Sibos programme unveiling highlights SWIFT’s refocus on securities

This year’s digital Sibos is rich with securities services content, another sign of SWIFT’s growing work in the securities and settlement space.

It is fair to say that securities services related discussions at Sibos have been thinning over recent years. This has been partly down to prioritisation of broader technology and innovation discussions, along with a focus on climate and diversity issues as SWIFT has looked to play a pivotal role in addressing socially important issues. Nevertheless, there have been rumblings in the securities services space about the lack of attention the industry was getting in during Sibos primetime despite the event still presenting the ultimate networking opportunity during a ‘normal’ year.

This year’s agenda is different though, in a way that will be well received by custody professionals. SWIFT has backed up its capital market strategy reveal from last year with a packed-out securities agenda including a panel on globally reducing settlement cycles moderated by yours truly (that wasn’t intending to be a plug for the panel but if you’re not up to much else on 11 October at 8am GMT then pop along).

Settlement is definitely the headline discussion and seemingly an area of focus for SWIFT as it looks to play a part in curbing settlement fails itself.

A panel early on the Monday on Success in stopping settlement fails: What will it take? kicks the securities stream off for the week. Elsewhere, sessions on Realising data opportunities in the securities industry, Due diligence for the digital era: The quest for efficiency, but what does it take? and Securities tracking: Lighting the path to increased efficiency will cover other important topics for the industry.

On the final day – as mentioned – I’ll be joined by the DTCC, Korea Securities Depositary, and BBVA to discuss The road to T+0: The global trend towards shorter securities settlement cycles. The timely discussion comes as the US announces plans to move its equities settlement cycle to T+1, as the panel will explore how shortened settlement cycles are reshaping the post-trade industry; whether DLT will be widely adopted by the industry to facilitate shorter settlement cycles; and what lessons we can learn from the experience of China.

Last year’s digital Sibos saw fireside chats with the heads of some of the largest custodians and while those sessions haven’t been announced, there’s a chance we could see a repeat of speakers at the helm of the likes of State Street, BNY Mellon and other tier-one players.

What there will be, which will pique the interest of the securities services industry, are panels on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and digital assets, which have become prominent and unavoidable discussions points shrouded in uncertainty but full of potential.

During last year’s Sibos, SWIFT also announced a two-year plan to implement a next-generation digital platform that will transform payments and securities processing for banks and asset servicers as part of a new capital markets strategy.

For securities, SWIFT said the new strategy will help firms benefit from improved reconciliation, reporting and asset servicing processes, as well as end-to-end visibility of transactions to reduce settlement fails and fines.  

This year’s Sibos agenda shows further commitment to that strategy and will have the securities services engaged and present, even without the in-person networking opportunities.