2 Jul 2015

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is the independent regulator for payment systems. We have statutory objectives to promote competition and innovation in the interest of the people and organisations that use payment systems. We are therefore creating the Payments Strategy Forum (The Forum) to help us further these objectives.

As an economic regulator, we are particularly focussed on removing barriers to entry, competition and innovation in payments systems that may not be in the interest of users.

The Forum is an opportunity for the PSR, the payments industry and representatives of those that use payment systems to work together to drive collaborative innovation. We share a common goal with industry to deliver collaborative innovation and are committed to work in partnership to make the Forum a success.

The first Forum meeting is expected to be held in autumn 2015 and we are in the final stages of recruiting a Forum chair. We will be publishing a call for members in July.

To ensure those who use payment systems are fully engaged in the process, we are meeting with individuals and organisations over the summer. We want to hear their views on key payments issues and will present these to the Forum to inform its discussions when it first meets. We will present the outcomes of our consultations with stakeholders at an event beforehand.

We also expect the Forum to consider developments that the industry has underway, building on the good work that has already been started. This includes, for example, the Forum taking the lead on considering outcomes of the World Class Payments project, benefitting from a close working relationship with and the support from Payments UK (formerly the Payments Council), and work to investigate the feasibility of account number portability.

With this input, the Forum will lead an on-going process to identify, prioritise and develop initiatives where industry can work together to promote innovation. It will also hold the industry to account by transparently reporting on progress.

Below is an update on our progress to date. We have also produced a factsheet that answers some common questions about the Forum.

Setting up the Forum

A working group of industry representatives and different users of payment systems was formed in February 2015. The working group helped define the draft terms of reference for the Forum and contributed to developing the recruitment process for an independent Forum chair and Forum members. The Forum chair, once appointed, will help to further develop the Forum terms of reference.

Working group agenda and papers

Working Group 1

  • Agenda, 23 February 2015 (264 KB)

  • Discussion paper 1 - Agreeing the objectives and scope of the Payments Strategy Forum (854 KB)

  • Discussion paper 2 - Selecting the independent chair (227 KB)

Working Group 2

  • Agenda, 23 March 2015 (50 KB)

  • Discussion paper 3 - Developing the Payments Strategy Forum proposal (156 KB)

Working Group 3

  • Agenda, 30 April 2015 (245 KB)

  • Discussion paper 4 - Progress on terms of reference (134 KB)

  • Presentation on the roles of the Authorities at the Forum (271 KB)

The working group concluded its work in April having developed the following key themes as part of the Forum's terms of reference.

Objectives

The Forum will identify, prioritise and help to deliver initiatives where the industry needs to work together for the benefit of those who use payment systems. These are common objectives of the PSR, industry and those that use payment systems. The Forum will produce a set of priorities within a year of its first meeting.

Scope

The Forum will be limited to initiatives where it is necessary for the payments industry to work together to promote innovation for the benefit of those who use payment systems. Innovation that can be delivered through competition will not be within the scope of the Forum. Such collaboration would be incompatible with competition law.

So, the PSR and Forum is developing an evaluation framework for determining which initiatives can only be developed through collaborative innovation, and so through the Forum. This framework will be part of the Forum’s terms of reference. We expect the sector to continue developing their systems and services and to take the Forum’s thinking into account where relevant.

The Forum chair

The chair will be independent of industry, but appointed by and accountable to the PSR. The chair will be responsible for guiding and progressing Forum discussions. Together with the PSR and other Forum members, the chair will ultimately be responsible for its success.

Forum membership

The Forum will have around 20 members drawn from a range of backgrounds. Members will be appointed by the chair and the PSR. Membership will reflect the diversity of the payments sector, including payment service providers, operators, infrastructure providers, user-representatives and other stakeholders and payments experts. The membership may also change over time to ensure relevant expertise and skills as issues evolve.

The Forum will meet up to six times a year and will set up expert working groups to examine specific issues, such as analysis, design and specification of prospective initiatives. We are looking to the payments industry to support and resource such working groups.

The payments community

We are engaging with interested and effected parties to develop a payments community to work alongside the Forum. The payments community will include all stakeholders with an interest in payment systems, whether members of the Forum or not. It will be a flexible way for all stakeholders, interested individuals or organisations, to engage and shape the Forum’s work. The payments community will also help ensure that the Forum has a comprehensive picture of the payments industry, as well as of emerging payments issues.

If you would like to be part of the payments community, or would like to know more about it please email Forum@psr.org.uk.

What are we still working on?

There are a number of issues we are still considering before we launch the Forum:

  • Understanding stakeholders’ interests and preferences for engagement in the Forum and the payments community

  • How to ensure the Forum’s scope is limited to areas where innovation can only be achieved through industry working together (i.e. not through competition)

  • How to ensure the Forum functions effectively within competition law constraints and

  • How the Forum should approach the prioritisation of issues as it develops its strategies and on what basis, including the role of cost benefit analysis

Content

The PSR has confirmed the 14 industry and service-user experts who will help develop our proposed Payments Strategy Forum.

In our Consultation, we proposed to establish a Payments Strategy Forum, through which industry and service-users could discuss and agree strategic priorities for the future of the payments industry. We said we would convene a working group to help us develop this proposal.

In December we asked those interested in participating in the working group to contact us. We were pleased that over 60 individuals from across the payments sector and user groups got in touch.

We have selected individuals based on their specific skills and expertise. They will be helping us to design the proposed Forum, through developing its terms of reference and a selection process for its independent chair.

The working group will meet for the first time this month. We will publish details of its activities on our website. If you wish to discuss any of these details, please contact us at psrcommunications@psr.org.uk

As with all the proposals in our Consultation, we are currently assessing stakeholders’ comments and suggestions, and will take these fully into account in the Policy Statement which will confirm our regulatory framework.

Working group participants

Chair - Louise Buckley, head of communications, Payment Systems Regulator

Carlos Sanchez – CEO, Orwell Group

Chris Dunne – payment services director, VocaLink

Craig Tillotson – managing director, Faster Payments

Hilary Plattern – director, payments industry corporate bank, Barclays

Hugh Stokes – executive director of competition law, Visa Europe

Katy Worobec – director, Financial Fraud Action UK

Lisa Felton – global head of consumer regulation and content standards, Vodafone

Marcia Clay – group head and senior vice president, strategy and market development, MasterCard UK and Ireland

Matthew Oakley – chief economist & head of financial services policy, Which?

Neil Lover – head of payments and cards, Coventry Building Society

Nick Davies – universal credit team, Department for Work and Pensions

Otto Benz – strategic payments director, Virgin Money

Seamus Smith – managing director, PayPoint UK & Ireland

Toby Mason – head of global payments services and system assurance, American Express