Sibos 2022: Digital innovation 'promising' for financial inclusion - Queen Maxima

Queen Maxima, Sibos"Digital innovation holds tremendous promise for financial inclusion and financial health," was the message from Queen Maxima of the Netherlands during the opening plenary of the Sibos 2022 Conference in Amsterdam. 

Queen Maxima began her speech by announcing that the conference's theme this year, progressive finance for a changing world, "could not be more timely."

There has been major progress in the last decade, Queen Maxima stated, with a quarter of the world's adult population having gained access to financial services. "Fully 76% of adults are now in some way included," she said, "which has unlocked new opportunities for millions of people previously left behind."

Investments in critical digital public infrastructure – including greater connectivity and digital IDs – have "laid the foundations" for this growth, Queen Maxima added. "And the rise of digital payments has driven a massive increase in account ownership."

Queen Maxima detailed the fact that in the last four years, almost 40% of adults in developing economies opened their first account to receive a wage or a government payment. Moreover, millions of small merchants are now paid and make payments using their phones. "This has enabled financial service providers, especially new fintech players, to innovate in the design and delivery of new products and services." 

New possibilities - and challenges
The growth in mobile phone use, and new customer data trails, means innovative ways to offer financial products, claimed Queen Maxima, by leveraging big data and AI – especially in emerging markets. "Yet we should not seek innovation for innovation's sake," she warned. 

"With each new technology – such as central bank digital currencies – we must always ask what problems we are trying to solve, and what future are we envisioning, to stand the best chance at achieving long-term success."

Queen Maxima asked a packed Sibos audience how they could provide more value beyond what existing platforms already offer. 

"The priority is to make sure we do not harm," stressed Queen Maxima, "ensuring key digital public goods are in place – like cybersecurity, consumer protection, data governance and digital literacy – can help marginalized communities navigate financial services more safely in ways that work for them." 

Fair competition and interoperable payment systems were highlighted as helping markets work better for all, including the smallest-scale customers. "But that is only a first step," remarked Queen Maxima, "we have a chance to move beyond 'doing no harm' to actually 'doing good.'"

"Just as we should not innovate for innovation's sake, we should not design products simply to maximize short-term returns," claimed Queen Maxima, who highlighted the "importance" of seeing how much value can be generated in the long run. "Value for customers that in turn translates into value for firms."

The audience was also asked how people can better manage their day-to-day finances, get access to credit, plan and meet future goals and – "during multiple crises" – build resilience and insure themselves against shocks. "To do so makes good business sense," stressed Queen Maxima, since financially healthy customers are "better" customers, and those who provide these services can differentiate themselves from other providers.

"But for the moment, that is not what is happening," remarked Queen Maxima, who told audience members that only 55% of adults in developing economies can access emergency money within 30 days. 

Additionally, Queen Maxima referenced a survey finding that almost half of respondents, including those from OECD countries, agreed with the statement: "I have no money left at the end of the month".

"In some places, we have seen both an increase in access to finance – and simultaneously a decrease in financial health. So let us identify the best solutions to these challenges and bring them to scale," commented Queen Maxima. 

What can be done? 

Given these challenges, Queen Maxima suggested an approach to solving the decrease in financial health is to encourage private-private partnerships that provide services across entire value chains. 

"Collaboration across industry and government is also key to creating inclusive digital public infrastructure that enables services beyond finance – such as health and education. These are the building blocks of sustainable development," commented Queen Maxima.

"If we get this right, digital innovation holds tremendous promise for financial inclusion and financial health. So let us envision that better future, share our experiences, and use this conference to build a secure, trusted and efficient digital economy that works for all."

The Sibos 2022 opening plenary can now be watched on-demand here. 

© 2022 funds europe

Thought leadership


What should investors expect in 2024?

For the year ahead we expect lower growth, lower inflation and limited interest rate easing. Find out more in AXA IM’s Outlook 2024.

Ocorian switching admins native

Why are managers switching fund administrator?

13% of alternative fund managers are looking to switch their fund administrator over the next 18 months. Find out why.



This whitepaper outlines key challenges impeding the growth of private markets and explores how technological innovation, when bolstered by the operational experience and global reach of FMIs, can provide solutions to unlock access to private market funds for a growing investor base.


Transporting goods by sea is the lowest carbon way of transporting goods. That said, the shipping sector contribute 3% of global carbon emissions, so we need it to get to net zero. Breakthrough technologies have the power to reshape the industry and drastically reduce its environmental footprint.


Executive Video Interviews

Why fund admin tech is a key competitive advantage

Cian Hyland, Strategic Client Relationship Director at Deep Pool Financial Solutions spoke to us about how technology enables efficient data management, reporting automation and secure data access.

Insights from State Street

Cuan Coulter, Global Head of Asset Managers and Head of UK and Ireland at State Street, discusses how fund managers decide between the two cross-border fund domiciles, namely Ireland and Luxembourg, and why asset managers find managing data so difficult.

Unlocking access to private markets

Vincent Clause, who heads the global funds strategy at Euroclear and David Genn, CEO of Goji, sit down with Funds Europe to explain how technological innovation, bolstered by operational experience and global reach, can provide solutions that unlock access to private markets.

Sustainable investing in the DC world

Claire Felgate, a specialist in UK defined contribution pension schemes at asset manager BlackRock, talks with Funds Europe editor Nick Fitzpatrick about how - and the pace at which - DC pension schemes are adapting to the requirements of sustainable investment.



Watch our webinar for a deep dive into the findings of the fresh-off-the-press EU Taxonomy 2023 Insights Report, based on Clarity AI's best-in-class coverage of EU Taxonomy reported data and CDP industry-leading environmental datasets. 

In this webinar, we discuss tools for optimising fund data management and distribution, the role of global fund classifications and ratings, and how technology and automation enhance data integrity and insights.