Financial IT Fall Issue 2023

  • 17 Sep, 2023 08:00 am
Technology in the time of peace
The Editors’ Letter written for the Sibos 2022 edition of Financial IT had a rather grim tone. Entitled ‘Technology in the Time of War’, its main message was as follows:
‘In any event, the world is one where the leaders of financial services organisations need to become, as one of the contributors to this edition of Financial IT put it, “Wartime CFOs”.
We would suggest that a Wartime CFO is one who can respond very quickly to a rapidly changing situation. A Wartime CFO may work for a long-established and traditional financial institution. Alternatively, he/she may work for a recently formed fintech that challenges the status quo in its particular field. He/she needs a certain mindset that can look through the disinformation that pervades any war. He/she needs to see the opportunities that arise – often in greater numbers than in periods of peace and tranquillity – and seize the day.  Perhaps most importantly, he/she needs access to the best technology that is available – which is, hopefully, better than the technology that is being used by his/ her organisation’s main rivals.’
One year later, it appears that financial services leaders have risen to the challenge. The theme of Sibos 2023, which takes place in Toronto on 18-21 September, is Collaborative Finance in a Fragmented World. This theme embraces two ideas. 
One of the ideas is fragmentation - which is a complex idea that is much more than the reversal of globalisation. It was globalisation that had explained much of what happened in the world’s economy and financial system from around 1980 to about 2016. Fragmentation can involve greater numbers of losers relative to winners. It can involve uncertainty, which means that many parties are exposed to new risks - even if they do not yet realise it. Fragmentation can also involve heightened fear and mistrust of new technology - Artificial Intelligence (AI) being a particularly important example.
The second idea is that the fragmentation is a soluble problem - so long as the various collaborate in the right way. Financial services involves many players - banks, fintechs that challenge the banks, fintechs that provide technology that can help banks, trade associations, regulators, brokers and intermediaries and operators of market infrastructure.  What matters is that the collaboration seeks to achieve a specific outcome.
The organisers of this year’s Sibos have helpfully identified several outcomes to which financial services leaders can commit. One is a sustainable and inclusive financial industry. A collaboration between two or more players should produce outcomes that are clearly greener than what happened before. Alternatively, the collaboration can result in a wider dispersal of benefits - lower costs, greater choice for end consumers or greater employment. Many examples can be found among the articles that have been contributed to this edition of Financial IT.
Another possible outcome is risk management in a time of uncertainty. The uncertainty is unavoidable - but it can be managed. Items in this edition of Financial IT deal with varied topics such as the benefits that a data fabric can bring, the crisis-proofing of a particular economy in Central Europe and a reduction in operational blunders.
One big change to have happened since Sibos 2022 has been the surge in publicity around AI. AI carries the idea that technology can destroy a lot of jobs in a short period of time. It carries the idea that new technology is unlikely to be accepted readily if it contributes to fragmentation. This edition of Financial IT includes a discussion of Generative AI, among other articles that deal with the restoration of the balance between technology and trust.
However, AI’s time in the spotlight is not the most important change to have taken place over the last year. We have moved out of a period of war, in which financial services leaders needed an aggressive mindset. We have moved into a time of peace, in which the main theme is indeed Collaborative Finance in a Fragmented World.
Our congratulations go to the organisers of Sibos 2023 for identifying what really matters for technology in a time of peace. We wish all participants a successful conference.
Andrew Hutchings
Financial IT

Other Issues

Spring Issue 2021
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Winter Issue 2020/21
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Financial IT Fall Issue 2020
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