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Getting Ready for IS0 20022



Tareq Shaheen, PDM Director, Payment Solutions at Eastnets


ISO 20022 is now imminent, with a go-live in March 2023. Are you ready for this essential transformational change?

After the delayed November 2022 launch date for ISO 20022, the new date of this new standard in financial messages is looming. March 20, 2023, is the new go-live date for ISO 20022.

There has been much noise in the banking sector about ISO 20022. However, the question remains, is the industry ready for this redefinition of messaging in the payments ecosystem? An investigation paper from Celent has found that 63% of large banks believe they will be prepared by November 2025. However, 25% say they will need help to meet the deadline or rely on available stop-gap measures. Even more worrying, only 3% of corporates expect banks to be 100% ready.

Quick update ISO20022 and go-live

ISO 20022 is a globally recognized open standard providing a common platform for financial messaging; the standard was prepared by the ISO Technical Committee TC68 Financial Services. ISO 20022 is critical in standardizing the flow of financial information for all types of business financial transactions and will be de facto going forward.

This standardization will improve cross-border payment transactions and the payments ecosystem by utilizing highly structured transaction data in payments messages. In addition, the standard is expected to deliver a better customer experience through automation and higher resilience and facilitate more effective fraud prevention. As such, adoption is predicted to rise as the go-live date rapidly approaches.

The framework underpinning ISO 20022 comprises a:

  • Metadata repository (descriptions of messages and business processes)
  • Maintenance process (for the repository)

The March go-live date includes a transition period through to November 2025; SWIFT is supporting the standard by mandating that all its member banks comply with the ISO 20022 messaging standard (MX format) by 2025.

Is my organization impacted by ISO 20022?

Any financial institution active in cross-border payments is impacted by ISO 20022. Also, any organization, including banks and corporates, is affected if they have a stake in payments.

Messages affected include:

  • Customer and Inter-bank payments
  • Related Advice
  • Statement messages (MT1xx, MT2xx and MT9xx).

Importantly, affected organizations must consider an end-to-end solution architecture that can process and store ISO 20022 messages. The transition period to November 2025 helps organizations move to a fully supported ISO 20022 system. However, readiness must have started by March 20, 2023.

Getting ready for ISO20022

Industry requests for an extension to the original November 2022 go-live date to March have been accommodated to help banks with compliance. This phase will coexist with the current MT format system, but there is an expectation of being fully compliant by late 2025.

To help during the transition to full support for ISO20022, SWIFT has supplied a central translation service called In-flow Translation as a stop-gap measure.

In-flow Translation translates ISO20022 messages into the existing MT Format (ISO20022/MT) and vice versa. This service gives banks more leeway to move from legacy to the new standard. RegTech tools such as  Eastnets Transactions Suite also play an essential part in meeting ISO 20022 requirements.

The co-existence period

The coexistence period from March 2023 through November 2025 will allow banks time to adopt the ISO 20022 standard. However, early adopters will have a competitive edge, as the bank and its customers will benefit from the improved, more structured data afforded by ISO 20022.

Once the period of coexistence starts, aka, from go-live, the framework will support the exchange of ISO 20022 messages for CBPR+ (Cross-border Payments and Reporting Plus) while continuing support for non-ISO 20022 messages. However, go-live means an organization must be ready to handle ISO 20022 formatted data, as any participant can send ISO 20022 messages, and payments are, after all, two-way. As a result, all affected organizations must be ready to receive ISO 20022 formatted messages and process the translated MT embedded within the message. SWIFT’s In-flow Translation will be essential for many banks moving over to full ISO20022 support.

What happens after the ISO 20022 coexistence period ends?

Once the November 2025 coexistence period ends, all the MT category 1, 2, and 9 messages that support CBPR flows will be retired. Swift has yet to indicate if they will continue with the In-flow Translation service after November 2025; it should be assumed that this support will end at this time or shortly afterward.

A readiness plan for ISO 20022

Understanding the complex nature of adhering to the new standard is essential to ensure uninterrupted transactions.However, preparing to comply with the new messaging format of ISO 20022 is complex and involves 750 new business components and more than1900 message definitions. Add to this the need for interoperability across the different payment systems and the significant impact on operational risk.

Therefore, deployment planning is essential and must consider the following:

Migration planning

Building your strategic vision of the move to ISO 20022 standardization should involve RegTech options to map messaging formats, as this will simplify and speed-up compliance.

Governance of the migration program and continued governance of the implementation into full-production mode is critical.

Migration risk assessment

Migration planning should also involve an impact assessment, as ISO 20022 compliance is complex and will impact your operational and business risk.

The move from legacy MT to standardized MX can be made easier using dedicated RegTech solutions, such as Eastnets Transactions Suite. These solutions can offer a bank a way to meet the complex needs of ISO 20022 quickly.

