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digital treasury

The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Liquidity Management Ecosystem

This short paper, recently issued by the EBA Liquidity Management Working Group (LMWG), highlights the major trends that the pandemic helped crystallise in the liquidity management ecosystem and outlines the questions that financial institutions will have to address as they continue to support their corporate clients.

TAS Group has been part of EBA’s Liquidity Management Working Group for several years already, in order to contribute with its domain expertise to the group’s mission to improve liquidity managers’ understanding and ability to face ongoing market developments as well as related technical, operational, regulatory and organisational challenges.

The migration of liquidity management practices into the digital area and to real-time processes can’t wait longer. The pandemic crisis has shown that, going forward, corporates need technologies and services that can be more readily adopted or more easily adapted to handle unforeseen situations.

News
card & digital payments
digital treasury

Digital transformation progress in the European Banking Community – now more than ever

TAS Group has proudly sponsored two key EU conferences in June, Payments CEE Summit and EBAday 2021, that have clearly shown how deeply the acceleration in digitalization was able to positively impact the banking DNA.

With over 1000 professionals registered at the CEE Summit, connecting primarily but not only from the Balkans, and over 2000 delegates participating to EBAday 2021, the paramount annual conference curated by the European Banking Association, all hot payment trends were deeply debated by speakers coming from all segments of the stakeholders landscape: incumbent banks, challengers, paytechs, payfacs, regtechs, regulators, corporate clients, market infrastructures, academics and market research companies.

Hottest in the agenda: Instant Payments and their convergence with card payments, Request to Pay, Buy Now Pay Later, Fraud Detection in the Real-time era, ISO 20022 migrations, API enablement, and many more core topics, including the power of the Payments as a Service paradigm as a way to accelerate the banking modernization journey.   

In case you missed our speeches at the conferences, by Dragan Spanovic, VP Sales TAS Eastern Europe, and and Mario Mendia, SVP TAS International, you may learn more about TAS Group’s 35+ years expertise as a PayFac in the evolving European Financial Services Market on our website.

Resources
digital treasury

TAS Spotlight Liquidity Management

In this video Alessandra Riccardi, Business Analyst Capital Markets and Treasury of TAS Group, explores in more depth the adequacy of BCBS248 metrics...

Resources
consolidation
digital treasury

How the T2-T2S Consolidation and Instant Payments will affect BCBS248

While the imminent deadline of the T2-T2S Consolidation project together with the SWIFT CBPR+ Project, have absorbed time and resources at the bank’s side, the impact they will have on Intraday liquidity management is also likely to be heavily felt. When BCBS248 was introduced back in 2013, it brought with it a new set of best practices for the monitoring and measuring of intraday liquidity, throwing the topic into sharp focus. Key improvements introduced included a better distribution of payment outflows as well as the re-design of all processes around data acquisition, reconciliation and bilateral agreements with respective correspondent banks. In other words, it was only relatively recently that banks have started assessing their intraday liquidity exposure and adjusted their internal workflows to maintain and optimise their Intraday liquidity buffers.

The first major step that introduced disruption to the bank’s data management was switching from EOD batch processes towards an intraday approach. Whilst real-time and intraday management were long known within RTGS systems, it changed Correspondent Banking relationships considerably, where the banks were used to receiving EOD statements on a daily/weekly basis.

A second major turning point was assessing what systems and what obligations were to be considered for the metrics calculations, generally linked to any ancillary system activity as well as fiscal related payments and CLS. While BCBS248 addresses the basic guidelines to be taken into consideration when calculating metrics, at a general level, much of the implementation is left to the individual bank’s interpretation. The ECB’s current developments and the systems centralisation processes (T2, T2S and TIPS), have opened new user interpretations with regards to what payments flows to include in the metrics calculation. Some banks have opted to include all ECB systems as a whole in their intraday buffer calculations. Other banks report only the RTGS activities and consider all other systems as ‘’ancillaries’’ that work independently for closing their position on the LVPS at the end of day (e.g. EURO1/T2S) without creating intraday liquidity exposures on the RTGS side.

The Basel Committee has been very clear in stating that metrics reporting should be performed on a LVPS system on a system and currency basis. Other LVPSs can be included in the same report provided that liquidity bridges exist with the main LVPS; where ancillary systems are concerned, there’s no need to report them individually as they settle on the LVPS during the selected operational windows.

