Frequently asked questions
About ISO 20022
Who should be interested in ISO 20022?
Mostly financial institutions that want to streamline their communication infrastructure and associated costs by opting for a single, common "language" for all financial communications, whatever the business domain, the communication network and the counterparty (other financial institutions, clients, suppliers and market infrastructures). ISO 20022 is targeted at these standards initiatives that are generally driven by communities of users looking for more cost-effective communications to support specific financial business processes with a particular view of facilitating interoperability with other existing protocols.
What is included in the ISO 20022 standard?
The standard itself describes the development methodology, the registration process and the organization of the central financial repository that contains the ISO 20022 messages and their components. The ISO 20022 standard consists of eight parts:
Copies of the standard can be purchased from ISO at: http://www.iso.org/.
Note that, although they are often referred to as ISO standards, the ISO 20022 messages are not ISO standards. The ISO standard is the development methodology described in the eight parts described above. The messages are defined using this ISO 20022 development methodology: strictly speaking, they are ISO 20022 "compliant" messages, but we called them ISO 20022 messages.
There is no official certification authority for ISO 20022, and the implementation of ISO 20022 message definitions will depend a lot on the specific requirements of the community that is implementing. The ISO 20022 Registration Authority (RA) and Technical Support Group (TSG) have defined an ISO 20022 Compliance Checklist providing guidance to implementers about some key aspects to be considered in order to be as compliant as possible with the standard. The checklist can be used by implementers, adopters (consultants, tool providers, service providers, etc.), and consumers of ISO 20022 messages to tick whether they have considered each of the key aspects related to ISO 20022 compliance.
What will ISO 20022 accomplish?
The ISO 20022 flexible framework will encourage users to build business transactions and message models under an internationally agreed upon approach, and to migrate to the use of a common vocabulary and a common set of syntaxes. In ISO 20022, the models and the derived XML or ASN.1 outputs are stored in a central financial repository serviced by a Registration Authority. The ISO 20022 repository offers industry users and developers free access to a Data Dictionary of business and message components and a Business Process Catalogue containing message models and corresponding XML and/or ASN.1 schemas.
If there are no ISO 20022 messages to cover a specific transaction, standards initiatives can be launched to define new models and messages and submit the new solution for approval by the ISO 20022 registration bodies. If the messages exist in the ISO 20022 repository, but do not address all requirements of a new community, it can be agreed upon to update the existing models and messages and create a new version that will accommodate the needs of all.
Who can develop messages ?
How to apply ?
Who will review the messages?
The ISO 20022 approval and registration process involves three kinds of registration bodies: the Registration Management Group (RMG), the Registration Authority (RA) and the Standards Evaluation Groups (SEGs), which work together to validate and process the registration requests from users, according to the ISO 20022 Registration Procedures.
Is there a development tool available?
The RA is not resourced to undertake or participate in the development of the candidate ISO 20022 models, but provides the submitting organization (which Business Justification has been approved by the RMG) with a ready for use EMF-based modeling tool - the Editor - which helps creating the required deliverables and validating their ISO 20022 compliance.
Editor Modelling Tool
For Submitting Organisations using the 'Editor' modelling tool provided by SWIFT to develop candidate ISO 20022 messages, a specific version of the e-Repository can be obtained from the ISO 20022 Registration Authority. Please note that you need to have a Business Justification identification number to receive the tool.
Where can I find the status of a Business Justification?
How to request a change?
What is the implementation timeline for a change?
Where can I find the status of a Change Request/Maintenance Change Request?
What is a MCR?
A Maintenance Change Request includes all the change requests approved for further consideration by the SEG and indicates, for each of them, how the submitting organization proposes to implement the change and the resulting impact on the targeted message definitions. The Maintenance Change Request also confirms whether or not the submitting organization can dedicate required resources to the development of the changes in the requested timeframe. If, for any reason, the submitting organization cannot perform all or part of the requested changes, the RA and the SEG will seek an alternative submitting organization ready to maintain the message definitions. Alternatively, the SEG may agree to postpone all or part of the requested changes.
Who can develop the new message version(s)?
The submitting organization, which is the organisation that developed the first version (V01) of the Message Definition, develops the new versions.
What is the Fast track maintenance process ?
What is the role/responsibilities of the evaluation groups?
The SEGs, composed of industry experts in specific business domains of the financial industry, have a twofold role: (1) to ensure that the proper industry groups are informed of proposed developments to ensure all business requirements will be addressed, and (2) to validate the new messages from a business perspective to ensure that what will be posted in the ISO 20022 repository by the RA really addresses the needs of future communities of users as described in the business justification accepted by the RMG in the first place.
The RMG has already defined the scope of the following SEGs: Payments and Securities were created in 2005, Trade Services and FX (Foreign Exchange) were created in 2006, Cards and related retail financial services was created in 2008, a Derivatives SubSEG, which works within and reports to the Securities SEG, was created in 2016. If required, additional SEGs can be created by the RMG to address other areas of the financial industry.
Who is part of the SEGs?
Membership of the ISO 20022 Registration Bodies - that is, the RMG, SEGs and TSG - is open to any entity that has an interest to participate so long as that entity fulfils the criteria of membership described in the Membership page. Existing RMG Member Entities may nominate new experts to the RMG, SEGs and TSG by informing the ISO 20022 Registration Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I be part of the EGs?
Membership of the ISO 20022 Registration Bodies - that is, the RMG, SEGs and TSG - is open to any entity that has an interest to participate so long as that entity fulfils the criteria of membership shown below.
