WHAT WE DO AND WHY IT MATTERS
Everything we do at the OBIE is intended to help people and small businesses make more informed decisions based on their financial data and access a wider range of products and services.
We are working to enable everyone to use their own data for their own benefit.
We do this by enabling users to authorise regulated third parties to connect to their banking providers in a safe and secure manner. This approach has meant that people are able to use services that improve financial decision-making, provide convenient access to advice and guidance, easier switching, and greater payment options. This right of access became a regulatory requirement in the UK on January 13th, 2018, when the EU’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) came into effect.
At the heart of open banking are the Open Banking Standards. These comprise Technical API Specifications (the security and messaging standards necessary for the transfer of sensitive financial data between regulated participants), the Customer Experience Guidelines (the user journey standards that allow customers to provide informed consent in an intuitive manner), and Operational Guidelines (the performance standards required of the technical infrastructure).
Together, the Open Banking Standards allow banks and authorised third parties to connect in a common and secure way. They enable simple and intuitive user journeys, which in turn foster greater adoption of open banking.
The OBIE is making open banking a reality for millions of users. In line with our CMA mandate, this activity falls across three categories:
The OBIE enables the Trustee to discharge his regulatory obligations, by:
- Providing secretariat services to the Implementation Entity Steering Group (see Governance & Financials section for more detail on the IESG)
- Recording and managing the governance of CMA 9 requirements under the CMA Order and Roadmap
- Collating Management Information (MI) from the CMA 9 on their implementation of the Open Banking Standards and Roadmap items, and the performance of those implementations
- Providing frequent reports to the Trustee based on this Monitoring
- Supporting the Trustee in the issuance of Directions in situations where performance or implementations are deemed to be below expectations, followed by the ongoing monitoring of adherence to those Directions
This work is carried out primarily by the Office of the Trustee, which includes the Monitoring team, who in turn draw on the wider expertise of colleagues across the entire organisation and particularly the Management Information team.
Shaping and championing the open banking ecosystem
The OBIE generates the standards and promotes the ecosystem, by:
- Publishing and maintaining the Open Banking Standards
- Operating the Evaluate/Consult/Implement process by developing content and running Consultations and Working Groups
- Promoting open banking to the wider ecosystem, end user organisations and new verticals, to encourage participation, highlight use cases and fuel adoption
- Curating and producing research, expert analysis, thought leadership and insight that is of value to ecosystem participants
This is the work of our Policy, Standards, Ecosystem and Stakeholder Engagement teams as well as the Programme Management Office.
Providing critical services and infrastructure to the ecosystem
The OBIE underpins the day-to-day running of open banking in the UK, by:
- Developing and operating the OBIE Directory, which is the trust framework that sits at the heart of open banking
- Providing tangible technical assistance to all ecosystem participants, including financial institutions, pre-paid and credit card providers, and TPPs – from certification and on-boarding through to BAU support
- Maintaining the highest principles of security and counter-fraud within the ecosystem and providing an information-sharing platform between participants
- Enabling ecosystem participants with a platform for managing disputes and complaints
This work is carried out by our Directory, Security & Counter-Fraud, Service Desk and Insight, Experience and Support teams.
CONSULTATIVE, COLLABORATIVE, AND OPEN
Open banking has always been an open, consultative, and collaborative project.
Our Standards are shaped by the whole open banking community and consequently made available under open licence. The transparency and integrity of the Standard-setting process is of paramount importance to us, and our policy work is undertaken in an equally open manner. We strive to manage our consultations in an open and transparent way with clear governance, and supported, as far we are able, by extensive data and rigorous analysis.
As stewards of the open banking ecosystem, it is our role to undertake activities that markets or commercial organisations could or would not do, such as mediating resolutions to technical issues between ecosystem participants.
As advocates of open banking, our role is to be a catalyst to drive growth, innovation, and the adoption of open banking-enabled solutions. The OBIE plays an important role in the ecosystem but by design has very limited access to commercially sensitive information. Where, on occasion, we are sighted, we have sensible structures, processes and access controls in place to ensure that access to that data is appropriately ringfenced.