Since its incorporation in Shenzhen, PRC in 1988, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd (Ping An) has become one of China’s leading integrated finance conglomerates. It is one of the world’s largest insurance groups, ranked 10th in the Forbes Global 2000 list in 2018. Ping An is committed to financial and technological innovation, not only to transform and optimise its own business, but to forge a path for other companies in China and across Asia seeking to demonstrate industry best practices. Furthering this objective, Ping An has been the first corporation in China, and Asia more widely, to participate in the SWIFT gpi (global payments innovation) for Corporates pilot project, as David Choy, Group Treasury Director explains.
Ping An manages an extremely high volume of cross-border payments. Before introducing SWIFT, these were handled manually by a team of 30 people. This was inefficient, created issues around security, and lacked the scalability we need as our business continues to expand.
In 2016, Ping An made the decision to implement SWIFT, marking a major step forward in both risk management and efficiency terms. Bank communications are now secure and standardised and with a high level of straight-through processing through integration with our proprietary treasury management system. This is used by all wholly-owned subsidiaries for payments, cash and treasury management.
Cross-border payment challenges
Although implementing SWIFT delivered some essential benefits in bank communications and payments processing, we continued to experience two key challenges in cross-border payments.