The 2009 guide to SEPA: Staying focused
Introduction: Making sure that SEPA delivers
The advent of the SEPA credit transfer (SCT) on 28 January 2008 and the clarification of details about the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), for which a launch date of 2 November 2009 has now been set, should have given SEPA its moment in the sun. However, circumstances conspired to ensure that SEPA was not at the top of most corporate agendas over the past year.
While SCT volumes grew steadily and in line with expectations throughout 2008, the
sharply worsening financial and economic environment from September 2008 directed
everyone’s attention to the more pressing concerns of effectively managing liquidity and
mitigating risks, including concentration risk. SEPA rapidly became a non-immediate item
on companies’ to-do lists.
There is a considerable irony in this. While corporates have numerous demands on investment
budgets, SEPA has never been – or at least should never have been – seen as distinct
from companies’ pre-existing goals. Instead, SEPA should be viewed as an enabler that can
help companies achieve their objectives.