Ushered in by grey skies, rain, and the similarly dreary news of Merrill Lynch’s and Lehman Brothers’ respective takeover and bankruptcy, Sibos Vienna kicked off this morning with the usual surge of banking types emerging from their corners of the globe.
We're not far into the week, but it is clear the tone of this conference is distinct from 2007's Sibos Boston. Financial institutions were still in the midst last year of the infamous "subprime woes" and feeling the strain -- nay, the choke hold -- of the global credit crunch. On the tail end of the crisis, as those hit the hardest either fold or are sold, the tone this year is perhaps more anticipatory than speculative.
There is a difference. Last year we asked, How did this happen? What happens next?
A year later, after enough market studies to fill the Library of Congress, the damage has been done, the proverbial Band Aid has been ripped off (or slowly peeled away, depending on who you ask), and instead we ask, What do we have to look forward to?
Cases in point: Today's "What are the next milestones for high-value payments market infrastructures?" session. Tomorrow's "Where will the major financial centres be in 2013?" Of course there are the usual Debbie Downers (we're anticipating "What keeps CEOs awake at night?", although that one could go either way), but this year's conference reflects at least a glint of hope for a -- gasp! -- optimistic Sibos Hong Kong.
New Media Editor