Another arrow added to Swift's quiver

Asia-Pacific corporate customers are spoiled for choice as Swift enjoys a strong start to its 2015 strategy.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) is in the process of acquiring SunGard’s Ambit Messaging Hub (AMH). Lázaro Campos, chief executive of Swift, said the acquisition, which he described as a “combination of strategic intent and opportunity”, is scheduled to be finalised at about the same time as Swift’s annual Sibos conference, which will be held in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam this year.

A new Swift subsidiary will be established in the cities of Mechelen in Belgium, Frankfurt in Germany and Zurich in Switzerland. SunGard’s AMH product line management and staff will transfer to the new subsidiary led by Hans Cobben, global payments and messaging solutions vice-president of SunGard bank and corporations business.

“Our 2015 strategy calls for us to take steps towards providing our [corporate] customers with specific solutions to cater for their needs,” said Campos.

He explained that the acquisition would be a “significant addition” to Swift’s existing portfolio of messaging solutions and, rather than acting as a replacement, it is a new member of Swift’s family of products.

Swift traditionally provides complete messaging solutions for financial institutions that experience high volumes of transactions on a daily basis. However, for corporate customers, who may not necessarily be exposed to similar quantities of transactions, the acquisition acts as a value-added service when upgrade time is due. “We will not launch a campaign to bring our existing corporate customers to the AMH, it is another portfolio item available for them when they wish to upgrade their existing systems,” Campos said.

Targeting corporate customers as an area for expansion is one of the key points of Swift’s 2015 strategy and acquiring SunGard’s AMH is adding “yet another arrow to the quiver”.

Users of Swift’s Alliance product suite can be reassured that there is no plan to “rattle the cages”. Swift’s 2015 strategy simply identified a gap in their high-end portfolio and this is the first step to fill the void, according to Campos.

Similarly, SunGard will continue to support its Mint messaging solution, the predecessor solution to the AMH and existing customers who want to migrate to the AMH will have full support from both SunGard and Swift.

Perhaps a more significant implication of the deal is Swift’s expansion through acquisition, a key component of Swift's so-called 2015 strategy. Swift has traditionally followed the organic growth path, but the acquisition of SunGard’s AMH is evidence of Swift’s “willingness to adapt and to be ready and able to move faster, incorporating acquisitions and bringing in new talent”, said Campos.

Corporate customers are one of the main focal points of the 2015 strategy and there is a growing interest from Asia-Pacific companies to connect to Swift’s services.

“Corporates are an important area of growth for us in Asia-Pacific. The aim is to provide increasingly innovative solutions and to address their specific needs. We will become more agile and will deliver products that are easy to use, resilient, adaptive and with a faster response,” explained Campos.

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