New P20 Executive Director Duncan Sandys takes charge, prepares for London gathering
At the halfway point between P20 conferences, new Executive Director Duncan Sandys is focused on growing P20’s global reach in advance of the October 3 gathering in central London.
Participation and attendance increased from 2017 at the first conference in London, to the Atlanta conference in 2018, but Sandys believes there is room to grow. The former Lord Mayor of Westminster (U.K.) said he is driven to ensure that growth is realized.
“We want to see more big banks and payment companies, who have a global presence, being members of P20,” said Sandys. “We want other countries to come in and to take part in the discussions, to engage with U.S. and U.K. regulators, and for legislators to engage with industry leaders.”
For Sandys, leadership of P20 is the next chapter in a career that has featured his leadership at levels both public and private. In 1998, at the age of 24, Sandys was elected to Westminster city council. He served 11 years on council before being elected the youngest-ever Lord Mayor of Westminster.
His professional business journey began in 1997 when he was hired at Barclays, serving in what was, at the time, their new private banking arm. A decade later, he helped lead the IPO of a biotech company on the London Stock Exchange.
Now, as the new Executive Director at P20, Sandys has grand visions of how the organization can grow on progress already realized.
“I want P20 to be known for all the (payments) industry coming together, and putting forward ideas that will help make the industry move more smoothly for payments companies and banks, but also for consumers as well.”
Of the four pillars of P20 — Regulation, Education, Financial Inclusion, and Cybersecurity — the latter is where Sandys sees a clear opportunity to make significant progress on behalf of businesses and society.
“When you look at the financial grid, if the financial grid had an attack on it, this could be catastrophic,” said Sandys. “It would be felt everywhere across the globe.”
He cites the Cyber War Games exercise of last October as an instance where the P20 helped facilitate great progress among competing companies, for the betterment of the industry.
“Last October was the first time that companies across the industry got together in one room to do a war game exercise,” said Sandys. “What they found out was that they had great planning for trying to prevent it from happening, but they discovered they were woefully unprepared for what came afterwards.”
“We’ve had a great response from the companies that took part in that war games exercise.”
The lesson, he said, is clear and urgent.
“This idea that you can have one company operating in one way, and one operating in another to different sets of rules, under the umbrella of the regulation that’s out there, that’s yesterday’s game.”
“Today, we have to be together.”