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The Finanser’s Week at #SIBOS: 29th September – 5th October 2014

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Here are the blog entries in sequence from the start to the end of the week at #SIBOS #innotribe ...

Before the madness begins [#SIBOS #SIBOS2014 #Innotribe]

So here we all are, descending on Boston's seaport area for SIBOS 2014.  It seems strange to arrive here and be greeted by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse* …

Do you understand the blockchain? [#SIBOS #SIBOS2014 #Innotribe]

Sounds like something to do with a toilet that doesn't work: the blockchain ... but no, it's all about cryptocurrencies and the future of money, our first innotribe session.  It was a good meeting.  The session began with a chat between Gottfried Liebbrandt, CEO of SWIFT and Udayan Goyal, co-founder of Anthemis, about what had changed in the thinking since last year.

Might as well have stayed at home [#SIBOS #SIBOS2014 #Innotribe]

So off we go to the Technology Forum, listed as a 'highlight of the day' session as we walked into SIBOS this morning, with a write-up from the conference program as follows:  "Technology leaders will crystallise the pivotal technology trends that are inexorably influencing the future of the financial industry, at a speed that is sometimes not in your control. Buckle in and find out what you are ready for and what you should be ready for."  Here's what happened.

It's all about the KYC ... and the rest [#SIBOS #SIBOS2014 #Innotribe]

So we just had our opening plenary for SIBOS2014 from Jamie Forese, Co-President Citi  and CEO of Citi’s Institutional Business.  This was OK but, like many bank CEO presenters, was an autocue read rather than a charismatic punch.  Nevertheless, there were a few key notes I took out of Jamie’s presentation.

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin [#SIBOS #SIBOS2014 #Innotribe]

I finish the first day of SIBOS by returning to the innotribe tent to watch the world premiere of the film The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin.

Banks are at war: are we winning? [#SIBOS]

I just attended the big plenary debate here, talking about the cyber wars escalation and asking if banks are winning.  This was an interactive session with audience voting talking about all aspects of preventing and fighting cybercrime.  One of the first votes was:  Where should the cyberdefence budget be spent?

Polish banking innovations: the best in the world? [#SIBOS]

I felt honoured to be invited to moderate the keynote discussion of Polish Banking Innovation today.  The speakers at this session included representatives from the Polish Bank Association, Narodowy Bank Polski, Krajowa Izba Rozliczeniowa (KIR), the Central Securities Depository of Poland (KDPW) and mBank.  In particular, the session celebrated how the country had created a banking system from nothing to one of the best in the world in just 25 years.

Basel breakfast to start the day? [#SIBOS]

So, after the innovations in Poland, I go to a bankers’ breakfast meeting all about Basel III this morning.  Someone had to.  More specifically, the breakfast debated the requirement for intraday liquidity reporting.

I see sea of green, skies of cloud [#SIBOS]

 Another fabulous SIBOS session was all about clouds, and titled: cloud computing - dark clouds on the horizon?  That sounded ominous to start with, as does the description of the session, and I am surprised at such a title and description as cloud computing has been around for years now. It’s not new and, for many banks, it is just a part of their core business.  So why the questions? 

We are not being disrupted, just rearchitected [#SIBOS]

I had this chat with a banking friend, and realised when he used the word disruption for the eighth time that this is the word of the year.  Last year it was sanctions, this year it’s disruption.  Everyone’s talking about disruption and yet, I don’t see this as disruption in the sense that most are using the term.

Please demote the CRO [#SIBOS]

There are a huge number of conversations here, but one thing has arisen as a consistent theme that I didn’t expect.  It is the integration of the risk and finance functions.  That started as a conversation over Basel III and continued as we discussed the impact of regulatory change in general.  Risk and finance are now symbiotic.  They are as one.

#Innotribe startup challenge won by Epiphyte and Matchmove [#SIBOS]

I missed the startup challenge at innotribe this year - too many things happening and not enough Chris Skinner's to cover them all - but I do believe it is important to cover this event.  Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, I am copying Philip Ryan's write-up on here.  Thanks to Philip and congratulation to Epiphyte and Matchmove.

London wins the fintech wars [#SIBOS]

One of the other big things that cropped up this week is London versus New York as a financial centre.  That always crops up as a subject, but there's an interesting new ring to the conversation, which is that New York will naturally fall behind because London has its technology hub and financial centre side-by-side.

"There will be no poverty by 2035", Bill Gates [#SIBOS]

So SIBOS came to an end with an amazing packed hall full of bankers eager to hear the sage words of Bill Gates.  Bill Gates?  Isn’t the guy who once called bankers dinosaurs?  Yes, the very same.  As Gottfried Liebbrandt, CEO of SWIFT, said in his summation: “we were very tempted to put up a sign saying ‘Welcome to Jurassic Park, Bill’.”

#SIBOS ends with a hint of fear (an exclusive)

So that is the end of another SIBOS, and what a SIBOS it was!  For me, it all flew by too fast, but maybe that’s because I was involved in too many things from cryptocurrencies in the innotribe to innovations in Poland, from Basel III intraday liquidity challenges to the threat of cyberattacks. 

The Finanser's Week at #SIBOS in pictures

It's hard to capture the essence of SIBOS, but these pictures give you a brief insight review.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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