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Payment system policy roadmap vision 2020.

Payment and Settlement Systems Department, Bank of Korea


The paradigm for payment systems is shifting, as innovative payment services are becoming more widely available due to the spread of Fintech and to changes in consumers' behaviors, and as new payment systems regulations have been adopted since the Global Financial Crisis. While the provision of payment services by IT companies has brought about evolutions in the bank-centered payment services market, consumers' expectations of simplified services have grown, together with their concerns about financial security. Furthermore, as the new international standards are being implemented, efforts to enhance the safety of financial market infrastructures (FMIs) have continued while discussions on cross-border linkages of payment systems have also progressed.

Under these circumstances of rapid evolution in the payment and settlement environment, the Bank of Korea (BOK) has concluded that it is important to propose a vision for the payment and settlement systems from a long-term perspective, and to push ahead consistently with this vision. It has also been noted that major economies have also established and are pursuing long-term strategies for developing their payment and settlement systems, so as to also enhance their systems' efficiency and safety and facilitate the provision of diverse payment services.

Against this background, the BOK has decided to establish a "Payment System Policy Roadmap -Vision 2020", and to implement it fully by 2020 in order to respond in a pre-emptive and proactive manner.

Forecasts for domestic and international payment and settlement environments

Paradigm shift driven by accelerated fusion of IT and finance

It is expected that non-financial companies such as telecom companies, smartphone manufacturers and platform operators will endeavor to expand their entries into the payment services market. This expanded entry of non-financial companies to the payment services market will lead to intensified competition between IT companies and financial institutions, and facilitate service development as a result.

Various breeds of digital currencies (or virtual currencies) such as Bitcoin, based on blockchain and distributed ledger technology, are expected to continue emerging. The widespread use of digital currencies is judged likely to cause fundamental changes in the payment and settlement systems, which are at present centered mainly on the central bank.

Amid the diversification in types of and interfaces among payment services, an environment of ubiquitous service availability, overcoming all temporal and spatial restraints, will be fostered. The globalization of payment services is anticipated to progress as well, through cross-border linkages among retail payment networks.

In line with the expansion in payment services focused on open networks and simplified settlement, it is expected that concerns about financial security and cyber threats will grow. Problems related to financial and customer information protection are increasing. Moreover, as new IT technologies are being integrated into financial services in relatively short periods of time, service providers may in some cases be unable to allocate sufficient time to verify the reliability and security of financial transactions using these technologies, which may give rise to more frequent cyber incident occurrence.

Growing demand for enhanced FMI safety and expanded system linkages

While pushing ahead with adoption of the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMI) (1), authorities are actively discussing issues related to the elimination of regulatory arbitrage and to the ensuring of level-playing fields. In particular, jurisdictions are revising their respective regulatory frameworks and system arrangements in order to incorporate international standards, and the Committee of Payments and Market Infrastucture and the International Organization of Securities Setlements Systems (CPMI-IOSCO) are carrying out additional discussions aimed at identifying areas where provision of additional guidance is needed to facilitate jurisdictions' PFMI implementation efforts. It is anticipated that jurisdictions will in parallel adopt global standards on financial transactions (e.g. ISO 20022), as well as groups of identifiers for reporting, recording and aggregating over-thecounter (OTC) derivatives transactions.

It has been noted that major economies are in the process of either enhancing or reconstructing their systemically important payment and settlement systems--central banks' real-time gross settlements systems (RTGSs), in particular. Global technical standards will be adopted and backup or substitute systems will be constructed, to facilitate greater flexibility in responding to the changing financial environment.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to pursue cross-border settlement arrangements proposed to support intra-regional transactions in securities or foreign exchange. Relevant preparations and discussions are in progress under the umbrella of the ASEAN+3 (2) Regional Settlement Intermediary (RSI) initiative. In 2015 central banks and central securities depositories (CSDs) in the region chose a CSD-RTGS linkage model, adoption of which will be pursued by regional countries through subsequent technical discussions and potential system constructions. In the retail dimension, likewise, it is expected that system operators in the region will further their discussions of constructing multilateral system linkages based on the regional network platform (referred to as "the APN hub" (3)).

