March 08, 2011

SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos gave an upbeat update on SWIFT at the group's operations forum this morning at the Marriott Marquis. Payments volume for SWIFT in the Americas rose 11% in 2010 over 2009. "Remember 2009, when we all lost our pensions?" he noted. "It feels good to have double digit growth." Last year, SWIFT saw overall growth of 7% last year. Treasuries also rose, by 28% in the Americas the in 2010, although trades were down slightly for SWIFT.

SWIFT also added corporate members last year, include PayPal and Microsoft; it now has close to 800 corporates. The organization has set an ambitious target of adding 5,000 corporates by 2015.

SWIFT's higher numbers are not just due to economic growth, Campos said, but market share, much of it due to its work on mobile and ACH payments in emerging markets such as Latin America.

SWIFT executives described two current initiatives. Tomorrow SWIFT will announce a new solution, a SWIFT secure signature key (3Skey) intended to allow corporate treasurers to connect with their many bank accounts with one secure token. This will "drive down cost and solves the problem of multiple tokens from multiple banks," said Chris Church, chief executive for SWIFT Americas. 3Skey is already being used in France, and two U.S. banks, BNY Mellon and J.P. Morgan, have been supportive of it, although neither has committed to using it yet.

In April, SWIFT will pilot a corporate actions taxonomy project with XBRL and DTCC as well as BNY Mellon, Fidelity, Brown Brothers, ITG and Citi. "Corporate actions suffers from lack of of standardization and inefficient distribution," Church said. Under the pilot, corporate announcements will be tagged with standard XBRL code that's part of the ISO 20022 standard, rather than the proprietary DTCC taxonomy many use today. DTCC is building a new system based on the ISO standards and cover time corporate actions messages will begin to be transmitted over SWIFT rather than through the DTCC's proprietary SMART network.

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