20 July 2016

More Financial Institutions can now offer services to Corporates over SWIFT

Following Board approval in December 2015, the Annual General Meeting of shareholders (AGM) in June approved the resolution for extending SCORE eligibility of Financial Institutions. Now, any SWIFT User in the user category “Supervised Financial Institution” can join SCORE and offer messaging services to their corporate customers over SWIFT.

The use of SWIFT by corporates has increased tremendously over the past years as corporates and banks have become increasingly convinced by the benefits of the SWIFT for Corporates proposition. As we look towards the SWIFT2020 strategy and our growth ambition with corporates, we are also evolving the rules and governance around corporate usage of SWIFT.

SWIFT’s offering to corporates has grown considerably since our first start of piloting in 1996 and the formal inception in 1999 when the Annual General Meeting of shareholders (AGM) approved the ‘Treasury Counterparty’ participant category. Since then, corporates that were active in Treasury markets were allowed to join SWIFT for FX confirmations, but sending or receiving payment messages were not available yet at that time.

The next major milestone came two years after in 2001 with the introduction of the Member Administrated Closed User Groups (MA-CUG). With MA-CUG, our service expanded beyond FX confirmations to allow corporates to exchange all message types - including payment messages - to their member banks within a closed user group operated by each individual bank.

The MA-CUG framework required multi-banked corporates to join several MA-CUGs, for all of their respective banks. In 2006, the SCORE (Standardised Corporate Environment) framework was launched, SCORE established a single closed user group for all member banks and corporates to exchange payments messages over SWIFT. The criteria for corporates to join SCORE were more rigorous than the existing membership criteria for MA-CUGs: Corporates had to be listed on a regulated stock exchange in a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) country in order to participate.

In 2009, SCORE eligibility was subsequently extended to allow all corporates to join (even non-listed corporates) so long as they were recommended by financial institutions.

Until recently, only Financial Institutions that are SWIFT shareholders or sub-members were allowed to offer their services to corporate customers over SWIFT. In 2015, we consulted the community on how to evolve SWIFT for Corporates usage and eligibility criteria, and the governance framework related to it. The responses of this consultation resulted in alignment among our community to extend eligibility for SCORE to any Supervised Financial Institution offering corporate services. The Corporate Advisory Group (CAG), a group of industry experts who advise the Board of SWIFT on corporate-related topics, therefore requested the Board to extend the eligibility in SCORE to all Supervised Financial Institutions.

Following Board approval in December 2015, the Annual General Meeting of shareholders (AGM) in June unanimously approved the resolution for extending SCORE eligibility of Financial Institutions. Now, any SWIFT User in the user category “Supervised Financial Institution” can join SCORE and offer messaging services to their corporate customers over SWIFT, while the eligibility of corporates to join SWIFT remains unchanged. 

Corporates on SCORE can now exchange messages with any Supervised Financial Institution who are subscribed to the SCORE service. For instance, smaller regional and local banks are often not shareholding members of SWIFT, but with the extended eligibility, they can now offer their services to corporates without a need to become a SWIFT shareholder. Furthermore, corporates will be able to exchange messages with additional counterparties such as insurance companies and trade repositories which previously were not allowed to join the SCORE service. Going forward, corporates have the opportunity to request from more than 10,000 connected Supervised Financial Institutions to use SWIFT as their single multi-bank network to exchange financial messaging globally.