IBM has announced a raft of enhancements to WBI-FN, its open standards middleware platform for financial messaging, including support for non-Merva customers migrating to SwiftNet FIN, new vendor partnerships, and further progress in delivering extensions to market utilities and networks.
Part of the WebSphere Business integration portfolio of products, WBI-FN is being positioned as a single window or payments gateway to important financial market infrastructures. The idea is to provide a financial network integration hub that can help banks overcome the high costs of supporting multiple siloed legacy systems.
As a starting point, WBI-FN now offers inbuilt support for SwiftNet FIN and FIX migration, including extensions to FileAct and InterAct. IBM is also working with a number of banks to use the middleware as a gateway to the EBA Step 2 platform for low-value cross-border payments, and has committed to providing extensions to the Japanese Securities Depository Centre (Jasdec) and the Bank of Japan. Connections to Chips should be available by year-end, and work has started on developing access to US public sector payments network. A CLS gateway is also under development.
June Felix, general manager transaction banking solutions, IBM, comments: "The migration to SwiftNet is not just a question of plugging from one network into another. Swift is providing a great deal of extra business functionality, but in order to ensure that you make the most of this you need to be able to fully integrate your payments systems with all your other systems and processes."
WBI-FN is being actively marketed to Swift member banks as a robust payments hub for streamlined integration with SwiftNet and other utilities, and promoted to IBM's 160 Merva interface users as a mechanism for migrating to newer technologies while protecting legacy interface investments. The latest raft of enhancements also includes support for IBM AIX and Sun Solaris.
IBM is additionally developing an adapter that will connect the Front Arena enterprise trading system from SunGard subsidiary Front Capital Systems to WebSphere and has announced a partnership with Systar to port its business activity monitoring system to WBI-FN.