ISITC Week 2020 – Recapping the Important Discussions During Our General Sessions

This year, ISITC hosted our first-ever virtual ISITC Week event from September 14-17. The event took place in lieu of our Fall Forum, typically held annually in Boston. Despite interruptions from the pandemic, we adapted to continue delivering rich discussions in our working group, forum and a variety of general sessions on timely industry topics, including what’s happening in Washington and the latest on ESG, diversity and inclusion, and cryptoassets.

If you weren’t able to make all of the sessions, we’re recapping our four general sessions below:

Keeping Up with Washington in 2020: A View from the Trenches
With just weeks left until the U.S. Presidential election, don’t expect Congress to be in a hurry to pass any legislation in the same vein as the recent CARES Act that included the Paycheck Protection Program. That was the conclusion made by top journalists covering this area during our ISITC Week panel “Keeping Up with Washington in 2020: A View from the Trenches.” The experts also agreed that a second term from President Trump will likely have little effect on the financial services industry. However, they contend a win from Democrat nominee Joe Biden might have ripple effects. A Cabinet that includes Senator Elizabeth Warren could lead to regulatory change for the banking industry, particularly as it pertains to something such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Diversity, Inclusion, & Equality: Why the Time is Now for Financial Services to Enact Real Change
Diversity and inclusion have been especially top-of-mind for the financial services industry and business ecosystem as a whole. In our recent diversity, inclusion & equality session, panelists led an open and honest conversation about how workplaces are rolling up their sleeves to action against systemic racism as both an upstander and an ally. This female-led panel shared powerful stories of the challenges and changes they’ve seen within their organizations, with an empowering reminder that this is just the beginning. From policy-level approaches in talent acquisition and hiring practices to cultural shifts through conversation and training, we at ISITC are motivated by tremendous opportunities for advancement and growth in diversity and inclusion.

ESG: Supporting Change Globally with Sustainable Benefits
Investors are demanding increased data transparency when it comes to ESG. In order to achieve this increased level of rating and scoring, companies will really need to evaluate and disclose as much as possible when it comes to ESG factors like reporting ethnicity and job categories of employees, revenue from “green” activities, and impacts on biodiversity. These were some of the topics discussed in our ESG panel. This level of transparency requires increased reporting from companies at a time when many of them are experiencing “reporting fatigue.” Experts forecasted an interesting area to watch will be how companies leverage AI and machine learning to help take off pressure from self-reporting. They agree using this new 21st century data will be key in both doing a better job in asset management and making real change through investor dollars.

Cryptoasset Market Evolution & the Role of Derivatives
Is blockchain ready for the mainstream financial services industry, particularly as it pertains to cryptoassets? It depends on who you ask. That was one of the many questions a panel of industry experts sought to answer during an ISITC Week discussion that focused on the cryptoasset market evolution and the role of derivatives. In a wide-ranging discussion, a trio of experts explained the regulatory pitfalls of cryptoassets; the effort needed to secure licenses to handle cryptoassets; why financial institutions see the appeal of digital assets; and how the emergence of central bank-supported “digital dollars” will affect worldwide economies.

Looking to get involved and join the discussion? Stay tuned as we announce the details of our upcoming March event at https://isitc.org.