Amid a continuous increase in transactions in and circulation of the Chinese currency (Renminbi, RMB) for settling cross-border trade, a growing demand for additional RMB clearing and settlement infrastructures is expected.

Demand for a strengthening of the central bank's role

Recently, market participants' interest in support of the Fintech industry and enhancement of retail payment convenience and safety has increased. Therefore, the central bank's role as a catalyst will grow to accommodate structural changes in the payment system environment and to support continuous innovation. Further, the central bank will be increasingly expected to serve as a coordinator aligning the diverse views of relevant stakeholders.

Demand will increase for pre-emptive and proactive oversight by central banks against new variants of risks. As domestic and cross-border linkages among infrastructures expand, new settlement risks arise--a process that accelerates with the degree of interdependence between the linked systems and the potential complexity of the settlement mechanisms, giving rise to a need for enhancement of the central bank's oversight framework. Moreover, in view of the distinctive risk profiles of non-financial firms in particular, there will be a need for central bank development of targeted oversight methodologies.

It is expected that the roles and functions of Standard-Setting Bodies (SSBs) including the CPMI will expand further. The SSBs will take steps in the areas not only of promoting the relevant international standards, but of providing policy advice as well. It will therefore be more important for the central bank to participate in the related discussions, and to take into account the SSBs' advice and recommendations in the process of establishing its own payment and settlement policies.

Review of environment for payment services and financial market infrastructures in Korea

Evolution of payment services market

"Fast payment" has long been available in the Korean retail payment market, based upon the interbank shared network of the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC), established jointly by the BOK and financial institutions in the late 1980s. As non-bank financial institution participation in the Electronic Banking System has expanded, and non-financial companies have also begun to provide related payment services through alliances with financial institutions, the market has demonstrated remarkable growth.

With the recent rise in demand for simplification of the authentication systems for electronic payments, together with the development of IT technology, government-led initiatives are actively pursuing policies to support the Fintech industry through relaxations of related regulations and other relevant measures. Entries into the payment services market by a greater number of non-financial companies, such as payment gateways and ICT companies, have also grown rapidly. However, the related discussions and innovations are focused mainly on the enhancement of financial consumer convenience and relaxation of regulations, and there is thus a need for greater efforts devoted to strengthening the safety of these services.

Need for enhancing safety and efficiency of FMIs

The domestic FMIs have been assessed as in good overall observance with the PFMI. Notwithstanding this, a series of much needed further improvements have been identified in relation to the following: allocation of financial resources in consideration of stress test scenarios, FMI support of financial stability, operational risk management in view of mutual interdependencies, and RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) following disaster occurrence.

With respect to BOK-Wire, the RTGS operated by BOK, it has been noted that system enhancement or reconstruction is necessary due to its operational complexity and system obsoleteness in consequence of its continued expansion of functions over the past two decades since 1994.

It is likewise imperative that the retail payment systems endeavor actively to accommodate the ongoing evolutions in the relevant environments, such as the rise of new payment services and the expansion in distributed ledger technologies.

In the cases of the central counterparty clearing house (CCP) and the CSD/SSS, although the CCP has completed some of the procedures required for international recognition, by undergoing equivalence assessments by major economies, further improvement of its risk management framework remains necessary.

Need for enhancing the central bank's roles and responsibilities

The BOK has been serving as the RTGS operator, the FMI overseer and the catalyst that supports payment and settlement system innovation. In this regard, the following tasks are required:

* BOK-Wire needs to be greatly enhanced, to enable it to respond effectively to the diversification and sophistication of financial transactions between financial institutions, as well as to the surges in transaction value and volume.

* The BOK needs to strengthen its oversight role in identifying, analyzing and evaluating the relevant potential risks arising from the multiple phases involved and the growing complexity of the settlement structure caused by the spread of new payment services, and in inducing any needed improvements.

* As the lender of last resort and the oversight authority, the BOK, based upon its expertise and experience in the area of payment and settlement, needs to take the lead in promoting payment and settlement system development, through for example the introduction of new settlement systems and payment instruments and improvement of the existing systems.

