Sibos 2021: platforming a better customer experience

Sibos is a time for global, institutional banks like ANZ to figure out how to get better in a rapidly digitising, increasingly tech-intensive world.

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Financial services is moving very quickly and according to Mike Lim, Global Head of Financial Institutions, TB, at ANZ Institutional, the Sibos financial services conference offers a unique opportunity for banks to keep up – with competitors, peers and customer expectations.

“If we don't keep up with the challenges, particularly in the technology space, we will very quickly lose the market share we are trying to protect and grow.” - Bryan Stagg

“Sibos is a great opportunity for us all to sit down and discuss, as mutual customers of each other, how we improve our propositions for our underlying customers, how we get faster in moving money around, and how we deliver services in a more efficient, transparent, cheaper way,” he says.

“It’s all about innovation, international payments and the transaction banking space. It’s meeting with our partner banks and discussing the future of our relationships, and what we're going to work on together over the next 12 months.”

Bryan Stagg has been to more than a few Sibos conferences. As Head of Banks Australia at ANZ Institutional, he says it’s also about maintaining the bank’s place at the top of the Australian and New Zealand dollar clearing market.

“If we don't keep up with the challenges, particularly in the technology space, we will very quickly lose the market share we are trying to protect and grow,” he says. “Our customers demand the best service and best innovation.”

ANZ’s clearing business has come in focus in 2021 as the bank ramps up its platform strategy. These system “rails” are how ANZ helps move money around between banks globally, according to Lim.

“Ultimately, it's a bit like, for lack of a better word, the plumbing of the financial system,” he says.

“It’s how Grandma in the UK gets her birthday-present money to the kids in Australia.

“Foreign banks rely on us to get their customer’s money into the account in Australia and New Zealand. And we rely on our foreign banking partners to do the same for us in their particular markets.”

Stagg likens it to running “accounts” for major international banks (that) don't have the processing ability or capabilities in Australia”.

“They use ANZ as a means to effect those transfers,” he says, which can amount to several billion dollars a day.

“It's really an essential service we provide. And similarly, it's a service that we buy from other banks offshore when clearing our own foreign currency.

“And when we get together at Sibos, that's the sort of thing we talk about. In order to keep our market share, we're going to maintain our relationships with the foreign-bank customers that use our services.”

Rate of change

Stagg has been to more than 20 Sibos’ in a row and says the recent changes in the sector around new entrants and approaches has been quite significant.

“The change we’ve seen across the last two or three Sibos’ has been bigger than all the other Sibos’ I’ve been to combined,” he says.

Such change is perhaps clearest in the regulatory space, Stagg says, particularly in the payment space. When combined with increased scrutiny with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) expectations, it means banks have to be extremely careful, he says.

“One of the things I try to do at Sibos is learn off other banks,” Stagg says. “What are they doing in this [regulatory] environment that we could be doing?”

A digital conference for digital times

The Sibos financial services conference, just like in 2020, will be purely digital. From October 11, the annual conference will provide a platform for industry participants to delve into the trends which will shape the sector into 2021 and beyond.

Also returning in 2021 is ANZ Institutional’s market-leading insights and thought leadership. In the lead up to the event, we’ll be rolling out a wide range of conversations from ANZ’s industry experts, offering a sneak peek at the ideas set to dominate the conference – and the future.

Click HERE to see our full coverage.


Sibos is virtual again in 2021 but Stagg happily admits he prefers “the face-to-face meetings”.  

“I think a number of our customers are suffering burnout from virtual calls,” he says. “Nothing replaces face-to-face meetings, in my opinion. You build stronger relationships, you get to read your customers’ body language and customers are perhaps more inclined to share constructive information with you in person.”

But the virtual style allows for more meetings than physical conferences allow – a process of musical chairs Lim admits can be “brutal”.

“Over the course of the next two to three weeks we're going to have maybe 100 meetings with our customers,” Stagg says. “And then that's really good. That’s the plus side. The negative side is you miss that personal contact.”

A digital conference may be fitting given the outsized role digital will play the future of banking. A big part of Sibos, Lim says, is getting a grasp of theforward-looking roadmap” of development, innovation and service improvement.

“And the way that we show to our customers we are continuing to invest in in our propositions infrastructure, speed of execution and all those things that are so important to our customer base and our customers’ customer base,” he says. “And that's why Sibos is so important to us.”

That investment in innovation doesn’t just happen by chance, Stagg says. In many cases it happens because “we’ve been to Sibos two or three years ago, talked about it, and have come back saying ‘we need to develop this, we need to develop it now’”.

“And the conversations we're going to have over the course of the next two weeks are going to set the scene for what we're going to be doing in two or three years’ time.”

Shane White is Institutional Content Manager at ANZ

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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