One of the trends that has being observed during the assessments conducted in the pre T2-T2S Consolidation phase, is that banks are keen to move most of the retail payments towards clearing and/or IP services, reducing the liquidity impacts on the LVPS. As a result, a significant portion of liquidity will no longer be settled in the LVPS, but managed on separate systems/accounts.

With this upcoming new situation, we will be seeing the migration of a big chunk of liquidity toward non-LVPS related systems that are out of scope for the current BCBS248 scenarios.

Instant Payments, as we know, are independent from clearing and settlement mechanisms and don’t close their position on any existing LVPS. That means that they settle continuously and independently; in case of liquidity shortages or surpluses, it is possible to move funds in and out and measure them accordingly in the metrics calculations of the respective LVPS system (backed by collateralised capacity, typically held at the Central Bank).

The participation in the ECB Instant Payment System, TIPS, will become mandatory for all TARGET2 actors from November 2021, to encourage the usage of the platform and driving the change toward alternative and more cost-effective means of payment. Additionally, TIPS will become the main hub for all funding and defunding activities across all IP schemas, making liquidity available at any time through automated processes.

However, from a BCBS248 perspective, it will still be possible to measure funding and defunding transfers made from/to the RTGS system to/from the dedicated cash account in TIPS.

That said, IP statistics indicate a strong growth trend (one that varies across jurisdictions) mostly driven by individual banks expanding their product offerings as well as an acceleration in the digitalisation processes in the Covid era.

IP volumes are getting higher and will most likely replace the normal ACHs in the retail sector. This is not only driven by cost and efficiency benefits, but also to ensure settlement finality for high value payments. In TIPS all retail payments are eligible for settlement in central bank money, regardless of the amount. The general perception is that we will experience a gradual shift from an intraday liquidity monitoring approach towards a fully automated real-time control; liquidity exposures won’t stop overnight but will keep on running 24/7 in different currencies and systems as a result of interoperability initiatives across the globe.

Likewise, SEPA itself has started the migration process towards a Continuous Gross Settlement schema; banks will now be able to settle SEPA payments on a real-time basis but still outside the LVPS settlement windows. Banks have been used to knowing exactly at what time during the day to expect each settlement, while in a continuous gross settlement environment, batches will be settled on separate technical accounts where liquidity needs to be available at selected ‘’intervals’’ if needed.

Tracking what used to be considered as a ‘’timed obligation’’ on an intraday basis is now opening different views and interpretations. Unless formally stated as part of a regulatory update, the reporting of IP activities and SEPA Continuous Gross Settlement will be both left out of the liquidity metrics as they run independently of the LVPS without creating daily exposures.

Whilst SEPA real-time settlement is still subject to the Bank’s input, IPs will be operating outside normal business hours; the current Intraday throughput takes into consideration the standard day window going from 8:00 to 18:00; whilst banks should now get familiar with measuring liquidity on a 24-hour basis.

The ISO20022 migration facilitates the management of data since a single format (both for payments and for SCT/SCT-Inst) will ensure standardisation across the individual infrastructures. However, the key activities will be focused on implementing fully automated processes and integration supported by a robust infrastructure, (especially for re-balancing liquidity, alerting, and managing payments outflows). Investments should focus on expanding the data repository capacity and on interfacing each system to gather the data going in and out on a real-time basis and displaying it on user-friendly dashboards.

Re-designing the technology strategy will definitely play a key role as well as working together with the Risk Department to assess how payment behaviour will change from an intraday to a 24/7 perspective. With timed obligations and retail payments soon to be out of the LVPS picture, we will be seeing a gradual evolution of both Treasury and Risk, where liquidity will no longer be a monitoring task but rather play a strategic role.

At this stage banks should consider the following as immediate priorities:

Retail payments: these will be split between ACHs and IPs. Banks need to assess the funding activities on separate technical accounts. ECB cash accounts (TIPS) will be supported by CB collateral. However, all liquidity needs to be backed by fully automated processes
Engage in open dialogue with local regulators to assess if and how to report the IP activities in their intraday liquidity metrics calculations on a stand-alone basis as well as how to include the obligations settled on technical accounts
With the imminent Consolidation coming up, considering that TIPS will become the ‘’central connector’’ for all IP CSMs, are regulators expecting separate reports for each ECB system (RTGS+CLM, T2S and TIPS)?
Skilled staff and migration of competencies. With a gradual reduction in manual activities, staff will be required to learn how to leverage new technologies such as AI/ML/Predicative Analytics, and take advantage of powerful new tools that will likely be game changers for liquidity management optimization.
The T2-T2S Consolidation project is nevertheless a challenge that will mark the beginning of new standardised practises as well as a chance to review existing technology and systems, not to be missed.