Look for technology to help with seamless migration

A bank wishing to meet ISO 20022 should look for a solution that works seamlessly with legacy MT and MX messages while retaining familiar user experiences and mitigating the issues of the transition from MT to MX.

How ISO 20022 messages help with anti-fraud

Payment fraud continues to plague the world: Juniper Research predicts that online payment fraud will exceed $343 billion globally by 2027. The rich structure and standard format of ISO 20022 messages provide an ideal substrate for detecting potential fraud. In addition, fraud detection and prevention tools such as PaymentSafe can use this standardization to deep mine messages and detect fraud as it happens.

Readiness for ISO 20022 is now an imminent need across the banking world. The extension and the transition period will give banks some breathing room to get ready, but this time will quickly pass. So, banks must act now to deliver this improved messaging standard to their customers.


In-platform solutions are only a short-term enhancement, but bespoke AI is the future



By Damien Bennett, Global Director, Principal Consultant, Incubeta


If you haven’t heard anyone talking about artificial intelligence (AI) yet, then where have you been? Conversations about AI and its advantages to society have been a key talking point over recent months, with advances being made in the generative AI race and ChatGPT opening a whole plethora of possibilities. Many have highlighted the advantages of AI, but notably it’s ability to create human-like content.

But these discussions have only scratched the surface of what AI is capable of doing. It is for far more than just essay writing, adding Eminem to your rave and photoshopping dogs into pictures.

In marketing, we have been using AI for years, for everything from analyzing customer behaviors to predicting market changes. It’s enabled us to segment customers, forecast sales and provide personalized recommendations, having a huge impact on how our industry works.

It is even, for the more savvy marketers of the world, becoming a key tool in maximizing budget efficiency – which is apt, considering over 70% of CMOs believe they lack sufficient budget to fully execute their 2023 strategy.

Now, as AI becomes more intelligent, the number of efficiencies it can unlock continues to rise. Not only can it help brands get the most out of their available resources and identify any areas of waste, but it can also help highlight new opportunities for growth and maximize the impact of your budget allocation.

The trick, however, is to veer away from the norm of using in-platform solutions with a one-size-fits-all approach and create your own, bespoke solutions that are tailored to your business needs.


Pitfalls of in-platform solutions

In-platform solutions aren’t by any means a bad thing. In fact, built-in AI tools have become increasingly popular, owing to their ease of integration, user-friendly interfaces and minimal set up requirements. They come pre-packaged with the platform, offering the user the ability to leverage AI technologies without the need for in-depth technical expertise or the upfront cost of building a solution from scratch.

However, the streamlined and accessible nature of in-platform AI solutions comes at the expense of complexity and customization. They are designed to serve a broad user base, but for the most part are built using narrow AI solutions with predefined features and workflows.

This makes them great for assisting with common AI tasks, but they lack the flexibility to tailor functionality towards unique business requirements or innovative use cases, limiting the potential efficiencies and cost savings that can be unlocked. Additionally, if a business’ competitors are using the same platform, they are probably using the same AI solution, meaning any strategic advantage gained from these will be reduced.

Bespoke AI solutions, on the other hand, may carry a higher initial investment – but can offer a significantly more attractive ROI over a short amount of time.


Why customized and adapted AI is the key

The difference between bespoke AI and in-platform solutions is similar to that between home cooked food and a microwave meal. Yes, it is more time consuming to prepare, and yes it likely carries more of an upfront cost, but the end result is going to be far more appealing and will carry more long-term value (financially… not nutritionally).

That’s because bespoke solutions, by nature, will have been tailored to address your brands specific needs and challenges. These custom-built tools allow for much greater efficiencies by streamlining workflows across different channels, automating more complex tasks, and providing deeper, more relevant insights.

The increased level of optimization can significantly improve productivity and reduce operational costs over time, offering a higher ROI. The increased flexibility of bespoke AI also allows brands to implement innovative use cases that can significantly differentiate them from their competitors.

The data analyzed can be specifically chosen to match business requirements, as can the outputs of the AI tool, providing a significant advantage when understanding and acting on the insights provided.

Additionally, these tools are, by nature, more scalable. They can be updated, upgraded and expanded as needs change, ensuring they continue delivering value as the business grows. They can also be designed to integrate with any existing IT infrastructure, from CRM systems and databases to marketing platforms and sales tools – leading to more efficient and effective decision-making.


Managing finances with AI

It’s no secret that AI in marketing automation has, and will continue to, revolutionize the way marketing is done. It has a bright, if slightly terrifying, future and can help CMOs to unlock new efficiencies, maximize the impact of their budgets and increase their ROI. And as this technology becomes more advanced, its impact will only increase.

But we already know that…and so does everyone else.

