ASEAN is becoming a major economic powerhouse in the region, with Singapore being the leader on many fronts. SWIFT Asia Pacific organised a business forum in Singapore on 9th July. More than 280 delegates came for a full day of information sharing, interactive discussion and networking with SWIFT staff and the local community from financial institutions, market infrastructures, technology partners and multinational corporations.
Alain Raes, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific & EMEA, SWIFT kicked off the business forum with an inspiring speech on how Singapore can lead through re-regulation. The financial services industry is facing an unprecedented period of regulatory reform and the impact is extensive, due to the complexities of compliance and the risks of non-compliance. However, Singapore is well positioned to remain a leader because of its many competitive advantages, such as highly developed economy and financial systems, strong legal framework, world-class infrastructure, and well implemented compliance policies.
Alain's viewpoints were further elaborated in the regulatory keynote discussing the global regulatory changes and its impact on Singapore. Panellists were: Hon Cheung, Regional Director, Official Institutions Group, SSgA Singapore; Ganesh M Iyer, Senior Vice President, Market and Product Development, HSBC Securities Services; Nicolas Langlois, Head of Liability & RWA Optimisation, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank; and Lawrence Low, Managing Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs, J.P. Morgan. The discussion was moderated by Natasha de Terán, Head of Corporate Affairs, SWIFT.
These interactive discussions were followed by an informative presentation by Bella Lai, Director of Compliance Market, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, who gave an overview of SWIFT Compliance Services roadmap, which was designed to deliver financial crime compliance services that help customers improve the effectiveness, increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of compliance activities. She also introduced to the audience about our growing portfolio of compliance services, including Sanctions Screening, Sanctions Testing, Compliance Analytics and KYC Registry.
Resiliency is another key concern for many customers because the inability to exchange financial messages could have severe consequences for their business. At the Business Forum Singapore, Anand Bindumadhavan, Head of Services & Support, SWIFT, explained the features of Alliance Lifeline as a reliable, cost-effective emergency SWIFT connection to provide maximum security, resilience and peace of mind, even if the standard connection becomes unavailable.
As we are fast approaching 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is moving closer to financial integration with the objective of transforming ASEAN into a region with free flow of goods, services and capitals. This historical moment was the main focus of the discussion between Christina Ang, Director, Head of Direct Securities Services, Deutsche Bank and Usama De Lorenzo, Director, Asia Policy and Advocacy, Asia Pacific, SWIFT Usama pointed out that a standardised, interoperable financial market infrastructure is the fundamental requirement to facilitate financial integration, and SWIFT has been playing a key role in shaping the platforms and standards needed for this infrastructure.
We are glad to see more corporates joined the business forum and also actively participated in various discussions.
Closing the morning session was David Soh, Chairperson, SWIFT Singapore User Group and First Vice President, United Overseas Bank, who gave an update on Sibos 2015 in Singapore. Everyone in the auditorium was very excited to hear how Singapore has prepared to play host, to the world's most prestigious financial services event on 12th-15th October 2015.
In the afternoon, three key streams were highlighted in various work sessions, reflecting the interests of the Singapore's financial community: Securities, Payments & Trade and Corporates.
Securities work session: Tony W Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited and Head of HSBC Securities Services Singapore kicked off the stream and shared with the audience his views on securities trends in the region. The audiences agreed that Asian markets are no longer insulated from the West, and non-compliance is not an option for the fast-growing securities industry. Christina Ang, Director, Head of Direct Securities Services, Deutsche Bank also gave the securities circle a deeper view into the ASEAN regional securities initiatives like the ASEAN Link and ASEAN Bond Market Forum (ABMF). Marco Attilio, Global Account Director, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, gave an update on the region's funds related initiatives, including automation and standardisation. Alexandre Kech, Director, Securities Market Infrastructures, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, next provided an update on the latest developments in post-trade, clearing & settlement, corporate actions, collateral management, trade reporting and ISO20022 in ASEAN. His presentation was followed by updates from the Singapore Stock Exchange on the automation of corporate actions and PTS, by Tinku Gupta, Senior Vice President, Head of Market Data & Access, Singapore Exchange and Nico Torchetti, Head of Post-trade, Singapore Exchange. DTCC and SWIFT wrapped up the stream with insights on derivatives trade reporting, by Yuankai Ng, APAC Sales & Relationship Management, DTCC and Simona Catanescu, Director Post Trade, Securities Markets, Asia Pacific, SWIFT
Going forward, Singapore can play a bigger role in amalgamating regional and global economies. The business forum was a great success in sharing new ideas, while encouraging collaboration across the financial services community.
