Event highlights
Day one: It’s all about connection

Orbiting the earth at 28,000km per hour is bound to give you some perspective. André Kuipers, physician and European Space Agency astronaut, launched the landmark four-day conference with talk of teamwork, problem solving and a sustainable mindset. Quoting Einstein and Edison to highlight the impossibility of predictions certainly gave the audience some perspective as we head into a hectic agenda.

Early on, Christine Tan commanded the stage at J.P. Morgan’s Women’s Breakfast, interviewing her colleague and Global Head of Liquidity and Account Solutions, Lori Schwartz. Discussing the theme of ‘managing in uncertain times’, Lori shared the importance of focusing on long term strategy and avoiding knee-jerk reactions in times of ambiguity. The personal and engaging conversation – like many of the sessions to follow – could easily have continued well over time.

Starting with the end in mind

Add on, not add in, says Peter Beardshaw of Accenture, suggesting that banks can be at the forefront of building a global economy with net zero carbon emissions. Enriching processes - such as KYC and other data collection points - to set up an ESG data architecture could incentivize your clients and become core to the change, he said. While net zero commitments can be difficult to achieve, banks that start with a target on their outcome can pave the way to success.

Think about pizza…

…it helps. At least, that seemed to be the improbable core of the ‘Tackling the root of securities settlement fails’ session, where consumer experiences with food delivery was compared to expectations in the securities world. Transparency of end of end life cycle, lack of securities and failed deliveries that ripple through the settlement chain are key issues in timely settlements. It’s ultimately reactive, J.P. Morgan’s Emma Johnson told the panel during the afternoon session. A rousing session with lots to chew over.  

DeFi: from bank killer to cautious optimism

The Big issue debate was the big draw of the day, examining the lofty ‘Hype vs reality: how can digital value solve real world problems?’ It was never going to be easy in just one hour, where the esteemed panelists – Onyx’s Umar Farooq among them – started with DeFi and went all the way around to CBDCs, tokenized deposits and Stablecoin, covering use cases and opportunities along the way. All agreed that the role of trustworthy advisor, neatly filled by banks, can help DeFi to mature from this nascent stage, with a big focus on regulations. Looking to the future is key, Umar asserted. “Sometimes retrofitting a solution for today’s problems misses the point – it could be solving for a future challenge that we haven’t yet considered”. A fitting wrap up to a thought-provoking first day.


  • Interoperability is underlying all discussions, linked closely with finding efficiencies across the ecosystem.
  • Opening plenary by no less than H.M Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is also United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. Impressive titles, further exceeded by an exceptional opener.
  • The event’s first POAP - Proof of Attendance Protocol – where attendees could ‘mint’ their own NFT. Relevant, rewarding and just super cool.
  • Swag of the day: official World Cup match footballs.


Day two: going all in

The fizz of excitement from day one has continued, and as day two kicks off, you consider the advantages of cloning. There’s just no other way to experience it all… although maybe that’s a Sibos 2023 ambition.

In the meantime, there is a real feeling of bringing minds together to solve the world’s biggest issues. Today’s agenda is straight to business, racing through metaverse, crypto, cross-border and all that is good in payments.

Where do you want to work?

Today’s notably people-centric schedule kicks off with a standing-room-only session focusing on ‘The Great Return: a key moment for talent and culture’. This post-pandemic contemplation focused on the workplace of the future, and the efforts already made to get there. Alison Livesey from J.P. Morgan championed the need for empathic leadership and the increased importance of a DEI agenda for a hybrid workforce. There was certainty too from the audience, the majority of which (40%) cited personalized flexibility as a central requirement in employee retention.

Low value, big business

In this global economy, low-value, cross border payments from SMEs is a high-growth area. Competition for this business is fierce, and while the audience poll suggested fintechs will win, J.P. Morgan’s Gayathri Vasudev believes that the $4trn market allows room for lots of players.  Previous barriers to banks’ involvement in the space are being lifted thanks to real time rails – reducing the cost – and GPI – increasing the transparency. Flexibility is also key, the ‘High stakes in low value payments’ panel agreed; pay out options look very different in China vs the Philippines vs the UK.

ISO 20022: the hot topic

As the deadline draws ever nearer, it’s no surprise that so many Sibos sessions are dedicated to ISO 20022 regulations. ‘Rethinking data architecture through the ISO 20022 lens’ had the audience murmuring throughout as ideas and debates raged.  Masayuki Tagai from J.P. Morgan joined SWIFT, Northern Bank and Deutsche Bank leaders in taking a data architecture angle for this session, speculating on the future that the new standard could bring. With the potential for AI interoperability, bringing the teach teams – and the business – on the journey will be key.

Keeping the bad guys at bay

‘Managing sanctions risks with global technology providers’ could hardly be more relevant, with an expert panel (moderated by a Knight!) laying bare the security challenges facing the world since February 2022. The difficulties of implementing controls in this new environment and the speed with which sanctions were implemented this year is unprecedented; a sanctions role in 2001 was a half-day job for one person, J.P. Morgan’s Andy Humbles revealed. Nowadays, the need for implementing controls beyond straightforward screening means there is an innate need to understand your business, and the world.  


  • Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. The community is converging.
  • The identity of the mystery attendee who has been coming since Brussels in 1978. They’re the toast of the Sibos activity wall, an record unlikely to ever be broken.


DAY 3: the future is now

You would think there is nothing left to say, but today’s agenda begs to differ. The Sibos train continues at pace, covering everything from AI, the quantum internet, and the not-insubstantial question of what the future holds.

Mainstreaming ESG

No, we don’t know what an ESG-compliant transaction looks like. So said the audience at ‘Harnessing big data towards ESG compliance’, reflecting the panel’s positioning that combining the data and methodology of finance and tech is key. It went big (sustainability in global trade, where J.P. Morgan’s Natasha Condon starred) and small (the risk of leaving SMEs behind, and the need for knowledge share). Unsurprisingly, all agree that measurement is crucial: without the correct metrics we could invest a lot, but not advance to the goals.

Do it for me… do it with me… do it yourself

It’s the biggest shift: consumer expectations are moving the digital agenda and driving expectations of what’s acceptable. “We will see more flows, at speed in a fragmented way, with more risks, and global banks play a role in managing what will be even more complex liquidity”, J.P. Morgan’s Renata Vilanova Lobo told this session. ‘Let’s get digital: a blueprint for the payments model of the future’ examined how digital could shape the future… and how banks and fintechs can shape digital.

When a gray rhino gives birth to a black swan

Climate change used to be about the future. That future is now, the panel of the wonderfully named ‘Black swans. Gray rhinos. Dragon kings. #Version2022’ stated. The dizzying expertise of this discussion could’ve spanned a conference all on its own – Stuart Roberts from J.P. Morgan highlighting the pernicious nature of inflation and how that, in turn, can influence world events. Climate change will be solved by scientists and engineers, not by bankers, he said. Our job is to provide capital to these people and those solutions.

As Pamela Mar wrapped up, “If we’re not here to make the world better, what’s the point?”


  • Chargers, adapters, two-pin, three-pin… phone power is a scarce commodity and the Sibos delegates are only too happy to pool resources with colleagues and competitors.
  • Sore feet, sore backs – conferencing is hard work!

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