FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Kris Hendrieckx talks with Asian Banking & Finance on next two Sibos events in Asia

Sibos will be back in Singapore in 2015 and Asian Banking & Finance interviewed Sibos Head Kris Hendrieckx to talk about what Asian bankers can expect from the next two Sibos events in Asia.

What will be different about Sibos in Singapore 2015?

Kris: Size. Sibos has been continuously growing since it was last in Singapore in 2003, and we expect Sibos 2015 to be much bigger than Hong Kong. For Sibos 2012 in Osaka, registrations are encouraging and the exhibition space is completely sold out and it is larger than Sibos 2009 which was in Hong Kong.

Why bring Sibos back to Singapore rather than another country like China?

Kris: We make our venue selection based on a set of criteria as well as the availability of dates. These two factors play a very important role in the selection process. We usually have a couple of venues that we pick from so we have to start scouting for venues years in advance.

We chose Singapore for 2015 because we felt that we’ve been away too long from one of our key Asia Pacific markets. The last Sibos that was hosted here was in 2003 and since then, a lot has changed in Singapore.

Also, some of the venues in other countries we looked into were not available. For example, we have not had Sibos in China before because up until recently, there have not been convention centres in China that are up to the standards in terms of size and structure, that we require to host a Sibos conference.

Another important thing that we have had to consider is that the entire Sibos conference takes occupation of a centre for a full two weeks. Therefore, whichever city we choose to host Sibos will also need to have ample accommodation facilities and easily accessible public transportation to ensure our delegates and speakers are able to get around easily and enjoy the city as well.

For Sibos 2015, we have estimated that the economical impact of hosting it in the Lion-city will be at least SGD 100 million which is really positive news for Singapore.

How are delegate numbers looking for Sibos in Osaka this year?

Kris: Since we are still registering delegates the numbers are steadily increasing as the conference draws closer, I’ll give you figures from past-Sibos events in this region, so you can better gauge what we can expect for Sibos in Osaka.

For Sydney we had 5,700 delegates and in Hong Kong we had 5,800, and we expect to do better than that with Osaka. From our experience and surveys carried out while at Sibos, we are seeing that the pull-factor for Sibos seems to be the wealth of networking opportunities that one can partake in during the conference.

Prior to this, the networking aspect was a much smaller reason to attend Sibos and now it’s a major reason why people come to Sibos. On the conference side, people are looking for new information relevant to their business from the high calibre of speakers that participate.. For delegates who opt in they can now pre-arrange meetings through a mini-social network.

What can we expect in the exhibitor space ?

Kris: It is an 80/20 mix with 80 % being financial institutions. We see there are more regional banks trying to showcase their best efforts and practices. In Japan we will have all the large banks in attendance as well as some Japanese software developers. That is reflected in the conference program as a lot of the speakers come from the region including some key Chinese banks.

What is SWIFT doing around corporate and social responsibility around Sibos?

Kris: Every Sibos we support a local charity together with the local banking community. In Japan we are supporting Ashinaga, a charity for orphans which provides emotional and financial support to children who have lost either one or both of their parents to ensure these children receive a full education. So far, more than 60,000 orphans have graduated from schools with Ashinaga scholarship support.

What can delegates expect from Sibos in Osaka this year ?

Kris: The conference program for Japan is now live and during July we will announce more speakers. There will also be more specialty streams. We will add a Technology forum on Monday and Tuesday, the Corporate forum will be Tuesday and Wednesday and there will be a Compliance forum on Wednesday and Thursday. We offer two-day passes for these forums. This is the first time Sibos has been held in Japan and I think we will get a lot of senior people attending from the local industry which we haven’t had before. The fact that there will be a lot more Japanese delegates coming along is a huge pull factor for the region. We are also seeing a lot more interest coming from Korea and China.

Who has the biggest stand in Japan ?

Kris: SWIFT does! But after SWIFT, there is a maximum size we offer which is an 8 unit stand (192 square meters) and a number of banks have purchased this size. At last count I believe it is somewhere between ten to fifteen banks. Sibos is a place where people want to showcase their best and this year’s event will be great with a variety of stand sizes and the full support from the local community.

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