ISITC Europe Silver Anniversary AGM & Conference
ISITC Europe 25th Anniversary AGM & Conference – 26th January 2017
Conference Report by Nigel Solkhon, CEO ISITC Europe
“Outstanding”, “Best conference I have been to for years”, “Fantastic well informed speakers” – just a few comments made to me by some of the near 100 attendees at the recent ISITC Europe held at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. Despite the best efforts of Underground tube strikers and a bitterly cold day trying to deter the attendees, the conference started on time and kept to schedule throughout the day.
Our sponsors, DTCC and Volante welcomed the attendees beside the refreshments who then sat down to hear an open address and update by me followed by a fantastic speech from Dr Kay Swinburne, MEP who started her speech with “Instead of bringing me problems with regulation and expecting me to come up with solutions, Fintech is an industry built on providing solutions”, an indication that even in Politics regulation is a drain. Dr Swinburne also covered the rise of the robots and the potential social impact of the developments in AI on the human workforce in Europe. Dr Swinburne’s speech can be found here.
Markus Ruetimann was next on stage with a fascinating view of the current and potential future trends in the Asset Management space. He too discussed the disruptive nature of “Robowealth” and the “RoboAdvisor” on both the new generation of investor and the connected marketplace. “Quantopia” was seen as the ideal for firms as they move to blur the lines of passive and active fund styles. Markus’ slides are in the conference deck here.
The Industry panel debate with Pinar Emirdag, David Williams, Targ Patience and Tony Freeman debated issues and concepts raised by the key note speakers as well as items raised by the moderator Dr Anthony Kirby. The panel debated the immense appeal of the next generation technologies and investing for growth, and how firms might meet the challenges of managing legacy systems and comply with non-discretionary regulatory requirements. The panel also discussed how best to incentivise the industry to migrate towards new solutions in the developing digital, robo, smart contract and blockchain ecosystems (including the critical enabling role of financial market infrastructures), and how to embed risk and regulatory requirements into future solutions, given that ‘one guy’s standards is another’s competitive advantage.
The newly elected Chair of ISITC North America, Erica Choinski from BBH in Boston provided the audience with an introduction and update to our cousins in North America. With 73 firms and targets to raise this in 2017 by 5%, solutions are sought through a set of industry segment forums and working groups details of which are in the conference slides.
The afternoon session was kicked off with a view of active engagements and topics that DLT suppliers are currently introducing to the securities industry. Facilitated by Antony Peyton of Banking Technology; Keith Bear, Jason Nabi and Gavin Wells engaged the audience on the real instances we’re going to see in 2017 and the next two to three years. The panel also discussed the time to adoption; the disruption this brings to each area; and the benefits. There was a considerable amount of interaction with the audience; and in a poll most of the delegates felt the cost savings from any blockchain project would be quite low.
The penultimate panel debate was hosted by Gary Wright of BAT who led a discussion on political and regulatory challenges with Dr Swinburne, Mark Yeandle, Paul Symonds and Gergely Polner. With article 50 yet to be issued much of the debate concentrated on the issues that Brexit had on both the UK and Europe. The panel were all keen on finding solutions to make Brexit work for the UK and European financial markets. The panel noted the number of political elections across the EU in 2017 and that the landscape might look quite different in 2018. The existing regulations that the UK was instrumental in drafting will continue to be implemented. There was no value in creating a regulatory arbitrage between the UK and the EU. The audience poll result showing that the London and Financial markets might equally gain from Brexit whilst Paris captured only a small percentage. This was thought to show the positivity of London to remain a major global financial centre post Brexit. Panel members explained that London had distinct advantages with infrastructure/living environment/industry expertise and culture as some key advantages noting that London was many times the size of Frankfurt.
The panel felt that it was unlikely that there will be many if any changes to current regulatory changes as a result of Brexit and firms should all diligently implement their compliance solutions. The general view expressed by the panel was that the future although challenging had the potential benefit of creating a better financial market in the UK and the EU to compete globally.
The final panel of the day discussed leadership and was moderated by Dr Hermann Rapp with discussions from Fiona Hamilton, Chris Smith, Tony Freeman and myself. The panellists gave examples of leadership in the financial industry such as the successful launch of CREST led by Pen Kent and Iain Saville. Regarding current challenges, ISITC Europe can play an important role by providing a forum to discuss and identify opportunities to collaborate and provide leadership. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary in a concluding round the panel expressed their wishes for the future of ISITC Europe stating that the focus on Operations, Technology, Oversight and Education is a promising approach for the 21st century.
Finally the conference was followed by an informal drinks reception which facilitated networking between all attendees.
I would like to say that the success of the conference was a combination of speakers, audience, sponsors and of course the ISITC Europe team.
For anyone in attendance your feedback would be greatly received using the following link:
Nigel D Solkhon
CEO ISTC Europe