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The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

Dans Le Port d’Amsterdam

Earlier this month, Swift released its programme for the conference behemoth that is Sibos, this year to be held between 25 and 29 October in Amsterdam. The industry owned financial network operator has indicated that it will be focusing on the three Rs it believes to be the most important to the market at the moment: regulation, rebuilding trust and recovery. But how much do the other two equally important Rs, risk and reference data, factor into the equation?

Certainly, the topic of rebuilding trust is related closely to the idea of improving risk management and I fully expect the “big issues” debate on the subject to include further navel gazing from speakers about what went wrong during the financial crisis (a subject that was endlessly discussed last year). But hopefully the session should also involve a serious debate about the practical considerations of rebuilding the industry and public’s trust in the system, such as a focus on governance and moving from a siloed approach to risk management to a more forward thinking model. If liquidity risk and Basel II figure in the regulation big issue debate then risk management and reporting of risk data is sure to crop up. However, the panel will have a tough job ahead of them if they hope to discuss even half of the regulatory requirements on the table at the moment across the globe. A brief round up of the regulatory proposals tabled over the last couple of months would take longer than an hour, after all. Good job then, that there are a number of sessions dedicated to particular regulatory developments such as Basel II, which will likely feature risk management practices in a big way. Ditto for the session dedicated to liquidity risk management, for which a description is not yet available but it will likely cover how to react to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s (BCBS) recommendations released at the end of 2009. The “Managing risk after the crisis” could also prove interesting in terms of providing case studies from the corporate world around how they have adapted their risk management practices post-crisis. Much the same as last year, the cloud computing sessions (of which there are three this year) should prove interesting. Hopefully they will delve beyond the basics of the practice and really examine how cloud computing could figure in a data management scenario and where the current challenges lie in this respect. Rather vague is the session entitled “How much resilience is enough?” The programme suggests this will be about building a business case for infrastructure enhancements but not the context in which such a business case could be built. It could therefore prove useful in a general sense for those seeking to get senior management buy in for something like data management projects, but equally it might focus on other verticals within the financial services market. The session on standards coexistence suffers from the same issue, but may very well prove interesting from a data standpoint. We’ll have to wait until the full description is available to determine that however. On the subject of standards, Swift will also be elaborating further on its mystandards.com project, which it hopes will allow market participants to get involved in the standards development process. Corporate actions is once again on the agenda, which is unsurprising given that it’s a key focus for Swift this year in light of the XBRL/ISO mapping project. The general corporate actions session will explore the risks involved in the process and how XBRL may prove beneficial to the industry as a whole. A topic that also has its own session, “Transforming corporate actions: Is XBRL the answer?” Do you think perhaps Swift has a subliminal message hidden in there somewhere…? Of course, the most interesting session in terms of reference data management is likely to be the one focused on the utility: “Securities reference data: Do we need a golden utility?” Let’s hope the European Central Bank’s Francis Gross is able to attend this time and it gets a better timeslot than first thing on Wednesday morning this year though… You can view the full Sibos programme as it stands here. On a side note, the Thursday party has been toned down this year to a less glamorous “networking event”, which is a step up from last year’s decision not to hold an event at all. Obviously times are tight and Swift can’t be seen to be spending huge amounts of cash on revelries when belts are tightened to breaking point across the industry. It will be interesting to see, however, whether Swift can claw back the crowds from the vendors and banks that last year decided to move their party to the Thursday night. It might take more than nibbles and free wine. Perhaps even a bit of karaoke. If there is karaoke on offer, I hope someone attempts a bit of Jacques Brel (for those that aren’t familiar with his dulcet tones see here) or at the very least the Bowie cover…

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