SWIFT has launched the MyStandards Readiness Portal, a new cloud-based application that simplifies the client onboarding process by allowing message testing against bank specifications.
The Readiness Portal, which has been developed in close collaboration with the industry, is considered the natural next step from the cooperative’s successful MyStandards offering, which allows users to define and manage messaging standards for easy client access.
SWIFT has also launched a dedicated Readiness Portal for TARGET2-Securities (T2S), the European Central Bank’s new European securities settlement platform, set to go live in June 2015.
Speaking at the Readiness Portal launch at SWIFT’s London office last month, Alan Sutton, senior global product manager, e-Channels at HSBC, said the bank has been using MyStandards in payment management and IT, and the Readiness Portal was the next logical move.
“The level of testing that the Readiness Portal gives provides us a level of confidence not only for ourselves, but the integration of clients,” he said.
People can definitely see the value in it. It takes away a lot of pain in the organisation. Internally it is a great opportunity to ‘clean house’ and allows us to bring together a lot of different formats across the company under central governance. MyStandards and the Readiness Portal will help us.
Customer onboarding is a complex and costly process due to the labour-intensive workload of integrating messaging formats, which may have been previously implemented with small but crucial differences at the bank and the client. Banks can never make sure that testing has been done properly before the end-to-end testing cycle, and this could lead to significant delays and costs.
With the MyStandards Readiness Portal, new and existing customers of financial institutions and market infrastructure providers can test against specific messaging formats and guidelines uploaded to MyStandards within minutes.
At the bank, the onboarding team can monitor a client’s progress in real time. If there are any errors, the portal flags these to both the client and the bank, so they can be fixed very early in the onboarding process.
Clients can also find it easier to fully understand and address the error, as the corresponding standards documentation is only a click away with MyStandards. This would decrease project risks and overall costs.
“We see several benefits,” Sutton said. “One is to allow the integration managers to concentrate on other aspects of the business, and the other is to have the surety that when clients do start doing end-to-end testing with our systems, they’ve already conducted testing. So we shouldn’t get any surprises during the onboarding.”
Marc Delbaere, head of MyStandards at SWIFT, said the cooperative’s goal was to introduce a resource to help banks onboard customers more efficiently.
“It not only provides the bank customer with the ability to see the documentation of standards specifications, but also the ability to check whether implementation of those specifications is OK.”
Delbaere said SWIFT customers had highlighted the complexity of onboarding.
“All the time you take trying to establish a business relationship is time that you don’t have to benefit from that business relationship,” he said.
“It’s only when you are fully set up as a new customer that you can start doing business and generating revenue.”
“The frequency of onboarding processes across the entire industry means a lot of time can be wasted cumulatively,” said Delbaere. “This is why we believe onboarding is important.”
The Readiness Portal has been built iteratively with a limited number of financial institutions and market infrastructures, including HSBC. “Working closely with big industry players from the beginning really steered us in the right direction to build the right solution,” Delbaere said. “Now, based on the reactions of the rest of the community we can see that we have been guided well.”
Sutton said HSBC has been very demanding on the development of MyStandards and the Portal, but SWIFT has been receptive.
“SWIFT’s willingness to enhance the product going forward, taking onboard comments, and putting that in place for future roadmaps was really encouraging for us,” he said.
It reduces the onboarding process greatly, the Readiness Portal allows our clients to start their testing early so that you’re already ahead of the game. By shortening the onboarding process we see great benefits.
SWIFT is also keen to help institutions with the migration to T2S, which was launched by the European Central Bank to simplify and harmonise securities settlement across borders, providing a common IT platform and standards for all transactions.
SWIFT is one of two companies offering to help connect users to T2S. The four Central Banks defining the T2S specifications have used MyStandards to define and publish their specifications. There are currently 23 central securities depositories connecting T2S, on top of a series of banks planning to connect directly to the platform.
“We’re offering not only the ability to test against the T2S specifications, but also scenario simulation capabilities,” Delbaere said.
The goal of SWIFT’s new offerings is to transform the industry around standards onboarding, testing, and thus establishing business connections, as Delbaere believes, “there are a lot of inefficiencies.”
“This is something that we would like to tackle as an industry issue to do things in a better way. Onboarding is really an industry issue and addressing it fits very well with SWIFT’s mission of simplifying B2B exchanges in the industry.”
For more information, please contact MyStandards@swift.com or visit the MyStandards website to download the new MyStandards Readiness Portal factsheets.
You can also attend one of our free webinars.