While another virtual conference season may leave some feeling a little non-plussed, there is much to be gained in engaging with the networking tools.

Joy web portrait

As we approach a second virtual Sibos, Swift’s community conference (October 11-14), it’s hard to feel the same buzz as jet-setting off to Singapore (the proposed destination for 2021 before the Covid-19 pandemic struck) would generate.

However, there is definitely momentum building and people seem even more engaged than last year, despite 12 months of non-stop Zoom meetings. And 2020 was pretty impressive when it comes to attendee numbers. The first fully digital Sibos attracted more than 22,000 delegates from over 180 countries, whereas the physical event only reached half that in 2019 in London.

Perhaps it is the pace of change the financial industry has had to cope with during these challenging times that coming together as a community, virtually or in-person, feels like a basic necessity. And that is what Sibos is known for – networking, exchanging ideas and bringing the whole industry up another level in terms of collaboration as well as competition. A virtual Sibos also democratises access to the big ideas and networking, for those that couldn't attend in person in the past. 

For those that are missing ‘pressing the flesh’ with peers, partners and colleagues from other countries, transaction banking and technology editor Liz Lumley, a veteran of many physical Siboses, gives her top tips for engaging with the virtual event in the View from Sibos 2021 preview video, particularly by taking advantage of the networking tools on offer. She also speaks to industry leaders in the View from Sibos 2021 series. Our Sibos special issue also covered several of the hot topics of this year’s conference, including decentralised finance, treasury-as-a-service, tackling financial crime and embedding sustainability in supply chains.

In the same week (October 11-17), the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are hosting their annual meetings, boldly taking the decision to host a hybrid event with those in Washington, DC attending some sessions in person. Many discussions at the annual meetings will revolved around global health initiatives, rebuilding a resilient global economy and climate change and sustainability.

In addition to our View from IMF video series, we have invited a select group of leading lights to pen their thoughts on burning issues today, including among others:

  • Sunayna Tuteja, chief innovation officer, US Federal Reserve System, on central bank innovation;
  • Ade Ayeyemi, group CEO of Ecobank, on empowering the African Continental Free Trade Area;
  • Werner Hoyer, president, European Investment Bank, on needing investment and innovation to tackle the climate crisis;
  • Rémy Rioux, CEO of the French development bank agency, AFD, and initiator of the Finance in Common coalition, on why development banks need facelifts; and
  • Demetra Kalogerou, chairwoman of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, on forging a regulatory strategy in a time of crisis.

Our cover story for the IMF special issue, Enabling banking for all, is part of a series entitled ‘Fintech for good’. Fintech has an important role to play in achieving a better, greener, more inclusive and resilient future.

Joy Macknight is editor of The Banker. Follow her on Twitter @joymacknight

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