Compliance and standards top the agenda at biggest ever Moscow Business Forum
The sixth SWIFT Business Forum in Moscow took place at the Lotte Hotel on 16 April 2015. Organised for the second year running in conjunction with the ROSSWIFT (Russian national SWIFT member and user group) AGM, the event pulled a record 420 plus delegates, making it SWIFT’s second largest business forum after London, a ranking in perfect keeping with Russia being SWIFT’s second largest user community.
The packed agenda for the day kicked off with welcome remarks by Matthieu de Heering, Head of Russia, CIS and Mongolia, SWIFT and Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT, both of whom confirmed SWIFT’s commitment to working with the Russia and CIS communities to further develop business together. In the opening plenary, which focused on developments in the Russian payments and financial system, senior representatives of the State Duma, NSD and SWIFT discussed the way forward for Russia’s financial markets, which will, they said, be based on the principles of openness and transparency as the basis for integration. As part of this, there will be a review of the MIFC (Moscow International Financial Centre) strategy, in the context of which, there is confidence that SWIFT will be asked to play a role. Also, with Russia gaining a seat on the board of SWIFT as from June 2015, the intensity of the cooperation between SWIFT and the Russian SWIFT community is expected to increase.
After an overview of SWIFT’s 2020 strategy, the focus moved on to Compliance, with a panel of experts who discussed challenges and solutions in FATCA, anti-money-laundering and combatting financial crime. Amongst the topics covered by the panellists were the complexity of Russia’s legal framework and significant challenges faced in the areas of identification of clients and mandatory operations monitoring and controls. SWIFT’s KYC Registry also featured prominently in the discussion as a true global solution to a global problem. Following legal validation of the feasibility for Russian institutions to use The KYC Registry, ROSSWIFT is now in charge of the promotion and roll-out of the registry in Russia. Next on the agenda was ISO 20022, which, the speakers agreed, requires a strategic plan for all communities as without one, there can be no implementation. The session covered both ISO 20022 initiatives around the world and the specifics of what is happening in Russia, a market that is clearly committed to ISO 20022 and is investing significant time and budget into the new standard. A dedicated session on The KYC Registry offered delegates the opportunity to hear about the registry in detail and understand the pricing principles that SWIFT has put in place to allow the community to get great value for very limited amounts of money. Closing the day was update on SWIFT traffic and pricing that highlighted how significant Russia’s traffic growth on SWIFT has been in comparison both to global averages and the BRICS average.
A full report of the event can be found by reading on below. If you have any questions on the topics covered, please contact the SWIFT Moscow office: Moscow.Office.Generic@SWIFT.com.
Opening the sixth SWIFT Moscow Business Forum, organised for the second year running in conjunction with the ROSSWIFT (Russian national SWIFT member and user group) AGM, Matthieu de Heering, Head of Russia, CIS and Mongolia welcomed the record 420-plus attendees to the joint event and gave an overview of the continued growth of the Russian market on SWIFT. He went on to thank the Russian SWIFT community for its confidence, which is reflected in the fact that in 2014, Russian traffic on SWIFT grew by 28%. Furthermore, in the past year we have also seen one more Russian organisation be certified by SWIFT for the delivery of professional services and the development of 13 new ISO 20022 messages by the Russian SWIFT community in cooperation with SWIFT’s Standards experts. On the SWIFT side, reported de Heering, we have been working on addressing the requirements of the community, one response to which, for example, is that the price of open courses in Russia will be reduced by 20-35% in 2015 vs. 2014.
After running through the agenda for the day, de Heering welcomed on stage Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT, who spoke about SWIFT’s commitment to the Russian market and the company’s performance in general. He went on to say that the Business Forum is a great opportunity for SWIFT to learn about the needs of the Russian Community. Leibbrandt encouraged participants to think of SWIFT as a partner, committed to delivering and to serving every one of its national user Communities. “We thank you for the trust you place in us,” he concluded.
We thank you for the trust you place in us.
