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Top 10 takeaways from SWIFT at Sibos 2021

Top 10 takeaways from SWIFT at Sibos 2021

2 November 2021 | 8 min read

Missed some SWIFT at Sibos sessions? Catch up on what was covered and re-watch sessions on demand.

Sibos proved once again to be educational and inspirational, bringing together nearly 19,000 attendees for the second all-digital event from 11-14 October. Throughout the week, we ran 14 SWIFT community sessions on our strategy, payments, securities, ISO 20022, compliance, innovation and more. 

Don’t worry if you missed something, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 takeaways to help you catch up.

1. Domestic or cross-border? Customers want the same payments experience 

We live in a world where everything is instant – whatever we want, whenever we want it. And cross-border payments should be no exception. “That’s the challenge that the user community is putting in front of us – they want their payment experience they live with day-to-day, domestically, to mirror that internationally,” said Thomas Halpin, MD, Global Head of Payments at HSBC. 

Isabel Schmidt, Head of Direct Clearing and Asset Account Services Products at BNY Mellon added, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to make a few payments today’ – what they want to do is transact and conduct their business. The payment is something that has to happen seamlessly to support that primary objective.”

Watch recording: Removing friction in cross-border payments

Watch recording: Making low value payments fast, trackable and transparent with SWIFT Go

2. ISO 20022 offers significant benefits – get ready now

With industry-wide migration beginning in November 2022, the data-rich ISO 20022 standard is set to bring significant benefits to cross-border payments. But to realise these benefits, preparation is critical.

“It’s really tempting sometimes to treat this as just a regulatory project, and you just crawl across the line, but that would be a missed opportunity,” said Nick Soo, Director, Regional Head of Payment Products GLCM, HSBC. “We need to be pragmatic in terms of where we prioritise our corridors, and then from day two onwards have a robust prioritisation and delivery framework.”

Christian Fraedrich, Head of Cash Business Architecture at Deutsche Bank explained how ISO 20022 could increase transparency, reduce exception and investigation handling and ultimately put the industry in a position to speed up the process for cross-border payments. “Start testing and preparing as early as possible, and involve all relevant stakeholders,” he concluded.

Watch recording: Your ISO 20022 adoption journey with SWIFT

3. SWIFT platform evolution: This is just the beginning 

At SWIFT, we’re building a next-generation platform to enable seamless, instant and frictionless transactions from one account to another, anywhere in the world. “This is just the start, and we need you – the SWIFT community – to join us on this journey,” emphasised Stephen Gilderdale, Chief Product Officer at SWIFT. “We’re building the best back-end rails for cross-border transactions, and we can’t wait to see what innovation our users build in their customer channels, with SWIFT inside.” 

Joanne Strobel, MD, Global Payment Services at Wells Fargo & Company added, “In addition to being able to provide a better end-to-end experience, frictionless payments also help SWIFT member banks be more efficient as a community – minimising costly exceptions and investigations and enabling us to better compete from a cost perspective with new entrants and closed-loop networks.”  

Watch recording: SWIFT platform evolution: Enabling industry transformation

Watch recording: The value of payment pre-validation with SWIFT

4. APIs have the power to transform financial services

Momentum behind APIs within financial services has been steadily building over the last decade, with the potential to transform customer experiences throughout payments, treasury, compliance, securities and beyond. But the financial community should keep standardisation, interoperability and collaboration front of mind if they want APIs to reach their full potential.

“The days of working in isolation are gone,” said Ed Adshead-Grant, General Manager & Director, Payments at Bottomline Technologies. “Partnerships are key, and they’re hard. You’re going to have to fail together and then pick up the next project. It’s quite a journey but you can’t start soon enough.”

Watch recording: APIs – offer the next generation of transaction services to your customers

5. Securities transactions need to be trackable  

Customers expect to be able to track everything from online orders to food deliveries, and those expectations are transferred into the world of securities too. Providing better visibility throughout the settlement and reconciliation value chain is essential to increasing efficiency and reducing settlement fails, and, as part of our strategy, we’re developing a service that will make this possible for the first time ever.

“What we are building with our community will really focus on helping address post-trade flows and the expectation of greater speed, greater transparency, greater efficiency and greater openness through the SWIFT platform,” said David Watson, Chief Strategy Officer at SWIFT.

Watch recording: Securities tracking: Lighting the path to increased efficiency 

6. Payment systems interoperability is key

As customer expectations increase, so too do the number of services available to them. With this in mind, financial institutions need to offer a compelling user experience and deliver a standardised service that is compatible with the rest of the ecosystem.

“Interoperability extends past traditional payment systems into home-grown wallets and systems,” said Sara Castelhano, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan. “We’re living in a world where we are seeing more domestic payment schemes coming up, and more alternative payments born from the wallet industry. Ultimately, consumers want to be able to move money faster.”

Watch recording: Taking payments to the next level 

7. Smarter screening means ISO 20022

ISO 20022 will enable institutions to take on a targeted approach to screening, allowing them to be more efficient and effective throughout the compliance process by reducing costs and increasing automation. But adoption of the standard will require some areas of screening to be re-evaluated, as older rules become obsolete and new workflows are developed.

“There are deep seated, long term benefits of improving the richness of payment data. It’s a balance between managing the short term impact while setting up for the long term benefit that we really need to focus on,” said Richard Norman, Head of Financial Crime Screening at Barclays.

Watch recording: Smarter screening: New developments in sanctions screening

Watch recording: Tackling payment fraud with SWIFT

8. Counterparty CSP attestation data offers valuable insights for risk management

Cybersecurity is a top priority for financial institutions, and SWIFT’s Customer Security Programme (CSP) plays a central role. But did you know you can also request your counterparties’ attestation data to bolster your risk management processes? 

“SWIFT CSP has become one element in assessing our counterparty risk and it is the single most important data source we have for cybersecurity risk assessments,” says Leif Simon, Director of Transactions Surveillance Solutions at Deutsche Bank. “It is a single and consistent set of data we can use and we really didn’t have that before.”

Watch recording: Unlocking the value of CSP attestation data for counterparty risk management

9. ISO 20022 can help avoid data fragmentation within securities 

Today, securities market participants exchange data in a number of formats including ISO 20022 and 150022, FpMAL and FIX. There are practical and operational challenges in enabling different formats to inter-operate successfully, and ultimately, this data multiplicity is only slowing the data revolution and increasing the total costs incurred by customers. 

The adoption, or even partial adoption, of ISO 20022 within the industry will play a critical role in overcoming these challenges – from providing a universal standard for data exchange to its use as a standardised data model for APIs. 

“We shouldn’t see data management and adherence to standards as side issues that our back offices are supposed to handle,” said Vicky Kyproglou, Head of Network & Market Infrastructure Management at UBS AG. “Standards are an enabler to achieve successful deployment and avoid fragmentation. ISO 20022 adoption is by definition a long-term plan, and we still have the opportunity to align and build together.”

Watch recording: Realising data opportunities in the securities industry

10. Collaborative innovation will drive us further

Many of the challenges that financial institutions face are not unique to them, but are shared by all within the community. Breaking down these barriers and working together is a must if we want to raise the quality of services we offer and continue meeting customer expectations.

“You have people who collaborate and people who don’t,” explained John Overton, CEO at Kove.”The people who collaborate can change the world, and I really think that partners of SWIFT who aren’t doing that need to be getting on the phone to work out how they can.”

Watch recording: Harnessing the power of collaborative innovation for your institution