Corporate Matters

SWIFT By-laws, Corporate Rules, User Categories, Membership Validation Process.
Information for Vendors, Customers and interested parties

Information about SWIFT for Procurement and Compliance Departments

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PROCUREMENT AND COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENTS OF SWIFT CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS, AND OTHER INTERESTED PERSONS

SWIFT users and other third parties have legitimate requests for information to satisfy their various compliance obligations, including enquiries about SWIFT’s reliability, confidentiality, information security and the professional conduct of SWIFT’s employees and staff.

We do our utmost to address these concerns by making relevant information available to our users. However, due to the large number of SWIFT users around the world, we are unable to respond to individual requests for customised vendor packages, agreements, certifications and/or questionnaires. SWIFT does not engage in individual commitments, or provide individual certifications, representations or legal statements. 

As a service provider to a broad community of customers, it is our policy to treat all customers equally and not to engage in customised or “one-off” agreements or arrangements.  Indeed, SWIFT provides its services and products to users around the world on the basis of a common contractual framework, using the standard contractual documentation that has been formulated in consultation with SWIFT’s users.

For the above reasons, we have prepared this informational document based on the most common questions and KYC requests we regularly receive from SWIFT users. It is reviewed on a regular basis and updated as applicable.

We trust that this will be helpful and provide you with sufficient assurances across a range of issues. Should you have additional questions, please contact your account manager or the SWIFT sales desk, taking into account the above principles.

Basic information about SWIFT

SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative that provides the financial messaging platform, services and products to connect more than 10,800 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in over 200 countries and territories. SWIFT enables its users to exchange automated, standardised financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating operational inefficiencies. SWIFT also brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest.

SWIFT is a cooperative society under Belgian law, with headquarters in Belgium. Additionally, SWIFT maintains offices (through branches or subsidiaries) around the world, including in all major financial centres.  SWIFT was founded in 1973. SWIFT is owned and controlled by its members, the regulated financial institutions that use SWIFT and are eligible to hold shares in SWIFT. While SWIFT is neither a payment nor a settlement system and, as such, is not regulated by central banks or financial supervisors, a large and growing number of systemically important payment systems have become dependent on SWIFT. As a result, the central banks of the Group of Ten countries (G-10) agreed that SWIFT should be subject to cooperative oversight by their central banks. For more information on SWIFT oversight, please consult the oversight page on swift.com.

SWIFT governance, shareholders and oversight

  • Governance

SWIFT shareholders elect a Board, composed of 25 independent Directors, that governs and oversees the management of SWIFT.  In addition to the Board, a key part of SWIFT’s management is the Executive Committee, a group of SWIFT senior executives led by the Chief Executive Officer.

SWIFT's Board composition is designed to reflect usage of SWIFT messaging services, ensures SWIFT's global relevance, supports its international reach and upholds its strict neutrality.

For more information about SWIFT’s governance (including the composition of the Board of Directors and the types of Board committees) please consult the most recent Annual Review and the dedicated pages on swift.com.

Please note that we are unable to provide copies of Board Directors’ or management team’s passports or other personal identification documents.

  • Shareholding and Ultimate Beneficial Owner

In order to become a SWIFT shareholder, an organisation must be a supervised financial institution and the level of share ownership is determined by a SWIFT user’s financial contribution to SWIFT’s messaging services.  Allocation of share ownership in this manner reflects SWIFT’s being a co-operative.

Ownership interests in SWIFT are widely held. SWIFT currently has more than 2000 shareholders, none of them holding more than 5% of its issued and outstanding shares and none of them being individuals. SWIFT does not provide the identity of its shareholders. SWIFT shares are not available to the public or to non-SWIFT users and are not sold or traded on any securities exchange or market.

For more information about SWIFT’s shareholding (including the annual general meeting and the share reallocation) please consult the SWIFT Bylaws, most recent Annual Review and the dedicated pages on swift.com.

  • Oversight

SWIFT’s oversight objectives centre on the security, operational reliability, business continuity, risk identification, and resilience of the SWIFT infrastructure.

SWIFT is neither a payment nor a settlement system and, as such, is not regulated by central banks or bank supervisors. SWIFT is however subject to cooperative oversight by central banks.

