Interviewed By Foo Boon Ping
Hari Janakiraman, head of industry and innovation at ANZ Group, covered a spectrum of topics, from shifts in focus in transaction banking and corporate finance, next-generation payment infrastructure, advancements in the digitalisation of trade finance, emerging commercial applications for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in Australia, to the future role of stablecoins in the payment landscape.
He noted that technologies discussed at last year's SIBOS have begun or are about to go live commercially this year, albeit at a modest scale. These will include the integration of Swift international payments networks with Australia's local real-time payment infrastructure. This holds implications for ANZ and its customers, particularly concerning the speed of sanctions screening and reporting, while maintaining the customer experience.
Janakiraman believes that the future of payment infrastructure would be driven by tokenisation, allowing for the transfer of real value alongside the payment transaction. ANZ has developed the capability to issue stablecoins via smart contracts, offer crypto wallets for the safekeeping of asset keys, and establish a portal for customer interaction. He added that ANZ has expanded its tokenisation capabilities to assets such as carbon credits in response to corporate customer demand.
In trade finance, Janakiraman observed a rising adoption of not just digital transactional documents but also facilitating documents essential for digital settlement. Concurrently, he noted the increased use of application programming interface (API) capabilities for corporate-to-bank connectivity.
However, to fully capitalise on the digitalisation of trade finance, the entire ecosystem, including the public sector, must evolve—a process that will require time.
On CBDCs, Janakiraman asserted that they offer unique capabilities: transferring value, asset ownership, and instant settlement, including the use of programmable money.
ANZ conducted a pilot with the Reserve Bank of Australia employing real money with ANZ functioning as a distributor. The objective was to test financial market innovation, the interplay between digital and private money, and financial inclusion.
Another use case involved ANZ issuing an Australian dollar stablecoin backed by the CBDC. This stablecoin enabled customers to purchase Australian carbon credits, showcasing a fully digital transaction in which a CBDC can operate in concert with a bank-issued stablecoin to achieve specific outcomes.
Read the world-class contents, insights and pulse of the industry from insiders.