SWIFT has signed an agreement with Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL) to provide the market infrastructure resiliency service (MIRS) for Hong Kong’s real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system supporting the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), US dollar (USD), euro (EUR) and renminbi (RMB) currencies.
MIRS is a RTGS back-up solution run by SWIFT. It provides a third line of support to RTGS operators experiencing problems with first and second line back-up systems. It stores data independently and securely, while enabling effective retrieval once business operations are resumed.
“Hong Kong is a major global financial centre and MIRS will further reduce risk and increase resilience in its RTGS system,” said Alain Raes, chief executive (CEO), Asia Pacific and EMEA at SWIFT.
As a key partner of financial market infrastructures in the region, we believe that an effective business continuity solution to connect seamlessly to the global financial infrastructure is an important way to ensure the sustained growth of the Asian financial industry.”
SWIFT has provided the financial messaging platform for Hong Kong’s Clearing House Automated Transfer System (CHATS) since 2009. The new MIRS business continuity service is expected to go live at the end of 2016.
Esmond Lee, executive director of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), said: “The RTGS systems have been working smoothly in the past but there is no room for complacency. We must stay vigilant in ensuring that our current financial infrastructure would continue to support the banking and financial sectors in Hong Kong even in extreme scenarios.”
Central banks, as operators of RTGS systems, are actively evaluating their requirements for resiliency in their financial market infrastructures. Since 2011, SWIFT has been working with a group of central banks to design a RTGS system back-up service which meets best practices. Launched in early 2014, MIRS is now available to all high-value payment market infrastructures. The Bank of England (BoE) went live with MIRS for its RTGS service last February.
However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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