Global Custodian deputy editor Joe Parsons returns from Swift’s grand Sibos conference with a sense that tech-driven change has moved a long way from hype towards reality in the last two years.

At this year’s edition, in London, of Sibos – Swift’s 8000-participant get-together on financial services – APIs were a key buzzword, writes Joe Parsons in a summarizing article on his takeaways from the event. (Simply put, application programming interfaces, APIs, make it easy to have different systems speak with each other, allowing for more flexible and tailored data processing solutions.)

The big difference from previous vintages of the conference was in the degree of connection between the topics and the reality. “Past experiences of Sibos have taught me that hype often trumps substance. … Last week in London appeared to buck that trend,” he writes.

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An announcement by BNP Paribas Securities Services early in the week, that it has applied a chunk of APIs within its fund administration business was one example.

DLT is up and running

A senior industry representative, Simone Vroegop of Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), explained that clients now see digital technologies as a differentiating factor when picking providers. Digital tools and partnerships with fintechs have become key.

On the DLT side, two announcements exemplified how securities services firms can now demonstrate functioning use cases for their businesses: one by Deutsche Bank which we wrote about last week, another by HQLAX which has put up a tokenised securities lending solution with banks. Interesting practical use was also noted with regard to artificial intelligence.