It will meanwhile also be important for the BOK to participate in the discussions on global regulatory initiatives and the implementation of international standards, as a member of global central bank communities including the CPMI, EMEAP (Executives' Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks), SEACEN (South East Asian Central Banks) and the CLS (4) Oversight Committee.

Payment system policy roadmap--Vision 2020 Vision and strategic objectives

To this end, the BOK has set forth a vision of ensuring the safety and efficiency of the payment and settlement systems so as to contribute to financial stability, and to pursue advancement of these systems. The BOK has also adopted the following three strategic objectives under the vision, with a view to putting it into practice in a consistent manner:

* Enhancement of the payment and settlement infrastructures

* Promotion of innovation and progress in payment services

* Strengthening of the central bank functions

In order to achieve these three objectives, the BOK has developed twelve accompanying workplans, with full implementation by 2020:
Vision, strategic objectives and workplans

Vision                           Ensuring the safety and efficiency of
                                 the payment and settlement systems so
                                 as to contributeto financial
                                 stability, andto pursuethe systems'

Strategic objectives                           Workplans

Enhancem ent of payment and      (1) Constructing the next generation
settlem ent infrastructures      BOK-Wire

                                 (2) Extending the BOK-Wire operating

                                 (3) Enhancing the local RMB clearing

                                 (4) Furthering implementation of the

Promotion of innovation in       (5) Improving the convenience and
payment services                 safety of retail payment services

                                 (6) Responding to the rise of digital
                                 currencies and distributed ledger

                                 (7) Shortening the net settlement
                                 intervals in the retail payment

                                 (8) Promoting innovation in the
                                 payment services market

Strengthening of the central     (9) Enhancing the oversight and risk
bank functions                   analysis framework

                                 (10) Expanding the financial
                                 informatization project

                                 (11) Strengthening international

                                 (12) Strengthening research and
                                 enhancing the policy implementation


Constructing the next generation real-time gross settlements system

The BOK has initiated construction of the next generation BOK-Wire in a plan to enhance its safety and efficiency. The project will be pushed ahead based upon the two key objectives of i) improving the operation and management process, and ii) adopting the latest IT technologies. System modules and architecture will also be designed and built, with the aim of enhancing participants' convenience and forming the foundation for potential cross-border system linkages that may accelerate with further progress in regional financial integration. Given the systemic importance of BOK-Wire, the BOK has taken a phased-in approach as follows:

* Phase 1 (Review and design): the BOK plans to establish a specific blueprint for redesign and construction of the system, while conducting comprehensive and in-depth reviews of the current BOK-Wire's technical elements, operational processes and risk management framework. In carrying out these steps the BOK will collect views from BOK-Wire participants and the market overall, which it will take into account in the ensuing process, while preparing a plan for revision of the relevant regulations pertaining to operation of BOK-Wire. The targeted completion date for this phase is the end of 2017.

* Phase 2 (System construction): Based upon the blueprint prepared in Phase 1, the BOK will carry out the actual system construction. When the work nears completion, participants will be asked to revise their own systems' connecting modules and supporting infrastructures, with multiple rounds of comprehensive tests to then follow. The targeted date for completion of this phase is end-2020.

Extending the RTGS operating hours

The BOK plans to extend the current BOK-Wire operating hours, as a means to ease the concentration of settlement at around the closing time, and to lay a foundation for cross-border system linkages with overseas financial market infrastructures. The plan is also geared toward reducing the mutual credit exposures of retail payment system participants, by moving the conduct of large-value fund transfers from the retail payment systems to BOK-Wire.

The current BOK-Wire operating hours are eight hours and thirty minutes, from 09:00 to 17:30. Major economy central banks have maintained long operating hours, or extended them recently, in order to provide continuous settlement services for global financial institutions.

Given that this issue involves not only the BOK but also the cooperation of the FMI participants and operating institutions, the BOK will pursue BOK-Wire operating hour extension in close consultation with these other parties.

