SWIFT opens up to new participants

Shareholders have voted to accept companies, insurance companies and government institutions.
Shareholders of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) have approved a new category of participants to enable financial institutions to provide messaging communications to their corporate customers within closed user groups. A vote was also passed at the annual general meeting to extend the current category for investment management institutions to include insurance companies and government institutions active in asset management.

Widespread acceptance of internet protocol (IP) technologies has opened new connectivity channels between the financial and corporate sectors. By creating a new category of corporate participants, SWIFT has enabled its FIN and SWIFTNet infrastructures to be used for the delivery of banking and financial services to corporate customers. Such services would typically include payment initiation, payment and cash balance reporting, securities transaction initiation and confirmation, portfolio reporting, as well as a range of electronic banking products and services.

"In the search for end-to-end standards there is a real need for SWIFT to think beyond purely bank-to-bank communications," says Charles Bryant, head of the organisation's banking industry division. "SWIFT is committed to preserving the bank-to-corporate relationship; that strategy underpins all of our customer-facing initiatives."

The decision to broaden its definition of investment management institution to include the asset management arms of insurance companies and government institutions is a logical next step in SWIFT's securities marketplace strategy.

"Securities players at every point in the transaction lifecycle are looking to find ways to better manage risk and handle ever increasing transaction volumes," says Francis Remacle, head of the securities industry division, SWIFT. "Key to achieving this is universal connectivity, with all the relevant parties at the same table, communicating in the same language. By opening SWIFT up to the investment arm of insurance companies and government institutions, we've taken a significant step forward to ensure that this happens."
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