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A SWIFT week in Dubai (#Sibos 1)

Chris Skinner here.

I can’t tell you much about what I’m up to, except that I’m
here in the beautiful city of Dubai, jewel of the United Arab Emirates and international
hub between the world and the Middle East.

Built from a scrap of sand over the last two decade, Dubai
has dramatically changed the landscape of the world.

From one skyscraper in 1991, the city has almost 1,000 today
including the landmark Burj Kalifah, the tallest building in the world …

Burj kalifah

… and the overtly bling-styled Burj Al-Arab Hotel …

Burj al-arab

… the only seven-star hotel in the world (they claim).

When they built the Burj Al-Arab, I asked them how much it
cost.  They answered no-one knows, it was just whatever it takes.

Oh, and Burj means
Tower in case you’re wondering. 

I noted a while ago that when cities build such towers, it normally implies imminent doom for the
economy of that country.  Sure, Dubai
took a hit in this crisis but you wouldn’t know it today, with its massive
growth in tourism and commerce.

Anyways, I’m here on a top secret mission, sponsored by

I opened the case file this morning, after getting the
message from control.

Mission impossible fix protocol

My mission, which I have chosen to accept, is to find out
whatever happened to the group that created the Investment Roadmap? 

Yes, three years ago, in some fanfare, the FIX Protocol
Organisation, FpML, SWIFT, XBRL, FISD and ISITC all announced this wonderful
utopian mission to rationalise the end-to-end standards for trading and

Here’s what they said:

Because the financial
community is a vast one, encompassing institutions across the globe that deal
with diverse asset classes, different organizations have traditionally been
responsible for developing their own messaging schemes.  Today, financial firms often combine a great
range of trading activities.  Therefore,
the messaging standards from different organizations often intersect, but
remain incompatible. 

Within the financial
services industry, there are multiple standards being used, hence the desire to
ensure some level of interoperability. 
It is clear that the FIX Protocol is the de facto standard for pre-trade
and trading, that FpML is the de facto standard for OTC Derivatives and that
ISO is the de facto standard for settlement. 
We need an approach that leverages and includes these standards into a
broader framework without reinventing and creating redundant messages that
increase implementation costs and cause confusion for the industry.

This collaboration
affirms the commitment of each organization to the ISO 20022 standard by laying
the groundwork for defining a common underlying financial model. The model
allows for 20022 based messages to be created to support the business
processes, while at the same time provides in certain circumstances for
existing independent protocols to be maintained in order to protect the
investments of market participants.

The purpose of the
collaboration between these organizations is to produce a consistent direction
for financial services messaging standards and communicate that direction
clearly.  This will allow the industry to
spend its money more wisely.

It sounded such a dream and maybe it was just that as, now, the
investment roadmap that was launched in 2010 is just a page on an old website,
and many of the players are not what they were.

What happened?

Did the dream come true?

Will it ever?

I don’t know, but I have taken on the mission this week to
find out and, to start with, was told to get to the top of the Burj Kalifah.

Mission impossible skinner

Unfortunately, no-one told me there was a lift.

More on this later!

Now it’s off to the uber secret conference they call SIBOS
to see if I can get a FIX.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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