation and an open and diverse international culture.  And what makes this year even more special is the 150th Anniversary of Canada – which you can be sure we will be celebrating at Sibos!

Back in 2011, the macroeconomic picture was very much to the fore, with the industry navigating major political and economic shifts such as the eurozone crisis and the Arab Spring.  Fast forward to 2017, and there are a different set of developments on the global stage. In the year of Brexit and Trump  -to name just two high profile examples - it is true to say that the industry continues to operate in a climate of uncertainty and change.

And when it comes to technology, we have seen rapid acceleration.  In 2011, Apple versus Android was in full swing, and at Sibos, Innotribe was addressing social and virtual currencies. Today’s big topics such as blockchain, Internet of things, AI, machine learning, sensors and robotics had not yet risen up the agenda.

Also, looking back on cyber, 2011 was also the year that hackers breached Sony’s PlayStation network causing widespread publicity – an unfortunate precursor to the growing sophistication of cyber-attacks that we have now witnessed across many industries, including global finance.

So ever since that last gathering in Toronto, we can see that the industry has been on a pathway of change. As we turn our focus to Sibos 2017 and to the theme of “building the future” I would highlight three areas of focus for SWIFT and the community:

The first is on innovation – It is happening now and there is a new normal reshaping business models and opening up opportunities in North America and globally.

The second is on cyber and compliance – both of which are ‘keeping our feet on the ground’, because the digital age is more than ever the age of risk management.

And third, by addressing innovation and cyber in combination, there is the capability to take the industry to the next level. 

Turning first to innovation, it has huge potential, in both payments and securities, and we already see changing competitive landscapes.  In Canada for example, more than a quarter of all foreign investment in Toronto is considered relating to FinTech, and there is a new wave of challengers in the market. Incumbent players are also very active, focusing on upgrading existing infrastructure, introducing new services and managing interoperability.

A growing number of countries have defined payments strategies (and Canada is no exception with its long-term vision for payments modernization). In this context, through our expansion in the area of instant payments, SWIFT is creating new assets that can potentially be reused across markets worldwide. We are actively supporting the Australian community with the development of its New Payments Platform, and we have recently announced plans to support instant payments infrastructure for European markets, as well as to provide U.S. institutions with gateway access to The Clearing House’s real-time payments platform.  

As banks roll-out innovation through faster, and increasingly digital services, cyber-criminals have a greater number of entry points through which to access systems and customer data, so we have to take those risks into account. Similarly with financial crime compliance, it is part of an essential license to operate.

On cyber security, SWIFT is working together with the industry to help reinforce cyber defences through our flagship Customer Security Programme. At Sibos we will continue to engage with the community on the adoption of the mandatory customer security controls ahead of the end-of-year deadline.  And as cyber-security becomes a way of life for everyone, we will be supporting the community to make best use of counterparty attestation data in their risk management frameworks. We will also be highlighting new anti-fraud tools such as Payment Controls that will come on stream in 2018, and revealing plans to further evolve our SWIFT ISAC information sharing portal.

Which leads to my final point that innovation, cyber and compliance should be addressed in combination - A good example here is in cross border payments and correspondent banking.  At Sibos we will continue to engage with the community on SWIFT’s Global Payments Innovation initiative which improves customer experience in cross border payments by increasing the speed (same-day), transparency and end-to-end payments tracking throughout the chain.  GPI is already achieving strong traction across the global industry, and in combination with the CSP and our compliance portfolio addressing sanctions, KYC and AML, we can truly support the community in taking correspondent banking to the next level.

Back in 2011, delegates were encouraged to come to Sibos Toronto to “collaborate, network and discuss”. In 2017 we have a full agenda ahead of us, and both the networking and dialogue are sure to continue!  Enjoy what promises to be an excellent week, and I look forward to seeing you in Toronto!