Payments & Trade work session: As countries in the ASEAN region develop, intra-Asian trade and financial transactions grow rapidly. It is in the financial sector's interest to support trading by simplifying the trade finance process and limiting risks of payment issues. Addressing these important issues on our way to regional financial integration, four SWIFT Asia Pacific experts shared their thoughts, including of taking stock of our progress in ASEAN (Zelda Anthony, Head of ASEAN, Asia Pacific, SWIFT), payment market (Xiao Qinwen, Market Manager, Payment Market Infrastructures, Asia Pacific, SWIFT), the move towards international standards (Kiyono Hasaka, Lead Standards Specialist, Asia Pacific, SWIFT) as well as SWIFT's role in supporting financial integration in ASEAN (Usama De Lorenzo, Director, Asia Policy and Advocacy, Asia Pacific, SWIFT).
Meanwhile, the internationalisation of the RMB was also discussed, similar to other business forums held in the region. The Chinese currency is increasingly becoming "business as usual" for many financial institutions and corporates. Zhang Yi, Head of Operation Department, ICBC Singapore Branch, talked about offshore RMB clearing and settlement, including trends, business flow and data of RMB in ASEAN, while Tom Alaerts, Director, Payments and Reference Data, Asia Pacific, SWIFT explained how to grow RMB business by using the SWIFT business intelligence to gain insights into markets of opportunities. On the trade front, Franck de Praetere, Head of Payments & Trade, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, spoke on BPO which is the perfect example of SWIFT's contribution to facilitating trade finance. As international trade grows and the Asia Pacific financial industry embraces increased automation, there is a significant shift away from the use of traditional trade instruments such as LCs to electronic alternatives. To conclude the Payments & Trade work session, a panel discussion was led by Bernard Woodruff, Commercial Director, ASEAN, SWIFT who held conversations with leading trade experts, including Mark Borton, Head of Product Management Asia, National Australia Bank; and Peter Hoogervost, Director, Transaction Banking, Client Access, Standard Chartered Bank.
Corporates work session: The Corporate work session was well attended by both financial institutions and corporates. Alain Raes, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific & EMEA, SWIFT, opened the session. He highlighted the importance of Asia in today's financial world, and reiterated SWIFT's mission in helping the financial community grow to meet tomorrow's challenges. Following Alain was a presentation on SWIFT for corporates, by Damien Dugauquier, Commercial Manager, Corporates, Asia Pacific, SWIFT. A wide range of corporate case studies were also shared at the business forum. The Asia Pacific corporates team also introduced SWIFT's portfolio of corporate solutions: SWIFTRef (Tom Alaerts, Director, Payments and Reference Data, Asia Pacific, SWIFT), Accord for Treasury (Simona Catanescu, Director, Post Trade, Securities Markets, Asia Pacific, SWIFT), BPO & 3SKey (Damien Dugauquier, Commercial Manager, Corporates, Asia Pacific, SWIFT), Alliance Converter (Hemant Chandak, Presales Consultant, SWIFT Services Asia Pacific)and Standards/ISO20022 (Kiyono Hasaka, Lead Standards Specialist, Asia Pacific, SWIFT). It was a great opportunity for us to address the pain points of our corporate customers.
Finally, Joan Lee, Director, Corporate Markets, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, facilitated a panel discussion to look at how to enable better operational efficiency in corporate-to-bank flows. Panellists invited were David Dobbing, Head of Standards, Asia Pacific, SWIFT; David Blair, Acarate Consulting, Singapore; Zafar Ali, Global Transaction Services Professional, Product, The Royal Bank of Scotland; and Jatin Sheth, Corporate Connectivity Solution Manager, Global Transaction Services, DBS Bank. With the support of real cases shared by our industry experts, the interactive panel discussion created a lot of awareness on topics like ISO20022, BPO and most importantly how corporates could benefit from these ever changing trends in trade finance David Dobbing, Head of Standards, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, concluded the corporate work session by sharing his insights on financial messaging standards for corporates. He said ISO20022 is gaining traction in Asia Pacific but also needs to expand further, and encouraged the audience to contribute to its success by joining the CGI-MP (The Common Global Implementation - Market Practice).