By Maria Bruno-Britz
The London branch of Mizuho Corporate Bank is the first in the world to go live on FIN with the SWIFTNet Phase 2 solution. This is the next generation messaging platform introduced by Brussels-based SWIFT.Implementation of the global financial messaging organization's new format began this January and features beefed up security features, including public key infrastructure (PKI) and hardware security modules (HSM). Mizuho's London branch was an active participant in the Phase 2 pilot, according to SWIFT, and went live in February. "We took part in the pilot phase because we wanted to check the impact of SWIFTNet Phase 2 on our systems and we wanted to ensure that we were ready for an early migration in 2007," a spokesman for the London branch of Mizuho commented in a release. "Our preparation certainly paid off, and we're now delighted to be the first base customer to be ready for SWIFTNet Phase 2."
Meanwhile, a study of over 500 companies in Western Europe by Treasury Strategies shows that corporates are largely unimpressed by bank-led initiatives such as the single euro payments area (SEPA) and initiatives for corporate payments by groups such as SWIFT. Approximately 60 percent of European companies do not consider preparing for the introduction of SEPA as a high priority. Additionally, less than 30 percent of respondents are interested in key banking initiatives such as direct SWIFT connectivity, globalization of messaging standards and continuous linked settlement.
"The low level of interest or familiarity among European companies with key industry initiatives-particularly SEPA and SWIFTNet-raises the question of whether banks are adequately focused on getting their clients ready for these changes.
The consequences for a treasury department caught unprepared for SEPA are many, including the inability to efficiently execute payments and higher bank fees. The potential risk is significant for all parties involved, according to Treasury Strategies.