Transitioning to ISO 20022: A Checklist

With the March 20, 2023, deadline for ISO 20022 implementation looming, financial institutions have a lot to consider.  

Here are critical points for changing over, drawn from Resultant Principal Consultant Paola Saibene’s talk with Raj Sharma, Director, Cyber Security Solutions at LAM Technology and Angela Jenkins, SVP Operational Risk Management at American National Bank of Texas during the CDO Magazine Women Data Leaders’ Global Summit 2022.

1. Plan—and overcommunicate those plans.

Managing change organization-wide depends upon clear planning and communication. Work with your internal and external stakeholders to determine how long you would need to operate multiple standards and, if possible, set a fixed date for decommissioning everything but ISO 20022. You’ll especially want to ensure your security team is looped in on timing so they can start looking for anomalies in the transactions theyre capturing. An implementation playbook or roadmap can help guide your process. 

2. Test with a view to quality and quality assurance to minimize unintended impacts from change.

ISO 20022 brings tremendous change that will impact many facets of your operation. Test, update your documentation, and make sure you understand what the transactions will look like—and that you share this information with your cyber incident response and security teams so it stays up to date with the mandate and its intended consequences.

3. Dig deep into the details.

Make sure you understand how customers will provide payment information, and whether your current solutions are capable of handling the payment scenarios ISO 20022 introduces. The sooner you can ensure your technology is adequate, the more likely you are to have a smooth implementation. 

4. Focus on training and education.

Training and education are the surest way to mitigate risk. You’ll have a wide range of users with different needs, which means you also need a range of training approaches, but you don’t have to start from scratch. There are a lot of different guides out there to help, like Swift’s ISO 20022 For Dummies.

5. Make more of analytics.

Because ISO 20022 adds a rich dataset and provides so much more information on each transaction, it unlocks tremendous potential for enhancing forecasts. Understanding exactly what each data point means will be easier, and this rich set of payment data can be a foundation for deep insight and analytics if you expand and enrich your metadata.

6. Develop an approach that works in your environment.

Your approach to ISO 20022 is like a recipe, and it has to be right for your company. Not only do you need to align with your technology but with your talent—and if either is lacking, don’t sleep on aligning your resources with the needs of ISO 20022.  

7. Consider your partnerships.

Who can you draw in to help, and how do those partners change the risk you incur? You want to put together the right team for the job, and working with your risk management team to ensure those partnerships have been considered from all angles is important. 

8. Lean on your peers.

ISO 20022 is all about sharing information, and your implementation process will work better if it is, too. Don’t slog through it on your own. Comparing notes on key components with others in the industry will support your success (and generally make the process more pleasant). 

What is ISO 20022?

ISO 20022 is a multipart international standard for data interchange among financial institutions. It provides a central methodology, process, and repository for use by all financial standards initiatives. 

Struggling with ISO 20022?

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