Sibos 2015 Singapore - 4 Days Summary and Highlights

SWIFT’s Sibos, one of the biggest events in the financial services industry roared from the Lion City, Singapore this year. The last time Singapore met Sibos was in 2003. As Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence this year, it welcomed Sibos 2015 with the largest setting ever in the Asia-Pacific region. Sibos 2015 was a four-day long event from October 12 to October 15, 2015. In keeping with our mission to share the best of FinTech conversations from around the world, LTP has put together a summary of the event from various resources, live tweets, live coverage and Sibos’ website in this article.

Sibos 2015, like every year, was a multi-tracked event with different programs happening all over the place. It attracted 8,038 registered delegates from around 143 nationalities. The conference is broadly divided into Big Issue Debates and Plenaries, ASEAN Day, Compliance Forum, Corporate Forum, Diversity, Innotribe, Market Infrastructures Forum, Securities, Payments, Standards Forum, SWIFT at Sibos and Technology Forum.

Blockchain was obviously the hottest and trending topic at Sibos 2015. Consulting and technology companies like Capgemini showcased blockchain technology for payments processing and talked about the positive use cases of blockchain for banks to be prepared for. Sources revealed that a panel discussion New Kids on the Block(chain) Platform on Day 1 attracted around 1000 people to a room that could accommodate only 200-300 people. To manage the surplus crowd, the blockchain panel discussion was streamed live in an adjacent room.

Innotribe is one of the most popular programs at Sibos 2015. The four days of the Innotribe program had four different themes. The first day was themed What Platforms Want, which meant discussions around platform economics and business models around it. One consistent theme at Innotribe, irrespective of the day was Millennials and Power Women in FinTech. The second day theme was What Society Wants, the third day theme was What Innovation Wants and the fourth day theme was What Machine Intelligence Wants. In an interview with Bob’s Guide, Fabian Vandenreydt - Head of markets management for Innotribe and The SWIFT Institute mentioned that Innotribe’s startup program attracted 30% more startup applications at Sibos 2015 as compared to Sibos 2014. Day 2 of Sibos 2015 had few discussions around financial inclusion and measures to serve the underbanked. The topic was talked about a lot because of the developing Asian markets and a good chunk of attendees from Asian financial institutions. Day 2 ended with a happy hour courtesy of Deutsche Bank. SWIFT also announced the launch of a new analytics service for payments and letters of credit.

Day 3 of Sibos 2015 was much more around compliance, innovation and real time payments. The Innotribe Startup Challenge winner was also announced on Day 3. Hyperledger, a decentralised ledger platform for transferring digital assets globally, instantly won the Startup Challenge. On the same day, SWIFT also announced that The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ had signed up for Compliance Analytics to strengthen its financial crime compliance capabilities

ASEAN Day (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) was celebrated on the last day, October 15, 2015. Alain Raes, Chief Executive APAC and EMEA, SWIFT and Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman & CEO, UOB delivered the opening speech for ASEAN day. On the same day, Banco Santander announced that it had joined SWIFT Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry, a centralised repository that maintains a standardised set of information about correspondent banks required for KYC compliance. There were other panels discussions around how to tap ASEAN market on the last day of Sibos 2015.

Since Sibos 2015 was held in Singapore, it attracted a lot of Asian financial institutions and entrepreneurs. Tweets and blogs reflected that Sibos 2015 conveyed the Asian FinTech story to the attendees. Countries like China have already started supporting FinTech startups as opposed to supporting big giants like Alibaba and the atmosphere at Sibos 2015 reflected that quite well. Watch out for Sibos 2016 in Geneva next year.