Author: Alessandra Riccardi, Business Analyst CMT of TAS

News
digital treasury

How the T2-T2S Consolidation and Instant Payments will affect BCBS248

Author: Alessandra Riccardi (Business Analyst Capital Markets & Treasury - Tas Group)

While the imminent deadline of the T2-T2S Consolidation project together with the SWIFT CBPR+ Project, have absorbed time and resources at the bank’s side, the impact they will have on Intraday liquidity management is also likely to be heavily felt. When BCBS248 was introduced back in 2013, it brought with it a new set of best practices for the monitoring and measuring of intraday liquidity, throwing the topic into sharp focus. Key improvements introduced included a better distribution of payment outflows as well as the re-design of all processes around data acquisition, reconciliation and bilateral agreements with respective correspondent banks. In other words, it was only relatively recently that banks have started assessing their intraday liquidity exposure and adjusted their internal workflows to maintain and optimise their Intraday liquidity buffers.

The first major step that introduced disruption to the bank’s data management was switching from EOD batch processes towards an intraday approach. Whilst real-time and intraday management were long known within RTGS systems, it changed Correspondent Banking relationships considerably, where the banks were used to receiving EOD statements on a daily/weekly basis.

A second major turning point was assessing what systems and what obligations were to be considered for the metrics calculations, generally linked to any ancillary system activity as well as fiscal related payments and CLS. While BCBS248 addresses the basic guidelines to be taken into consideration when calculating metrics, at a general level, much of the implementation is left to the individual bank’s interpretation. The ECB’s current developments and the systems centralisation processes (T2, T2S and TIPS), have opened new user interpretations with regards to what payments flows to include in the metrics calculation. Some banks have opted to include all ECB systems as a whole in their intraday buffer calculations. Other banks report only the RTGS activities and consider all other systems as ‘’ancillaries’’ that work independently for closing their position on the LVPS at the end of day (e.g. EURO1/T2S) without creating intraday liquidity exposures on the RTGS side.

The Basel Committee has been very clear in stating that metrics reporting should be performed on a LVPS system on a system and currency basis. Other LVPSs can be included in the same report provided that liquidity bridges exist with the main LVPS; where ancillary systems are concerned, there’s no need to report them individually as they settle on the LVPS during the selected operational windows.

One of the trends that has being observed during the assessments conducted in the pre T2-T2S Consolidation phase, is that banks are keen to move most of the retail payments towards clearing and/or IP services, reducing the liquidity impacts on the LVPS. As a result, a significant portion of liquidity will no longer be settled in the LVPS, but managed on separate systems/accounts.

With this upcoming new situation, we will be seeing the migration of a big chunk of liquidity toward non-LVPS related systems that are out of scope for the current BCBS248 scenarios.

Instant Payments, as we know, are independent from clearing and settlement mechanisms and don’t close their position on any existing LVPS. That means that they settle continuously and independently; in case of liquidity shortages or surpluses, it is possible to move funds in and out and measure them accordingly in the metrics calculations of the respective LVPS system (backed by collateralised capacity, typically held at the Central Bank).

The participation in the ECB Instant Payment System, TIPS, will become mandatory for all TARGET2 actors from November 2021, to encourage the usage of the platform and driving the change toward alternative and more cost-effective means of payment. Additionally, TIPS will become the main hub for all funding and defunding activities across all IP schemas, making liquidity available at any time through automated processes.

However, from a BCBS248 perspective,  it will still be possible to measure funding and defunding transfers made from/to the RTGS system to/from the dedicated cash account in TIPS.

That said, IP statistics indicate a strong growth trend (one that varies across jurisdictions) mostly driven by individual banks expanding their product offerings as well as an acceleration in the digitalisation processes in the Covid era.

IP volumes are getting higher and will most likely replace the normal ACHs in the retail sector. This is not only driven by cost and efficiency benefits, but also to ensure settlement finality for high value payments. In TIPS all retail payments are eligible for settlement in central bank money, regardless of the amount. The general perception is that we will experience a gradual shift from an intraday liquidity monitoring approach towards a fully automated real-time control; liquidity exposures won’t stop overnight but will keep on running 24/7 in different currencies and systems as a result of interoperability initiatives across the globe.

