Swift convenes ISO 20022 harmonisation group

Swift convenes ISO 20022 harmonisation group

Interbank messaging network Swift has convened a working group of payments experts to formulate common guidelines for the implementation of ISO 20022 for cross-border payments.

The move to create a harmonised rulebook for the new messaging standard comes in the midst of multiple planned migrations to ISO 20022 by high-value and instant payments infrastructures the world over.

The new working group will seek to agree a common set of standards that will be applied globally in an effort to prevent the need for reformatting multiple different flavours implemented in siloed infrastructures.

The guidelines drafted by the group will be designed to lay the cornerstone for a successful migration of cross-border payments traffic to ISO 20022 beginning in November 2021, lowering the implementation cost for the industry as a whole.

Paula Roels, head of market infrastructures and industry initiatives at Deutsche Bank, says: “As the migration to ISO 20022 is a community-driven initiative, the work of this group is critical to success with a project of this magnitude. From the consideration of pain-points in the market through to challenging market practice to ensure interoperability, the group plays a vital role in identifying any potential drawbacks to timely migration as well as establishing global usage guidelines catering for all market stakeholders and the future needs of our clients.”

The start of cross-border migration in 2021 is aligned with adoption of ISO 20022 by high-value payments systems in the Eurozone, which will be quickly followed by operators in the US and UK. Swift member banks will have a four-year migration window, with the global messaging body providing a facility to translate between ISO 20022 and the MT messaging standard during the transition.

Swift says it will also provide testing environments for institutions to ensure implementation conforms to the working group’s guidelines, and to test the translation facility.
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