Securities take centre stage at Sibos 2022

Securities discussions take the limelight at this year’s Sibos with settlement fails, digital assets, T+1 and new technologies leading the agenda as SWIFT prioritises the stream more than ever before, writes Global Custodian managing editor Jonathan Watkins.

If you ever thought Sibos was just a payments conference, think again! While we at Global Custodian had – some years ago – suggested that SWIFT had deprioritised the securities agenda at Sibos, this year’s line-up proves the contrary. 

After a year of initiatives, partnerships and product launches aimed at the securities industry, SWIFT has dedicated amble time during the expo that pulls together around 10,000 banking experts from all over the world.  

Settlement fails, digital assets, T+1 and new technologies lead the agenda and feature the industry’s biggest hitters over the four days. 

The event – while being a fantastic place to network – is set to provide the foundations upon which conversations and developments will occur across the securities services industry over the next 12 months and beyond.  

SWIFT has peppered the press with launches and announcements during September in the build-up to the event, including an end-to-end view of post-trade processing service, a trial tokenisation framework with SETL and a blockchain corporate actions pilot.  

Some of these initiatives are fascinating and show the kind of role the cooperative intends to play in the securities market infrastructure of the future. 

Our team at Global Custodian will be on-the-ground during the week, conducting video interviews, roundtables, panels and publishing a daily wrap-up video in partnership with Digital Asset, featuring some of the biggest names in custody discussing the panels from the events. So do keep an eye on throughout the week. 

For now, here’s a handful of sessions you should not miss if you are attending in person in Amsterdam or digitally through the comfort of your own office or home. 

Monday 10 October, 12.30: Is T+1 the goal or a step to instant securities settlement? 

Vying for the most talked-about theme in the securities industry (with digital assets) is the shift to T+1, a topic affecting market participants globally. Years ago, a T+1 securities settlement cycle seemed like a utopia. Today, as markets move in this direction many believe that the industry should leverage the adoption of DLT and digital assets to go for instantaneous settlement and render the T+n debate obsolete. The question remains: what prevents securities from settling instantly? Technology, time zones, liquidity, or is there something else?  

Monday 10 October, 14.15: Tackling the root of securities settlement fails 

Settlement fails are a problem and the blame game on ‘unprecedented events’ is becoming too frequent for them to be labelled as such. Fails create both added costs and operational risks for trading counterparties. And these challenges are only intensifying under CSDR’s Settlement Discipline Regime and the decision by certain markets to adopt T+1. Increased transparency on securities transactions will be essential if the industry is to reduce settlement fails moving forward. In this session, speakers look at why some transactions fail to settle on time, the rising costs and risks associated with this, and hear first-hand from key securities players about a new service that will address the issue once and for all. 

Wednesday 12 October, 12.00: Green, clean, and ESG: Rewiring capital markets for a new generation of responsible investors 

Are we getting tired of ESG discussions with little progress? Perhaps the fatigue is kicking in with slow progress, but the issue isn’t going away. Millennials and Gen Z are set to drive the biggest trend in investment funds: an ESG-exclusive market. As asset managers start to manage $30 trillion of assets inherited by these generations from baby boomers it’s likely that only green, clean, ethical, sustainable and socially responsible funds will be up for grabs. At the same time, a new generation of leaders across all industries will challenge even the existence of non-ESG investments and push for perhaps the most impactful change in capital markets yet. In this session, panellists look at what this means for the securities market as we know it today. 

Thursday 13 October 12.00: Servicing digital assets: Who will win the battle? 

Moderated by yours truly, this session features the biggest names in global custody as BNY Mellon, Northern Trust and State Street discussing their digital asset initiatives and what this trend means for the future of their business. How will traditional intermediaries and securities servicing firms such as custodians and CSDs adapt and compete? Or will they partner with fintechs that, despite lacking the maturity and established business knowledge, have an edge when it comes to agility and ease with using new technology? Plus, something rarely discussed is how much of the assets under custody they hold will be either tokenised or digital assets by 2030, and I plan to ask them.

And one for fun….11 October 12.00: Spotlight on Digital Value: Conquering the metaverse 

Wondering what the metaverse is? Well Sibos 2022 is the perfect place to find out. This session will answer ‘Should I buy a piece of land in the metaverse? and highlight how many traditional banks have started to do this. Not only to buy land but to build stadiums, lounges and branches. The sessions also asks: When will the first stock exchange and asset manager open in the metaverse? And will you be one of the first investors?