Sibos will never be the same again. In killing off its Thursday night party, Swift has moved with the prevailing mood music. Lavish, big budget entertainment is off the agenda as the financial services industry adapts to a more austere economic climate.
But for many long-time Sibos devotees, the party was as big a draw as the conference agenda. It was a time to unwind, relax a little and catch up with old friends who you might not have had time to chat to during the week. As such, it was a valuable part
of the formula. Its absence will create a void at the heart of the show.
Swift's ambition is for Sibos to become a Davos for the financial services industry. But in all its hubris, the co-operative has forgotten its core constituency: the humble back office message processors in the basement, far removed from the masters of the
universe courted by starry-eyed Swift executives in banking boardrooms the world over.
As the event has grown, so the agenda has moved on, raising issues far off the radar screens of many delegates attending the show. Throughout this time, the Sibos party may have become a logistical nightmare; but it was also a unifying element that drew
all the disparate constituents together.
In calling time on the party, I wonder, has Swift inadvertently killed the goose that laid the golden egg? Next year may be the time for a complete break with the past, and an acceptance by Swift that it cannot be all things to all men. Regional and vertical
conference spin-offs may be the only way to go.