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SEPA end-date in sight?

So, at last, the EU Commission is bowing to the inevitable by launching a consultation on the possibility of an end-date for the migration from legacy payment instruments (credit transfer and direct debit) to the new SEPA products. This has to be welcomed but it's sad that it's taken so long to get to this point. If only self-regulation had delivered what it should have...

But now can we all sit back and relax, comfortable in the knowledge that this consultation will clear up the mess for us? Well, actually, no. Just look at the questions the Commission is asking:

"Should it cover only standards, or schemes as well? Should it cover only the interbank space, or the bank-to-customer space as well? Should it entail full migration or allow the exclusion of certain products? If an end-date is seen as needed, should there be one common end-date for SCT and SDD migration or two separate end-dates? Should they be set at national level and/or at European level? Should they be left to self-regulation or set by regulation?"

Aren't we in danger of going round in circles here? Just imagine if we have a situation where each country's banking community sets its own separate end-dates for SCT and SDD, and while they're at it, exclude some specific instruments. I would hazard a guess that such a scenario hardly moves us on at all.

We've tried leadership by consensus and it really hasn't got us very far. Now is the time for effective and clear leadership. Sound familiar?




Comments: (2)

Gary Wright
Gary Wright 09 June, 2009, 17:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Paul

That just about sums it up! The FS industry can not change itself so big sticks are needed. The SEPA fiasco is another example of change by directive that provides the FS community with so much leeway it allows slow progress. There is simply no point passing laws unless there are significant sanctions for non compliance.

The EU commisioners do not understand the market and the market takes advantage. The SEPA consultation questions should have been drafted by people steeped in knowledge of market process, practice and culture and be more forthright than what they came up with.

It looks like another long delay is in the offing when imediate action is required.



Barry Kislingbury
Barry Kislingbury - ACI Worldwide - London 10 June, 2009, 09:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I could not agree more; to be honest I feel that in the current situation the community has lost interest in SEPA.  SEPA and the PSD has been going on for far too long, without a realistic hard end date, inclusion of the end users of the products and limited options for the law makes we will still be in this limbo situation 12 months from now.  The positive spin the EU puts on this simply does not match the progress being made.  The EU needs to either make it happen or stop wasting our time.

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