The 2009 guide to SEPA: Staying focused


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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.

This fifth edition of our Guide to SEPA focuses on a handful of key themes about SEPA
that will help your company determine its strategy.

First, SEPA is certain to happen and cannot be ignored. Country timetables for migration
from national to SEPA instruments have yet to be fixed, but the transition will take place.
Second, SEPA is ultimately beneficial for companies. It was created not by banks but by the
EU to ensure a level playing field for corporates across the eurozone.

Third – and perhaps most important – is the concept of SEPA as an enabler. Many of the
long-term goals of corporates can be realized by SEPA. From account consolidation across
Europe to e-invoicing, SEPA marks a significant step forward.

Finally, it is important to remember that you are not alone when the time comes to make
decisions about SEPA. As one of the world’s leading banks, we have been involved in the
development of SEPA from the outset. We have the expertise and advisory services you
need to manage your move to SEPA successfully – whenever you decide to do it. We will be
here to make sure SEPA delivers results for you.

Brian Stevenson

Chief Executive Officer, Global Transaction Services, The Royal Bank of Scotland

SEPA: the tipping point 

SEPA and centralisation
Timing is everything

Benefits of implementation
Not just ticking boxes

Case study
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

SEPA & technology
A catalyst for change

Bringing the SMEs on board

Road map for corporates
The next steps:
Making SEPA work for you

SEPA: A checklist

The 2008 guide to SEPA: Now a Reality