Rakesh is a passionate leader with an MBA in finance. He began his career in banking and has been working in consulting and IT in the areas of payments, cards, and investment banking for the past decade. He has a strong track record in strategizing and driving initiatives across customer banking. His expertise extends to delivery management and digital transformation in transaction banking. At Brillio, Rakesh is responsible for expanding our footprint in the cards and payment space with a strong focus in strategy and consulting for BFSI.
The new standard will modernize global payment systems to future-proof transactions for enhanced transparency and success.
ISO 20022—a modern, data-rich standard for cross-border payments
March 20, 2023, marked the official beginning of the coexistence period for ISO 20022. The new standard promises to enhance transparency, efficiency, and automation of cross-border transactions. The coexistence period will continue till 2025, allowing financial institutions to transition while legacy MT and ISO 20022 messages continue to be supported in the interim. There are several critical milestones associated with the coexistence period, as follows:
During the coexistence period, financial institutions have to focus on the following:
Several vital statistics indicate that ISO 20022 migration has succeeded so far.
These numbers indicate that financial institutions in multiple countries use the standard to handle significant cross-border payment traffic. The NACK ratio is also low, which suggests that the messages are being sent and received correctly.
The adoption of ISO 20022 represents a significant transformation for the global payments industry. Institutions that welcome the transition will be well-positioned to reap the benefits of enhanced efficiency, improved risk management, and more significant innovation. The coexistence period allows banks to plan and execute their migration strategy carefully, ensuring a smooth transition to the new standard while delivering high-quality cross-border payment services to their customers.
Regional variance and industry impact of ISO 20022
European markets, including the Eurozone, have been at the forefront of implementing ISO 20022, partly driven by regulatory bodies like the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Additionally, Asian markets, particularly in countries like Singapore and Australia, have shown accelerated adoption, propelled by a strategic focus on modernizing financial infrastructure. Within the finance sector, the impact is most significant in areas heavily reliant on cross-border transactions and payments. Correspondent banking, global trade finance, and securities trading are among the industries experiencing a profound transformation. The structured data and improved interoperability of ISO 20022 are particularly advantageous in these contexts, facilitating smoother transactions, reducing errors, and enhancing overall efficiency.
However, the journey to ISO 20022 implementation is challenging. Technical hurdles, both current and anticipated by 2025, pose significant considerations. The primary challenges today include the need for extensive system upgrades, data migration complexities, and ensuring seamless integration with existing legacy systems.
As we approach 2025, the emphasis will shift toward addressing interoperability issues between institutions, harmonizing diverse implementation approaches, and ensuring global consistency in messaging standards.
An opportunity for IT companies to make significant strides
In navigating these challenges, IT service providers play a pivotal role. They contribute expertise in system integration, easing the transition from legacy systems to ISO 20022-compatible platforms. The providers offer tailored solutions for data migration, mitigating the complexities associated with the shift in messaging standards. Furthermore, they act as strategic partners in future-proofing financial institutions, assisting them in meeting compliance requirements and leveraging ISO 20022 to drive innovation and enhance customer experiences. By collaborating closely with IT service providers, financial institutions can expedite their ISO 20022 implementation, ensuring a seamless transition to the new standard while unlocking efficiency, risk management, and innovation potential.
IT will be critical in helping the financial industry transition to the new standard. With comprehensive ISO 20022 migration services and innovative new products and solutions, IT providers can help the industry gain enhanced efficiency, transparency, and innovation. Here are some critical areas of opportunity where IT and financial institutions can collaborate.
Increased demand for expertise: As banks and financial institutions migrate to ISO 20022, there will be a growing demand for IT services companies with proficiency in ISO 20022. This expertise will be required for tasks such as:
IT services companies that can provide these services will be poised to grab a major share of the ISO 20022 migration market.
New products and services: The adoption of ISO 20022 opens up new opportunities for IT companies to develop innovative products and services that contribute to new revenue streams. For example, companies could build ISO 20022 compliant:
Deepened ties with financial partners and institutions: By helping banks and financial institutions migrate to ISO 20022, IT services companies can strengthen their relationships with key clients. This will open doors to opportunities for collaboration on future projects and a deeper understanding of the evolving needs of this industry.
Charting the course for a seamless transition to ISO 20022 by 2025
The spotlight is now on financial institutions, urging them to adapt their systems and processes swiftly to extract maximum value from the enhanced capabilities offered by ISO 20022. At this critical juncture, institutions are tasked with ensuring compatibility with the new standard and reimagining their operational frameworks to fully capitalize on the benefits of ISO 20022. The richer data structures, improved interoperability, and enhanced straight-through processing capabilities demand a strategic overhaul of internal processes. Institutions that navigate this transformation with agility and foresight stand to gain a competitive edge in the evolving financial landscape.
Beyond its initial application in cross-border transactions, there is a concerted effort to broaden the standard’s reach across various financial domains. The exploration of ISO 20022 in domestic payments systems, real-time gross settlement systems (RTGSs), and trade finance are indicative of a collective push toward standardizing and streamlining financial communication on a global scale.
As we approach the 2025 deadline, collaboration among stakeholders remains pivotal. Financial institutions, market infrastructures, and regulatory bodies must collaborate to solve challenges, share best practices, and ensure a harmonized transition. The success of ISO 20022 adoption hinges on a collective commitment to usher in an era of heightened efficiency, transparency, and global interoperability.
In conclusion, the coexistence period is a preparatory phase for the shift toward ISO 20022. Financial institutions are not merely adapting to a new messaging standard; they are redefining the future of financial communication. The journey toward 2025 involves more than just a technical migration; it is a strategic realignment that will reshape the industry’s landscape. With a focused approach, collaborative spirit, and an eye on continuous improvement, the financial ecosystem is poised to embrace ISO 20022 and set the stage for a new era in financial messaging.