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Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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Top Quotes from SWIFT Operations Forum Americas 2013

Seven insights about regulatory compliance from the recent SWIFT Operations Forum Americas.

Identifying the right technology investments, partnerships and upgrades that can help banks respond effectively to a more complex regulatory environment, while also reducing costs, was the focus of this week’s SWIFT’s Operations Forum Americas 2013 in New York. Highlighted by a panel discussion among SWIFT’s Javier Perez-Tasso, J.P. Morgan’s Lee Fulmer, State Street’s David Saul, and Ulrich Homann of Microsoft about “Can Technology Carry the Regulatory Burden?”, the program highlighted standards initiatives, platforms and tools that can help banks shift compliance from a burden to a strategic opportunity. Here are some of the highlights and recommendations from the discussion.

1. Help Us Help You

Regulation is as big a force as I’ve ever seen in my 25 years in the industry. SWIFT’s ambition is to help you with compliance with those regulations.

--Chris Church, Chief Executive-Americas, SWIFT

2. Expect To Do More Reporting

Banks will have to report much more frequently and will have to consolidate data. With data spread across many different areas, we will see if a lack of systems integration will be overcome… Big data, cloud computing and semantic search will help financial institutions to comply with new regulations.

--Javier Perez-Tasso, head of marketing, SWIFT

3. Making Progress on the Costs of Compliance

Obviously technology can’t carry the burden alone. But we have made progress on the cost angle. The cloud is making technologies accessible and affordable that were very costly. In-memory technologies are becoming mainstream and available, [helping enable] real-time insights and monitoring.

--Ulrich Homann, Chief Architect, Worldwide Enterprise Services, Microsoft Corp.

4. Compliance Is Good Business

We shouldn’t be thinking about this as a regulatory burden, it’s just good business practices. The challenges are the diversity of regulation and regulators. A paradigm shift we need is to look for standards. We need to help drive standards [and] leverage SWIFT as a gateway to do that. We’ll spend millions a year as an industry to try to keep up with the regulatory agenda. What do regulators want and how do we give it to them in a more useful format?

--Lee Fulmer, Managing Director, CTO Cash Management,

5. We Need Consensus on Standards

There is a risk that we will see different jurisdictions adopt different standards for data. That would be the worst scenario. Every regulator wants something different, but if we can start with the LEI [Legal Entity Identifier] and take it to a more global level, that would be a good start. But if every regulator goes their own way, that could be very dangerous."

--David Saul, SVP and Chief Scientist, State Street

6. OFAC Values Transparency

This is not an adversary situation – we want to work with financial institutions. Our goal is to contact or return messages within 48 hours. Work with OFAC the moment you feel an issue arises – don’t be scared of asking questions that may get [your] institution a subpoena – we value credible information. We focus on transparency – making sure [your efforts] are transparent is very important to OFAC.

--Jeremy Sausser, Compliance Officer, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. Department of the Treasury Annex

7. SWIFT Expands Its Focus

SWIFT started with payments, then moved into securities, which now is roughly one-half of our volume. Banks are now coming to SWIFT, asking, “Help us with compliance.” We need to engage with banks to really understand this … We want to make sure we do the right things for banks around compliance.

--Yawar Shah, Chairman of the Board, SWIFT

[Who is Your Borrower in a Virtual World? ]


Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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