SWIFT Benelux Forum attracts record numbers
Over 150 members of the Benelux financial community gather to discuss fintech, compliance and the future of the payments market.
The fifth SWIFT Benelux Forum took place at SWIFT’s headquarters in La Hulpe on 25 and 26 April 2016. The event, which has grown in attendance from year to year, attracted a record number of over 150 participants under the theme “From disruption to concrete (r)evolution.” Welcoming customers to the forum, Olivier Lens, Head of Benelux and Funds & Investment Management, SWIFT, opened with a flashback review of the changes that have taken place in the financial industry over the last 15 years, from the “golden years” of steep growth, to the financial crisis that started with the collapse of Lehman brothers, the wave of regulatory change that ensued, and the years that have followed, during which the financial industry has been reviewing strategies and business models, focusing on investor protection, rebuilding trust, and seeking to regain stability and get back on the path to growth. “Regulation has been on all of our minds,” he said, “it’s costly and new regulations take time to implement, but there is no choice other than to comply.” At the same time, customer expectations have evolved, technology has evolved and we have seen the emergence of a flurry of activity and significant investment in financial technology (fintech). The rise of non-banking entities offering cheap and fast payments services poses a threat to the financial industry, but, said Lens, it also offers many an opportunity. Whilst Price Waterhouse Coopers, in its report entitled “Blurred lines: How FinTech is shaping Financial Services” has said that fintech will threaten 20% of the financial industry, 70% of CEOs see it as an opportunity. “If we want to give our customers value, stated Lens, “it’s about collaboration. I believe we will see more of an evolution than a revolution.”
Lens went on to talk about the importance of Benelux to SWIFT, explaining that all three countries in the region are in SWIFT’s top ten countries for FIN traffic. The region has also seen ten years of growth on SWIFT, many of which were in or close to double digits, which has enabled members to benefit from the economies of scale model of the cooperative and many a price reduction. The region is also well represented on the SWIFT board, with 4 board members out of the total 25. Thanking everyone present for their support, commitment and dedication, he proceeded to run through the agenda for the day quickly, highlighting the sessions with panels and customer involvement, before handing over to Thierry Chilosi, Head of Market Initiatives, EMEA, SWIFT, for a presentation followed by panel discussion on the SWIFT 2020 strategy and roadmap.
If we want to give our customers value, it’s about collaboration. I believe we will see more of an evolution than a revolution.
Olivier Lens, Head of Benelux and Funds & Investment Management, SWIFT
Grow the core, build the future
Introducing the topic, Chilosi explains that building the SWIFT 2020 strategy involved a lot of consultation with the SWIFT communities worldwide to discuss and agree on how SWIFT can make life easier for its customers with both existing, core products and new products. In addition to this, the process also, necessarily looked at and took into account external forces and drivers such as the economic backdrop, geographical shifts, from West to East and North to South, globalisation and the challenges in geopolitics, which lead to a risk of fragmentation. The rise of digitalisation has brought many a good thing, Chilosi added, but it has also brought with it increasingly sophisticated cybercrime, and rapidly evolving consumer demands. Another aspect that must be taken into account is regulation, with, for example, PSD2 offering open access and increased competition, posing yet another new threat. The outcome of the strategy development process was a clear definition of what SWIFT’s core business is, namely messaging, but also anything that reinforces the capillarity of the SWIFT network worldwide. That is then split into two distinct areas with distinct needs and demands: that of the many-to-many space, versus that of the one-to-many space, i.e. the market infrastructures,” who operate a hub and spokes model. “Where the strategy is a bit bolder,” said Chilosi, “is in the compliance and the MI spaces. A lot of growth is driven by MIs, regulation puts a lot of focus on them too, and we do believe that this area is worthy of attention. Global ISO 20022 adoption, resiliency and security are all core operating principles for an MI, and we are seeing more and more innovation in the MI space, so we need to innovate with them.” Moving on to Compliance, he explained that SWIFT has already been providing services in the space for about three and a half years, but there is still a long road ahead. In this area, SWIFT is focusing its effort on two axes, firstly adoption, where to unlock full value we need adoption and economies of scale, and secondly, building the concept of a utility, the power of which will be in integrating products that talk to each other and leverage synergies.
