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Hong Kong RTGS to adopt SWIFT’s market infrastructure resiliency service

Hong Kong RTGS to adopt SWIFT’s market infrastructure resiliency service

Market Infrastructure,
17 September 2014

Hong Kong, 17 September 2014 - SWIFT today announces that it has signed an agreement to provide Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL) with its new Market Infrastructure Resiliency Service (MIRS). Under the terms of the agreement, HKICL will deploy MIRS for Hong Kong's Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system supporting HKD, USD, EUR and RMB currencies.

MIRS is a RTGS back-up solution run by SWIFT. It provides a third line of support to RTGS operators experiencing problems with first and second line back-up systems. It stores data independently and securely, while enabling effective retrieval once business operations are resumed.

Alain Raes, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific and EMEA, SWIFT, says: "Hong Kong is a major global financial centre and MIRS will further reduce risk and increase resilience in its RTGS system. As a key partner of financial market infrastructures in the region, we believe that providing effective business continuity solutions that connect seamlessly to the global financial infrastructure is an important way to ensure the sustained growth of the Asian financial industry."

SWIFT has provided the financial messaging platform for Hong Kong's Clearing House Automated Transfer System (CHATS) since 2009. The new MIRS business continuity service is expected to go live at the end of 2016.

Esmond Lee, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), says: "The RTGS system has been working smoothly in the past but there is no room for complacency.  We must stay vigilant in ensuring that our current financial infrastructure will continue to support the banking and financial sectors in Hong Kong even in extreme scenarios. I am confident that MIRS will add to its strengths."

Haster Tang, Chief Executive Officer of the HKICL, adds: "MIRS will complement the suite of business continuity arrangement and strengthen the resilience of the RTGS platform in support of Hong Kong dollar, US dollar, euro and renminbi clearing and settlement in Hong Kong.  As the system operator of the multi-currency RTGS system, and with the blessing of the HKMA and banking industry in Hong Kong, we will continue to work in collaboration with SWIFT to implement this strategic initiative, contributing to financial stability in Hong Kong."

Central Banks, as operators of RTGS systems, are actively evaluating their infrastructures' resiliency requirements. Since 2011, SWIFT has been working with a group of central banks to design a RTGS system back-up service which meets best practices, including: affordability; rapid cut-over; geographical remoteness; staff independence; technical diversity; independent data storage; capacity; availability; and minimal user disruption. The other key attribute of the MIRS service is the ability to reconstruct balances at point of failure. Launched in early 2014, MIRS is now available to all high-value payment market infrastructures. The Bank of England went live with MIRS for its RTGS service in February 2014.

For more information about reducing risk and increasing resilience in RTGS payment systems, please click here for a copy of SWIFT's latest whitepaper about resilience:

Reducing risk and increasing resilience in RTGS payment systems

Join us at Sibos 2014

Market infrastructure resiliency will be one of the many topics discussed at the Market Infrastructures Forum at Sibos 2014 Boston.  The Market Infrastructures Forum is a two-day programme, on September 29-30, with a focus on the specific interests and needs of market infrastructures,. This year's panellists will explore how market infrastructures strengthen their resilience, deal with change, and innovate.

SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative that provides the communications platform, products and services to connect more than 10,500 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in 215 countries and territories. SWIFT enables its users to exchange automated, standardised financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating operational inefficiencies. SWIFT also brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest.

For more information about SWIFT, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @swiftcommunity and LinkedIn: SWIFT

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About Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is the government authority in Hong Kong responsible for maintaining monetary and banking stability.  Established in 1993, the HKMA has four main functions: maintaining currency stability within the framework of the Linked Exchange Rate system; promoting the stability and integrity of the financial system, including the banking system; helping to maintain Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre, including the maintenance and development of Hong Kong's financial infrastructure; and managing the Exchange Fund. The HKMA is part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government operating with a high degree of autonomy.

About Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited
The Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL) is a company jointly owned by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Hong Kong Association of Banks for providing safe and efficient interbank payment, clearing and settlement services to the financial sector in Hong Kong.  The HKICL is the designated system operator under the Clearing and Settlement Systems Ordinance for developing and operating Hong Kong's multi-currency real time gross settlement systems and retail payment settlement systems.  It also operates a central clearing and settlement system and securities depository for public and private debt securities in Hong Kong on behalf of the HKMA.