SWIFT Forum Confirms Regulation Still a Top Strategic Priority

SWIFT said that industry leaders attending its most recent annual Business Forum in London confirmed that regulation remains a top strategic priority.

More than 1,100 industry leaders, who gathered at the event held on April 23 to discuss the latest trends and innovations in financial services, were polled and 45% said that they regard regulation as the highest strategic priority. New entrants in the market were cited by 20% of respondents and reducing costs by 15%.

The theme of this year’s forum was
‘Harnessing change in financial services’
, and the programme explored how the industry can channel innovation to address challenges such as regulation, the technology revolution, new entrants and changing customer behaviour.

The live poll also found that 59% of respondents believe that the financial technology sector will have a lasting impact on the financial services ecosystem.

Most attendees were confident that fintech will not be the next dot.com bubble, indicating a strong belief in the lasting impact of technology innovation on the sector.

Keynote speaker at the Forum, Sir David Clementi, chairman of Virgin Money, World First and former deputy governor of the Bank of England (BoE), reinforced the importance of a focus on regulation, while also paying attention to technology-driven change. In his wide-ranging speech on the current financial services landscape, he emphasised the need to “improve the customer journey”.

“My main message, beyond that of ensuring that the business is properly compliant with the regulatory requirements of the territories within which it is operating, is that good businesses will harness technology alongside a passionate desire to simplify the experience for customers,” he said.

“All businesses need to do this. There is a threat for established businesses with legacy systems and long-serving staff that they will be overtaken by companies with new technology and young staff.”

Arun Aggarwal, managing director UK, Ireland and Nordics at SWIFT, commented: “With London taking a top position as the global centre for fintech innovation, it is only fitting that the theme of this year’s Business Forum London was centred on harnessing change in financial services.

“Many of the discussions during the day focused on the impact of fintech, both the challenges and opportunities this sector creates for financial services firms, but what is clear is that regulation is still dominating the landscape. In light of this, the need for collaboration on financial crime compliance came across clearly, along with the need for an even stronger focus on achieving operational excellence.”

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