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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 19 August, 2008, 09:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm sure the inertia doesn't only come from SWIFT. The problem is the volume of existing applications that create and consume SWIFT MT's. These are widespread and they work.  It's therefore hard for anyone using SWIFT to build a business case for what is a technical change, i.e. from MT to MX, regardless of the promise of being easier to use in the future.

By supporting both, new applications can us the MX standards, and people can migrate their old applications as and when new functionality is required over time. e.g. Target2, SEPA Payments etc.


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 19 August, 2008, 11:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


I agree with all the benefits you list for XML messages, and I would also like to see a greater speed of adoption. However you should not forget that this time SWIFT is not defining the messages alone. 

They have joined forces with FpML / ISDA, FIX, and ISITC to create the new common financial messaging standard within the ISO 20022 framework. It always takes time when you have to design anything by committee, and in this case even a committee of committees, but it is better than have several competing standards.

I think the result will be worth waiting for.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 August, 2008, 06:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Ron, Joergen,

Thank you for your comments...

I agree to both of you and know that this is going to take sometime.

I am not sure if today all MTs has a counter MXs message. Until last year this was still in process. I believe that every activity/task must have end date otherwise it becomes a never ending process and you may not see output as efficient as you expect from the amount of invested time.

Today, everyone is trying take some cost cutting measures. I don't think moving towards MX Standard is being considered by many to be simpler, more efficient and cost effective; otherwise we would have seen better adoption.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 August, 2008, 08:23Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Jay,

Interesting blog, but we have to remember as Ron says why change for changes sake.   Everyone needs a business case in order to change something.

Sometimes the business case isn’t there and sometimes, even if it is, the key sponsors don’t buy into the business case due to other priorities.

This is the same with SWIFT. 

I believe that SWIFT’s stance is that not all MT’s will necessarily have a corresponding MX message. 

If they need to make a significant change to an MT then that would naturally be a catalyst for creating a MX, if one doesn’t already exist.  Likewise if a new business market requirement evolves (as we saw with the likes of Exceptions & Investigations) then the messaging standards would be created in the MX world and not the MT world.

Coexistence is a must. 

SWIFT is there to service a community that is comprised of two ends of a spectrum, the Tier1’s and the Tier4’s banks plus everything in between and now an ever increasing number of Corporations.  All have a different level of sophistication when it comes to business and indeed supporting IT infrastructure, not all can adopt change at the same pace. 

One of the major benefits of SWIFT is its reach / community (7000+ Banks).  If each change SWIFT made was implemented through a big BANG approach the inability for all to keep up would destroy the ability for the community to communicate, firms would look to other means / other networks / other standards.

Lastly, let us not forget that SWIFT is a cooperative owned by its member banks and governed by what the community wants and asks for.  If SWIFT isn’t moving a quickly as the banks would like who is to blame?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 25 August, 2008, 10:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think we'd like to first thank Colin for his comments above. I'm not sure we could have said it better ourselves. Obviously coexistence is a very important topic for us here at SWIFT and I am personally involved from a Standards point of view in helping to manage these issues with our community. And, as Colin rightly points out, it is that very community that sets the pace of adoption for any set of new messages (MTs or MXs). We are doing our best to reinforce our toolkit of products that support MX message implementation and re-focusing some of our efforts on the core values of ISO 20022 (the repository, the models, and the data dictionary). SWIFT remains deeply committed to supporting its customers in adopting the new MX messages wherever it is appropriate and we also recognise that many are still getting good STP rates from our traditional MT messages. That's what 'coexistence' is all about.


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