SWIFT is planning to accelerate its investment and presence in Asia-Pacific, reflecting the region’s growth and development in the global financial industry. The financial messaging consortium will increase its headcount in the region by 53% by 2015.
SWIFT’s headcount expansion will be focused on the key financial services hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore, plus the major emerging markets of China and India. SWIFT is also reorganising its senior management team under Ian Johnston, chief executive officer (CEO) for Asia-Pacific, with Patrick de Courcy taking on a new markets and initiatives team, Neil Stevens responsible for regional relationship management activities, and Beth Smits taking responsibility for a new corporate affairs team.
SWIFT’s 2015 strategy sees it focusing on a number of key initiatives:
- Renminbi (RMB) internationalisation: the increasing use of the Chinese currency presents a significant development in the financial sector. SWIFT is working to facilitate RMB transactions and automation, increasing industry awareness and engagement in market practice development in the offshore markets.
- ASEAN integration: the governments of the ASEAN nations have set in place plans for tighter market integration and harmonisation. SWIFT’s goal is to work with the industry and governments to set forth a blueprint for the financial infrastructure required to achieve economic integration and lower the costs and risks of capital flows within these 10 markets and with the rest of the world.
- China: SWIFT is working with the Chinese banking community and authorities as they build the domestic financial infrastructure China needs to support its internal and external economic growth.
- India: SWIFT has put forth a proposal to the Indian banking sector for creating a SWIFT India that will be owned and designed with the Indian community. It will provide the messaging infrastructure for the Next-Gen RTGS and to deliver localised messaging services for other sectors including trade and securities.
- JASDEC: the Japan Securities Depository Centre (CSD) is currently migrating its proprietary communications mechanisms to SWIFT and ISO 20022 standards for all messaging between JASDEC and its participants, going live by early 2014. In addition to working with this important securities market infrastructure, SWIFT is identifying other infrastructure projects that will allow Japanese corporates and financial institutions to incorporate ISO 20022 standards and the SWIFTNet platform into their securities and payments businesses in support of their domestic and cross-border growth strategies.
Asia-Pacific now accounts for 13% of SWIFT’s FIN traffic and 15% of total revenue “These initiatives represent areas where world-class, reliable, scalable and localised financial infrastructure is required to sustain and indeed accelerate the region’s economic growth and to bring Asia-Pacific’s representation within the global financial community to levels commensurate with its increasing economic weight,” said Johnston.