We are seeing more and more innovation in the MI space, so we need to innovate with them.
Thierry Chilosi, Head of Market Initiatives, EMEA, SWIFT
Concretely for 2016, SWIFT’s priorities are to continue to invest in the core platform, keep cyber security at the highest levels, the global payments innovation initiative - a project that seeks to rejuvenate how we deal with correspondent banking. There are also plans to enhance the interface portfolio, providing solutions for lower tier customers, dealing with open access under PSD2, enhancements and new products in the Business Intelligence portfolio, ISO 20022 for MIs and the delivery of the Real Time Payments project in Australia. Last but certainly not least, the launch of 3 new products in the Compliance portfolio.
Our priority is our customers – we need to be reliable and operationally excellent, so core is most important for us.
Cedric Dumont, Head Product Management SWIFT & Transaction Screening Head of Payment System Department, ING Bank
After his presentation, Chilosi introduced his three panellists, Lysiane Back, Vice President, BCEE, Cedric Dumont, Head Product Management SWIFT & Transaction Screening, ING Bank and Ton Versteeg, Senior Product Manager Market Infrastructure, Rabobank. Voting for her top priority in the list of core, MIs and compliance, Back commented: “I think core still remains most important for a bank our size that is still rather traditional. But I would have liked to vote core and compliance together. However the Luxembourg funds industry will certainly be interested in what you are doing for MIs.” Dumont said that he had hesitated between core and compliance but that “Our priority is our customers – we need to be reliable and operationally excellent, so core is most important for us.” Versteeg, who voted for compliance, qualified his choice by saying that “of course, core is important but we are confronted with more and more regulation and have no choice other than to comply.” Chilosi assured everyone that the three areas are indeed very important and SWIFT will therefore focus on all three. Asked by Back whether SWIFT has any plans to force the community to migrate to ISO 20022 and whether there are any plans to develop FIN messages further or whether they will cease to be enhanced, Chilosi replied that any migrations to ISO 20022, most of which are currently happening in the MI space, will need to be very carefully managed, but that in the MI space in particular, the ISO 20022 train has already left station. He went on to state that in the many-to-many space, the situation is not as clear-cut and that change will be demand-driven. SWIFT will look at where the greatest need for transition lies and qualify the demand for it. For gpii, for example, the first steps will be taken using FIN, but the drawing board is still open. On the topic of the continued development of FIN, he explained that SWIFT will continue to maintain the same levels of service and does not intend to push for xml to replace FIN. Dumont stated that coexistence does, however, pose a real problem as it carries great cost for banks. Back was of the view that “it may well be the regulators who drive migration to ISO 20022,” but that “small and medium SWIFT users would not appreciate a forced migration.”
Of course, core is important but we are confronted with more and more regulation and have no choice other than to comply.
Ton Versteeg, Senior Product Manager Market Infrastructure, Rabobank
The next question to Chilosi came from Dumont, who asked what SWIFT’s position is on PSD2 and the emergence of 3rd party payment providers and what it sees as its involvement in that space. Chilosi replied that SWIFT is looking at the supply side of PSD2, i.e. the banks, and at what technology could be used to provide an account service. “With different views from different people and a range of possible approaches, the topic is definitely keeping us busy,” he added.
It may well be the regulators who drive migration to ISO 20022.