Enhancing the local RMB clearing infrastructure

In preparation for a potential rise in RMB settlement demand arising from the RMB's increasing circulation as a settlement asset for trade and financial transactions, the BOK is planning enhancement of the local RMB clearing and settlement infrastructures in order to support safe and efficient settlement services. After stable operation of the RMB clearing bank's system has been ensured, the plan will be put into practice in phases. The specific timelines for building the Payment vs. Payment (PvP) and Delivery vs. Payment (DvP) basis infrastructures will be set in consideration of the pace of increase in RMB transactions, and of the forms of global settlement infrastructures for RMB.

Furthering implementation of the PFMI

To enhance the safety and efficiency of the domestic FMIs, the BOK will respond actively to the SSBs' implementation monitoring/assessments on the one hand, while on the other hand also providing support to ensure the adoption of international standards such as the PFMI within the earliest possible time.

* Pursuing enhancement of FMIs' risk management frameworks in accordance with international standards: The BOK is committed to ensuring that the clearing and settlement infrastructures follow and put into place risk management in line with international standards, so that they can support domestic and cross-border financial transactions in a more stable manner.

* Pursuing continuous improvement of FMI-related arrangements: The BOK will continue to pursue improvements of the FMI-related arrangements, in collaboration with the relevant domestic FMI authorities.

* Establishing cooperative arrangements with relevant authorities: The BOK will formalize the frameworks for cooperation with the relevant authorities, in line with recommendations made by the CPMI-IOSCO and the IMF.

Improving convenience and safety of retail payment services

To actively accommodate the recent structural changes in the retail payment and settlement environments, while also supporting continuous innovation, the BOK will prepare and implement measures focused on enhancing retail payment system convenience and safety.

* Enhancing convenience: the BOK will monitor global retail payment trends, and continually pursue improvements in domestic retail payment system convenience. The Bank will in particular work to establish and implement measures to accommodate the changes in the retail payment and settlement environment, and in collaboration with the relevant institutions implement measures to improve payment service convenience and efficiency.

* Pursuing reliability and safety: The BOK will continue to pursue policy measures aimed at securing the reliability and safety of innovative electronic payment services. To this end, the Bank will establish and implement measures for expanding pertinent statistics to help in identifying and preventing potential risks, as well as for oversight of such risks, and carry out assessments of service providers' measures to ensure the safety of electronic finance.

* Strengthening cooperation: The BOK will strengthen its cooperation with the relevant institutions and expand its measures for collecting the views of diverse stakeholders. It will expand its joint research with related institutions as well as external experts, together with its practical cooperation with operators and payment services providers, and work to continue relevant discussions with diverse stakeholders through interactions via conferences, workshops and seminars.

Responding to the rise of digital currencies and distributed ledger technology

As the circulation of digital currencies and the utilization of distributed ledger technology may bring about dynamic changes in the payment system and the financial system at large, the BOK will bolster its research on these issues and develop plans for responding to these changes.

* Monitoring and research: The BOK will monitor trends in global transactions in and usage of digital currencies, and conduct joint research, together with major domestic financial institutions and experts in this field, on the distributed ledger technology and its development and application in the payment systems. Specifically, the research will cover an optimal regulatory framework governing the issuance and circulation of digital currencies, based on analysis of the spread of digital currencies and its effects on not only the payment system but other aspects of central bank concern as well, such as monetary policy, financial stability and the financial markets.

* Participation in relevant international discussions: Given that digital currencies can be used as global payment instruments, free from the constraints of regional restrictions, the BOK will step up its participation in relevant international discussions (e.g. participation in the CPMI Working Group on Digital Innovation) and strengthen its cooperation with foreign central banks.

* Securing appropriate oversight tools: In response to the spread of digital currencies and distributed ledger technology, the BOK will commit itself to securing appropriate tools for oversight.

Shortening of net settlement intervals

Korea's retail payment systems, the Interbank Shared Network for example, are operated on a 24/7 basis and conceived of as extremely convenient to customers since the funds are paid immediately after payment initiation. However, as the final settlement through BOK-Wire takes the form of Deferred Net Settlement (DNS) at 11:00 AM on the following business day, financial institutions in the retail payment systems are exposed to credit risk.

