SWIFT Nordics Conference 2015 – Summary

For those of us unable to attend, Finextra has provided in their Live Blog Day 1 and Live Blog Day 2 an excellent insight into the SWIFT Nordics Conference. As I read through the blog posts I thought it would be useful to summarise key quotes and items of discussion from the two day SWIFT conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. As ever my focus for this post will be SEPA, payments and technology related.

Its always useful to know what key influencers are saying about critical industry themes and trends. From the Finextra blog, here are my takeaways (in no particular order):


  • Chris Skinner – Financial Service Club – indicated that Apple Pay would be a “game-changer.”
  • Alain Raes – SWIFT – highlighted the need for collaboration in amongst all of the regulation and disruption
  • Jonas Kjellberg – Standford & Stockholm University – gave what sounded like a really interesting talk:
    1. Advising to “Innovate, don’t imitate”
    2. Reaffirmed the age old advice “delight your customers”
    3. Explained how Skype (of which he is a founding member) has a low cost business model, which has ultimately disrupted the telecoms
  • I’ve been writing about Disruption quite a bit recently, my last post 5 Reasons Why Disruption Is a Myth explains how this phase of innovation has resulted in a revolution….


  • Arun Aggarwal – SWIFT – in the debate about Bitcoin proposed that the Financial Services industry would ride out the disruptive wave, and not fall victim to disruptors like the newspaper industry did, since money is now digital anyway
  • Chris Skinner argued that financial services industry must take a serious look at what Bitcoin is enabling, and the underlying technology
  • Gabrielle Patrick – Epiphyte – outlined how crypto-currencies are slowly being brought into the mainstream through greater regulation, and interest from the institutions such as the Bank of England


  • Richard Benham – Professor of Cyber Security Management, Coventry University: “You open the MBA textbook and there’s nothing inside it – there are no theories yet established” on the study of cyber security
  • Benham makes 2 predictions:
    1. A cyber attack would bring down a bank within 5 years
    2. The growth of economic cyber terrorism
  • I’m no professor, far from it (!!), but I recommend a read of Cyber Security – 8 Hacks You Need to Know About for a quick insight into the different types of cyber threats

Real Time Payments:

  • Caarsten Thaarup’s – Nordea – I like this guys style: “For the consumer, a payment needs to be fast and simple. That’s it”
    • I think the only thing Caarsten missed is ‘security’…otherwise that pretty much sums it up!
  • Elie Lasker – SWIFT – indicated that real time payments is where it is at!
  • Stig Korsgaard – Nets – shared details about Denmark’s real time payments system, explaining how a payment is processed with 1.5 seconds and how the underlying infrastructure is SEPA compliant
  • Dag-Inge Flatraaker – DNB / ERPB – Detailed how disruptors are eyeing up the payments space, and with all of the various developments (mobile payments, contactless payments) foresees a “revolution”…


  • Glenn Söderholm, Danske Bank, explained the challenges of regulation and how this ultimately increases costs for the bank
  • Idar Kreutzer, Finance Norway, warned the “Financial Services industry is facing the most severe regulatory change we’ve ever faced.”
  • In a discussion about PSD2 Regulation, I was surprised to hear that the panel thought it was “bad” that the payments market was open to newcomers, but pleased that any newcomers would also be operating under the same regulatory environment


  • Javier Perez Tasso – SWIFT – “We are going to innovate, we are going to make some bold moves – in market infrastructure, in real-time projects and adoption of ISO 20022 in the securities space”
  • Tasso goes on to say that Silicon Valley will disrupt the Financial Services industry sector next….


  • SEPA was clearly a theme that intertwined all of the above areas
  • Within a discussion about ISO20022 the question was raised about how despite the need for standardisation the SEPA implementation still resulted in multiple flavours of the SEPA XML format. The debate continued concluding that SWIFT has a greater role to play in this arena….
 Please TWEET or share this post via LinkedIn- Thank You…!!

Unfortunately we missed out on details of the Payments Stream – Trends in corporate to bank relationships – during day 2, I think that would have been really interesting. But nevertheless, Finextra provided us with a really interesting insight into the two day conference. Please do head over to the Finextra day 1 and day 2 blog entries for further details. Thanks again for the information, Finextra!

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