Lysiane Back, Vice President, BCEE
Moving on to compliance, and in particular The KYC Registry, Versteeg explained that he is promoting the registry within his bank but that there are questions as to how SWIFT will ensure that adoption rates increase and that the information in the registry is kept up to date. Chilosi replied that SWIFT will do everything possible to ensure that the Registry is a success and that a lot of effort is going into achieving that objective. A mapping of current entities vs. total population shows that the 30-35% of the total population has joined the Registry in one year. As a network effect product, it will take continued focus to get to the tipping point, but with very supportive user group banks, this can be achieved. “The places where we have the most success are where we have a User Group bank endorsing us in that same country,” he explained. “That drives adoption. We have some specific focus countries and our goal is to add another 2000 entities this year and get to 50%.” Regarding data contribution, given that it’s a self-declaration tool, each bank is a primary source and endorses its own data. He added that community pricing deals are also possible and that the consumption-based pricing is a bit of a novelty and is taking some time for the community to get used to as a concept.
The places where we have the most success with The KYC Registry are where we have a User Group bank endorsing us in that same country
Ton Versteeg, Senior Product Manager Market Infrastructure, Rabobank
Towards a financial crime compliance utility
To speak about SWIFT’s solutions for financial crime compliance, was Bart Claeys, Head of KYC Compliance Services, SWIFT. Claeys kicked off by explaining why investing in financial crime compliance solutions is important to SWIFT. “It is relevant to every single SWIFT member,” he stated. “There is no single user that is not impacted. It’s a truly universal topic that costs a lot of money but gives no competitive advantage. So there’s a lot of duplication for what are universal challenges and there is a huge opportunity to build economies of scale. It’s a community issue calling for a universal solution.” He went over the main concerns that SWIFT hears from regulators and banks, and the reasons why, in a world in which financial crime is on the increase, where the costs of compliance are becoming prohibitive, complexity is growing, and regulators are becoming more and more demanding, a paradigm shift is needed. A shift that significantly increases efficiency and lowers costs, but not at the price of increased risk. This tipping point for utilities, Claeys said, is also recognised by the regulators, who seem to be open to such an approach.
After going over the main features, benefits and adoption levels for each of SWIFT’s current financial crime compliance solutions – Sanctions Screening, Sanctions Testing, The KYC Registry and Compliance Analytics – he explained that the objective is to build three central utilities that offer a comprehensive service offering for all SWIFT users, both large and small. “Also, we want the systems to talk to each other and learn from each other. By design, we can make sure that they talk to each other,” he explained. As he drew his presentation to a close, Claeys gave a brief overview of the three new services that will be launched in 2016. List Management, due to be launched in September, will offer a sanctions list distribution and management service, also allowing banks to manage sanctions, PEP and private lists. Payments Data Quality, an advanced reporting and data analytics service to help financial institutions comply with new international requirements for originator and beneficiary information in payments messages (FATF 16) will also be launched in September. Lastly, in December, SWIFT will launch Name Screening, an online portal for checking individual names against sanctions and PEP lists.
We want the systems to talk to each other and learn from each other.
Bart Claeys, Head of KYC Compliance Services, SWIFT
Blockchain - From hype to real-world application?
Next on the agenda was the much awaited session on distributed ledger technology (DLT). To introduce the topic and dispel the differences between the myth and the reality, was Kevin Johnson, Head Innotribe R&D, SWIFT. After a brief introductory video, have ran through some of the conclusions drawn in SWIFT’s recent paper on how Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) could be used in financial services. Published in collaboration with Accenture, the paper is based on an in-depth technology assessment by SWIFT of DLT usage across financial institutions, highlighting the opportunities as well as the challenges for industry wide adoption. The paper identifies gaps between existing DLT solutions and industry requirements, including eight critical factors that need to be addressed for the technology to achieve industry-wide adoption, namely: strong governance, data controls, compliance with regulatory requirements, standardisation, identity framework, security and cyber defence, reliability and scalability. Johnson also spoke about the key strengths of DLT: its capability for near real-time information propagation, the guarantee that everyone gets the same information, ease of reconciliation given that there is a single ledger and single source of data and traceability, all of which are deep in the design of the technology, where everything is kept, visible, never erased and immutable. Also, with everyone backing up everyone, it offers very strong data resiliency at low cost. It is also worth noting that blockchain and DLT were originally designed for use in the consumer space, not the business to business, or B2B space and that as a result, there are a number of key requirements for the technology to be adopted in our space. The paper concludes that the technology is not yet mature enough to meet the necessary requirements, but, said Johnson, that is not to say it won’t get there, it will just take time. He concluded his presentation explaining that SWIFT is use-case agnostic and is working on a number of Proofs of concept (PoCs) and is working on identifying a number of areas where the use of the technology could benefit the community.
