There’s been a lot happening throughout the year as we head into the final quarter of 2021. COVID-19 has presented challenges, but we’ve been able to progress the work we do with the industry. You can read more about this work in our update below.

Payments Direction

Our Payments Direction team have been investigating payments modernisation activities and are progressing work on our long-term strategic roadmap for the core payments system through to 2030. Stakeholder feedback on our Payments Modernisation Plan confirmed that we needed to further consider what domestic real-time payments could look like in a New Zealand context.

Based on that feedback, we’ve now started a market information gathering (MIG) exercise to gather information from those with recent and relevant experience in the operation or delivery of real-time payments capabilities. The input we get will help further shape our strategic roadmap towards modernising New Zealand’s payment system. If you’re interested in being part of the MIG exercise, you can register your interest now through our website or feel free to pass the link on to anyone you think might be suitable to get involved.

We’ve also recently put out our 2021 Environmental Scan Report, which looks at global developments in the world of payments. This year’s scan found that the changes we saw in the last substantial report we did in 2019 have accelerated as a response to the pandemic. However, our key pieces of work such as the Payments Direction programme, and more recently our payments modernisation body of work, continues to head in the right direction.

API Centre

The API Centre recently reached a significant growth milestone with over 100 Community Contributors now part of our ecosystem. In addition, we have 19 API Standards Users made up of 8 API Providers and 12 Third Party organisations. The steady rise in Community Contributor numbers demonstrates to us that there is a lot of interest across the open banking ecosystem for standardised APIs and our vision of enabling innovative API-based services to support the financial wellbeing of Kiwis.

We’re pleased to have more certainty about the Consumer Data Right (CDR), following the government’s announcement in July that they will be implementing one in New Zealand. The new CDR will likely shape some of the work of the API Centre in the area of open banking, and both the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon Dr David Clark, and MBIE have encouraged us to progress our work with the industry. We remain as always, open, and willing to share our in-house expertise, insights, and learnings.

Management Committees

Our ISO20022 industry project, which will affect Participants of our High Value Clearing System (HVCS), are working to an industry agreed implementation timeline of November 2022. The working groups, which are made up of representatives from across our Participant organisations, SWIFT and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), are currently working on developing the plans for industry testing. You can read more about the background of this project in our April 2021 update.

Our Consumer Electronic Clearing System (CECS) team has been busy drafting the technical specifications for ATM chip data standard for CECS. This standard will help reduce card fraud and continue to instill confidence in the safety of New Zealand’s payments system.

We’re also making good progress with work around our rules strategy review. The working group for this project is currently looking at how the review will be run, what success looks like and also developing a strategy for the high-level scope and structure of the rules.

And we continue to receive enquiries from financial institutions within the ecosystem who are interested in finding out how to become a Participant in one of our clearing systems. We’ve provided these organisations with relevant information and are working directly with them to identify what they may need to do to meet our access criteria.

Regulatory radar

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) are currently consulting on how the new Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI) Act should be implemented. The new Act will govern FMIs that are systemically important, and the Reserve Bank has indicated that two of our payment systems – Settlement Before Interchange (SBI) and the High Value Clearing System (HVCS) - are likely to be designated.

We have made a submission on the two consultation papers that have been published, the first on a framework for identifying systemically important FMIs, and the second on developing standards for the FMIs that have been designated. Our submission is now available on our website. We’re looking forward to working with the RBNZ as it implements the new law.

New Board Directors

We’re pleased to have welcomed three new company Directors to our Board this year. A warm welcome to John Forrester, Head of Payments at Westpac New Zealand, Julian Downs, GM Technology at TSB Bank, and Lohit Kalburgi, Executive General Manager – Corporate Strategy and Customer Experience at ASB. Collectively, these new members of our Board bring a wealth of experience and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve our company vision and mission.

Making connections

Earlier this month we wrapped up our The Hub Series 2021, which kicked off with an in-person opening event on 20 May, followed by three online sessions in June, July, and September. This year’s theme, ‘Bringing the world of payments to you’, provided future-focused insights and open discussions around the challenges and opportunities impacting the payments industry globally.

We had a great turn-out across all sessions with 660 people registered to attend the series. It was fantastic to receive such positive feedback saying how much they enjoyed the diversity of speakers, the mix of local and international perspectives, and thought leadership. The video recordings for all sessions are available on our website for you to watch at your leisure, or you can read a summary of our top insights from Session 1, Session 2 and Session 3. Thanks again to our sponsors for their support of the series: Session 1 Sponsor FIS, Session 2 Sponsor Buddle Findlay, Session 3 Sponsor Tax Management NZ and our Series Supporter Sponsors SWIFT, Middleware Group and Westpac.

In August we held a session of The Strategic Forum in Wellington for representatives from our Participant and Member organisations to come together and discuss strategic industry topics, including our latest environmental scan and global trends and developments in the world of payments.

Our Chief Executive Steve Wiggins and GM Strategy and Corporate Affairs Jane Retimana continue to be involved with a range of cross-sector local and international groups, forums, and associations.

We continue to be actively involved with some of the work of Digital Identity NZ, FintechNZ, FDATA and others.

We’ve also been keeping in touch with the International Council of Payment Association Chief Executives (ICPACE) from Australia, Canada, Netherlands, UK, US, South Africa, and New Zealand. We’ve been having monthly online catch-ups with ICPACE on a variety of themes such as the impact of COVID-19 on payments, payments infrastructure developments, payments modernisation, open banking, fraud, regulatory changes and more. It’s good to be part of these global strategic sessions and to get interesting insights and input from our international colleagues.

We look forward to bringing you another company update in December.