— Gottfried Leibbrandt, SWIFT
Openness and transparency - the basis for integration
Following on from the welcome remarks, was the opening plenary, in which Anatoliy Aksakov, Deputy Head of Duma Financial Markets Committee, The State Duma; Eddie Astanin, Chairman of the Executive Board, National Settlement Depository; Goran Fors, Head of Market Developments, SEB and Board Member, SWIFT and Alain Raes, Chief Executive EMEA and Asia Pacific, SWIFT looked at developments in the Russian payments and financial system, in a session moderated by Ilkka Salonen, CEO, Uralsib.
Back when we created the SWIFT user community for Russia, SWIFT was identified with IT. This is no longer so – SWIFT is now associated with the development of the whole financial system.
— Ilkka Salonen, Uralsib
Introducing the topic and his panellists, Salonen reflected on his times as a previous chairman of ROSSWIFT and how far both the Russian member and user group and SWIFT itself have come since then. “Back when we created the SWIFT user community for Russia, SWIFT was identified with IT. This is no longer so – SWIFT is now associated with the development of the whole financial system,” he said. With this, Salonen handed over to Aksakov, representing the State Duma, who stated that openness and transparency are the basis for integration and explained that with 2015 representing the last year in the current strategic cycle for the banking sector, the focus going forward will be on the financial centre. His expectation, he explained, is that a review of the MIFC (Moscow International Financial Centre) topic, in which openness and transparency will be guiding principles, will also include a discussion about where and how SWIFT will be asked to contribute to the strategy going forward. “We coordinate our activities with SWIFT and ROSSWIFT’” he said, and the State Duma aims to have an active cooperation with SWIFT and is in favour of SWIFT expanding its operations in Russia. In closing, he expressed his satisfaction with Russia gaining a seat on board of SWIFT and his support for Eddie Astanin of NSD as Russia’s proposed board member.
As a neutral provider, [ISO 20022] is an area where SWIFT really comes into its own, and we are helping the market in every way possible.
— Alain Raes, SWIFT
Next up was Astanin himself, who gave an overview of NSD’s activities and showed how SWIFT is used in all five of the business areas that NSD is active in. With over 28 trillion RUB in assets under custody, NSD is categorised as a systemically important infrastructure, he explained, which adds the need for additional controls particularly in the area of risk management. He reported that the CSD has increased resiliency in the repo market, DvP settlement in Central Bank money, and is in the process of introducing proxy voting technology using ISO 20022 standards for corporate actions, including the use of digital signatures. With most of NSD’s SWIFT traffic still relating to cash instructions, he said, the company’s objective is to move more and more transaction types on to SWIFT and to reap the benefits of the investment in SWIFT. Astanin thanked SWIFT for its very balanced conduct in a difficult geopolitical environment and said how happy he is with the good understanding, the trust and the cooperation that exists between the two companies.
Taking over from Astanin, Raes reiterated Leibbrandt’s earlier messages about the importance of Russia to SWIFT and thanked the Russian SWIFT community for having played a strong role in helping to shape the SWIFT 2020 strategy. Raes explained that SWIFT keep driving the business it has in place today, and focus on strong continuity through the Core. At the same time, it will take on a couple of bold and exciting moves that have the potential to transform the company in years ahead, namely in the areas of Market Infrastructures (MIs) and Compliance. He also mentioned that SWIFT is working closely with ROSSWIFT on the deployment of The KYC Registry in Russia and with Alliance Factors, in particular for Sanctions Screening. The focus on the core business, he said, is important both to Russia and to all of SWIFT’s customers, and a key part of this pillar is further expanding SWIFT’s reach to bring more and more players onto SWIFT. The MI part of the strategy is critical both in Russia and in the rest of the world, he went on to say, and is being developed against a background of changes that are happening across the financial industry. Disruptive change, he explained, usually brings innovation in response, and this is also true for SWIFT, which looks at where its customers have challenges and develops products and solutions in response to these challenges. The shift to real-time, for example, is a reality, and the work that SWIFT is doing to develop Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) is a prime example of how SWIFT can innovate and develop something completely new, all whilst maintaining all of the safety, security and resiliency that are core to its brand. Another area where SWIFT is very active, he said, is the increasing adoption of ISO 20022. “In Europe, the shift is really already underway’” he stated, “with T2S on ISO 20022 and the ECB also announcing it will be used on the TARGET2 platform.” He also mentioned that Russia is leading in the implementation of some messages in the asset servicing area and there are active discussions happening with NSD, ROSSWIFT and the Central Bank of Russia on further areas for deployment. “As a neutral provider, this is an area where SWIFT really comes into its own,” Raes said proudly, “and we are helping the market in every way possible.”
Lastly, Fors addressed the audience and said how much of a pleasure it has been for him to represent Russia on the SWIFT board over the last three years, working hand in hand with the Russian community to represent its interests. In congratulating Russia on obtaining a board seat, he shared some of his own experience from being on the SWIFT board and said that “there is a great and very close cooperation between the SWIFT executive and the board. The board really does contribute to the development of SWIFT.” He added that in addition to working with the board, it is very important to work with the National User and Member group (NMG and NUG) and the European SWIFT Alliance (ESA), which all put together combine very well and make for a very efficient and constructive way of working with SWIFT.
Next on the agenda was the ROSSWIFT Annual General Meeting, which was introduced by Roman Chernov, Executive Director, ROSSWIFT and then opened by Olga Kanovich, Advisor to CEO & Chairman, Sberbank and SWIFT NMG Chairperson for Russia. In her opening remarks, Kanovich said the use of SWIFT is a reflection of automation, efficiency and growth and that if the intensity of the Russian market’s cooperation with SWIFT increases, so will the quality of the output. This can be achieved, she went on to explain, by ensuring that ROSSWIFT, its steering committee and its various working groups all work in unison for the benefit of the market. “The infrastructure is there, as is the strong leadership that it needs,” she stated. Further information on the content and outcomes of the ROSSWIFT AGM can be found on the ROSSWIFT website.
From headaches to tacking compliance with confidence
The goal is to create a truly integrated community service that will help banks tackle compliance with confidence.
— Julien Laurent, SWIFT
After a short coffee break, the audience reconvened for a panel discussion on challenges and solutions in anti-money-laundering and combatting financial crime. To discuss the topic were Andrey Emelin, Chairman, NCFM; Alexander Gontarenko, Head of Legal Department, Bank Home Credit; Daria Grigorieva, Head of Methodology Department, Otkritie Bank; Irina Klishina, Head of Methodology, Compliance and Financial Monitoring, Otkritie Bank and Julien Laurent, KYC/AML Expert, SWIFT. Each of the speakers gave an overview of the challenges that they face and what is being done to address them. Mandatory controls were top of the list for Emelin, who explained that there are 130 banks of all shapes and sizes all grappling with similar challenges. On the topic of SWIFT’s KYC Registry, he mentioned that a legal opinion had been requested and provided for the usage of the registry in the Russian market and that on the back of that, a series of roadshows are now being organised with ROSSWIFT to promote the registry and encourage banks to join – building on the more than ten financial institutions that are already members of the KYC Registry in Russia today.
Klishina gave insights into the challenges of managing their database of non-bonafide clients and the increase in workload that has come as a result of numerous changes and additions to the laws of the Russian Federation in recent times. She explained that proposals have been made to introduce a number of amendments to the current legislation that would make the situation more manageable for banks. Grigorieva, also from Otkritie Bank, stated that real estate issues are amongst the most difficult that her department has to handle, as well as the extremely formal approach to training staff, which involves a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Finally, she explained the methodological difficulties stemming from each bank in Russia applying its own approach to FATCA implementation. Gontarenko split his department’s main challenges into two categories: the identification of clients and obligatory operations monitoring and controls. On the former, he explained that the current framework is very difficult to operate within and that an amendment to the law has been proposed to make the situation more manageable, including by allowing one bank to delegate authority to another bank to identify a client. On the control of management and public officials, he said that the current framework foresees a list of positions but with no names, which makes it difficult for a bank to monitor the names of individuals and increases administrative overhead. Once again, a proposal has been made that the legislation is adapted to require not only a list of positions but also a list of individuals, and that said list should come from a single source, the central regulator.
The last of the speakers to present was Laurent, who talked about SWIFT’s activities in the Compliance space and its resolution to get involved and help the market out in an area that is clearly a significant pain point. “With financial crime at the top of the agenda for banks, all geographies and all types of players impacted, significant costs at stake, no competitive advantage for banks and lots of duplication in an area that is a universal challenge, such a community issue calls for a community solution,” he said. Having started with the launch of SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening product back in 2012, SWIFT’s Compliance portfolio has now been added to with a series of other products and services, namely Sanctions Testing, RMA (traffic restriction), Compliance Analytics and most recently, The KYC Registry. The KYC Registry, which was launched in late 2014, was the subject of a dedicated session later on the day, the details of which can be found below. As he drew his presentation to a close, Laurent mentioned that SWIFT is already working on a number of other solutions, including a sanction list management service and AML testing and tuning. “The goal,” he concluded, “is to create a truly integrated community service that will help banks tackle compliance with confidence.”
ISO 20022 - A standard for the future
Introducing the next topic, and before moving on to the situation in Russia, Patrik Neutjens, ISO 20022 Programme Director, SWIFT, gave a global perspective on ISO 20022 adoption worldwide. “The pace of adoption is accelerating,” he reported, “and there are now over 200 projects worldwide where ISO 20022 is being implemented.” In the majority of these cases, he explained, the choice and adoption of ISO 20022 is being driven by market infrastructures. SWIFT is supporting the projects with the assistance, expertise and solutions that each project needs, but is not mandating the standard, he specified. 51% of the projects are in the payments and trade sectors whilst the remaining 49% are in the securities and FX markets, so the distribution is very balanced. The same can be said for geographical distribution, which demonstrates that this is a truly global trend that is not limited to one or a couple of regions.
In Europe, one example is T2S, where all settlement and reconciliation (S&R) messages are moving to ISO 20022 as well as ancillary areas such are reference data and account management. In this case the driver is a regulatory initiative, but a project the size of T2S spills over into other areas, such as the services that the CSDs and National Central Banks (NCBs) offer their customers, such as TARGET2 and ECB1 Step1, both of which have publicly stated that they will move to ISO 20022. Some countries, such as Switzerland, for example, have even decided to move all payments systems and instruments onto ISO 20022. In Asia Pacific, JASDEC has been live since 2014 with S&R messages and has plans for post-trade messages, whilst ASX has been live with corporate actions messages since 2014. In the payments markets, the Australian NPP will be using ISO 20022 messages when it goes live in 2017, and the new RTGS in Brunei, which is part of the ASEAN integration project, went live on ISO 20022 in 2014. Lastly, in the Americas, the DTCC has been live since 2011 with securities transformation and corporate actions messages. Galgo (Brazil) has also been using ISO 20022 for corporate actions since 2011. In the payments markets, both the US and Canadian payments systems are looking at ISO 20022 – the CPA will be migrating all payments systems at a date to be defined and the US in in the process of assessing the business case and defining the roadmap for migration. Finally, in the Middle East and Africa, the SADC (South African Development Community) initiative, will see 13 countries in Africa migrating to ISO 20022 as of 2015 for low value payments, mobile-to-mobile payments and potentially for some securities initiatives. In addition to this, other initiatives are also underway in South Africa and Jordan. “In summary,” said Neutjens, “there is a lot of activity and a lot of spill-over because it’s all interconnected. Today, 8% of SWIFT traffic is on ISO 20022, in two years” time, that is expected to be 30%, and we expect to see further growth thereafter.”
After the global overview, Neutjens invited his expert panels of speakers (Georgiy Chirkov, Head of Section eBanking Product Development, Unicredit; Sergey Putyatinskiy, CIO, National Settlement Depository and Elena Solovyeva, Global Head of Standards, ROSSWIFT) to each give an overview of the current state of ISO 20022 affairs in their respective business segments. Chirkov, who was first up, said that the usage of ISO 20022 in Russia is quite recent and that the driver for using it is the need to create a uniform language of intercommunication between corporates and their banks. Last year saw the completion of the review by CGI, the common global implementation group of the Russian corporate to bank market practice for Rouble payments, he reported, and next year will see more work start in smaller messaging groups. One major area being tackled is that of currency controls, which, Chirkov stated, are impossible to handle in the current environment without 20022. The working group has made a proposal for a single approach and the next step is to have a working draft of the proposed message contents within a month and a half. With the active participation of institutions both on the task forces and in the working groups, the plan is to test all of these control and supervision documents before they are finally implemented. This work – submitting an ISO business justification for message development, then developing the candidate ISO 20022 messages - is being done with the help of an expert consultant from SWIFT’s Standards department who recently spent a week in Moscow together with the working group. “The ISO 20022 standard will ultimately be deployed in Russia for large corporations and maybe even for retail payments”, said Chirkov. “It may enable corporates to avoid any proprietary bank systems that they currently have and use a single system.” He then gave credit to ROSSWIFT and SWIFT for their contributions to the multi-disciplinary working group, as well as all working group participants for their active and dynamic participation and their commitment to making progress.
