A Slow Shift to ISO 20022

Strapline: Golden Copy

michael-shashoua-waters

At last year's Sibos conference in Amsterdam, the Standards Forum, designed to promote the adoption of ISO 20022 and educate users to better understand this securities messaging standard, attracted a lot of traffic and attention. This month, when Sibos comes to Toronto, the Standards Forum promises to again attract a lot of interest at the conference.

Swift has fought an uphill battle to promote adoption of ISO 20022, which was first introduced in 2004. In July, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation announced a re-engineering initiative that could be one spur to encourage adoption of 20022. There is no sunset date set for the older standard, ISO 15022, and even some Swift members don't want to end it because of its familiarity and other factors of convenience.

As reported in one of the features in this issue, Setting Standards in Stone, Swift is addressing its challenge of showing the industry a convincing business case for moving to 20022. Firms want a shorter return-on-investment time for making this change, and as an executive for service provider XSP says, "it is going to have to be the business user that pushes for this." Still, Euroclear's Edwin De Pauw, who adds his perspective to this story, as well as this month's "Interview With" column, says the focus of the Standards Forum should be the practical issues involved in moving to ISO messaging. De Pauw and colleagues from the industry will address this idea in numerous sessions during the Forum.

De Pauw also highlights the fact that ISO messaging has increased, which could support the move to 20022, and stresses that firms moving to ISO messaging should make that move to 20022 specifically, combining any business cases that may be separate. Swift itself has a MyStandards platform initiative, covered on page 5 of this issue, intended to provide a single point of access to all message types and the 20022 standard, connecting these to market practices and analytical frameworks.

The most valuable portion of the Standards Forum could be one entitled "Leveraging ISO 20022 as a business standard," scheduled for 10 am, September 20. If the business case is so important to promoting adoption of 20022, hearing views from IBM and Swift itself on how this can be achieved might be the best way for industry users to decide for themselves, or be truly convinced of the need to migrate. Another session in the Forum, "Let's get practical: Transforming Swift standards," extends the promise that Swift will streamline its development and maintenance of standards.

After more than six years, the question now regarding ISO 20022 is where the  tipping point is for its adoption to become universal, or if it will even have such a milestone. This year's Standards Forum points to some key possibilities which can be leveraged to that end and some efforts, like those made by DTCC, that could be decisive. Will the same concerns still be on the agenda next year?

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