For more information on SWIFT oversight, please consult the oversight page on swift.com.

Financial information about SWIFT

The SWIFT Annual Review is available on swift.com.

How customers contract with SWIFT

It is important to note that, unlike many service providers or vendors you may deal with, SWIFT does not enter into “master service agreements” or similar contracts with its customers.  Rather, when an entity first becomes a SWIFT user,  that entity will “wet-sign” a SWIFT undertaking document in which it agrees to abide by the SWIFT Bylaws, Corporate Rules and General Terms and Conditions.  Thereafter, with very limited exceptions, SWIFT services and products are subscribed to through an e-ordering process.

As a co-operative society, SWIFT, with a few exceptions, provides its services and products only to those entities that qualify as SWIFT users. 

  • The SWIFT Bylaws are primarily concerned with setting out the governance framework of SWIFT and, as might be expected, are largely concerned with provisions relating to the SWIFT Board of Directors and SWIFT shareholders.  Only a subset of SWIFT customers will be eligible to be shareholders of SWIFT, namely banks, broker-dealers and investment management firms.  Eligibility to be a shareholder, as well as how shares are allocated, are addressed/defined in the Bylaws.  More information can also be found on the shareholding pages.
  • The SWIFT Corporate Rules set out the various SWIFT user categories, with each user of SWIFT having to fall into one of the categories.  The Corporate Rules also address under what circumstances an applicant for SWIFT usership status might be denied that status, or once admitted as a SWIFT user, might lose its SWIFT usership status or have its SWIFT usership suspended.  Termination or suspension of SWIFT usership status may result in termination or suspension of the SWIFT services and products subscribed to by the SWIFT user.
  • The “foundation” contract document for SWIFT users is the SWIFT General Terms and Conditions. With some  exceptions, the contractual terms for SWIFT messaging, software and other SWIFT services, solutions and products will be set out in the General Terms and Conditions, supplemented by a Service Description for the particular service, solution or product.  For example, the contract terms for SWIFT’s FIN messaging service are set forth in the General Terms and Conditions, supplemented by the FIN Messaging Service Description.  Similarly, SWIFT interface software, such as SWIFT Alliance Access, will be governed by the General Terms and Conditions, supplemented by the Alliance Access Service Description.   Some notable exceptions to this framework include the SWIFT Consulting Terms and Conditions, 3SKey terms and conditions and terms and conditions for VPN boxes, HSM boxes and HSM tokens; these sets of terms and conditions stand on their own, rather than supplementing  the General Terms and Conditions. All those terms and conditions are available on our website.

Standard contract terms and conditions

  • SWIFT General Terms and Conditions

SWIFT’s basic financial messaging service is subject to the SWIFT General Terms and Conditions, which set out mutual confidentiality obligations, which SWIFT and its users agree to.

In particular, the SWIFT General Terms and Conditions provide information about the conditions of use of the SWIFT services and products, the rights and obligations of the parties, including duration and conditions to terminate, liability, the claim process, and applicable law and jurisdiction.

SWIFT offers SWIFT services and products to all customers on a common contractual basis. This is a key element of SWIFT’s co-operative nature. It ensures, for example, that the sender and receiver of a SWIFT message are under the same SWIFT contract terms and are treated equally in all material respects.

The SWIFT General Terms and Conditions constitute the main set of SWIFT standard terms and conditions for the provision and use of SWIFT services and product and apply to most SWIFT products and services.

Information security, data protection and confidentiality

SWIFT understands the sensitivity surrounding information security and confidentiality. We also understand that our customers must be responsive to the concerns of their regulators and their own customers regarding these issues.

  • Mutual Confidentiality Obligation

SWIFT’s General Terms and Conditions set forth a mutual (between SWIFT and its customer) confidentiality obligation relating to information exchanged in connection with the provision of SWIFT services and products.

  • SWIFT’s Data Protection Policies

SWIFT’s Data Protection Policies set out SWIFT’s policies and procedures for handling traffic and message data sent over SWIFT, as well as other pertinent information.  These policies are incorporated by reference into the SWIFT General Terms and Conditions and are thus part of the contractual framework between SWIFT and its users.

