INTERVIEW | Although the real-life pickup of digital assets may not have gone as fast as some hoped, Swedish custody veteran Göran Fors holds digitalisation and asset tokenisation for a top driver of change through the business in the last five years. Read for his summary of industry trends through the period – then meet him in Copenhagen on 11–12 October.

PostTrade 360° Copenhagen on 11–12 October 2023 will mark the five-year celebration of the brand – with Göran Fors as conference moderator, like many times earlier. Find the conference website here.
This five-year review interview is our seventh in a series

“We see a strong interest in building up solutions that will be different from what we used to have. But we see also that it might have taken up a lot of our time, and I think the optimistic view that it would change the world very quickly has now changed to a more realistic one: it is being developed but it will take a bit more time.”


My 5-year observations
Göran Fors, Deputy Head of Investor Services, SEB 
• The developments in digitalisation and tokenised assets.
• Regulatory developments in relation to sanctions. 
• The demands on the rigor of outsourcing setups. 

On the regulatory side, Göran Fors points to the recent emphasis specifically on the area of sanctions – together with related fields such as know-your-customer processes (“KYC”) and financial-crime compliance. 

“There is complication in how to analyse possible sanctions, how to possibly treat a sanction, in combination with making sure that clients don’t suffer unnecessarily in that – and to handle this so we don’t have any breach. Then, there could be even more complications due to counter measures from sanctioned entities that hit back.”

Outsourcing isn’t simple

In previous PostTrade 360° conferences, SEB representatives have discussed another form of complexity: the one around outsourcing relations. (Notably, SEB’s custody operation has a deep collaboration with US-based custodian Brown Brothers Harriman as a provider.) This makes for the third bullet point on Göran Fors’ five-year list – driven both by business needs and by regulation. 

“We’ve seen an enormous development in the demands on how to monitor when you outsource. This is not just driven by cyber threats or some of the regulators. If you do have an outsourcing arrangement, you need to have much deeper continuous monitoring of how it works. You may have to make sure that the outsourcing partner lives up to the different regulatory perspectives, but also standards and processes that you have agreed on.”