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Four Key Takeaways from Sibos 2018

Over 7,500 people gathered in Sydney for Sibos 2018, and we were fortunate to join them to glean the latest insights. Here are four learnings we took away from the world’s largest banking and financial conference.

By Lucy Holden

Over 7,500 people gathered in Sydney for Sibos 2018, and we were fortunate to join them to glean the latest insights.

Here’s four learnings we took away from the world’s largest banking and financial conference.

Given the number of security breaches this year alone – the latest being Eurostar – it came as no surprise that cyber security was high on the agenda. The conversations addressed measures to prevent threats from the dark web and organised cybercrime. With a mega 3-5% of global GDP tied to financial crimes, it’s never been more important to tighten up risk management and protect customer data.

Recent research indicates that one in five people (21%) have been victims of a breach. Out of this 34% experienced a financial loss. Prevention is absolutely key; banks cannot afford to withstand reputational damage. After a security incident, 78% of respondents stated they would no longer engage with the brand online, and 36% would stop completely. Interestingly despite these divisive figures, customers are not prepared to pay for increased protection. The onus firmly sits with banks who need to be more accountable for cyber security, or risk damage to their business and customer pool.

Shifting payment landscape

There’s no doubt that the customer needs to sit firmly at the centre, which is why there’s been so much interest in the future of payments. Top takeaways from Sibos include the forecast projection that we could all be using in excess of ten different payment methods in the next five years – thus growing e-commerce and m-commerce. With the rise of payments through wearable technology and social media, banks will need to change up their approach in order to stay relevant.

What’s more, instead of traditional players competing with alternative payment provider services and FinTechs, they should instead learn to collaborate and enjoy the mutual benefits of closer working. The customer will ultimately benefit from these relationships and the payment process will become smoother and more transparent as a result.

Digital tech investment soars

Not only have we seen an influx of tech companies investing in banking – think Apple Pay and Google Pay – we’ve also seen the reverse too. Alan McIntyre senior managing director and head of Accenture said: “Some of the largest banks, the top five, see a lot of investment in digital and into the future. Some of the regional banks are more challenged, and part of the reason is the huge reliance on technology vendors, so their ability to move quicker is somewhat limited. Market share is clearly moving toward the large players, the top three or top five, partly because they have invested in digital”.

In recent weeks and months we’ve seen headlines announcing vast sums of investments into digital tech. HSBC forecasts an investment of $15-17 billion in new technology alone. The banking giant has reportedly spent $2.3 billion to improve its artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities. Nationwide Building Society, too, plans to spend £1.3bn over the next five years to expand its offering and compete with FinTech disruptors. Although Nationwide is heavily investing in machine learning, it’s not neglecting the value of its human workforce, hence its plans to create up to 1,000 jobs with a new tech hub.

Bottom line: customers are changing and so must banks. FinTechs like Monzo have seen a huge flurry of interest due to their streamlined processes and optimised interfaces. Traditional players are playing catch up and investing in digital tech in the hope to elevate customer experience and update their offering.


‘Embrace Disruption’ was a key learning from Sibos. Whether that be artificial intelligence as we’ve seen earlier; chat bots to improve customer engagement; faster and more open payments with APIs or improved fraud detection.

The connotations of disruption were flipped on their head and seen as an opportunity to meet customer needs in increasingly dynamic and innovative ways. Surprisingly blockchain did not feature as prominently within the Sibos programme despite its joint potential with cryptocurrencies to disrupt the financial landscape. The adoption of disruptive techniques could see a real difference in bottom lines for companies and equally customer satisfaction.

Looking ahead to Sibos 2019

We’re excited that Sibos will make its next stop in London! With 2.3 million people employed in the financial services industry alone, Sibos 2019 will prove significant for the UK. Michael Ward, British Consul-general and director general, Department for International Trade, Australia & NZ, noted that “such a high proportion of global financial services happen in London and Sibos is about that connectivity between banks and the financial services industry”. He continued that FinTech is worth “about 7 billion sterling to the economy at the moment” so therefore will attract an even stronger presence next year.

Will your company have a presence at Sibos? Our relationship with Sibos spans 12 years, so if you’re planning to attend and looking for support with your event concept, exhibition stand design, or engagement strategy, connect with us to get the ball rolling: