7 July 2014

Talking Standards in Utrecht

First Standards Forum organized in the Netherlands, kindly hosted by Rabobank Nederland.

For the first time in its 11 year history, the Standards Forum organized an event in the Netherlands, kindly hosted by Rabobank Nederland. On June 17th, more than 100 participants from banks, corporates, financial and IT service providers and market infrastructures met at the beautiful headquarters of Rabobank in Utrecht to discuss the standards side of hot industry topics, exchange information and network with peers.

The Times They Are a-Changin’

In her opening speech, Ineke Bussemaker (Rabobank Nederland), emphasised that the global economic and financial landscape is rapidly evolving.  Against this backdrop, either you adapt to change or you are left behind. "If you do not respond adequately to a market demand, others will do", she noted.

We are a Goliath surrounded by little Davids. We need to work together.

Ineke Bussemaker, Rabobank Nederland

Bussemaker also reminded the audience that standardisation is not only about standardising messaging but also interfaces.

Finally, Bussemaker urged the industry to listen carefully to innovators "We are a Goliath surrounded by little Davids. We need to work together", she said.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability

In the first panel discussion of the day Myriam Byn (Euroclear), Marco Pieroni (Banca d'Italia), Frans van Beers (Betaalvereniging Nederland) and Ton Versteeg (Rabobank Nederland) discussed the status of ISO 20022 implementation across various payments and securities initiatives.

Byn said that "moving from one standard to another is never easy. The T2S project is no exception". She also called for more market alignment.

Van Beers stated that "implementing SEPA is not just a technical issue. One should not underestimate the impact." He also reiterated that initially, given the short time frame, the focus was primarily on the implementation, and less so on the benefits.

Pieroni and Versteeg agreed that it is crucial to listen to the user baser and keep all relevant stakeholders informed in order to allow them to anticipate the impact.

Two sessions and four chat rooms

After the coffee break, participants could choose between a session on standards for collateral management and one on standardisation in the corporate to bank arena.

In the first session Charles Boniver (RBC I&TS), Fabrice Tomenko (Clearstream) and Axelle Wurmser (BNP Paribas Securities Services) assessed the potential impact of the move to a shortened T+2 securities settlement time frame on collateral management requirements.

The panellists agreed that T+2 will have a bigger impact on the speed of trading than on the collateral management requirements. They also believed that although the triparty collateral management processes are already highly automated, the margin call for bilateral over- the-counter derivatives could be more standardised.

In the second session Luc Crahaij (ING), Eric Kossen (RBS) and Kees van de Zilver (Akzo Nobel) discussed the benefits of standardisation. van de Zilver mentioned that "it takes a lot of internal stakeholdering to ensure everyone is on the same page. As Akzo was an early adopter of ISO 20022 message formats, and gathered a lot of expertise, it has now become easier to add new counterparties".

Luc Crahaij confirmed that "standards are just a means to an end. Achieving efficiency to execute a transaction heavily relies on standardisation of underlying business processes".

Eric Kossen complemented the discussion by adding that "the Common Global Implementation Market Practice (CGI-MP) initiative has helped to foster standardization in the corporate-to-bank space".

After lunch, the participants could attend four different chat rooms: SWIFT's readiness for ISO 20022, ISO process versus SWIFT process, Interoperability in action and MyStandards.

Standards in support of compliance

An engaging panel discussion about standards and regulatory compliance closed the day. The moderator Paul Janssens (SWIFT) and panellists Ron Berndsen (Tilburg University and De Nederlandsche Bank), Stephen Lindsay (SWIFT), Jean-Paul Rousseau (Febelfin) and Benoit Waltregny (ING) discussed how standards can facilitate compliance.

The panellists agreed that the focus should be on quality and not quantity. Lindsay: "The question is whether the data provided is useful. [...] Big data techniques may not be sufficient to get meaningful insights". Berndsen concurred: "There is no escape to quantitative analysis, but the aim of big data is to make use of it". Waltregny stated that "in the current regulatory tsunami, it is not always clear what is expected". Rousseau concurred and added that "reporting needs to have a purpose. [...] A common vision of the future is needed."

All panellists called for more dialogue and reflection.

Next stop: Boston

Sibos Boston is the next major event on the Standards Forum calendar. The Standards Forum stand will be a central hub for engaging and debating with the industry on the future evolution of financial standards.

To be continued...

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