Henry Ohlsson, deputy governor, Riksbank kept Nordic payments professionals entertained during NextGen Nordics: P27 Momentum during his session on the role of the central bank in a changing environment.
Using the near cashless society and increased access to instant payments as a reference point, Ohlsson reveals that discussions are taking place with the Swedish government about the e-kronor, highlighting that legislation needs to change at the same rate as transformations in technology.
Surprisingly, he goes on to state that “Libra is a game changer and has been the wakeup call that the entire central bank world needs. Discussions are not the same as they were three years ago and with the emergence of Libra, we must consider how to reform the entire payments system.”
With recent announcements from Big Tech giants on everyone’s mind, the final session of the day reiterates the point that trying to make your legacy system real-time is much more difficult than starting from scratch - a point Claus Richter from P27 hones in on.
Fiserv’s Trevor LaFleche says that this is “an incredible opportunity for the market to rethink how they’re doing payments. P27 is a catalyst for breaking down silos and changing infrastructure to hide complexity in a consumer/retail setting.
“Banks need to start centralising irrespective of the payment instrument being used. Make it seamless and do what IT companies do. It is a matter of building towards something that will change again - that is the rate at which transformation is happening. It is a continuous evolution rather than an end state. The arrival of P27 will not be an end state.”
Alistair Brown, global head of payments at EPAM, adds that P27 is an “enormous technology programme and the risks are huge. We need a technology support organisation that understands payments to do this.”
With the launch in Q1 2021 starting with the Swedish kronor, Richter points out that the “interoperability between currencies and mobile apps that allows flexibility between countries means that fraud itself will also move. Central players like P27 have the responsibility.”
Brown adds: “Anti-fraud operates better at scale. What we have with P27 is a big data crush, so it is better to predict and could sort the fraud problem as a lot of it is cross-border.”
LaFleche agrees and says that the industry is left open to abuse in this way, so there must be enough people on hand to understand all the variables.
He says that 2021 will be an interesting year for payments, with changes to SWIFT, TARGET2 and ISO20022 coinciding with the P27 launch. Magnus Lageson, lead product owner at Getswish, says that banks must “continue to deliver small business value in increments.”
As the conversation turns to PSD2, Brown concludes: “P27 will drive a third go at the PSD and push things forward but it is never ending and there will be reiterations upon reiterations. A governance structure is most important above all.”
Later, he adds that the potential for financial inclusion for P27 is incredible, with the ability for the experiment, or blueprint, of the project to be transferred to other regions like Latin America and the Africas.
From bringing the rulebook into play to realising the aims, Liz Oakes returns to the stage to state that banks cannot only “concentrate on core infrastructure, the issue must be what we can deliver. Very few think about how big your team needs to be to deliver value propositions.”
Lars Sjögren puts forward his closing remarks and says that “the future is ours to create, pushed by challenges that are just around the corner. Imagine a world without barriers where everyone is connected. P27 is connecting the 27 million people that are living in the Nordics - if we don’t evolve, we will not be around.”