Two Geneva-based organizations have announced plans to talk about developing standards for financial services. Maybe it’s something about the air in Geneva, but both announcements involve a lot of talking and are short on specifics. Standards are important in finance and let participants communicate with each other and provide assurance on data security. It’s also useful to develop them, as technologies such as electronic payments are evolving, rather than trying to integrate entrenched systems with middleware after banks have adopted them.
Both the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, and the International Standards Organization (ISO) Financial Services Committee (TC/68) have announced initiatives to develop standards for finance to promote innovation and improve reporting.
“Governments around the world face many similar challenges in their efforts to deliver fully integrated digital financial services,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Until now, solutions have largely been developed in isolation. This is the first time an organization has sought to develop a comprehensive set of practical and integrated guidelines drawing on expertise from across the financial service and telecommunication/ICT sectors.”
It has developed 85 policy recommendations for digital financial services.
It recommended that regulators support an open ecosystem for finance that promotes innovation and ensures robust competition. It also advocates standard definitions of fraud types and requires standardized fraud reporting. It urges policymakers to promote acceptance of electronic payments by merchants, utilities, and government bodies. The ITU added, “Regulators should standardize digital identity registration and ensure interoperability between DFS operators and service providers relying on digital identity.”
“The work we have done has resulted in a set of very operational policy recommendations,” said Sacha Polverini, chairman of the Focus Group. “Their value will be dependent on their systematic application in markets that need guidance and support. We are now reviewing the opportunity to progress a new global initiative which we hope to announce in April 2017.”
ITU and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are organizing a workshop on digital financial services and financial inclusion in Washington, DC, on April 19, hosted by the World Bank. The workshop will highlight the key findings of the focus group and provide an overview of the group’s future initiatives to support implementation of its recommendations.
Meanwhile the International Standards Organization said it is “establishing a proactive dialogue with financial institutions, their regulators, supply chain, and fintech companies.”
More talk about talk:
“The group will act as an advisory sounding board providing a platform for a dialogue on the growing need for data and technology standards required for secure global commerce.”
Its stated objectives are to:
- Work with FinTech communities, including public sector bodies, and ISO to fill gaps and educate
- Promote the adoption and implementation of consistent standards, where possible
- Effectively address common issues collectively and consistently
- Encourage strong and open communication and the sharing of information concerning financial services standards
Committee members include Stephan Wolf, CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation, Nick Cliff, co-chair head of emerging technology of the Australian Payments Clearing Association, and PJ Di Giammarino, CEO of the think tank JWG-IT Group. The group is looking for more members.
The committee’s priorities and plans will be discussed at the ISO’s Financial Services Committee TC/68 Plenary meeting, which will take place in May in Rio.
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Photo by Tom GroenfeldtComments