  • Personal Data Protection Policy
    Protecting personal data is very important to SWIFT, as confidentiality of data touches upon the core of its activities. The SWIFT community uses SWIFT messaging services to exchange data relating to financial transactions.
  • SWIFT Data Retrieval Policy
    This document sets out SWIFT's policy for the retrieval, use, and disclosure by SWIFT of traffic and message data upon the request of either the sending or the receiving customer, as further described in "Retrieval, Use, and Disclosure Rules" on page 8 of the policy.
  • SWIFT Security Control Policy
    This policy sets out SWIFT’ objectives relating to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of SWIFT’s messaging services.

SWIFT has a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance programme in place and aims to be fully compliant with the GDPR by May 2018. We do not expect the GDPR to have an impact on the provision of SWIFT products and services to our customers.

  • Obligation to provide Notice of Data Breach

All SWIFT users receive SWIFT support.  SWIFT Support Service Descriptions set out SWIFT’s obligation to notify a SWIFT user in the unlikely event of a security breach that results in unauthorized disclosure of such user’s message data or personal data.

  • Independent Security Assurance

At SWIFT, we have an uncompromising approach to information security which we recognise is a key value driver for our customers and a major differentiator of our services.

SWIFT’s external independent security auditor performs an external audit of our messaging services which provide independent assurance on the security and reliability of SWIFT’s services in scope.

Reports covering recent calendar years up to 2015 were prepared under the ISAE 3402 standard and contained the Independent Security Auditor’s opinion that they have obtained reasonable assurance that SWIFT has adequate and effective controls in place to meet the stated control objectives in the areas of Governance, Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, and Change Management.  As of 2016, reports are produced under the ISAE 3000 standard. Aligned with CPMI-IOSCO’s Expectations for Critical Service Providers, they cover the areas of Risk Management, Security Management, Technology Management, Resilience and User Communication. Both ISAE 3402 and ISAE 3000 are international standards which enable service providers such as SWIFT to provide independent assurance on their processes and controls to their customers and their auditors.

The FIN & SWIFTNet ISAE 3000 report and the Lite2 ISAE 3000 report are made available to customers upon request, as well as to potential customers subject to appropriate confidentiality arrangements.

Click here to request an electronic copy of the 2016 FIN & SWIFTNet ISAE 3000 report and/or the 2016 Lite2 ISAE 3000 report.

  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Given SWIFT’s role in the global financial system, disaster recovery and business continuity planning are operational priorities for us. Our policies and procedures in this area are confidential and cannot be shared with our users. SWIFT’s ISAE 3402 Report, however, covers the controls we have in place. For more information on SWIFT’s approach to disaster recovery and business continuity planning, please consult the ISAE 3402 Report (see above).

  • Personnel Screening

It is SWIFT’s objective to only hire and employ personnel with the highest levels of integrity. For this matter, personnel background checks are performed before hiring or assignment and during employment.

Anti-bribery, anti-corruption, anti-discrimination, corporate social responsibility and employee conduct

SWIFT customers are held to the highest standards of integrity, ethics and trust by their governing bodies, regulators and governments. It is therefore of the upmost importance that SWIFT employees adhere to similar standards. This is why all new employees have to sign a Code of Conduct and attend a mandatory training. In addition, executives, senior managers and others in commercially sensitive positions at SWIFT are periodically required to confirm in writing their compliance with the Code of Conduct.

SWIFT does not provide to third parties a copy of its Code of Conduct, but shares below the main principles contained in this document:

  • SWIFT Code of Conduct embodies the following principles:
    • Integrity
      SWIFT employees should not place themselves in a situation where there is a conflict of interest or where they might be influenced by financial obligation to outsiders;
    • Ethics
      SWIFT believes in treating people with respect, equal opportunity, and will not tolerate harassment;
    • Trust
      SWIFT will keep proper accounts, and ensure that all its activities respect the highest levels of security and confidentiality.
  • Security and Privacy

The financial messaging services provided by SWIFT, as well as the information SWIFT holds on customers, products and transactions, lie at the heart of all SWIFT activities.  Customers’ information, as well as personnel, financial and technical data, will always be treated as confidential and the highest standards of security will apply.

