Sibos 2016 in Geneva – charting the rise of Switzerland as a financial powerhouse

Sibos 2016 in Geneva – charting the rise of Switzerland as a financial powerhouse

Sibos 2016 Geneva will take place between 26 and 29 September 2016 at Palexpo. After having successfully hosted Sibos in 1993 and 2002, the world’s premier financial services event returns to Geneva for the third time – SIX Securities Services will be there showcasing the best that Switzerland has to offer!

Centuries past – from Swiss mercenaries to FinTech innovators

The birth of the Swiss financial industry can trace its roots back to the 1700s, when banks such as Wegelin & Co, Hentsch & Cie and Lombard Odier were established to meet the financial needs of mercenaries who made their fortunes abroad.

Switzerland unified its 22 independent states in 1848 to become one federal and single economic area, giving a strong boost to the financial industry. At the time, over 170 banks were in existence, but they predominantly focused on private banking. The Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC), which later merged to become UBS, were established in the 1860s to satisfy Switzerland’s growing demands for infrastructure.

As the country’s economy rapidly developed, so did the need for a central bank. In 1907, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) was created with the mandate to supervise and develop the financial sector, determine Swiss monetary policy and issue Swiss franc banknotes.

Switzerland’s growing reputation for neutrality, coupled with the passing of the Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks in 1934, built a reputation of confidentiality and provided the perfect environment for the banking sector to boom.

And then we came into play

To deal with the financial sector’s growth, Swiss banks jointly founded the Swiss Securities Clearing Corporation (Schweizerische Effekten-Giro AG, SEGA), for the centralized safekeeping of securities in Switzerland on 4 June 1970. This laid the foundations for today’s SIX Securities Services, marking 46 successful years within the Swiss financial center.

With great power comes great responsibility, and stability. For this reason, in 2008, SWS Group, Telekurs and SIS Group merged to form SIX Group. This afforded the Swiss financial center centralized services in securities trading, securities services, financial information and payment transactions under one roof. Today, SIX spearheads innovation with the opening of its Zürich based FinTech Incubator.

Shaping the FinTech future

The rapid adoption of financial technology has provided Switzerland with the perfect opportunity to become a leading FinTech hub. Switzerland is seen as a world leader in innovation, according to The Global Innovation Index 2015, and has held the number 1 position since 2011. This is impressive considering the country’s low investments in R&D compared with other OECD countries.

Sven Bossu, Head of Sibos eloquently expressed, , “Switzerland has a rich financial heritage and has been at the forefront of the industry for the last few centuries. The fact that Sibos is returning to Geneva for the third time demonstrates this, and highlights the continuing importance of Switzerland’s crucial role in the financial world.”

Our presence at Sibos 2016

As the host nation, we are pulling out all the stops for Sibos. There will be a sharp focus on our comprehensive post-trade services – ranging from clearing all the way to payments and everything in between. Also in the spotlight (quite literally) will be how we ensure that the market reality meets our creative and innovative spirit. Nothing quite epitomizes this as much as Switzerland’s unique Rinspeed Etos – on display at our stand (A29). Plan on dropping by – we’re ready to show off! “As the fully integrated financial infrastructure provider for Switzerland, we are looking forward to showcasing the best of Swiss financial technology and to welcoming the world’s financial industry to Geneva” – Avi Ghosh, Head Strategic Marketing & Communication at SIX Securities Services.

*Thank you to SWIFT for their contribution to this articles content.