More corporates turn to automation and standardisation

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The past three years show a “very positive trend” from increased volumes and market activity to the automation and standardisation of key corporate actions processes, reports SWIFT.

The financial messaging services provider has released the results of its 2015 Corporate Actions survey, conducted jointly with CityIQ, with responses from 149 market participants worldwide about the state of play in the corporate actions marketplace. The survey also measures the evolution of automation and standardisation in this critical domain for financial institutions (FIs).

The results show that investment in automation tools have grown since the previous survey, in 2012. Activity levels have doubled over three years: 63% of respondents report that they are busy with projects and an additional 9% have automation plans for the year ahead. Cost reduction remains a strong driver for automation, but investments to cope with volume growth, improve scalability of operations and meet client demands were also highlighted as leading drivers by survey participants.

International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) messaging standards are widely seen as adding value, reports SWIFT, although debate about the relative value of ISO 15022 and ISO 20022 continues. Nearly 90% of survey participants also cited compliance with global market practices as an important factor enabling corporate actions processing. As in 2012, SWIFT, ISO and the Securities Market Practice Group (SMPG) remain rated as the three most trusted organisations to support better data quality and straight-through processing (STP).

“The survey results are very compelling,” says Oliver Connan, market manager asset servicing, SWIFT. “It is clear that the quality of corporate actions data continues to challenge the industry, but it is also clear that automation and standardisation can ease much of this burden.”

In addition to embracing more automation, standards and market practice guidelines, survey participants identified central securities depositories (CSDs) as the most reliable and highest quality sources for corporate actions data; a new data point since 2012.

Paul Wiltshire, director at CityIQ, added: “Although there are some quite marked regional differences it’s clear that wherever you look organisations have been investing time and money in corporate actions processing and this is a trend that looks set to continue”.

The full survey paper may be downloaded from swift.com/corporateactions or www.cityiq.com

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