Likewise, SEPA itself has started the migration process towards a Continuous Gross Settlement schema; banks will now be able to settle SEPA payments on a real-time basis but still outside the LVPS settlement windows. Banks have been used to knowing exactly at what time during the day to expect each settlement, while in a continuous gross settlement environment, batches will be settled on separate technical accounts where liquidity needs to be available at selected ‘’intervals’’ if needed.

Tracking what used to be considered as a ‘’timed obligation’’ on an intraday basis is now opening different views and interpretations. Unless formally stated as part of a regulatory update, the reporting of IP activities and SEPA Continuous Gross Settlement will be both left out of the liquidity metrics as they run independently of the LVPS without creating daily exposures.

Whilst SEPA real-time settlement is still subject to the Bank’s input, IPs will be operating outside normal business hours; the current Intraday throughput takes into consideration the standard day window going from 8:00 to 18:00; whilst banks should now get familiar with measuring liquidity on a 24-hour basis.

The ISO20022 migration facilitates the management of data since a single format (both for payments and for SCT/SCT-Inst) will ensure standardisation across the individual infrastructures. However, the key activities will be focused on implementing fully automated processes and integration supported by a robust infrastructure, (especially for re-balancing liquidity, alerting, and managing payments outflows). Investments should focus on expanding the data repository capacity and on interfacing each system to gather the data going in and out on a real-time basis and displaying it on user-friendly dashboards.

Re-designing the technology strategy will definitely play a key role as well as working together with the Risk Department to assess how payment behaviour will change from an intraday to a 24/7 perspective. With timed obligations and retail payments soon to be out of the LVPS picture, we will be seeing a gradual evolution of both Treasury and Risk, where liquidity will no longer be a monitoring task but rather play a strategic role.

At this stage banks should consider the following as immediate priorities:

  • Retail payments: these will be split between ACHs and IPs. Banks need to assess the funding activities on separate technical accounts. ECB cash accounts (TIPS) will be supported by CB collateral. However, all liquidity needs to be backed by fully automated processes
  • Engage in open dialogue with local regulators to assess if and how to report the IP activities in their intraday liquidity metrics calculations on a stand-alone basis as well as how to include the obligations settled on technical accounts
  • With the imminent Consolidation coming up, considering that TIPS will become the ‘’central connector’’ for all IP CSMs, are regulators expecting separate reports for each ECB system (RTGS+CLM, T2S and TIPS)?

Skilled staff and migration of competencies. With a gradual reduction in manual activities, staff will be required to learn how to leverage new technologies such as AI/ML/Predicative Analytics, and take advantage of powerful new tools that will likely be game changers for liquidity management optimization.

The T2-T2S Consolidation project is nevertheless a challenge that will mark the beginning of new standardised practises as well as a chance to review existing technology and systems, not to be missed.

Discover how TAS Group is helping banks with T2-T2S Consolidation and managing Intraday Liquidity

Download the article

News
card & digital payments
digital treasury
open banking

PSPs told us how they are dealing with the key changes and challenges being thrust upon them today

We recently surveyed Payment Service Providers from around the world about how they are dealing with today’s volatile payments landscape.

We particularly focused on the hot topics: instant payments, ISO 20022, and liquidity management, all of which are heavily impacting the payments industry, and asked PSPs to reveal what they saw as the main challenges experienced today, how they are rising to these challenges including insights into global technology investment strategies and cloud adoption trends among others.

The survey took place against a backdrop of rapid digitalization, where advancements in technology, regulatory overhauls, the introduction of new initiatives and schemes – not to mention the wide-reaching impact of the pandemic – are having a tumultuous effect in the payments industry – perhaps the greatest experienced in the last decade.

Navigating these changes successfully no doubt involves rethinking existing approaches, business models and systems as well as intelligently leveraging on the many innovative technologies available including, in many cases, adopting a cloud-based strategy.

