The SWIFT Business Forum Warsaw took place at the Hotel Bristol on 29 May 2019 and brought together more than 180 senior members of the Polish financial industry.
The theme for the day was “Poland: Embracing innovation and change in banking” and speeches and panel sessions throughout the day covered trends in financial services, the challenges and opportunities for financial institutions, and what SWIFT is doing to support its customers in this rapidly changing environment.
Ilona Pouna, Regional Manager, CEE, SWIFT welcomed participants, pointing out that this was the fifth business forum to be held in Warsaw since 2011. Poland’s traffic has nearly tripled since 2011 and reached 80 million messages last year. She said “The financial industry has changed enormously since 2011, and the SWIFT community has adapted impressively fast to key industry challenges such as cyber security and improvements to the cross-border payments experience: in just two years, more than 90% of customers have complied with the Customer Security Programme’s self-attestation requirements; and on gpi, 10 banks are now live and 44% of transfers sent by Polish banks are done so using gpi.” In closing, Ms. Pouna reflected on the close and effective cooperation between Polish banks and fintechs, saying “each needs each other to thrive.”
Grazyna Cheetham, the Polish SWIFT National Member Group (NMG) chairperson, spoke next and highlighted two important anniversaries. “We celebrate the 46th anniversary of SWIFT itself, which was formed to create an alternative to the telex for financial messaging and to establish a standardised universal language to be used,” said Ms. Cheetham, and continued “since then SWIFT has continued to develop new solutions to meet market needs and its products compete successfully with those offered by fintechs.” The second anniversary was 30 years of Poland being on the SWIFT network, with 63 Polish banks and financial organisations and companies now connected. “The new challenges banks face, such as increasing regulation and competition, will provide the stimulus for new innovation” she concluded.
Taking over from Ms. Cheetham, SWIFT Board member Soren Haugaard stressed the importance of countries such as Poland to the SWIFT network. “The value of the network is insignificant without countries such as Poland, and it is important that its voice is heard,” he said. Mr Haugaard then turned to SWIFT’s current 5-year strategy, which continues to evolve as times change. “The SWIFT Board reviewed the strategy 12 months ago and mandated SWIFT management to accelerate the strategy in key areas, particularly gpi and APIs, to allow SWIFT to continue to respond rapidly to the changing market and competitive environment,” said Mr Haugaard.
The value of the network is insignificant without countries such as Poland, and it is important that its voice is heard.
He reported that the Board had also asked SWIFT management to step up the game in three areas: 1) the migration of cross-border payments to ISO 20022; 2) the application of data analytics to provide business insights, which are crucial for SWIFT members; and 3) the continued evolution of the CSP to address the evolving threat. At the same time, SWIFT was asked to continue its successful strategies in securities, instant payments, and financial crime compliance. “It is important to step up and take a wider responsibility,” he said. He reflected that migrating from the MT structure to ISO 20022 will take effort and energy, but it is an important undertaking for the industry; and he cited CSP as another area where SWIFT had acted quickly and effectively for the benefit of the community.Download the wrap up report to continue reading.