SIBOS2018: fintech, speed dating & banking’s north star

Emerging technology in financial services is driving industry collaboration to an all-time high, ANZ’s Nigel Dobson says, with the maturity of the conversation around tech translating into meaningful benefits for both banks and customers.

Speaking on a bluenotes podcast, Dobson - Banking Services Lead at ANZ – said the amount of industry collaboration happening now was at an historic high – at least in his long career.

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“You're seeing new and emerging technologies driving greater collaboration particularly in cross-border scenarios like payments and trade and supply chain,” he said.

"[Tech in banking is] going to continue to evolve. It's inevitable. That will be fascinating.” – Mark Evans

Additional impetus from regulators everywhere is providing vital support, Dobson said, as well as fixing a keen eye on compliance and security.

“In our experience the regulators we’re dealing with are all very interested in hearing how banks are collaborating to improve efficiency and form networks leveraging new technology,” he said.

Dobson made the comments as part of a roundtable discussion in the lead up to the Sibos 2018 banking conference in Sydney – a forum for what he describes as “most-efficient [corporate] speed dating known to man” - alongside Michael Lim, Head of Financial Institutions, Transaction Banking and Mark Evans, Managing Director, Transaction Banking at ANZ. 

Think different

The collaboration between banks and non-banks is forcing banks to think very differently about their business models, Dobson said – causing them to consider things banks would never have touched in previous eras.

“Five years ago if you'd wanted to have a conversation about digital currency at Sibos most people would have shut the door,” he said. “Now versions are emerging which are stable, potentially regulated and more transparent. Those conversations are now happening”

Evans puts the change down to a convergence of factors: “the query a number of years ago was ‘how sustainable is crypto?’ How do you control the risk? And what will the regulators [think] when it gets to a size large enough to be significant and impact an economy?”

“Now we're starting to see regulators take a view,” he said. “We're seeing maturity in the infrastructure around it. I think that's going to continue to evolve. It's inevitable. That will be fascinating.”


Lim believes a lot of the early collaboration was driven by a fear of missing out – but now the competitive advantages of larger consortiums have become clear.

He said “in the last 12 to 18 months” the sector has begun to realise the various consortiums are not going to maximise the return on their investment unless they can generate the broadest possible network.

“There's genuine collaboration now happening between consortiums,” Lim said.

Dobson expects the sector to see a further maturing of the conversation round tech and data in the next 12 months, particularly around distributed ledger technology.

“What that means for open banking is a move away from a [conversation on] regulatory framing to one which is saying, ‘how do we leverage this to make it a better experience for our customers but also a meaningful business model?’,” he said.

“This is where I think banks often find their north star.”

The panel also touched on the themes set to arise at Sibos and elements which will support future growth in trade. Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

Shane White is senior production editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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