The pace of adoption is accelerating, and there are now over 200 projects worldwide where ISO 20022 is being implemented.
— Patrik Neutjens, SWIFT
After Chirkov, Putyatinskiy of NSD gave the securities market perspective. ISO 20022 implementation at NSD started in 2014 with the launch of corporate action information in ISO 20022 format. One of the challenges that the organisation has faced, however, he reported, is that not all customers are ready to use information in the new format. Another development is that due to changes in Russian legislation, some shareholder meetings can now be held remotely. Automating these meetings using ISO 20022 is a major objective and the hope is that customers will be able to hold remote meetings using the new formats. “This is an absolutely new topic for Russia,” said Putyatinskiy. “There are no experts in this area so we are pioneers, and hopefully others will follow. This is a large and complex project that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of SWIFT and of the community.” For voting, he added that it is possible only on four corporate action event types for now (which constitute the largest part of NSD’s overall CA volume), but that ISO 20022 has many more, so others will follow.
The ISO 20022 standard will ultimately be deployed in Russia for large corporations and maybe even for retail payments.
— Georgiy Chirkov, Unicredit
In her wide-ranging role as Global Head of Standards at ROSSWIFT, Solovyeva commented on how nice it was to see such a big group of people interested in standards and in ISO 20022 in particular. “Just 5 years ago, the outlook for ISO 20022 adoption in Russia was a big question mark, but today we have advocates amongst MIs, major banks and corporations.” Asking the question: “Why does Russia need ISO 20022,” she went on to explain that it is a more modern language, that is more machine readable, broader in scope and more apt for the future development of the market. “Our market is learning, and ISO 20022 is a very welcome feature,” she said. Where Solovyeva put the most emphasis was on the criticality of having a tool to correctly describe messages, track changes in standards, and, as is required by law in Russia, have the Russian translation of all standards that are used in Russia and related supporting documents. Her proposed solution for this, is that the Russian Market use SWIFT’s MyStandards tool, which meets all of the requirements and allows for Russian language to be inserted in the comments field. Finally, she expressed her willingness to work on this proposal with the mega-regulator.
Having listened to the comments of all three speakers, Neutjens gave a summary of lessons learned in ISO 20022 implementation around the world, all of which are relevant to points raised by the panellists:
- Flexibility is a strength, but if used differently by all, it’s bad. So people are looking for guidance on how to use the standard
- It would be a good idea to provide a predictable environment with version and release management, in line with the evolution of other standards
- Advice and best-practice sharing are very much in demand
There are no experts in this area so we are pioneers, and hopefully others will follow. This is a large and complex project that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of SWIFT and of the community.
— Sergey Putyatinskiy, NSD
Given all of the above and the expertise that SWIFT has in the area, it is looking at providing a community management service that would help the market move from fragmented market practice to harmonized and validated global and community market practice, have versions actively managed in collaboration with user community, have a predictable release cycle, standardised messaging setup and efficient community onboarding and readiness testing. Such an offering would of course, he said, be powered by My Standards.
To wrap the session up, Neutjens asked all of the panellists what their main challenges and priorities are in this area for the next two years. For Chirkov, this is to engage with as many major software developers as possible in Russia to make sure that the standard is not just a written standard but one that is supported and used by the entire community. For Putyatinskiy, the challenge is the coexistence of ISO 15022 and ISO 20022 and supporting customers with conversion between the two which is not impossible, but is complex and costly. His desire, he said, is to one day hear that support for ISO 15022 is discontinued, so that everyone will have to migrate to 20022. Lastly, for Solovyeva, the objective in the next couple of years will be to define unified usage rules for ISO 20022 and see SWIFT embark on ISO 20022 projects in new areas, such as the opening of securities accounts. It will also be necessary to ensure that staff are trained and develop skills in the area so that everyone can benefit from and take advantage of the new standard, she said.