After his presentation, Johnson introduced his panellists, Wim De Waele, CEO Eggsplore, Chris Huls, Blockchain Specialist, Rabobank and Chris Marcilla, Founder and Chairman of Fintech Virtual Currencies. Responding to an audience poll that responded that they thought we would see the first applications in the payments industry, the panellists explained that in their view, we are more likely to see early applications in the securities and trade areas, rather than payments, given that in securities flows there are far more actors involved and the information exchanged is far more complex, whereas it is difficult to see an immediate need in payments, where infrastructures are already well developed and efficient. Marcilla explained that in areas such as the funds industry, where automation levels are still low and manual processing is still very common, new solutions may add value. He raised the issue of the social impact of the alleged EUR 20 billion that will be saved by using blockchain, proposing that most of the savings may be in respire costs, which would lead to a social problem and the question of what one would do with all the people whose jobs are made redundant by the technology.
One issue that is being encountered is the matter of finality, given that there is no real transaction finality in blockchain as it currently stands.
Chris Huls, Blockchain Specialist, Rabobank
Huls explained that Rabobank is conducting PoCs for KYC and is running interbank testing with other Dutch banks in order to experiment and learn how to develop their own blockchains. One issue that is being encountered is the matter of finality, given that there is no real transaction finality in blockchain as it currently stands. De Waele expressed the view that the blockchain discussion should be also seen in the wider context of a world that is moving from open distributed internet to one that is tied up in particular technology stacks and is largely application-based. The challenge with this, however, is that technology providers control these stacks and discussion is needed on what impact of the bigger technology picture will be on financial services industry. “The activity that we are currently seeing is in small controlled experiments in non-critical parts of the business,” he went on to say. “A Belgian bank, for example, is running a crowd funding pilot. It’s good when a pilot tries to solve an issue that is currently not solved.” Johnson reminded the audience that blockchain, or DLT, is often referred to as “a solution looking for a problem,” a statement that Marcilla agreed with, stating that whilst we may be unable to have clear view today of what we can do with the technology, many needs will be invented in the years to come that will have a use of it. Initially, we will probably see applications around the edges of our business, in areas that are still largely manual and do need a solution, but the more banks collaborate and look at the technology together, the more the industry will benefit.
The activity that we are currently seeing is in small controlled experiments in non-critical parts of the business.
Wim De Waele, CEO, Eggsplore
The conclusions of the panel, as it drew to a close, were that: blockchain is definitely an interesting technology that everyone should become familiar with and experiment with; the hype is definitely there but it will take time before we see concrete applications in our industry; any use of technology should address a clear business need and it remains to be seen whether the financial industry has the courage to make significant changes. On the regulatory aspects, De Waele proposed that the industry tries to get its policy makers to understand that there is a need to experiment and that to do so, it is necessary to relax the rules a bit and allow for some flexibility. With a more collaborative approach to how we engage with regulators, this might be achievable. Marcilla was of the view that DLT could prove to be a great invention for compliance given its data sharing and dissemination capabilities. Another great benefit of the technology that is worth bearing in mind is that of its resiliency and reliability, largely due to the cost of attacking the network being too high. “New business and new business models will be created over time,” he concluded, “and it will become part of how things are and are done. As has happened with email.”
New business and new business models will be created over time, and it will become part of how things are and are done. As has happened with email.