  • Gifts, entertainment and anti-bribery

SWIFT is committed to fighting corruption and bribery. As such, the Code of Conduct is supplemented with a specific company-wide Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Policy aiming to ensure that SWIFT employees conform to the applicable anti-bribery and corruption practices and laws that are in effect in the jurisdictions in which SWIFT has offices and operations. This Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Policy is also the object of a dedicated training that every employee must successfully complete.

As reminded in this policy, bribery and corruption or any other unlawful business practices are strictly forbidden and as such, SWIFT employees and those acting on behalf of SWIFT are strictly prohibited from Offering, giving, promising, requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting any items or hospitality of value with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be obtained or to facilitate or expedite a routine procedure. SWIFT employees are directed to report any gifts or entertainment above a reasonable and defined nominal value.

  • Private investments and insider trading

The use of insider information as a basis for investment purposes in any company with which SWIFT has dealings is strictly forbidden. In addition SWIFT employees shall not make improper use of insider information in order to gain a benefit or advantage for themselves or for any person. SWIFT employees must declare their interests in any company with which SWIFT has a business relationship.

Outside relationships, activities and directorships must also be declared to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.

  • Committing the company

SWIFT employees must adhere to SWIFT internal procedures and controls in place to make sure the company is only committed by the individuals that have been duly authorised.

  • Employing relatives

Is encouraged but subject to strict rules to avoid potential favouritism or conflict of interest.

  • Accounting records

SWIFT employees should provide complete, accurate and timely information relevant to the accounting records of the company.

  • Equal opportunities

SWIFT is fully committed to a policy of equal opportunities in all aspects of employment regardless of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, disability, marital status, sexual preference, religion, or veteran status. The company aims to recruit, retain and develop the best people for the job, based on their abilities, merit and job related criteria.

  • Harassment

SWIFT is committed to a work environment in which all individuals are free from harassment or discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

  • Safety

SWIFT operates a Health and Safety policy at work to minimise the risk of accidents and prevent injury and hardship to SWIFT employees, their families and environment.

  • Intellectual property

SWIFT employees shall ensure the protection of SWIFT proprietary rights and shall respect the property rights of third parties, which must be treated in the same manner as SWIFT information and in accordance with the applicable laws and contractual commitments undertaken towards such third parties.

  • Competition laws

SWIFT is fully committed to complying with applicable competition laws in all jurisdictions in which it operates. SWIFT employees must comply with the Competition Law Awareness Manual providing clear do's and don'ts, outlining minimum legal requirements to be observed under competition law and providing guidance to help SWIFT employees to spot potential competition issues in advance.

  • Respecting the Code of Conduct and reporting

SWIFT employees are invited to report any potential breach of the Code of Conduct or violation of a law or regulation, as appropriate

In October 2012, SWIFT became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative coordinating companies to align their business strategies and day-to-day operations with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. For more information, please refer to our dedicated webpage.

Finally, not only SWIFT staff must adhere to these principles: consultants and suppliers in general are bound by a similar Code of Conduct.

Insurance coverage

In the normal course of business, SWIFT does not provide third parties with the details of its insurance coverage, and SWIFT does not include third parties under its insurance coverage. SWIFT regularly assesses the types and levels of insurance coverage on its assets, operations and business, and is confident that it carries appropriate property and liability insurance. Additionally, SWIFT carries employee compensation and similar types of insurance, to the extent statutorily mandated in the jurisdictions in which SWIFT has offices and operations.

Practical information to register us as a supplier

Company name

S.W.I.F.T. SCRL

Address

Avenue Adèle, 1 at 1310 La Hulpe - Belgium

Date of incorporation

3-May-73

Place of incorporation

Belgium (Nivelles)

Registration number

0413.330.856

Legal structure/type of company

(cooperative company with) limited liability

Company name

S.W.I.F.T. SCRL

Address

Avenue Adèle, 1 at 1310 La Hulpe - Belgium

Date of incorporation

3-May-73

Place of incorporation

Belgium (Nivelles)

Registration number

0413.330.856

Legal structure/type of company

(cooperative company with) limited liability

Finance info

VAT/tax number

BE.0413.330.856

Payment terms

30 days

Finance info

VAT/tax number

BE.0413.330.856

Payment terms

30 days