Just 5 years ago, the outlook for ISO 20022 adoption in Russia was a big question mark, but today we have advocates amongst MIs, major banks and corporations.
— Elena Solovyeva, ROSSWIFT
Reaping the benefits of economies of scale
In the next presentation, André Boico, Director, Pricing, SWIFT, gave the participants an overview of traffic and pricing trends both for SWIFT globally and for Russia’s traffic on SWIFT in particular. Russian traffic on SWIFT, he said, has grown by 430% in the last ten years, which is phenomenal. This growth, he explained, by far exceeds the global average and the average for the other BRICS countries. Due to this continuous stronger growth in Russia, the Russian share in the total SWIFT traffic has gone up to 1.7% (versus 0.7% 10 years ago). He went on to show how, with an average yearly growth rate of 21% over the last 15 years, Russia outperforms the SWIFT total (growing 11% on average), the EMEA region (11%) and BRICS (16%). On a global basis, given the financial crisis, it took ten years for FIN traffic to grow from 10 million messages per day to 20 million messages per day. Since then, growth has been steady and 2015 is off to a good start, with March YTD being best month ever with an average of 24.63 million messages per day and 31 March standing out as the first peak day of 2015 with 26,835,427 messages.
Moving on to FileAct, SWIFT’s the file transfer service for batches of structured financial messages and large reports, Boico explained that the service, which is becoming very important in areas such as SEPA and SWIFT for Corporates, is now also getting initial, albeit limited, traction in Russia, a trend that is expected to continue. The same goes for InterAct, the real-time query and response service, for which usage in Russia in still very low, but growth is also expected to follow in this area.
Russia has also benefited from these [price] cuts, and having seen average price drops of 37% for Russian users between 2005 and 2010, this was increased to 52% between 2010 and 2014.
— André Boico, SWIFT
Looking at the growth of SWIFT user numbers of the years, Boico explained that as the number of users on SWIFT has grown, so has the number of Russian SWIFT users. The result of this is that in 2012, 3933 counterparties were involved in traffic sent from Russia. In 2015, that has grown to 4576. Corporate adoption has also boomed and today, 1405 corporates are connected to SWIFT worldwide. Lite2, SWIFT’s low-end connectivity solution, has also seen great success, and with 652 users in March 2015, is a key tool in extending the reach of the cooperative to new users. Lastly, Boico ran through SWIFT’s pricing principles, illustrating how, in an economies of scale business, traffic and price live hand in hand. As traffic has continued to grow, SWIFT has continued to deliver on its promise to keep reducing prices and in 2014, one year ahead of time, SWIFT delivered on its commitment to cut prices by 30-50% over the 2010-2015 period. Russia has also benefited from these cuts, he stated, and having seen average price drops of 37% for Russian users between 2005 and 2010, this was increased to 52% between 2010 and 2014.
The KYC Registry – a global solution to a global challenge
With an estimated 81% of our members, and an even higher proportion of Russian banks, in the €3,000 cap range, this is a true community service.
— Julien Laurent, SWIFT
Following its launch in 2014, with a first baseline of information agreed on with the above-mentioned banks, growth has been impressive, with 360 entities in 109 countries having joined the registry by 15 April 2015. Furthermore, a second baseline has already worked on and is ready for implementation whenever the time is right for the users. Lastly, Laurent ran through the pricing principles for The KYC Registry and explained that in addition to being free in 2015 for organisations that agree to actively promote the Registry to their network of correspondents, the contribution of one’s own data is always free and prices as from 2016 are far below those of other solutions, given that there is a cap on the maximum amount invoiced which is based on the size of an institution on the SWIFT network. “With an estimated 81% of our members, and an even higher proportion of Russian banks, in the €3,000 cap range, this is a true community service,” concluded Laurent.
Wrapping it all up
The cooperation with ROSSWIFT has been excellent, and the number of attendees has been amazing.
— Christian Kothe, SWIFT