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SEPA : The Slow Pace of Adoption


With the SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) deadline only a year away, users seem to be showing little sign of adoption. Eurozone countries require legislation to enforce SEPA migration and corporates are calling for more dialogue and longer timeframes, session delegates were told on Tuesday.



Vincent Herlicq, board member of the French corporate treasurers’ association
Vincent Herlicq, board member of the French corporate treasurers’ association
vincent herlicq “If they have to migrate within two years of SEPA’s 2008 introduction the cost will be huge.” Vincent Herlicq, board member of the French corporate treasurers’ association

Gerard Hartsink, chairman, European Payments Council (EPC), and senior executive vice president of ABN AMRO, called for an EC mandate to force governments to adopt SEPA by 2010. “If tax authorities don’t take up the new standards, SEPA will never become a reality because consumers will never buy into it,” he said. Dialogue with public sector administrations had been ongoing for 3 years with little effect. “They say the banks must move forward, yet they don’t start up their own programmes,” Hartsink said. “But at least in several eurozone countries, the debate has started.”

Corporates for their part don’t have the information they need for adoption, according to Vincent Herlicq, board member of the French corporate treasurers’ association, who is unaware of any SEPA projects being undertaken by French corporates. In fact, not a single bank delegate at the session could name a corporate customer who had a plan, programme and budget for migrating to SEPA. One roadblock is that SEPA goes beyond the treasurer’s remit and there seems to be no-one with the information needed to present a compelling business case for investment. Herlicq’s call to banks to provide further pricing information so that corporates can do the necessary cost/benefit analyses was met with resistance. Jean-Yves Garnier, deputy manager, Banque Fédérale des Banques Populaire and member of the SWIFT Board pointed out that while corporates were asking for reduced pricing from the banks, they were at the same time migrating from high-volume legacy to new low-volume systems.

Herlicq reckons that corporates need more time to phase out their legacy payment instruments. “If they have to migrate within two years of SEPA’s 2008 introduction the cost will be huge. However, if migration can be done over a six year period, then SEPA costs could be included in other projects.”

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source :www.swift.com

Mardi 12 Décembre 2006
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