Report- How PSPs are navigating change in a challenging payments landscape

News
digital treasury
payment networks
Press Release

TAS Group joins the list of worldwide vendors of SWIFT CBPR+ Ready Solutions

Milan, Italy – 21 December 2020 – TAS Group, a leading provider of digital payments, liquidity management and financial messaging software solutions, today announced that it has received global acceptance by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) to support SWIFT’s Cross-Border Payments and Reporting Plus (CBPR+) message specifications, joining the exclusive ranks of certified providers around the world. TAS Network Gateway platform, recently enhanced for the 2020 November change, and Aquarius – TAS leading Liquidity Management solution, are both now ready to support the new ISO 20022 standard, in addition to the legacy SWIFT-MT financial messages, to send and receive cross-border payments and to manage reporting. “TAS’ commitment to bridge compliance complexities for banks in the payments space is stronger than ever,” said Gianpiero Caretti, Senior Business Development Manager at TAS International. “Our financial messaging solutions sit at the heart of the Eurosystem’s payments and securities settlement infrastructures, and are continuously evolved to support changing and emerging standards as well as market infrastructure protocols.” “TAS helps banks to decouple their applications from the network technicalities and simplifies legacy modernization, enabling them to be more competitive. Our 30+ years of collaboration with SWIFT and vast experience in ISO 20022 compliance worldwide can ease the adoption path for any type of PSP worldwide,” he added. TAS Network Gateway, as well as the certified SWIFT Service Bureau operated by TAS, are built on state-of-the-art, enterprise-class, highly secure technologies, coupled with a powerful set of APIs and ISO 20022-ready adapters, all delivered either on-premise or in the cloud. SWIFT CBPR+ Ready: check out the official vendor list Download the press release
News
card & digital payments
digital treasury

TIPS becomes mandatory for reachability – are you ready?

Less than 11 weeks to go to the obligatory choice for all European PSPs on how to make themselves reachable on TIPS. The Instant Payments settlement service, despite having been launched over two years ago by the ECB is still very much underused. To overcome the fragmentation of the market present in the various EU countries, the Governing Council of the ECB has formalized the new regulatory obligations that will lead to the “pan-European reach” of instant payments by November 2021. Already by the end of January, therefore in less than three months, all PSPs that currently participate in a SCTInst scheme and are reachable on TARGET2 must open a DCA account on TIPS or choose how to make themselves reachable also on TIPS. Have you already chosen how to make yourself compliant? TAS supports its customers both in the management of central currency accounts on TARGET2 and TIPS with Aquarius, its Liquidity Management platform, and for connectivity to the new ESMIG (Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway) via SIA-Colt or SWIFT. Our solutions are available both on-premise and as a service or in the cloud. Contact our experts now!
News
consolidation
digital treasury

ECB discloses new plans and milestones for TARGET Services

The Eurosystem has communicated the milestones in the lead up to the final migration on November 2022. The main changes can be summarised as follows:
  1. No milestones to reach until March 2021
  2. New milestones have been added (User Testing activities started, Training for user testing started, Network connectivity tests on production started, Network connectivity tests on production completed)
  3. Milestones not completed in 2020 will be postponed between 8 and 12 months.
With specific regard to the most operational impacts:
  • NSP selection and contract preparation to be completed by 31 March 2021
  • Software development for the required adaptation changes to TARGET2 to be completed by 30 June 2021
  • Testing of the internal applications to be completed by 31 August 2021
  • User Testing activities to be started by 1 December 2021
In addition the ECB has communicated that, as disclosed by the ECB’s Governing Council in July:
  • All PSPs which have joined the SCTInst scheme and are reachable in TARGET2 should also become reachable in a TIPS central bank money liquidity account, either as a participant or as a reachable party (i.e. through the account of another PSP which is a participant)
  • All ACHs offering instant payment services should migrate their technical accounts from TARGET2 to TIPS.
In order to implement the new European Instant Payments interoperability paradigm, a project has been launched starting in January 2021 where all participants must be live by 15 December 2021 and follow the additional milestones to ensure their go-live readiness in a synchronised manner across all national communities. In summary the TARGET2 participants have today:
  • 6 months to confirm, review or fine-tune their NSP choice for TARGET2
  • 9 months to complete TARGET2 developments and 11 months to finalise testing
  • Less than 15 months to set up their TIPS central bank money liquidity account
Many banks will be using the TARGET2/T2S Consolidation delay to absorb the impacts of COVID-19 priorities and the implementation of TIPS accounts. However, the extra time will allow participants to improve their digital transformation and consider cloud strategies, improve data management and analytics, and embrace ISO 20022 more deeply and extensively. TAS is ready to support market participants ensure the best possible implementation of these projects, focusing on:
  • NSP access in Cloud
  • Intraday Liquidity
  • Payments transformation
  • Instant payments management in the new framework
Find out more on our dedicated page or get in touch with our experts

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