With the second political earthquake in little more than four months sending reverberations around the world, the temptation was to hastily jettison our planned cover story for this issue and replace it with one on the US under President Trump. Not that we are shirking this duty; two of our intrepid contributors look forward to what four years of the Donald is likely to bring for business. However, given the president-elect’s predilection for both making up policy ‘on the hoof’ and executing 180-degree turns, possibly a deeper analysis awaits once he is installed in the White House next month.
In the meantime, with the US finally playing catch-up with the rest of the world and introducing real-time payments this autumn, our main focus entitled ‘Payments: the need for speed’ is timely. With around 14,000 financial institutions across the country and a market that’s more fragmented than many others, hitching the world’s largest economy to the faster payments trend was never going to be an easy task. Its accomplishment is therefore a major boost, even if the evidence at this year’s Association for Financial Professionals’ (AFP) conference was that some US corporates see no compelling reason for jumping aboard. This month also marks the first anniversary of SWIFT’s global payments innovation (GPI) initiative and our feature looks back on the first year’s progress.