The 2019 Fides Community Conference was held on September 6. More than 150 customers and partners joined Fides executives and staff at SIX ConventionPoint in Zurich for the event, and the survey results have been extremely positive!

Delegates who were in town the night before the event were invited to attend a pre-conference dinner cruise on Lake Zurich. Fifty guests joined the Fides team and relax on board the MS Albis for the 2.5 hour evening excursion. A roving magician dazzled delegates with card tricks, Swiss specialty foods were served and a double rainbow appeared on the horizon. At the end of the evening, guests were given “survival kits” packed with useful gifts including an umbrella, bottled water, chocolate, and of course some Swiss cheese.

The next morning, bright and early, the conference kicked off with a Fides business update from CEO Andreas Lutz, focused on the company’s many achievements in 2019. With 115 client projects started in the first half of 2019, an increase of 10.3 percent in account statements processed, and an increase 34 percent in payment initiations, the company has increased staff and moved into a new headquarters office just that week! Andreas also talked about industry trends, placing emphasis on the need for visibility in both cash management and cash forecasting.

CIO Alexander Runge and COO Roman Muller then gave technology and IT updates followed by a look at the product roadmap and strategy from product manager Thomas Berndt. Fides’ primary focus continues to be anticipating and enabling high quality innovative services for customers. Over the past year, Fides has been especially focused on looking at new technology and new ways to serve our client base, from implementing APIs to rolling out new versions of ARSweb and EFTweb — and building a new multibanking platform infrastructure as the base for innovative new future capabilities!

After a morning coffee break, guest speaker Martin Walder of Credit Suisse discussed how exnovation and innovation are both necessary for modern payment offerings. “Exnovation” can mean anything from stabilizing optimal technology (“if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”) to phasing it out to make way for the new. Today, he said, innovation is the focus and is considered to be a good thing — but back in the 1400s, it was considered rebellious and even heretical.

Head of SWIFT for Switzerland Cristina Rigo gave an overview of SWIFT gpi, which will provide corporates with transparency and visibility into the entire cross-border payment lifecycle. Gpi payments are also happening in real time: 90% are credited to end beneficiaries within 24 hours, 50 percent are completed in less than 30 minutes and 40 percent are completed in less than five minutes.

Guests were encouraged to mingle and talk about the information they’d learned in the morning sessions over a buffet lunch before diving back in to the afternoon sessions. Gudrun Schmid and Michael Kappeler from Schwabe, Ley & Greiner talked about improving payment security and visibility through centralization and uniform processes, then delegates had the opportunity to chat with various Fides teams, including product management, client services and marketing.

Craig Jeffery from Strategic Treasurer wrapped up the afternoon with a session on treasury technology transitions. He told stories that illustrated the reasons why and ways that corporates are modernizing their treasuries, and will continue to do so going forward, and shared a number of statistics taken from Strategic Treasurer survey data.

We love being able to recognize our customers and partners for all their hard work driving successful business results. Head of Client Relations and Marketing Simon Kaufmann presented the following client and partner excellence awards:

  • Excellence in Customer Service Collaboration 2019 — W. P. Carey Inc.
  • Rapid Implementation Excellence 2019 — Werco Trade AG
  • Largest North American Bulk Payment Implementation 2019 — NBA Properties, Inc.
  • Mutual Customer Onboarding Excellence 2019 — Reval
  • Best TMS Partner 2019 — Sage

After closing remarks, a closing reception was held within the venue, with more drinks, more food and more networking. More than half of the delegates stayed until the very end, talking to friends new and old.

Conference presentations are now available to download here.