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Wrap-up report

The 9th edition of the SWIFT Business Forum Romania took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bucharest on 7 November 2018. 

The event brought together around 140 participants from the Romanian financial community, including credit institutions, central bank, payments institutions, financial investment companies, issuers of financial instruments, IT solutions providers, consultants, corporate customers, and trading companies.

The main topics tackled at the event were: the impact of new regulation on the banking industry; community projects related to European initiatives; SWIFT’s Customer Security Programme dedicated to enhancing transaction security; the digital agenda; innovation in financial and banking services, and new industry initiatives such as the global payments initiative (gpi) and instant payments.

Transformation of the financial sector

Opening the SWIFT Business Forum, Radu Gratian Ghetea, Romanian SWIFT Member Group Chairperson and President of Honour of Romanian Association of Banks, spoke about the transformation of the financial and banking industry under the pressure of technology evolution and changing customer requirements, and how SWIFT is changing together with the industry. He highlighted some of the key takeaways from Sibos 2018, such as the need for standardisation and harmonisation, the current changes in technology and customers’ requirements, the challenges and opportunities brought about by new regulation, and increased cyber security requirements.

Sergiu Oprescu, President of the Romanian Association of Banks’ Board of Directors, talked about the characteristics of the Romanian banking sector and presented the strategy for the Romanian banking community in the near future, in the light of new European and national regulation, technological progress, and increasing competition. 

SWIFT2020 accelerated

Matthieu de Heering, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, SWIFT, gave an update on SWIFT’s 2020 strategy, which is now past its mid-way point. After two and a half years of significant achievements such as gpi, the Financial Crime Compliance portfolio, and the Customer Security Programme, de Heering said that the strategy will continue to take account of the pace of technological change and the fact that innovation is happening faster than ever, bringing new competitive challenges to the community and to SWIFT. The SWIFT2020 accelerated strategy therefore includes a series of ambitious changes as follows: substantially accelerate the development of gpi; make significant investments in API development; ensure the migration of cross-border payments to ISO 20022; continue to evolve the CSP, and further encourage the use of instant payments.

The Customer Security Programme (CSP) continues to be an important topic for the SWIFT community. The CSP was created by SWIFT to reinforce and safeguard the security of the financial ecosystem, to improve information sharing throughout the community, and to provide a customer security control framework. Judit Baracs, Country Manager for Romania at SWIFT, highlighted the importance of SWIFT users confirming their compliance with all the mandatory security controls by the end of 2018.

SWIFT Business Forum Romania 2018 - Radu Gratian Ghetea
SWIFT Business Forum Romania 2018

SWIFT initiatives

Marianna Janssens, gpi Expert EMEA, SWIFT, gave an update on the gpi service, which was launched by SWIFT to deliver tangible improvements to the cross-border payments experience by introducing benefits such as faster payments, and transparency of fees and costs. Janssens noted that the speed of gpi adoption worldwide has been impressive and that the design of new functionalities and new services, including collaborations with FinTechs, was already in progress. It was announced that Banca Transilvania was the first Romanian Bank to join the gpi community. Other Romanian banks are expected to join this initiative in due course.

The digital revolution is transforming the payments landscape and instant payments are fast becoming a reality. Carlo Palmers, Head of Payments Market Infrastructures, SWIFT, presented the instant payments landscape in Europe and highlighted the key components and benefits of recently launched SWIFTNet instant payments solution. Bogdan Năstase, Project Manager, TRANSFOND, announced that instant payments are becoming a reality in Romania through the joint efforts of TRANSFOND and the Romanian Association of Banks.

Andrew Muir, Head of Standards Community Engagement, gave an update on ISO 20022 and the proposed migration of SWIFT cross-border payment messages. ISO 20022 is being adopted by a number of major payments market infrastructures around the world and the SWIFT community has now agreed that cross-border payments should move to the new standard to coincide with this shift. The migration will start in November 2021. A four-year period of coexistence is foreseen, during which SWIFT will provide a centralised translation capability to ensure interoperability for all participants. Despite the migration, banks will still need to process proprietary and legacy formats. Muir introduced SWIFT Translator, a new product from SWIFT that simplifies integration of new and existing formats and standards to facilitate the transition.

Thomas Redelberger, Senior Manager, Securities Initiatives, SWIFT, presented the recent developments in securities markets - a core business for SWIFT that is growing year on year - as well as outlining the opportunities and key areas of focus until 2020. 

Gizem Tansu, Compliance expert CEE, SWIFT, gave a comprehensive view of the financial crime compliance portfolio, including the global KYC Registry initiative with more than 5000 financial institutions already signed up, the Sanctions Screening solution, the Name Screening service, and the range of fraud prevention tools.

New technologies

The last panel of the event focused on new technologies and their impact on financial and banking services, innovation, and new business models. SWIFT’s API strategy was presented by Deniss Kascejevs, API Product Manager, Software Business, SWIFT. Kascejevs said that SWIFT is building an application programming interfaces (API) platform to extend its core values - standards, connectivity, security and reach - beyond messaging and into the world of APIs. The purpose is to enable financial institutions and corporate customers to expose or consume financial services in a trusted environment using standardised transactions according to the ISO 20022 model.

New business models in payments in the light of the revised Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and security requirements for the banks and FinTechs were presented by Ruxandra Avram, Director of Payments Infrastructure Monitoring, National Bank of Romania.

Sorin Mândruțescu, Country Leader, Oracle Romania and Sorina Bera, CEO, Allevo, discussed the transformation of the payments landscape, infrastructure enablers for open banking innovation and what is beyond PSD2 compliance. 

Open banking in Romania

The forum ended with a presentation of the A.T. Kearney Open Banking Study 2018 – Results in Romania, given by Florian Teleaba, Manager, A.T. Kearney Romania. The study looked at the strategic landscape of the retail banking and payments ecosystem as open banking spreads, and how ecosystem participants can chart a path forward. The conclusion of this session was that a strong community and close collaboration among all involved entities can make the most of existing opportunities, for the benefit of the industry and of customers alike.

Finally, in parallel with the SWIFT Business Forum Romania, SWIFT was pleased to donate EUR 3000 to SOS Children’s Village Bucharest.

Click here for more details, presentations and pictures from SWIFT Business Forum Romania.