Observing the industry for 40 years and continuing for the future
The last Security Printers, International Conference & Exhibition, held in Seville in October 2016, was of course a celebration of 40 years of successful events that brought together manufacturers of banknotes and ID documents, their clients, the national central banks and state ID issuing authorities, as well as the bodies that ensure banknotes and ID documents are secure, namely police and other state supervisory organisations.
The banknote and ID sectors have changed enormously in the past four decades. Their products have become more secure and resistant to counterfeiting, more convenient. In a word, they have never been better.
And here is the irony. Having reached a technical pinnacle, both sectors face an existential threat, if to a varying degree. Cash is being supplanted by electronic means of payment, at least in western, industrialised countries. And while the prospect of electronic replacement is farther away for ID documents, it is on the horizon.
Talking to industry leaders, it all became clear: ‘At the moment, the greatest challenge is false information that surrounds banknotes. False information about the role of banknotes in circulation, about banknotes issued but not circulated, about the role of banknotes in crime and tax evasion, etc. The banknote industry has to correct this’, said Eric Boissonnas, CEO of KBA NotaSys.
Erick Lacourrège, General Director of the Banque de France concurred, adding that ‘although cash is growing on average at five per cent per annum in developed countries and at twice that rate in developing countries, there is strong bias against it in the banking industry and, to a certain extent, government as well.’
Mr Lacourrège also noted that the production of cash must become more cost effective. More and more technical solutions from beyond the banknote industry are being used. This means that it should shed its insularity and open up to outside influences – while, of course, guarding the security and exclusivity of its processes and materials.
Julio de Ancos Morales, CEO of the newly established Spanish Euro banknote printer IMBISA, defined the biggest challenge in terms of commercial considerations. As a printer of the second series of Euro banknotes, he needs to be very competitive. Especially if, as he thinks, volumes decrease. There is a real need to reduce cost for raw materials and labour across the board.
Such informal discussions complemented the wide range of papers and presentations that formed the body of Security Printers, an event that not only provides an objective picture of the industry as a whole, but also offers an informed view of how it will develop in the immediate and mid-term future.
It has done so for 40 years and will do again in Dublin in 2018.
Banco de España - A central banker's welcome thoughts on payments
Read and download the article published in Infosecura 71.