What are the big topics for SGSS at Sibos 2016?
This year, Societe Generale is celebrating its 25th year of attending and sponsoring Sibos, demonstrating how much our group values this unique international financial and banking conference.
The big topics of interest for SGSS and the asset servicing industry will be the transformation of the EU market infrastructures with T2S and its third implementation wave, which is planned two weeks ahead of Sibos on 12 September. Post-trade harmonisation will again be at the centre of the debate with the tipping point for T2S estimated to be reached in February 2017, as well as the single market and Capital Markets Union.
Sibos 2016 will be the first significant financial event of its sort since the Brexit vote in June of this year, and so the discussions and debate will encompass the views of market participants on the consequences of the vote, including the parallel processes of globalisation and segmentation of European infrastructures.
Technology will be an important topic, now more than ever for SGSS, and we will be sharing our views on distributed ledger, or blockchain, technology and how it will impact our post-trade environment or ecosystem globally, in particular in the fund settlement sphere.
Finally, data management and data analytics will form part of the debate. The big data approach has resulted in an enormous amount of data everywhere, out of which it is difficult to extract useful information. Asset servicing providers are well-placed to help as there is a now thin line between the concepts of asset servicing and data servicing. Investments are being made to develop tools to help customers get true meaning out of data and to help them focus on their core activities such as investment management, trade execution, or insurance advice.
Does regulation remain an important topic for financial services?
Yes. The financial services industry is one of the most regulated industries on the planet. Combined with the complexity of the financial industry, regulation impacts the speed and types of change. It will therefore remain an important topic for Sibos 2016.
Whilst this isn't an exhaustive list, we foresee discussion once again on the adoption of market standards to comply with the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation and Directive II, the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation, and several other regulations.
Do you think ‘regtech’ will feature heavily on the Sibos agenda?
‘Regtech’ will be a key feature of discussion at Sibos this year, creating the link between regulation impacting our financial industries and innovation in digital and financial technology.
The global regulatory environment is becoming more challenging for global custodians, sub-custodians and their clients. For all market participants, failure to comply with regulations is not an option. However, there is an increasing weight of regulation, and in some cases regulations prove to be a moving target.
Regtech solutions may not only help securities firms to be more compliant, they may also have the potential to help regulators to be more specific and precise in the type of data they request, and also to develop more meaningful controls and data gathering. At present, the return-on-investment compliance is limited for all players because so much data is being collected, out of which it is difficult to get implicit meaning.
Regtech can also help incumbent asset servicing providers to be more nimble and agile in fulfilling regulatory obligations, and in dealing with regulatory constraints. There is a paradoxical situation when it comes to data—the more data we exploit, the higher the risk of breaching some compliance obligations. Regtech firms should help us, particularly with know-your-client, anti-money-laundering and data analytics, in getting the full meaning and therefore the best usage of the data. Consequently, there is a role for regtech firms to help firms move away from the concept of ‘big data’ and towards that of ‘smart data’.
What are you personally most looking forward to at Sibos 2016?
Sibos is a unique annual opportunity where we can interact and share our views and ideas with our clients, prospective clients, peers, providers, market infrastructure players and regulators all in one place over four to five days.
I personally always look forward to Sibos. It allows our team to maximise our time, interacting with key market players in the middle of what has become the world’s foremost finance forum.
I am especially excited that Sibos will be held in Geneva this year. It will bring together a local and global perspective in the centre of Europe at a crucial time for our industry. It will certainly trigger interesting discussions related to the impact of Brexit, the status of the next T2S migration, which will have become operational only two weeks before the event, as well as what I hope will be exciting presentations on the recent fintech and regtech innovations, including the use of distributed ledger technology and its potential significant impact on mutual fund settlement in Europe.
On a last personal note, I am looking forward to the closing keynote speech to be made by Swiss explorer and environmentalist Bertrand Piccard, who recently piloted the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse halfway around the world. It will be a unique opportunity to hear about his experience in deploying resource-efficient technologies. Along with fintech and regtech, Sibos is also the right place to spend some time sharing views on ‘cleantech’!