So, in order for businesses to make themselves stand out from the crowd , they must look to fully adopt the power of AI. Creating a customized and unique AI solution could be the way to set yourself apart from your competitors. A bespoke AI tool can provide brands and businesses with features unique to them and their business needs. As a result, companies will benefit from more useful data and better results to make more data-driven decisions for their business. Ultimately, this will help brands to maintain a competitive edge over their competitors, deliver ROI and most importantly optimize their budgets.

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Exploring the Transformative Potential and Ethical Challenges of AI in Wealth Management




Nuno Godinho, Group CEO of Industrial Thought Group


In recent years, the advent of AI has sparked both excitement and scrutiny within the Wealth Management industry. The technology’s capabilities, including but certainly not limited to generative AI algorithms like ChatGPT, offer a new dimension to data analysis, market prediction, and portfolio management. However, while it presents a promising avenue for enhancing decision-making and elevating client interaction, AI also carries inherent challenges that demand careful consideration.

Benefits of AI in Wealth Management:

In a world where CX is key, AI enables wealth managers to provide personalised advice, improved portfolio performance, real-time insights, and convenient access to information and support. Previously it has been impossible for advisors to deliver hyper-personalisation at scale; now, AI-driven customisation lets them tailor investment strategies and recommendations to their clients’ unique financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

AI algorithms can also analyse vast amounts of data to identify trends and opportunities, resulting in potentially higher returns on investments. And, more widespread use of automation will gradually reduce the cost of wealth management services, meaning higher-quality investment advice at a lower price. This is critical as firms fight to stay relevant for modern investors disillusioned by traditional advisory firms and private banks.

Relationship-wise, there are many other advantages. AI-driven data analytics make it easier to gain a deeper understanding of an investor’s needs, preferences, and behaviours, all of which help to build long-term relationships. Through predictive analytics, firms can differentiate their service and proactively identify new investment opportunities, such as emerging market trends or underperforming assets. At the same time, chatbots and virtual assistants facilitate constant communication to answer queries and increase engagement. By strategically integrating AI technology into their operations, firms have the power to optimise top and bottom lines, strengthen client connections and position themselves for long-term growth.

Navigating the Ethical and Practical Challenges:

While AI holds remarkable potential, major obstacles must be overcome. With AI’s reliance on large amounts of data, ensuring client data confidentiality, managing consent, and complying with global data protection regulations like GDPR are significant challenges. Another issue is algorithmic bias – as AI learns from data, it may inadvertently perpetuate inequalities or biases present in the training datasets used. Vigilance is necessary to ensure that AI systems don’t amplify these issues. A key concern is the absence of standard governance, leading to a lack of accountability and transparency. Black-box algorithms can make decisions without providing clear explanations for their reasoning, making it difficult for clients and regulators to understand and trust AI-driven outcomes. Overall, the responsibility for AI-generated recommendations remains complex, requiring collaborative efforts to establish robust regulatory frameworks.

Striving for Data Integrity and Reliability:

The efficacy of AI-driven solutions hinges on the quality of training dataset they are supplied with and rely upon. Therefore, ensuring accurate, unbiased, and comprehensive datasets is paramount to generating trustworthy insights. The absence of standardised data sharing can lead to skewed results, ultimately impacting the quality of AI-generated advice. Transparency in data usage, validation, and generation reasoning will be pivotal to cultivating client trust and minimising systemic risks, which ties back to the absence of standard governance, as the output from AI-generated advice will only be as good as the data sets provided. We need to understand the “lineage” of all data used and generated by the algorithms. Until the industry can come to some accord on how we plan to use all of our respective data, it will be prone to various biases and fragmented advice, which will lead to liability and reliability issues down the line. It’s worthwhile wondering whether we can see the industry opening up in an age of data equals value.

The Role of Collaborative Partnerships:

Amidst these challenges, collaborative partnerships emerge as a potent avenue. Established wealth management firms can harness the expertise of FinTech AI companies to augment their capabilities while mitigating the risks associated with AI adoption. A symbiotic relationship, where innovative AI solutions are developed by trusted partners, helps safeguard against potential pitfalls and aligns with the pursuit of ethical, data-driven decision-making.

Looking Ahead: Striking a Balance for Sustainable Progress:

As we journey into the AI-powered future of wealth management, it’s evident that a balanced approach is essential. The integration of AI has the potential to expedite the transition to wealth management 4.0, revolutionising personalised client experiences and advisory services. However, this progress must be underpinned by clear ethical guidelines, data integrity, and collaborative partnerships. Striking this equilibrium promises not only a more informed, efficient, and personalised industry but also one that upholds the principles of transparency, accountability, and client trust.

In conclusion, AI’s impact on the wealth and asset management landscape is profound, offering unparalleled insights and opportunities. While navigating challenges will be crucial, a collective effort to harness AI’s power while ensuring its responsible application will pave the way for a resilient, future-forward industry.

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