• "We implemented a SWIFT message in half a day; the programmer said it would normally take him five days " Tier One Global FI
  • "With such a powerful tool in place we’re now thinking of extending our message conversion services to other business areas" Sergei Putyatinsky, CIO, NSD Moscow
  • "The in-built testing capabilities of Transformer have allowed us to validate the integrity of new message formats … much more quickly, and with greater confidence" Capital Markets Service Provider and Reporting Authority
  • "Transformer has … allowed us to use analysts rather than developers to build our mappings, improving our time-to-market, reducing cost and increasing the quality of our solutions" Integration Architect, U.K Investment Manager
  • "Transformer gives us more flexibility to support the diversity of our rapidly-growing client base, and to ease the integration process for new clients " Head of Product Management, Earthport
  • "We think Transformer is a fantastic product and it is an integral part of our Enterprise Messaging strategy going forward" Major American FI
  • "Using Transformer has simplified the process of working with multiple industry messaging standards" Integration Architect, U.K Investment Manager
  • "We are very happy to be working with Trace Financial" Vivek Awashti, Chief Technology Officer, Currencies Direct
  • "With Transformer handling the complexity behind the integrations, our teams can concentrate on our payment product - instead of worrying about technical message transformations" Vivek Awashti, Chief Technology Officer, Currencies Direct
  • "Transformer is an integral tool within our technology infrastructure, helping to further accelerate the speed to market as we on-board clearing banking partners in new countries" Head of Product Management, Earthport
  • "Transformer’s ability to elegantly handle complex financial messaging scenarios is proof both of its power and of Trace's depth of understanding of the standards" SWIFT
  • "I am indeed impressed and have not experienced this level of support from a corporate vendor to date. Excellent choice!" Major South African FI
  • "We were able to create, test and deploy mappings that took three months in XSLT within three business days" Latin American software company
  • "From watching the demo I am able to use the product straight away and create and test complex messages and mappings quickly and easily" Regulatory Reporting Authority
  • "Transformer is the only messaging technology that we have found that really can be used by a business analyst" Major European Investment Manager
  • "Transformer … has enabled our business analysts and Quality Assurance team to create and comprehensively test financial message transformations" Capital Markets Service Provider and Reporting Authority
  • "Transformer has brought a great deal of agility to the development of our next generation of payment frameworks, and also made it much more efficient" Vivek Awashti, Chief Technology Officer, Currencies Direct
  • "Independent tests scored Transformer at 100% for message transformation" SWIFT

PSD2 - the Revised Payment Services Directive

The EU’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was transposed into domestic law on 13th January 2018. The PSD2 Directive aims to stimulate new entrants into the provision of innovative banking services by opening up the data silos of the traditional banks.  Two specific types of third party service are identified: payments initiation services (PIS) and account information services (AIS) – the latter being the provision of aggregated account information.

The key point is that under the rules, banks are obliged to provide licensed third parties with secure access to bank customers’ accounts. In practice the banks will provide this access via open APIs.

However, the regulatory technical standards (RTS) for PSD2, which are now being finalised by the European Banking Authority (EBA), do not in themselves include any overarching requirement for standardisation of the API, apart from a statement that the data structures should be based on ISO 20022.

The challenges of ISO 20022

ISO 20022 does not fit well with the mainstream of API development. No open banking APIs currently exposed by the banks directly use ISO 20022 messages or elements. Most of existing interfaces are RESTful, and as such use the transport protocol to convey semantic value, while ISO 20022 makes no provision for that. Also, most APIs use JSON for syntax of the requests and responses, but ISO 20022 currently does not define JSON syntax, and is usually implemented in XML.

A further basic problem with ISO 20022 is that it allows for any amount of variation and development. Multiple ‘variant’ forms of a given message, such as the Payment Instruction, can exist at the same time. On top of this, different implementations may restrict the message – prohibiting the use of certain optional fields for example – in different ways.

The outcome is thus likely to be that the banks will create a diverse range of APIs, each of which uses a different flavour of ISO 20022 to structure its data.  This will create a major challenge for the service providers who will need to call the APIs of multiple banks.

A separate issue for the banks’ API designers is that of retrieving data from one or more legacy systems and restructuring it for publishing via the API, or in the case of payments initiation, a transformation in the other direction. The process might involve multiple in-house systems and require a range of different types of communication; from database updates to message exchanges.

The solution

Trace Financial’s Transformer adds value in all of these areas.  Transformer offers banks and service providers the tools they need to work with banking APIs including full support for RESTful services, JSON and ISO 20022 based data structures.  

Transformer uniquely allows analysts or developers to address all aspects including mapping, validation, enrichment, testing and maintenance without resorting to coding or scripting.

Transformer dramatically shortens the time taken to build solutions involving complex data structures. The analyst using Transformer creates solutions directly in the intuitive Design-Time GUI. There is no coding stage, even when the required data transformation is highly complex. In this way projects remain clearly articulated and easy to maintain, and removing the old-fashioned ‘spec handover’ from analyst to developer eliminates a major source of risk and delay. Testing is fully integrated at all stages.

Once configurations are complete and tested they are deployed into any runtime architecture that suits the client. A Transformer configuration can be deployed into the multitude of technical infrastructures found at a client site including Java, .NET, RESTful web services, etc.

Transformer is a truly strategic solution to all the challenges and delivers one best-of-breed solution for any data standard; for deployment in any technical infrastructure; for integration in any version control system and automated testing environment; and can be used by analysts or developers without any need to resort to coding or scripting. Transformer is an essential tool for coping with these evolving and complex demands.