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Sibos day 1 makes clear: never again a dull moment in the world of payments

SIBOS day 1 – never again a dull moment in the world of payments

Tom Nijenhuis

Division Manager Corporate Affairs

22 October 2018

SIBOS day 1 makes clear: never again a dull moment in the world of payments

In the not too distant past, our industry was considered traditional, fixed and a bit dull, but anyone walking around the International Convention Centre in Sydney during Sibos this Monday knows that those times are far behind us. There will never again be a dull moment in the world of payments. This is illustrated by the presence of hundreds of booths representing the world’s biggest banks, fintechs and technology companies, all of which are ready to thrive in the world of payments.

Nobody really knows what the future will look like

About 7.000 decision makers and topic experts that work in the financial services industry have travelled across the globe to visit Sibos. It is one of the world's premier financial services events, where the future of the payments industry is the talk of the town. And nobody really knows exactly what that future of payments will look like. This was once again explained by ANZ Banking Group's CEO Shayne Elliott in the first plenary session, in which he made it clear to the public that banks' business models will undergo radical change.

Elliott: “We know the future will be transformative and we accept that we don't yet know exactly how. I don't waste my time trying to predict what that future might look like, other than saying you've just got to be ready.” These words may very well represent one of the core messages of Sibos 2018. It also came back in various sessions today: no matter from which angle you look at it, the future in the world of payments has never been so dynamic.

But how do you prepare for an uncertain future? Elliott: “The only way to be ready is to employ the right people. These are people who are able to learn and adapt very quickly and who are open to new ideas. What you also need is the technology and the ability to move quickly and respond to that changing environment.” Another way to prepare for the future is at the same time another common theme during Sibos: collaboration. Collaboration between banks (also on pan-European level, for example) but also collaboration between banks and fintechs.

Dynamic payments industry is growing rapidly

McKinsey's Global payments 2018 report, which was released on Monday, points out that the prominence of payments in the global financial services system has grown strongly in the past decade. According to this report, global income from the payments industry is expected to exceed 2 trillion dollars in 2018 and reach nearly 3 trillion dollars in the next five years. Now, that makes it easy to understand why everyone, including banks, fintechs and bigtechs, wants a (big) part of that cake.

Besides all the discussions on the disruptive future, Elliot also shared some good news for bankers, as he does not believe that robots can replace true relationships with bankers. Despite the possibilities of new systems, mainly created by developments like Open Banking and real-time payments, Elliott said that it is not the technologies themselves that determine success or failure, but an adaptive and enabled mindset. I agree on this take: technology isn’t a goal in itself, it’s a tool to enhance our corporate strategies and operations. And that’s what we see in today’s payments industry; we are using innovative technology to support our day-to-day jobs and be compliant to regulations, not to replace our daily jobs.

Walking through the exhibition area, I recognize again the value of the Sibos conference. Bringing together so many banks, fintechs and technology companies creates a unique opportunity to meet people, catch up and exchange views on the key topics in the industry. The variety of presentations and panel discussions makes it possible to get a great overview of what is going on while at the same time zoom in on selective topics. I had the pleasure to follow several very interesting sessions and I was certainly not alone in that. Many of the conference rooms were fully packed and some were even booked out. I look forward to the coming days at Sibos.