Financial IT Fall Issue 2022

Sibos, taking place in Amsterdam this year from 10-13 October 2022, is no small undertaking and will require months of planning.

It is unlikely that SWIFT organizers had anticipated what would happen over the course of the first nine months of the year when planning began.

In no particular order and without delving into the details, the world’s developed economies have experienced: rampant inflation; a series of sizeable increases in official interest rates announced by central banks; rising bond yields (or, if you prefer, falling bond prices); negative real interest rates; a clear bear market in equities in the United States and some other countries; and a rise in the US dollar against most other currencies. The latter has proved to be a challenge for the economies and financial systems in many emerging markets.

These words are written two weeks before the beginning of Sibos. It remains to be seen whether the toxic combination of trends outlined in the previous paragraph will result in a major financial crisis anywhere in the world by the end of the conference.

In any case, the world is one where financial service executives need to become, as one of the authors of this issue of Financial IT put it, “Wartime CFOs”.

We would suggest that a wartime CFO is someone who can react very quickly to a rapidly changing situation. A wartime CFO may be working for a long-established and traditional financial institution. Alternatively, he/she can work for a start-up fintech that challenges the status quo in their specific field.

He/she needs a certain mindset that can see through the disinformation that permeates every war. He/she needs to see the opportunities that present themselves – often in greater numbers than in times of peace and tranquility – and seize the day.

Perhaps most importantly, he/she needs access to the best available technology – which is hopefully better than the technology used by his/her organization’s main competitors.

In this regard, a wartime CFO in and around the global financial services industry is no different than a general in the ongoing and tragic conflict in Ukraine.

Each of the contributors to this issue of Financial IT has an insight, product or service to help a wartime CFO do his job.

Invariably, contributors have helped their clients (or stakeholders) reduce risk, use data more profitably, and/or develop new products and services more easily. Some of the initiatives outlined in this issue of Financial IT do all three.

A clear message from our contributors this time is that artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning will help a wartime CFO survive and thrive in an unusual and challenging environment for financial services firms.

Previously existing information gaps are expected to be closed. One of our contributors discusses how synthetic data will enable advanced analysis – but with absolute security in terms of privacy since there is no connection to the original data from which it originated.

The main theme of this year’s Sibos is “Progressive Finance for a Changing World”. Related topics include ‘Harnessing the digital landscape and technological opportunities’, ‘Advancing sustainability and ethics’ and ‘Success in uncertain times’.

These themes are – appropriately – very positive, emphasizing actual and potential benefits to financial institution and fintech clients rather than conflict.