Chris Marcilla, Founder and Chairman, Fintech Virtual Currencies
To discuss the topic of instant payments were Inge van Dijk, Program Manager Instant Payments, Betaalvereniging Nederland, Kristine De Lepeleire, Project Manager Instant Payments, Febelfin, Carlo Palmers, Get open Market Manager, SWIFT, Peter Pollaert, Head of Cash Management, BNP Paribas Fortis and Annick Roelants, Senior Account Director Benelux, SWIFT, who moderated the session. Roelants kicked-off the panel by setting the scene for European instant payments and provided an overview of the different players in the European landscape.
First to present her country’s initiatives in the instant payments area was De Lepeleire, who opened with an explanation of the main drivers for starting a project on instant payments in Belgium. Firstly, customer expectations have evolved enormously. “Immediate has become self-evident in many aspects of our lives, except for payments whereas non-bank providers like Paypal and Google Pay are offering the ‘experience’ of an instant payment at least from a customer point of view”, she stated. Secondly, banks are searching for the replacement of cash and cheques. For the latter, she used as examples the payment of a second-hand car and for notary bills when purchasing a house or apartment. Last but not least, are the initiatives in other countries and the objective at European level to go live with a European solution from November 2017 onwards. Based on this, the Febelfin Payments Council published a vision paper at the end of 2015 and the Belgian instant payments project started in January 2016. In a first phase, the business and clearing & settlement requirements were defined and time was spent collecting information from initiatives in other countries. In a second phase , an RFP was launched to select the actual clearing & settlement solution for the execution of an instant payment followed by a detailed roadmap “Although a lot is still to be decided, the Belgian banking community is convinced the time is now to prepare for the launch of instant payments in Belgium”. With regards to the key product characteristics, De Lepeire explained “Belgium will be fully aligned with the EPC Rulebook but the intention is to do better with regards to the through-put time targeting, all in all, 5 seconds compared to 10 to 20/25 seconds in the EPC Rulebook”. In addition, Belgium will not define a limit and use instant value date. With regards to the 24/7/365 availability, participating banks will be allowed to plan maintenance windows during the night in order to mitigate investments. De Lepeleire ended her speech listing a number of challenges in the areas of risk, fraud and reach.
Immediate has become self-evident in many aspects of our lives, except for payments.
Kristine De Lepeleire, Project Manager Instant Payments, Febelfin
Next was van Dijk who explained that following an unsuccessful attempt to deliver a complete solution for instant payments on cards, banks in the Netherlands came up with an ambition in late 2014/early 2015, and made a public announcement in May 2015 about plans to deliver an instant payments infrastructure by 1 May 2019. Regarding the value limit for instant payments, she observed that the UK started with 10k GBP, then moved to 15k GBP, 100k GBP and is now going to 500k GBP. The plan for the Netherlands is that the system will handle any payment transaction on any day and for any type of market segment. An area where there is great demand is bulk payments, where appetite is high for salary payments on weekends, for example. The idea is not to develop a brand, but an infrastructure, for which the design phase has already been completed. Following market consultation over 2 months, the first publication of requirements on Febelfin’s website was scheduled for May. On interoperability and the rulebook for the system, van Dijk said that “interoperability is key. We don’t want to develop a Dutch special, so we are taking the EPC rulebook as the basis, but we will go to higher values and quicker timeframes than set out by the EPC.” “This is about customer expectation and about new entrants wanting to eat our business,” she continued. “If we don’t get this right it will cost the banks millions. In the end everybody will join. A year ago there was no appetite to even talk about the subject among corporates yet now the questions are coming. It will all come and it’s just a matter of jumping on the wagon at the right time. With instant payments, the beneficiary gets paid before the bank does. That means that we need to manage the liquidity risk, with prefunding on Friday for the weekend. It’s possible, doable but yes, it is complex.” With the project now into the build phase, which will take 2 years, the plan is to start interbank testing in July 2018, the pilot in January 2019 and go live in May 2019.
Interoperability is key. We don’t want to develop a Dutch special.
