UBF and SWIFT host roundtable on ‘Financial Crime Compliance’ ahead of global payment sector’s move to ISO 20022 standard
Attendees receive updates on SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening Program which provides real-time tools to ensure sanctions compliance
Abu Dhabi– June 16, 2021: UAE Banks Federation (UBF), in collaboration with SWIFT, the global provider of secure financial messaging services, today hosted a virtual roundtable on “Financial Crime Compliance” to discuss SWIFT’s new strategy for cross-border payments and how it will affect the compliance processes of financial institutions in the UAE. Attended by members of UBF’s Compliance Committee, the meeting was presided over by Mr. Jamal Saleh, Chairman of UAE’s SWIFT User Group and Director General of UBF.
The closed-door, invitation-only event aimed at providing attendees with greater clarity and understanding on the impending migration of SWIFT's cross-border payments to the ISO 20022 standard, starting November 2022. The meeting discussed the impact this move will have on the compliance processes of banks and financial institutions in the UAE as well as the benefits that will accrue from adopting the new standard.
Poised to change the way cross-border payments and reporting instructions are sent, ISO 20022 will be the de facto standard for high-value payment systems of all reserve currencies, supporting 80% of global volumes and 87% of value of transactions worldwide.
The attendees were also updated on SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening Program, which allows messages to be screened in real time in order to facilitate immediate action against suspicious transactions, as well as on the joint initiative between SWIFT and The Wolfsberg Group, an association of 13 global banks, aimed at moving the world towards instant, secure and frictionless cross-border payments.
The roundtable offered the attendees – key decision-makers in the UAE’s financial landscape – the opportunity to provide feedback and input on the main pillars of the Sanctions Screening Program.
Mr. Jamal Saleh said, “As financial crime reaches new levels of sophistication and the risks keep proliferating, it is important for banks and other players in the financial ecosystem to strengthen their compliance regimes, increase transparency, and leverage the power of technology and cooperation to detect and prevent the flow of laundered money.”
“SWIFT being the global provider of secure financial messaging services, it’s imperative for the UAE financial community to have meaningful interactions with our partners at SWIFT in order to develop a clear understanding of their strategies and programs, in particular the move towards a new standard for handling cross-border payments, so that we can prepare ourselves better for the impact these changes will have on our operations going forward,” Mr. Saleh added.
Onur Ozan, SWIFT’ s Head of Middle East, North Africa and Turkey said: “Many of the challenges associated with inefficiencies and cost of compliance processes are due to poor quality data. The adoption of ISO 20022 will deliver richer and more structured data for the screening of payments.
SWIFT’s strategy to deliver instant and frictionless payments anywhere in the world, will transform the way that cross-border transactions are done. At the heart of this is SWIFT’s new platform and the move from sequential messaging to the concept of a single, immutable transaction which will be pre-validated before initiation.
Better quality data will help all banks reduce friction points and opens up opportunities to deliver greater efficiencies. SWIFT remains committed to supporting our community in the UAE and across the world to help drive down operational costs, reduce friction and build trusted relationships.
The SWIFT delegation at the roundtable included Mr. Matthew Hobbs – Head of Financial Crime Compliance & Data Strategy; Mr. Robert Schneider – Head of Financial Crime Compliance and Data Initiatives, Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Onur Ozan – Regional Head, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.