In consideration of this risk, the BOK plans to shorten the net settlement intervals in the retail payment systems--by means such as moving net settlement execution to an earlier timeframe or operating multiple net settlement windows during the same business day, to thereby reduce the duration and amount of credit risk exposure. This plan will be carried forward in parallel with the putting into place of the newly developed linked settlement between BOK-Wire and the Electronic Banking System. As shortening of the net settlement intervals will require cooperation from the related FMI operators and participants, the BOK will collect their views over the course of plan preparation and implementation.

Promoting innovation in the payment services market

In response to the paradigm shift in payment and settlement services, the BOK will develop measures for modification of current regulations making it difficult for new payment service providers to enter the market, while also pursuing improvements in the methods of retail payment system use.

* Developing policy measures: The BOK will develop policy measures to support market entry by new payment service providers and their innovative business operations, based upon which it will also provide the relevant authorities with policy advice as necessary. In particular, the BOK will develop measures for improvement of the regulatory frameworks including the registration requirements for electronic finance businesses and other relevant regulations. The specific focus in establishing the measures will be on specifying and clarifying the substances of the pertinent regulations so as to create a more predictable business environment moving into the future.

* Facilitating access and pursuing international standards: The BOK will pursue enhancement of retail payment system participation arrangements. Consideration may for instance be given to assisting Fintech service providers' indirect participation in the retail payment systems based on open-based interbank platforms. The BOK will in addition engage in the international discussions (of the CPMI, ISO/TC68, etc.) on retail payment innovation and enhancement of financial safety.

Enhancing oversight and risk analysis framework

In the course of implementing international standards such as the PFMI, the BOK plans to enhance its payment and settlement system oversight function by improving its framework for oversight and risk analysis.

* Enhancement of oversight framework: The BOK plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the scope and details of its current oversight methodologies, and push ahead with improvements of its oversight framework in a phased manner.

* Improvement of risk analysis framework: The BOK plans to pursue improvement of its risk analysis framework, by developing additional measures for quantifying risks. In particular, the BOK is considering development of a liquidity indicator to facilitate the monitoring of financial institutions' settlement behavior, and the building of a stress-based model enabling the identification of FMI credit and liquidity risks.

* Strengthening statistical analysis: The BOK plans to strengthen its framework for statistical analysis, by first expanding the coverage of its payment and settlement statistics. To achieve this goal the BOK will put a greater focus on examining the correlations between big payment data and key economic variables, while also expanding its compilation of statistics on payment and settlement instruments.

Expanding financial informatization project

In consideration of the spread of financial services provided by nonfinancial companies, the BOK will expand the scope of its financial informatization project, and in order to implement the related action plans effectively will also enhance the operational procedures of the Committee on Financial Informatization Promotion (CFIP (5)).

* Expansion of project related to standardization and safety measures: The BOK will examine the statuses of the disaster recovery systems of domestic financial institutions, and their observances of international standards, and propose improvements as needed.

* Expanding composition of CFIP: The BOK plans to expand the CFIP's composition to include representatives from non-financial electronic finance service providers. The scope of those polled by the CFIP to collect business ideas and suggestions will also be expanded, by inviting non-financial firms and the general public.

* Collecting views from diverse institutions: Working-level entities under the CFIP, such as the Working Group on Standardization and the Working Group on Safety Measures, will commit themselves to collecting views from diverse institutions with regard to the CFIP's agenda settings.

Strengthening international cooperation

The BOK plans to continue engaging in discussions on global regulatory issues taking place in the SSBs and various central bank communities (the CPMI, EMEAP, SEACEN, ASEAN+3, etc.) The BOK will also devote itself to providing central banks of developing countries technical assistance based upon its expertise and experience with respect to the formulation of FMI policies and payment system operation.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, discussions of regional settlement infrastructures such as cross-border linkages between FMIs are underway. And in this regard, the BOK plans to participate in the activities of relevant working groups and task forces. The BOK will also step up its efforts to support expanding the coverage of the Cross-border Payment Network (for ATM and account transfers), a system of bilateral linkages between Korea and several counterpart countries.

