Friday, 3 October 2014

Sibos: final thoughts

Boston. Sibos: final thoughts
The carnival is over and the industry is moving on. Here are our final thoughts on this year's Sibos event before it fades from the memory.

The BCEC venue where Sibos took place is vast, which meant a lot of walking and the absolute necessity of sensible shoes. The exhibition floor, however, was quite compact and laid out in a rectangular grid (for those who remember the Sibos events in Osaka and Dubai this was a welcome change). There were fewer exhibitors than last year, largely attributed to the spike in prices for the stands and services: renting a coffee machine, for instance, set vendors back thousands of dollars. Most felt it was a worthy investment though as the delegates and exhibitors in the course of four days pretty much live on coffee. And the coffee was excellent. Oracle, one of the world's largest vendors, decided to be frugal and had a large portable thermos flask out of which it doled out a standard brew in plastic cups. We guess you cannot become a multi-billion dollar company and have the fifth richest man in the world as CEO if you splash out on such extravagances as fancy coffee machines!

The rise of expenses for exhibitors was attributed to the local labour regulations and demands set by the trade unions. Everyone is expecting (or hoping for) a price reduction for next year's event in Singapore.

Some entreprising vendors rented rooms in the adjacent hotels and turned them into their meeting rooms, instead of renting an exhibition stand at the event. Their delegates scoured the ground and arranged meetings. The advantages, said the vendors, were that the talks held in a hotel suite were done in peace and quiet, and that the competitors could not see who the meetings were with. Plus, the cost savings were substantial.

There were some disgruntled noises on the ground that the footfall was not what it was the previous year (although nothing matches the lows reached in Osaka in 2012), as a lot of attendees could not get visas to the US. The local bank presence on the ground was non-existent (understandably, as local banks have very little involvement in the Swift activities), although the usual US multinationals – Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon, Bank of America etc – were here in force, of course. Afghanistan Banks Association had its own stand. There was also a visible under-representation of Asian institutions but the balance will be redressed in Singapore next year no doubt. Europe and Latin America were dominating the scene.

So that is all from Sibos 2014. Check out the IBS Intelligence website for the latest news from the event, and for more comprehensive coverage over the coming days. You can also find our round-ups from days one, two, three and four here. See you in Singapore next year!

Follow Tanya and Jan on twitter. 

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