TWIST standards group publishes robust set of standards requirements supporting commercial payments and working capital financing

- TWIST defines with major banks requirements that promote universal payment standard

MONACO - June 4, 2003 - TWIST, the Treasury Workstation Integration Standards Team, announced today at the Trema World Forum that it has issued the requirements for a complete range of standard XML-messages that will automate the processing by banks and their clients of commercial payments and working capital financing. Seven major international banks (ABN-AMRO bank, Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Standard Chartered Bank) have worked together with other industry experts that are members of TWIST to ensure universal applicability of the requirements. After obtaining feedback from other market participants by the end of June, the TWIST task force led by Ernst & Young and Shell aims at driving for one single, open and non-proprietary standard that can be used by any corporate and bank, irrespective of size, location or market position.

The requirements support all of the following sub-activities: Relationship Set up & Management; Issue Corporate Payment Instruction, Issue Remittance Advice, Cancellations, Payment Status Information Updates, Payment Rejections, Payment Repairs and Bank Statements Reporting. The requirements cover a multi-agent and multi-payment method perspective, allowing corporates to use the same payment process for financial and commercial transactions and irrespective of the issuance of payments via electronic transfer, check issuance, direct debit or by using credit or debit cards. The material further includes requirements for security, authentication and authorization as well as recommendations for using unique payment reference numbers when sending payments through inter-bank clearing channels.

The involvement of the major cash management banks ensures international applicability of the resulting standards and the critical mass required for the implementation effort in the near future. "TWIST has been able to bring together an important group of banks and respected professionals from the payment industry, focused on delivering universal standards that allow for effective straight-through-processing of payments and working capital financing," said Tom Buschman, treasury development manager for Shell Treasury Centre and co-ordinator of TWIST. "By releasing first the output as requirements for standards, TWIST invites others in the industry to provide their highly valuable input whilst simultaneously driving further convergence between standards published by TWIST, SWIFT, IFX and others in this area".

Steven Hartjes, partner at Ernst & Young and co-ordinator of the TWIST task force says: "It is very encouraging to see that major players in the industry have worked together in TWIST to tackle the root causes for inefficiencies in the processing of commercial payments and working capital financing. The design presented by TWIST allow for corporates to standardize and automate the payment process across countries, across payment types and across banks and bank branches. It allows banks to improve their processing costs, have an increased reach for their existing services and provide additional services like working capital financing efficiently to their clients."

"We are very pleased to see the industry coming together driving for universal and robust standards," says Kaj Hed, CEO of Trema, which hosts the Trema World Forum at which the TWIST announcement was made. He believes that "TWIST is rapidly gaining universal acceptance by the depth of its membership base and its pragmatic and comprehensive design. Trema is proud to be a member of TWIST, helping to drive the TWIST standards initiative by embedding the standards in its own solutions."

Banks, corporations, software providers and consultants are invited to provide feedback on the material before June 30th 2003. The material can be requested by sending an email to Tom Buschman at Shell or Steven Hartjes at Ernst & Young. Based on the input obtained, TWIST aims in July to finalize the design of the standards for payment processing in collaboration with other standard bodies, notably SWIFT and IFX. Shortly thereafter, the complete set of updated requirements and resulting standards will be published on the website.

Press Release Contact:
Tom Buschman: +44 20 7934 3627 or +44 7787 151 683
Chris Pickles: +44 7775 768 172
Steven Hartjes: +31 20 549 7541

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