Meanwhile, the BOK intends to also continue its cooperation with central banks of developing countries, by providing policy advice in connection with the design of payment and settlement system architecture; the formulation of relevant regulations; the establishment of oversight frameworks; and infrastructure construction.

Strengthening research and enhancing policy implementation framework

The BOK plans to strengthen its payment and settlement related research with a view to boosting its capacities for effective response to the evolutions of the financial market and payment and settlement environments, and for leading development of the domestic payment and settlement systems. In parallel, the BOK will commit itself to enhancing its policy implementation framework through both autonomous efforts and cooperative engagement.

* Strengthening Research: The BOK will strengthen its research on critical issues, to help it more swiftly and accurately identify trends in the rapidly evolving domestic and foreign payment and settlement environment, and based upon this, make policy responses as needed in a timely manner. Key focuses of the research will be issues such as the rise and spread of new breeds of payment services and services using big data, and the use of e-money in connection with retail payment. Further, the BOK will examine the possibility of a 'coinless society,' by conducting research on cashless society models in advanced economies.

* Enhancing Policy Implementation Framework: The BOK will devote efforts to enhancing its policy implementation framework, through autonomous efforts to pursue payment and settlement system enhancement as well as extending policy advice to the government authorities. In this respect, the BOK will work to present its policy perspectives by establishing a cooperative arrangement dedicated to payment and settlement with the relevant authorities. Diverse channels of engagement will also be utilized to achieve this goal. Further, the sections in the annual Payment and Settlement Systems Report concerning policy functions will be improved so as to satisfy the public need for and interest in information on payment and settlement issues.
Implementation Timeline

Strategic objectives/Work plans              Year of Implementation
/Action plans
                                      2016   2017   2018   2019   2020
I. Enhancement of payment and
settlement infrastructures

1. Constructing the next generation

(1) Planning for construction
(2) Construction and operation

2. Extending the BOK-Wire operating

(1) Planning and Consultation with

(2) Implementation of extension

3. Enhancing the local RMB clearing

(1) Promotion of clearing system
(2) Establishment of PvP system (if

4. Furthering Implementation of the

(1) Inducement in compliance with
PFMI and pursuit of improvements

(2) Pursuit of establishment of
cooperative arrangement with
related authorities

II. Promotion of innovation in
Payment Services

5. Improving the convenience and
safety of retail payment services

(1) Improvement of retail payment
system convenience

(2) Improvement of new electronic
payment service safety

(3) Enhancement of cooperation with
relevant domestic and foreign
institutions (continuing)

6. Responding to the rise of
digital currencies and distributed
ledger technology

(1) Conduct of related monitoring
and cooperation (continuing)

(2) Establishment of oversight

7. Shortening the net settlement
intervals in the retail payment

(1) Establishment and consultation
with relevant institutions

(2) Implementation of shortened net
settlement intervals

8. Promoting Innovation in Payment
Services Market

III. Strengthening of the central
bank functions

9. Strengthening oversight and risk
analysis framework

(1) Improvement of payment and
settlement system oversight

(2) Pursuit of oversight
enhancement through risk

10. Expanding financial

11. Strengthening international

12. Strengthening research and
enhancing policy implementation

(1) Bank for International Settlements (BIS) first proposed the Principles in 2012.

(2) Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) Plus Three (China, Japan and Korea).

(3) The Asian Payment Network(APN), a forum composed of the private retail payment system operators of ASEaN+3 member countries, has been pursuing establishment of this regional hub as a medium- to long-term goal.

(4) CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement) is a specialized institution which provides settlement services in the foreign exchange market (FX).

(5) The CFIP, a consultative group of financial institutions chaired by the BOK Senior Deputy Governor, was established under the National Informatization Framework Act in order to carry out joint projects on financial informatization, standardization and safety measures. It consists of representatives from 29 institutions including banks, securities firms, credit card companies, insurance companies and other relevant institutions.
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Title Annotation:Firms and Markets
Publication:DigiWorld Economic Journal Communications & Strategies
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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