Saturday, September 29, 2007

A different perspective on Sibos

The last time SWIFT's annual user conference was in the US in Atlanta, Heidi Miller, executive vice president and head of JPMorgan Chase Treasury & Securities Services, lambasted the banking community for "being a long way from STP" and the "glacial pace" at which banks moved, weighed down by legacy investments, regulation and compliance.

Are banks at the epicentre of the transaction services industry as secure as banks think, Miller posed? Well it is three years since Miller made that speech and those that saw it have been dining out on it for some time. It struck a chord - bankers were surprised at someone in their own camp being so forthright about banks and SWIFT needing to raise their own game, when normally Sibos is as an opportunity for bankers to pat themselves on the back.

Will there be a lot of back patting at Sibos 2007 in Boston? Well this year the opening plenary features a new SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos and Ken Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America. Those of us that have attended more opening plenaries at Sibos than we care to remember would like to think that the industry has heeded Miller's message got their act together and moved swiftly to up their game.

But with an industry still overburdened by legacy systems, the unfulfilled promise of service-oriented architecture, dwindling payment volumes and even more regulation, as well as the global fallout from the recent credit crunch, is innovation and banking an oxymoron or has the industry really 'gained momentum,' to borrow SWIFT's theme?

In the coming week we will be covering of on the major themes of Sibos 2007 in Boston - corporate access on SWIFT, and the ongoing automation and regulatory challenges faced by the investment and fund landscape. A different guest blogger from TowerGroup will be joining us each day to share their thoughts on some of the main issues raised throughout the day's events. And I as usual will be wading through the mines of nonsensical press releases to try and provide you with a different perspective on Sibos.

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