Sibos Academy, facilitated by the SWIFT Institute, provides expert, educational and community-focused content to foster dialogue through diversity of thought.
Sibos 2020 saw the exciting launch of the new Sibos Academy, facilitated by the SWIFT Institute. With education and diversity of thought central to the aim of the academy, this years’ inaugural stream saw a combination of panels and presentations, delving into some of the most important emerging themes facing the financial community today, such as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), emerging technologies and the issues around transaction monitoring for financial compliance.
Defining Central Bank Digital Currencies
Kicking off on Monday, 5 October, Sibos delegates were treated to a lively and insightful debate by a panel tasked with Defining Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). While there is no one-size fits all definition of a CBDC, the panel did agree on multiple defining and differentiating characteristics with some optimism for potential new opportunities through programmable digital money and related new services.
However, as expressed by Arwen Smit, author of Identity Reboot, there is equally a need for caution. It should be recognised that (if successful) digital money will carry a data footprint, which brings with it implications such as the possibility of government surveillance and the commercial use of that footprint data.
Transforming transaction monitoring
On Tuesday, 6 October, the Academy showcased a debate on Transforming Transaction Monitoring through Efficiency, Effectiveness and Privacy Enhancing Technology. As transaction monitoring requirements become more stringent and complex, this session reviewed best practices and roadmaps on how to improve processes in the face of new technologies. Leveraging research for the SWIFT Institute, the academic-style delivery focused on how compliance can be transformed from an efficiency and practice perspective, and from a technology point of view with privacy enhancing technology.
Mathew Redhead, Associate Fellow at the Centre for Financial Crime and Security (CFCS) at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), raised some key questions and discussed how we may move towards transformational rather than incremental changes. “Given the nature of financial crime in that it is networked, organic and fluid, the best way of looking at it would also be a networked and systemic way. However, the industry is not set up for that, which begs the question… Should we be configuring monitoring at a different level than the institution, should it be a level higher and how would we do that?”
Collaboration, innovation, and diversity
Sibos Academy on Wednesday, 7 October took the form of a book club review. In this session two Canadian academics Michael King, University of Victoria and Richard Nesbitt, University of Toronto introduced the audience to their new book, The Technological Revolution in Financial Services. Each chapter was compiled by a different expert on a specific aspect of financial services. Focus areas in this session included fintech and its evolving landscape and capabilities, regulation, and a discussion with Brenda Trenowden CBE, Lead Partner, Inclusion & Diversity, PwC, on gender diversity and inclusive culture and engagement in financial services.
Aligning with a key Sibos reflection over the need for banks and fintechs to join forces, the panel hosts stated:
“We believe that bringing these two together – fintechs with banks and other incumbents – will provide a better experience, and ultimately it’s the customer that will benefit with a more convenient financial service when and where they need it at a lower cost.”
Emerging tech trends
The final session on Thursday, 8 October was based on a new report by Deloitte and the World Economic Forum, Forging New Pathways, which looks at emerging technologies and how these are impacting every aspect of our lives as well as the financial ecosystem. A key learning from the report is that AI does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, AI is already intersecting with a number of other technologies such as cloud computing, task-specific hardware, DLT, 5G, quantum computing and more. While each of these technologies alone is already powerful, the multiplicative effect of combining these technologies is transformative for the industry.
The session guided financial firms on how to explore and implement clusters of technologies, and addressed non-technical challenges to transformation. Clusters of emerging technologies can help us work together to solve some of the major systemic challenges in the industry.
Looking at the shifting competitive dynamics the panel recognised that technology and data are both competitive threats and advantages with a recognition on these differentiating capabilities. Regarding data, there was an emphasis on the need for a strategic approach. How it is accessed, acquired, managed and how the integrity of data is ensured are essential questions. Without data integrity there is greater susceptibility to error within the new technologies.
“Data used to be the new oil… it is now the new energy”
SWIFT Institute Student Challenge
Sibos 2020 also marked the fifth edition of the SWIFT Institute Student Challenge, whereby university students are invited to interpret and submit solutions around a specific problem in the context of financial services, often bringing a fresh outlook without preconceived notions of how banks operate. Responding to this years’ challenge on how to mitigate and protect applications and data from cyberattacks, four final teams were selected representing Baruch College, New York University, George Mason University and University of Virginia.
The talented finalists were invited to pitch their solutions in a 10-minute daily slot throughout the Sibos week, culminating in an announcement on Thursday’s Sibos TV of the winner. Taking the prize this year was Team Veracity, represented by Isabel Aldaba for their solution to leverage technology combined with a security training programme.
Catch the Sibos Academy on demand
All sessions and Sibos TV highlights are recorded and available to registered Sibos delegates, either through the Sibos app or on sibos.com. Registration is free and available to the entire SWIFT community on sibos.com.
We invite you to continue to consume, indulge and mull over the Sibos Academy insights and learnings, and remember it’s not over yet! We will continue to provide you with further Sibos monthly sessions starting in November and continuing through early 2021. Topics on the agenda include the payments landscape in the UK and how to future proof and align regulation and innovation, digital identity and diversity.
To see what it on the Sibos Academy agenda in the months ahead, visit www.sibos.com.