Herwig Temmerman and Lida Palacios (BearingPoint): Sibos 2022, Progressing the Future of Finance 

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With the return of the Sibos financial services and transaction banking event to a face-to-face gathering following two years of virtual conferencing during the Covid-19 lockdown, Lida Palacios, Senior Manager, and Herwig Temmerman, Partner, BearingPoint Luxembourg discuss the ways in which finance is changing to address the challenges the world faces. 

 

What was the goal of Sibos 2022? 

About 8,000 decision-makers and experts gathered at the Sibos conference in Amsterdam in October at the world’s leading financial services and transaction banking event. They discussed the challenges the payments and securities services industries are facing to get a clearer view of where the sector is heading. Given the current climate and environmental risks, one of their priorities was addressing sustainability, social, and governance issues in the context of the principal theme of the conference: “Progressive finance for a changing world.” The other central question was how the financial industry can make better decisions and run smarter businesses while leveraging technology and optimizing the usage of data.  

 

“This increasing and ever-more urgent demand has led to the appearance of new banking technologies with new actors reshaping the entire banking market.” 

 

Doesn’t digitalization remain a major topic for the financial sector?  

Yes. A move away from branch-based banking has progressed for many decades and banks have done well in building online services while retaining customers’ confidence. However, this is not sufficient to meet an ever-increasing demand for more fluid digital experiences, particularly among millennials and generation Z. This increasing and ever-more urgent demand has led to the appearance of new banking technologies with new actors reshaping the entire banking market. The financial sector has still a lot of work to stay on top of this trend.  

 

 

And what is the impact of blockchain and the digitalization of money? 

Distributed ledger technologies are being applied to the development of decentralized finance in the banking and asset management arenas. But it is not only financial services processes that are becoming more and more digitized and sometimes changing radically. Money itself is becoming digitized with the growing acceptance of digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins such as Tether. In response, Central Banks around the world are experimenting with Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). Issues around privacy, control of the amount of cryptocurrencies in circulation, settlement, etc. were addressed during the conference. However, going forward, the crucial topic for the future of the financial sector will be the definition of the distribution model, the role of intermediaries, and who will have access to CBDC holdings.