Cutting Through Complexity
SWIFT for Corporates helps you manage risk and address working capital and liquidity challenges
by Elie Lasker, Head of Corporate Market, SWIFT
Advances in technology offer more opportunities than ever for companies with the requisite vision, creativity and leadership. Increasing globalisation means increasingly complex demands across all levels of business – and treasuries and finance departments are no exception. Treasurers and finance managers must address this complexity on many levels – from mitigating liquidity and foreign currency risk and securing global supply chain financing to managing a host of banking relationships with financial institutions around the world. At the same time, they must maintain their focus on key business challenges while contributing to overall efforts to increase efficiency and reduce operational risk and cost.
Banks that are 'SWIFT-ready' are listed on the SWIFT for Corporates website, as is detailed information on the offering provided by each certified bank.
Maintaining visibility across a complex array of relationships, data streams and systems is a top priority – and one where SWIFT is putting its extensive experience, collaborative approach and broad array of systems, services and solutions to work. Close to 900 individual corporate groups – representing more than 20,000 separate legal entities – now use SWIFT as a single, secured, standardised platform to communicate with their financial service providers. SWIFT is helping these valued customers to better address working capital and liquidity challenges, as well as manage risk, including currency and counterparty risk.
Almost by definition, corporates that connect to banks via SWIFT receive more accurate and timely information on their cash positions. Other benefits of using SWIFT in your corporate treasury activities include increased reliability, improved security, and higher levels of automation and straight-through processing (STP).
Clarity on ‘SWIFT-ready’ banking partners
Of course, to get the most out of SWIFT’s services for corporates, companies need to know which financial institutions can offer the relevant SWIFT-related capabilities. Our experience is that collaborative approaches work best to solve such challenges, and we have worked with our Corporate Advisory Group (CAG) to develop the new SWIFT Bank Readiness Certification Programme, which provides corporates with a country-by-country and product-by-product guide to their banks’ capabilities on SWIFT. Banks that are ‘SWIFT-ready’ are listed on the SWIFT for Corporates website, as is detailed information on the offering provided by each certified bank. Certification makes it easier for customers to get an overview of the different bank connectivity options across the globe, particularly as corporates using SWIFT connectivity are often dealing with three or more banks around the world. Now, corporates can see the capabilities of each of their providers in whichever market that they want to do business – instead of having to contact each bank individually.
This win-win solution increases transparency and aids both corporates and the financial community. Corporates can compare at a glance the SWIFT-related offerings of their various banking partners, while banks are supported in rolling out their corporate services over SWIFT. About 25 banking groups are already participating in the programme and we are keen to add more – because the wider the range of certified banks on SWIFT, the more compelling the case for corporate access.
As more corporates join the SWIFT community, the industry continues to mature in terms of supporting SWIFT connectivity for corporates. SWIFT provides three main ways of connecting to SWIFTNet, depending on your specific business needs. ‘Direct connection’ via a customer-owned infrastructure is ideal when you have specific security requirements, or when you need complete control over your IT environment, including storage of your messaging data. This solution has been adopted by some – typically large – corporate customers that prefer to operate their own IT infrastructure.