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SIBOS 2020

The opportunity in crisis

The critical lesson for businesses out of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, is that crises are inevitable – and the best thing you can do is simply stay on your toes.  

“I think being very agile is where the opportunity is,” he told a recent ANZ customer call ahead of the latest SIBOS financial services conference in October. “I don’t know where that will take us, but you’ll never find out if you can’t observe, learn and change at speed.”

Elliott said that while change was constant, the rate of change was not, and the true impact of crisis was not the volume of change they bring, but the speed.

“You can waste your life trying to figure out what will be at the end of all of this, but the real lesson of change is you’ve just got to stay on your toes,” he said. “[As a business],you’ve got to stay on your feet, you’ve got to be prepared to pivot, change, adapt and move resources, whether those resources are people, capital, technology, or whatever.”

“I think the real opportunity [for business] is to embrace the things we’ve learnt through this crisis.”

Elliott made the comments on a call which also featured ANZ Group Executive, Institutional, Mark Whelan, Managing Director Transaction Banking, Lisa Vasic; and Global Head Financial Institutions Group, Simon Ireland. You can listen to an edited version of the conversation on podcast below.

Whelan said it was clear embracing technology was a key part of that preparation.

“[It’s] absolutely critical in today’s businesses, in whatever you run, to have good quality technology,” he said.

“And I think the learning comes in how do you actually use data. I think every company in the world is looking at that intently at the moment and certainly, ANZ is no different.”

Elliott agreed, and said the crisis had been a turning point in how business approaches data around the world.

“We've been talking about the value data for a long time and it's all been a little bit theoretical,” he said. “Actually, COVID has made it real. Suddenly [business has] gone ‘Now I get it. Now I understand the value of that data’.”


Speaking from his home amid the pandemic, Shayne Elliott reiterates ANZ's commitment to the future of payments in banking.

The CEO said in a sector like financial services, even in times of rapid change, continued success was found in increments.

“It’s a grind business,” Elliott said. “It’s that power of those small gains, getting better at processing, getting better at security, getting faster at turnaround times.”

“You don’t have to turn the universe on its head. Get lots and lots and lots of small advantages, consolidate them and go again."


Sibos like you’ve never seen it

The Sibos financial services conference will look a little different to normal in 2020, but you can rely on ANZ Institutional for the market-leading insights and thought leadership you have come to expect.

From October 5 to 8, the annual finance conference is going digital, with an online schedule offering insights into the trends which will shape the financial services sector into 2021 and beyond.

In the lead up to the event ANZ Institutional will offer a wide range of coverage on those trends, offering you a sneak peek at the ideas set to dominate the conference from ANZ’s industry experts.

You can read out full coverage HERE.


Elliott said some of the biggest companies in the world were formed out of crises, including names like Microsoft, Apple, Uber and Airbnb.

“They come because suddenly customers, big, small and whatever, have all these new needs,” he said. “That I think will be absolutely the learning from this. Learn, change, adapt and be flexible.”

Bryan Stagg is Head of Banks Australia at ANZ Institutional

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