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Day 1 - SIBOS 2019 blows bankers minds

Many wondered how Brian Cox, the UK’s world famous physicist, talking about cosmology could possibly be of interest to bankers from around the world. Well, it really was some show, and no one left early. He entertained with wonderful graphics and cinematography clips. (Loads of the audience took photos on their mobiles) And he told amazing stories of how Einstein had worked out the theory in 1915, and basically it still works today. Stunning. 

Also stunning 

Other sessions were also stunning because of key comments and attitudes:

  1. The Pegasystems Ltd: “AI in transaction banking - What you need to know” was an excellent discussion of many different aspects of using AI (more sensibly described as machine learning) in banking with many important lessons. But the key comment was when one of the experts on the panel who listed his four key differentiators in the use of AI:
    1. Data Programme needs to be controllable, i.e. focussed
    2. Imagination, i.e. where can we use this elsewhere
    3. Leader needs to take and keep ownership, e.g. “I had a CEO came to the early meetings and then he said to me. ‘This is our CIO he’ll take over from here.’ That is when the project died
    4. Data needs to be converted into AI format, unless you do this, your project will go nowhere.
  2. “APIs: The connective tissue enabling platforms and creating thriving ecosystems” session in which a panel made up of three bankers and Andrew Smith, Chief Technology from ClearBank discussed a whole range of topics, where the huge difference in attitudes became clear:
    1. When the excellent chairman, Quartz’s John Detrixhe, asked “What is the business like?”. The bankers talked about efficiency and speed improvements, while Smith talked about enrichment and the restrictions standards put on their development and how to manage within the standards while still continuing to innovate rapidly.
  3. The Discover section in the exhibition was full of all sorts of really innovative sessions and exhibitors, e.g. the global Hackathon, Xceptor who automate the complex simply, IBM’s research team, etc.


  • CTMfile take: SIBOS has always been a huge event, but now it is bigger and better than ever before many attendees commented. The range of views and exhibitors is very good to hear/see. BUT the difference between the new players – the fintechs and new organisations like Clear Bank – and the traditional banks seems to be growing.

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