Inge van Dijk, Program Manager Instant Payments, Betaalvereniging Nederland
After van Dijk, Pollaert gave the perspectives of a regional bank, explaining that whatever is done from a group perspective is extremely asymmetrical from a market perspective. As a large dominant player in France, Belgium, Italy, the bank wants to be at the forefront of what is happening in those markets, whereas in other markets, it wants to be a “fast follower.” He explained that the bank runs a single payments platform, located in Belgium that all instant payments would have to flow through, so any instant payments project is very much a group initiative. Talking about compliance, he said that it has become a fact of life and that whilst we can easily talk about 5 seconds end-to-end from a technology perspective, most people know that “processes that were extremely fluid some years ago are less fluid now because of the heavy involvement of compliance processes.” With regards to additional services, the bank does see some opportunities. Moving on to the challenges he said that “the question is, of course, what is the business case for the bank? We have barely digested SEPA and are now actively preparing for PSD2. Systems now have to cope with a completely different environment, with negative interest rates, our revenues are dwindling, and we are asked to embark on yet another major project.” So whilst the business case may be shaky, he went on to say, in the end, “it may come down to the banks, as market practitioners, having to decide whether instant payments is just a new service or the new normal.” If it’s additional, then the question will be how much the receivers of the payments will be willing to pay and how much the bank can make from it. If it’s the new normal, then the business case should lie in decommissioning the old model and hoping that the new model will be more effective and cost efficient than the old. “There is a lot of enthusiasm about instant payments,” he stated, “but in the end we will have to pay the bill and will have to find good reasons to pay for it. On the consumer side there is no willingness to pay for the service. As far as they can tell on their apps, their payments are already instant.”
Processes that were extremely fluid some years ago are less fluid now because of the heavy involvement of compliance processes.
Peter Pollaert, Head of Cash Management, BNP Paribas Fortis
Following Pollaert’s intervention, Palmers shared the cornerstones of the instant payments project in Australia that SWIFT is working on, explaining that the project is indeed rather specific and a new network protocol is being built to support that. In the Australian model, banks are not obliged to participate in the instant payments scheme and can choose to opt in or opt out, which does, however bring routing challenges with it. In the model, which is based on direct point-to-point connections between the banks, there will be not only instant validation and instant clearing, but also instant settlement in central bank money.
In the end, it may come down to the banks, as market practitioners, having to decide whether instant payments is just a new service or the new normal.
Peter Pollaert, Head of Cash Management, BNP Paribas Fortis
The session closed with some final thoughts on what the developments will be in instant payments in the years to come. De Lepeleire expressed her belief that instant payments will be a game changer. Not the instant payments as such, but the way that we look at payments and interact with them. The business case, she said, will not be found in a legacy system because it’s about still being there in the future world of payments and still being relevant in 5 years’ time. In Pollaert’s view, there are still hurdles to overcome but we are definitely beyond the point of no return. “It will happen, so in a way, the sooner it is, the better, because then the investment will be behind us,” he concluded.
On the consumer side there is no willingness to pay for the service. As far as they can tell on their apps, their payments are already instant.
Peter Pollaert, Head of Cash Management, BNP Paribas Fortis
The global payments innovation initiative
The last panel session of the event was on the global payments innovation initiative (gpii). To introduce the topic and give an overview of the initiative was Marjan Delatinne, Business Development Director GPII, SWIFT. In an environment where levels of investment in fintech have gone from USD 3bn in 2013 to USD 12bn in 2015, and where the digital disruption of financial services by new entrants is a concern for traditional players in our industry, the traditional correspondent banking model is under pressure and new models are emerging that outperform correspondent banking on all dimensions except security and inclusivity. “In this environment, we cannot stand still and we need to evolve and innovate as a community,” she said. The gpii aims to transform existing practices in correspondent banking and marks an important step towards banks being able to deliver of cross-border payment services with greater speed, transparency and predictability to their corporate customers. To date, 54 banks have signed up for the initiative, representing 70% of cross-border payments traffic on SWIFT. Of these, 21 will be piloting in 2016, with early results expected by Sibos Geneva and the first live users in 2017. SWIFT is also creating a replica of the pilot platform for banks that have the ambition to be early adopters. The objective is to show that the financial industry can be agile and respond quickly to the challenges that it faces, all whilst exploring further long-term changes. This is why in the first instance the messaging platform used will be FIN, with an SLA on business rules. At the same time, a vision group is crafting the long term vision for correspondent banking and looking at the possible use of new technologies.
