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The knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

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The Waiting Game: Standards in Corporate Actions Processing

There has been some real action of late in the standards space for corporate actions. In the US, the SEC issued a requirement for corporations to report in XBRL, and the XBRL US organisation has announced a project with the DTCC and Swift to tie the standard into ISO 20022, all of which could optimistically see true corporate actions automation from issuer to investor.However, while this action is laudable, it is not a global initiative as the issuer reporting in the XBRL standard is limited to the US, so how will this benefit Europe and what progress is being made there? Not to mention that the take up of the original ISO 15022 standard has not set the world alight, with still only 20% of messages on the Swift network in 2009 being in the standard format.

The picture has been blurred with confusion in the market about just how ISO 20022 improves on ISO 15022 and what the real benefits are of adopting it. With Swift resolving not to force a ‘big bang’ migration to 20022 and putting more emphasis on the coexistence of the multitude of standards out there, what does the future hold for corporate actions messaging? How is ISO 15022 now faring? What do financial institutions think of ISO 20022? Is the take up of standardised corporate actions messages still increasing, or is there a real wait and see attitude while 20022 progresses? Do firms think the XBRL initiative and the tie up with DTCC and Swift will benefit them?

A-Team Group, a news, research and events company specialising in financial information technology, was commissioned by corporate actions software specialist SmartStream to interview a range of financial institutions to gauge the sentiment on these and other related issues. This white paper shares the results of that research.