I am delighted to bring you our inaugural Volante Technologies newsletter. The aim of our newsletters is to provide insights into some of the key issues and trends affecting our industry, update you on our products and initiatives and highlight some of our activities and client news. We also want to share recent contributions we have made within our industry in the form of blogs and articles in the media. We hope the topics we have recently written about resonate with you.
In this first edition we look back over 2015 which has been an extremely busy year for Volante. We would like to draw your attention to some of the issues we think were of note while also looking forward to up and coming activities in the first quarter of 2016.
2015 saw the launch of three new products; VolPay Foundation, VolPay Channel and VolPay Hub. Following significant interest in these new accelerated payment integration and processing products, we have increased our sales capability by appointing four new business development staff and appointed a global head of sales. Our development team in Chennai and Hyderabad has also increased substantially to service the needs of our product roadmap and increasing client base.
I hope you enjoy our inaugural newsletter.
Payment speed was a key theme in 2015 with significant interest in the implementation of Real Time Payments (RTP) infrastructures around the globe. Faster Payments in the UK is now a well-established and growing system and its success (along with a number of other country implementations) saw the EU start discussions on how such a payment system could be implemented in the SEPA area.
In the US, payment system change will be driven by the FED as they kicked-off their ambitious payment improvement program which will potentially see the biggest change in clearing settlement infrastructure ever. The Clearing House, a US business providing ACH and Wire payments in the US, fired the starting gun with its intent to build a national real-time payment system with UK payment systems provider VocaLink, provider of the US Faster Payments system.
Most significantly, 2015 also saw the first attempt at standardization of messaging in this space with the Real Time Payments Group publishing an industry body agreed set of usage guidelines for ISO 20022 messages for RTP. These are due to be formally published by ISO early in 2016.
In terms of Regulation, an ever-present challenge for banks and financial institutions, 2015 saw the EU adopt new rules on card transaction processing. Aimed at helping merchants and end consumers, through the capping of interchange fees, these rules will however clearly impact revenues for card issuing institutions.
Hot on its heels in October was the formal publication of the tranche of the European Payment Services Directive or PSD2. This regulation will require banks operating in SEPA to provide access to Third Party Payment providers (TPPs) to enable payment initiation and other services such as account information reporting. Banks will no doubt be considering how they will compete with the TPPs to maintain business with their customers. Neil Clarke, Head of Market Engagement for standards evolution at Volante, provided his thoughts on this topic back in August 2015 for Banking Technology.
2015 saw rapid interest from the sector in blockchain technology as applied to financial markets. In some ways this interest correlated with the upsurge in price of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin which experienced a steady increase in price from the middle of 2015. Though Bitcoin’s decentralized nature may not be to the major banks and regulators taste, the technology behind it most certainly, is based upon the rapid rise to prominence of the R3 consortium that now has more than 40 banking institutions signed up to develop distributed ledger based solutions. There was also significant interest in Ripple labs which now established distributed ledger infrastructure for multi-currency payments and near real time settlement and was showcased for the first time at the SIBOS meeting. Volante was pleased to demonstrate at the same meeting its interface to the Ripple system in the VolPay Hub solution launched at SIBOS.
2015 saw the launch of three new Volante Technologies products that make up the VolPay Suite of Payments Products; a product suite entirely focused on the acceleration and enablement of business agility with significant reduction in time to revenue. The first of these was VolPay Foundation, a development platform designed to expedite the creation of applications for payment integration, processing and orchestration projects; to accelerate client on-boarding and deliver a quicker time to new revenue streams for end-users. VolPay Channel was then launched as a business application specifically designed to ease the complexity and time taken for Host-to-Host (H2H) client on-boarding and its on-going management.
Rounding out the VolPay suite of products for 2015 was VolPay Hub, a highly scalable, high performance, configurable, next generation payments hub business application designed to dramatically reduce time to revenue for digital payment processing by centralizing and accelerating the integration of payment source channels and target internal systems. 2015 also saw updates to its core product, Volante Designer, and added support for the new SWIFT Standards issued in early 2015 within three working days of its announcement by SWIFT.
2015 saw the launch of three new Volante Technologies products that make up the VolPay Suite of Payments Products; a product suite entirely focused on the acceleration and enablement of business agility with significant reduction in time to revenue and cost of implementation.
In 2015 we were delighted to welcome several new clients of which we can name Nedbank and IWIAfrica. We also formed some great new partnerships with Access to Arabia, FINSAPP and BT Radianz, and collaborated with Ripple to allow banks seamless integration with Ripple technology for real-time settlement using blockchain technology.
Volante also expanded its business significantly in 2015 with the hire of Nadish Lad as Head of Payments Product and Peter McKenna as the Global Marketing Director. At the same time, Volante announced the expansion of its development and testing staff and opened two new offices in Jersey City and Hyderabad to accommodate its growing business. Further appointments were made in early 2016 to its regional sales teams in response to increased market interest in the VolPay Suite of payments products.
Industry engagement is a key element to Volante’s business operations and during 2015 we have been active participants in several key industry groups and market initiatives around the globe including:
Common Global Implementation – Market Practice (CGI-MP) - Neil Clarke, Volante's Market Engagement Director, facilitates the Account Reporting working group of CGI-MP, the industry body whose aim is to establish harmonized guidelines for bank to corporate communications using ISO 20022 message standards.
ISO 20022 Real Time Payments (RTP) Working Group – Fiona Hamilton, Volante's VP for Europe and Asia, was an active participant in the RTP working group which under the auspices of the ISO 20022 RMG is establishing a set of message usage guidelines for ISO 20022 messages used as part of a RTP infrastructure.