To share their perspectives on the initiative were three backs and a corporate, represented by Charles Bunnik, Get open Project Manager, ABN Amro, Sophie Depairon, VP Treasury, Corporate Finance & ERM, RTL Group, Laurent Steyt, Business Architect, KBC and Jurgen Vroegh, Global Head Payments and Cash Management, ING. Depairon, the corporate customer, confirmed that corporates definitely have challenges today and would like better services for cross-border payments. “If the initiative works, it will be great,” she said. “Banks tend to do whatever investigations we ask for, but it is costly and time consuming and the status tracker is very important and a major improvement.” She went on to say that transparency on fees will also be significant improvement to the current situation where each side of a transaction negotiates their fees with their own bank, but there is no knowing what the correspondent bank fees will be and what each party will be charged for that. Vroegh stated that the banks are being disrupted in their own space and with the existence of technologies that can make the process cheaper, faster, more predictable, the initiative comes a bit late but is nonetheless very welcome. “This is a wake-up call,” he said. “We need to get going and speed up. It’s about the user experience, which is outdated versus what is available on new technology. At ING this is one of our priorities. The same goes for instant payments. We have customer demands that need to be catered for. ING is not a fintech company, but we tend to be agile, innovative and work with the fintechs in the market collaboratively. This is a great opportunity to reinvent the correspondent banking business and for SWIFT to facilitate that process with the right technology.”
I see a lot of opportunity to reduce cost, streamline processes, reduce the overall cost of cross-border payments and increase STP.
Jurgen Vroegh, Global Head Payments and Cash Management, ING
Bunnik echoed Depairon’s messages, saying that gpii is about traceability, predictability, transparency, reconciliation and improving the services that banks offer to their customers. Steyt did much the same, stressing the importance of traceability. “Currently there is no view of where money is and when it will be received,” he said. “It is all very inefficient and time consuming. Gpii will allow the two parties to know, based on a unique reference, 24/7, where the payment is in the chain. It will also highlight any inefficiency very clearly.” Vroegh agreed, stating that the changes made with gpii will lead to a big increase in operational efficiency and major changes in the cost of enquiries. “I see a lot of opportunity to reduce cost, streamline processes, reduce the overall cost of cross-border payments and increase STP,” he stated. This should increase customer satisfaction by giving them direct insight into the payments flow through a direct channel. It will also make clear which correspondents are not performing, which are hampering rather than helping, and allow one to reconsider how to process those payments. “It is likely that our customers will push us to go for gpii correspondents to enhance their customer experience so that they get the new service levels and we deliver on the promise,” he stated. “By seeing who performs well, you will be able to optimise your correspondent network. I think the banks that aren’t in, will be out.” All three bank representatives confirmed that their banks want to be a part of it and will be ready.
By seeing who performs well, you will be able to optimise your correspondent network. I think the banks that aren’t in, will be out.
Jurgen Vroegh, Global Head Payments and Cash Management, ING
In addition to the sessions highlighted above, the packed agenda for the day featured presentations and demos on a wide range of SWIFT products and services, including Business Intelligence, Intraday Liquidity Reporting and SWIFT Scope, SWIFT for Manners, SWIFT’s services for Estimating, the Alliance Integration Platform (IPLA), Alliance Messaging Hub (AMH) and MyStandards. The event wrapped up with Lens thanking everyone for their attendance and very active participation.