During the SWIFT Chairpersons' meeting at Sibos 2015, several delegates expressed their desire to compare notes on MT standards change requests (CRs), before the critical meetings at which they get finalised ahead of the final country vote. Some of the
feedback we received was that "not enough people are actually reading and thinking about the impact of CRs" whilst, potentially, the whole community may be impacted by a single change.
Today, the distribution of CRs for in-country consultation works on the basis of an email cascade, from the SWIFT Standards team to Maintenance Working Group (1) (MWG) members, from the MWG members to their User Group Chairpersons (UGCs) and from UGCs to
their national constituencies. A MWG member once told me about a certain CR that it was "really a good idea, but I'd need to consult with my country group before I can endorse it, and we don't have time for that consultation before the country vote." We picked
up the challenge, and the Change Request Forum is the result.
Whilst the SWIFT Board decided to keep the fundamentals of the MT standards maintenance process – timeline and governance – in place, they asked SWIFT Standards to come with a proposal covering the following common themes that emerged from the round of community
1) given the time constraints imposed by the standards maintenance process, it would be helpful to broaden the distribution of information;
2) it should be easier for community members from countries not represented in the MWG to access and express opinions on proposed change requests, and
3) it should be possible for all qualified community members to follow and join in the discussion, so that the best possible conclusions are reached ahead of the country vote. As one UGC echoed at Sibos 2015: "I'd really like to see what my user group members
think about CRs before the actual meeting to discuss them takes place."
The Change Request Forum is a new feature of
MyStandards (2), on which change requests under consideration for Standards Release 2017 will be published in early July 2016. It will allow any member of the SWIFT community - not just those having a representative on the MWG - to comment on CRs and to
endorse the comments of others. This commentary will be available to country organizations to inform their in-country consultations and to MWGs as input to their formal meetings.
Ultimately it will still be for MWGs to reject a CR or approve it for ratification by the Board and country vote, but Change Request Forum will provide a reliable and straightforward way for members of the community to share their views with others and with
The Change Request Forum will be a free-of-charge new feature of MyStandards and will be rolled out in July 2016. Commenting and endorsing comments on CRs will require users to register on
http://www.swift.com/ with their organisation's BIC (for financial institutions) or PIC (for vendors). Reading CRs and comments will be available to all MyStandards users, whether registered to a BIC or PIC or not.
I really expect that this initiative will lead to greater community participation and improved collaboration amongst industry stakeholders, especially within and between user groups and national member groups, as they evaluate and discuss the impact of CRs.
At the moment, the Change Request Forum will only focus on MT standards changes. I very much hope that this forum will create a case for more extensive community engagement on the MX side as well.
Further information is available on request from SWIFT Standards at
Additional information can be found here:
(1) MWGs are composed of experts in the business area that is the subject of discussion. To ensure both global coverage and broad industry representation, SWIFT Standards invites countries to designate representatives to each working group.
(2) MyStandards is a collaborative web application used to manage standards definitions and industry usage in a more efficient way (cost savings, risk reduction, quality improvement and collaboration).