London, 10 February 2015 – SWIFT announces that it has been selected by the UK’s Payments Council as the vendor for the country’s Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) International Bank Account Number (IBAN) Only central infrastructure platform.
The new platform will enable the accurate derivation of BICs from IBANs, a key requirement for financial institutions in SEPA wishing to initiate euro payments to the UK once the SEPA IBAN Only regulation (EC 260/2012) comes into force in 2016.
In the absence of a current central UK data source for SEPA specific routing requirements and with the removal of the reliance on customers to provide their bank BIC, planned for 2016, the Payments Council opted for the provision of an automated central infrastructure platform for collection and maintenance of UK-specific SEPA routing data. Through this public platform, financial institutions in the UK will be able to publish and maintain at any time, SEPA routing data specific to their organisation. This measure will ensure that financial institutions in SEPA countries are equipped to accurately route euro-payments to their peers in the UK.
The infrastructure will build on elements of SWIFT’s worldwide reference data utility, SWIFTRef, which is currently used by over 5,500 financial institutions and 500 corporates globally. From an architectural, software and data management perspective, the UK platform will be highly flexible and will accommodate the growth of new services and functions in line with the pace of change in the UK.
Maurice Cleaves, Interim CEO, of the Payments Council commented: “Efficient and cost-effective SEPA compliance is a key priority for all players in the SEPA zone and, at the same time, an operational challenge for UK financial institutions. We believe the new platform enabled by SWIFT will deliver significant benefits by easing data management and ensuring accurate euro-payments routing to our community.”
“SWIFT is delighted to have been selected for this exemplary SEPA initiative by the Payments Council in the UK,” says Arun Aggarwal, Head of UKI & Nordics at SWIFT. “SEPA compliance is critical for the whole UK community and with this initiative the Payments Council sets a prime example of how national communities can rely on our global SWIFTRef platform for managing their national data needs.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
This initiative enables the Payments Council to respond to European regulation (EC 260/2012) which stipulates that by February 2016 (for euro zone countries) and by October 2016 (for non-euro zone countries), end-clients (corporates and retail customers) will no longer be required to provide the BIC of the beneficiary bank for their cross-border euro payments. The financial institutions sending the euro-payment will therefore have to identify the BIC of the bank who issued the IBAN. Today, national authorities and EU member-states are struggling to provide their members with a complete and accurate list of national bank IDs used in national IBANs. These national bank identifiers are critical for financial institutions as they are the key to deriving accurate BICs from IBANs.
SWIFTRef refers to SWIFT’s unique reference data service. Whether you are a financial institution, a corporate, a data or service provider, SWIFTRef offers you a single source for all the reference data you need for a flawless payments process and accurate regulatory reports. If identification and validation of BICs, IBANs, national bank codes, standing settlement instructions, SEPA routing information or other reference data are challenging you on a daily basis, then discover here how SWIFTRef has it all figured out.
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 more than 200 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.
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