The outcome of an application for membership is decided by the existing RMG members based on information provided by the applicant entity conforming to the application template. A single application can be used by the applicant entity to participate in one or more of the Registration Bodies.
If the application includes RMG membership, the entity must seek the guidance regarding their application from the RMG leadership (that is, the RMG Convenor, Vice Convenor and the Registration Authority) in the preparation of their application. If the application does not include RMG membership, the entity must seek the guidance from the leadership of the Group(s) they wish to apply for membership (that is, the Convenor, Vice Convenor and Secretary of the SEG or TSG) in the preparation of their application.
Existing RMG member entities don't need to re-apply to participate in a SEG or TSG. They can just nominate their experts by e-mail to the Registration Authority at email@example.com with a copy to the Secretary of the Registration Body.
The entity wishing to apply must explain in writing how it:
a) Is structured as a representative organisation/body/community that brings together a community of users, or interested parties with a legitimate interest or track record in standardisation
b) Is governed to reinforce the representative nature of membership and decision making
c) Has a membership, or represents a community, that is appropriate to the financial services sector scope of the ISO 20022 standard
e) Is constituted, where the preference is given to membership rules that are based on principles with a not for profit orientation
f) Demonstrates that it has a domestic, regional or global focus relevant to ISO 20022.
The entity wishing to apply is also strongly encouraged to provide details to explain:
g) Any relevant track record of engagement in, and/or implementation of, industry standards with particular emphasis on the financial services sector
h) Whether in applying to become a member of the ISO 20022 Registration Bodies, it has the support and sponsorship of a National Standards Body or national financial community organisation, such as a National Central Bank or banking association. Or whether there are existing affiliations to ISO or other standards bodies, perhaps as a liaison organisation.
Once completed, the application form must be e-mailed to the ISO 20022 Registration Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org. A flow chart illustrates the application process, which is similar to the approval process of a Business Justification that is described on the Development page.
ISO 20022 Messages
Where can I find all the ISO 20022 messages?
Where can I find the ISO 20022 Payments/Securities/Cards/FX/Trade messages?
How can I know if a message is ISO 20022 compliant?
There is no official certification authority for ISO 20022, and the implementation of ISO 20022 message definitions will depend a lot on the specific requirements of the community that is implementing, that is, the ‘community of users’.
The aim of the ISO 20022 implementation compliance checklist is to give guidance to implementers about some key aspects to be considered in order to be as compliant as possible with the standard. As the name indicates, it is a checklist that can be used by implementers, adopters (consultants, tool providers, service providers, etc.), and consumers of ISO 20022 messages to tick whether they have considered each of the key aspects related to ISO 20022 compliance.
Who develops the ISO 20022 messages?
Where can I find the previous versions of the messages?
Can I use the previous versions of the messages?
All communities of ISO 20022 users are invited to consider using always the most recent version of the message definitions to ensure worldwide coherence of the versions in use.
Although previous versions remain available in the ISO 20022 Message Archive.
What is the Business Application Header?
The ISO 20022 Business Application Header (BAH) is maintained by the ISO 20022 Technical Support Group and approved by the Cross SEG Harmonisation Group (CSH).
The Business Application Header is a header that has been defined by the ISO 20022 community, that can form part of an ISO 20022 business message. Specifically, the BAH is an ISO20022 message definition (head.001.001.0x) which can be combined with any other ISO20022 message definition to form a business message.
It gathers together, in one place, data about the message, such as which organisation has sent the business message, which organisation should be receiving it, the identity of the message itself, a
reference for the message and so on.
The purpose of the BAH is to provide a consistent and predictable way for this data to be conveyed with the message, regardless of implementation factors such as the choice of network. This does not prevent such data being conveyed either within the ISO 20022 message definition itself, or as part of a network header.
You will find additional information on the BAH in this document.
Where can I find information on the Supplementary Data component?
Where can I find information on the variants?
How can I request a new variant?
How can I request a change to a variant?
What is the meaning of the message identifier?
What character encoding is supported by ISO 20022 XML?
The ISO 20022 standard uses XML 1.0. XML 1.0 supports UTF-8, UTF-16 and many more. ISO 20022 has decided to restrict to only UTF-8 based on the fact that it is the most efficient (length-wise) way to transport characters. UTF-16 always requires 2 bytes, UTF-8 uses for the most common characters (such as Basic Latin) only a single byte. Only for exotic characters UTF-8 becomes lengthier, but these characters are rarely required in ISO 20022 messages.
What is ASN.1?
ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One) is a data specification and encoding technology jointly standardized by ISO, IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), and ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and widely used across several industries (cellular telephony, signaling, network management, Directory, Public Key Infrastructure, videoconferencing, aeronautics, Intelligent Transportation, and so on).
The ASN.1 notation is used to create ASN.1 schemas, which are text files containing the definition of one or more message types of arbitrary complexity. An instance of a message type is encoded using one of the standard sets of ASN.1 encoding rules (DER, PER, OER, XER, etc.) for the purpose of transmission.
The tool that is used by the Registration Authority (RA) to convert the ISO 20022 message models into ASN.1 schemas has been built by OSS Nokalva, Inc. More information about the use of ASN.1 can be found on the OSS website at www.oss.com/iso20022.html.
What is a Data Source Schemes (DSS)?
A Data Source Scheme (DSS) is a mechanism which allows an industry body to specify the use a proprietary code set that is not owned nor managed by ISO 20022, and that replaces a standard code set (either a specific ISO 20022 managed code set or another ISO standard code set, e.g. BICs or ISINs) in specific ISO 20022 Message Components, where the use of such DSS has been approved.