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3 April 2015

SWIFT Business Forum Switzerland explores 2020, big data, compliance and standards

The 117-strong audience engaged in lively discussions about SWIFT’s current and future strategy to meet customer needs with innovative solutions.

The SWIFT Business Forum Switzerland on 18 March brought together 117 members of the Swiss financial community in the Auditorium of Credit Suisse Uetlihof in Zürich. The agenda of the event explored the upcoming SWIFT 2020 strategy along with a number of other key topics including connectivity, compliance, big data and the needs of corporate customers. Discussions were intense and audience participation levels high.

Opening, Cristina Rigo, Head of SWIFT Switzerland, underlined the importance of sharing experiences and encouraged attendees to make use the opportunity of networking at the Business Forum. There then followed a discussion between SWIFT Board Member Ulrich Stritzke, Managing Director, Global Operations of Credit Suisse, and Javier Pérez-Tasso, Chief Marketing Officer, SWIFT, about SWIFT’s current and future strategy.  

Delegates heard how the major deliverables of the SWIFT 2015 strategy have brought significant benefits to the community. SWIFT’s core offering has been strengthened by platform renewals and the overall 50% price reduction commitment was delivered a year early in 2014. In addition, 50% of SWIFT’s revenues now come from non-messaging services, demonstrating how SWIFT has responded to customers’ changing needs with new initiatives. The discussion also established how the 2020 strategy will build on SWIFT’s core as a strong foundation for continuing to tackle globally changing political situations, further regulation and cyber threats.

An update on SWIFT’s interface portfolio and its integration solutions as well as on the evolution of support services, including how SWIFT can help with ISO 20022 migration, was given by Alain Drese, Head of Technical Sales & Community Management, EMEA, SWIFT.  While globalization continues at a pace, new market needs and ongoing changes are leading to increased complexity of requirements, demanding increased automation as well as flexibility and cost management. As T2 and T2S are on their way to using ISO 20022, the messaging infrastructure of financial services institutions should be ready to process these standards, and Drese explained in detail how SWIFT provides support in ISO 20022 migration with comprehensive solutions including value-added strategy and design services.

To meet the full range of today’s financial market requirements and address the needs of every customer, SWIFT has evolved the connectivity solutions in the Alliance portfolio to include secure, private cloud services. Alliance Lite2, Alliance Access, and Alliance Messaging Hub (AMH) as an integration platform, together with Alliance Lifeline and Alliance Remote Gateway (ARG) are providing new interface and integration solutions for entry-level as well as high-end users, driving interoperability and reducing total cost of ownership (TCO).

Julien Laurent, Commercial Manager, Compliance Solutions, EMEA, SWIFT, brought the audience up to speed on how SWIFT is addressing its customers’ financial crime compliance challenges, working with the industry to develop a portfolio of community-based solutions as shown in the SWIFT Compliance Roadmap. Current focal areas are Sanctions, AML activities and KYC. Laurent also emphasised the importance of compliance services as a business enabler, not just a ‘necessary evil’.

In his presentation on big data, Jonas Bergstroem, Market Manager, Business Intelligence Solutions, SWIFT, turned the regular complaint about “the data deluge” into the question, “how can you generate growth from your data assets?” The challenge, he said, is enabling business-driven analytics from data. As an example of how this can be achieved he referred to the SWIFTRef Platform and SWIFT’s Business Intelligence offerings, including the forthcoming SWIFT Scope, an end-to-end real-time business IT solution providing corporates with customer-centric analytics to drive business opportunities, and the SWIFTRef Entity Plus service to spot multiple identifiers for one corporate identity.

Next came a panel discussion with Martin Zimmermann, Vice President, Expert IT Project Lead, Group Operations, Swiss Reinsurance Company, and Markus Meyer, Head Cash Management Services, UBS AG, moderated by Roger Inderbitzin, Senior Account Director, SWIFT Switzerland. This offered some interesting insights into the use of SWIFT by almost 1500 corporate groups worldwide. With 74 BICs registered in Switzerland, Meyer pointed out that many corporates are also active on SWIFT in non-cash areas such as precious metals or family offices. Zimmermann stated that corporates are still not as present within SWIFT as they should be, although the situation has significantly improved. An important focus of the discussion was on standards. Corporates are demanding banks use their standards, that is, the back office systems of banks must be able to handle client content properly even with different formats. Asked for his biggest SWIFT-related wish Meyer clearly stated, it must be all about content, not format.

In her closing summary, SWIFT’s Rigo highlighted the emphasis the discussions had placed on the importance of standards, a focal point between banks and their customers. Referring to the highlights of the day’s discussions, she closed the event expressing her confidence that the forum had provided enough food for thought to the audience when looking for answers to the perpetual question: “Are we ready for what is coming next?”