Fed Payments Improvement program – Volante is actively engaged as a member of the Faster Payment and Secured Payment Task forces. ANSI - Accredited Standards Committee X9 – Volante has participated in the working group establishing the BTRS (Balance Transaction and Reporting Standard), an updated version of the well-known BAI2 standard.
We have been exceedingly busy meeting members of the press and have been delighted to see their interest in carrying Volante commentary on the markets we serve.
These include a piece in Forbes titled, “Volante VolPay Lets Bank Business Analysts Integrate Digital Payments”; and another article by Banking Technology titled, “Volante launches ‘Babel Fish’ for financial messaging transformation” which looked at how Volante helps firms transform and integrate different message standards within the payments industry.
ISO 20022 continues to be a hot topic in the financial world, and to help clarify the complex world of ISO 20022 messaging, Volante submitted a number of articles on the topic including a very well-read ISS-Mag guide on ISO 20022, and a three-part series on the path to a successful data integration project. In another article we looked at what it means to have harmony in the standards world.
The Banker Middle East, a publication continually focused on key issues affecting the banking community within the region, chose to publish our thoughts on a few key topics including “Getting ready for the real-time revolution,” “Cash is king, but agility is money,” and “Don’t be afraid to differentiate your digital payments processing architecture.”
Volante also expressed its opinions through a number of blogs picked-up and published by several publications. During the course of 2015 everyone was talking about payments, and Volante’s General Manager, MEA, Mick Fennell, wrote a blog for Finextra, in which he explored the biggest headaches typical in most payment transformation projects, payment hub implementations and message transformation activities. In another blog for Finextra, Mick looks at Arab banks and whether they are ready with the appropriate tools to make major changes to their payment processing infrastructures.
Volante firmly believe existing Fintech vendors should do more to nurture start-ups, and how partnerships formed can be mutually beneficial to both firms.
In his blog for Finextra, Neil Clarke explains how in 2015, the financial services industry faced unprecedented pressure from the ever-changing and proliferating library of financial messaging standards. This theme was explored further on the widely adopted ISO 20022 standard and how it is now being used in the central banking world.
Volante firmly believe existing Fintech vendors should do more to nurture start-ups, and how partnerships formed can be mutually beneficial to both firms. In his blog post, Mick Fennell looks at the bank-sponsored Fintech innovation labs and the role of existing Fintech vendors in this new world of dynamic collaboration.
In 2015 Volante participated in several webinars and video interviews, including a very popular ‘Webchat’ series by the Cash & Treasury Management File (CTMFile.com). In the first webchat, Volante looks at the process of accelerating and simplifying setup and maintenance of corporate to bank connectivity. The second in the series looked at how to optimize corporate treasury integration and connectivity, with a third workshop following shortly after that explored how to manage connectivity standards today and tomorrow. The final webchat in the 2015 series was about payment factories and the vital stages of implementation. This latter video proved very popular attracting views from many corporate treasurers around the world – clearly the streamlining of payment factory operations is an on-going hot topic for treasurers!
Clearly the streamlining of payment factory operations is an on-going hot topic for corporate treasurers!
At the FIX Trading Community EMEA Conference in March 2015, Neil Clarke spoke to Streets Consulting about how Volante fits into the trade lifecycle. At the same event, Fiona Hamilton, VP Europe and Asia, spoke to Finextra about the merits of the FIX standard and the on-going regulatory and compliance challenges facing customers.
Volante also had a number of interviews with Financial IT covering a range of topics, including the future of financial technology, financial messaging trends & blockchain technology, corporate to bank payments on-boarding and message integration and payments orchestration. In another interview, Fiona explores the pressures in today’s payments industry.
In 2015 Volante participated in a number of webinars debating key industry challenges:
2015 was a very busy year for us in the industry and it was a pleasure being out there talking to our clients, prospects, partners and the industry at large and contributing to debates – we went to more than 10 industry events around the globe, notably these include:
At Sibos 2015 in Singapore, Volante polled delegates for their thoughts on key industry issues and questions. Over the course of the event Volante raised 1 to 2 questions or issues each day and around three hundred delegates came to the Volante stand to vote and express their opinions on the #VolanteReactionWall, our voting board, on the several questions and issues raised during the event. Two of these were particularly interesting. The first key observation was that the vast majority of those polled were seriously considering the topic of blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology and Ripple take up. And secondly, when asked what topic was at the top of their agenda, dominating at No.1 was real-time payments with 40% of the vote, followed by blockchain/Ripple, then digital channels, and ISO 20022 with a surprise low of 6%. All results were tweeted during the Sibos event for all to see.
In addition to the launch of VolPay Hub, the latest addition to the VolPay Suite, Sibos 2016 also saw the announcement and demonstration of VolPay’s Ripple interface readiness. Chris Larsen, cofounder and CEO at Ripple, Monica Long, VP Marketing at Ripple and Vijay Oddiraju, CEO of Volante paused for a group photo to mark the occasion.
Industry events are always an excellent way for us to gain invaluable insight from the industries we serve, our clients, prospects and partners. We are looking forward to participating at several industry events in 2016 around the globe.
For a list of the many industry events we will be attending in 2016 please visit the events section on the Volante website, and we hope to see you there!
Every year the Volante senior management team congregates to discuss trends in the market, client needs and the product roadmap. We also take time to consider company structure and processes so that we can continue to serve our growing client base to the highest standard. Our discussions culminate in a clear vision for Volante’s business strategy for the upcoming year and confirmation of the longer-term strategy for the company. This year the senior management team met in Chennai, India, the single largest Volante office – hardly surprising, as this is Volante’s main software development and testing center. We took advantage of this opportunity to take a photo of the entire Chennai office team.