Swift has signed thirteen major trade banks to pilot the SwiftNet Trade Services Utility (TSU) from December 2005.
ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Citigroup, Deutsche, First Rand Bank, HSBC Group, JPMorgan Chase, KBC, The Royal Bank of Scotland, San Paolo IMI, Standard Bank of South Africa and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi will pilot the new SwiftSolution, which is designed to enhance their supply chain management services.
More banks are expected to join this group before the pilot starts. These could include banks such as Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation and UFJ Bank, which were members of the Trade Services Advisory Group (TSAG) set up by Swift in 2003 to review the co-operative's trade services strategy. The group recommended that Swift expand from its focus on traditional collections and documentary credits to supporting the banks' full range of supply chain services.
The SwiftNet TSU was developed as a result of intensive meetings with the Trade Services Advisory Group and other major trade banks from the Swift community. Over 20 banks were involved in total, and a prototype was sucessfully trialled in August 2004 to gain practical input on functionality for a commercial solution.
The SwiftNet TSU is based on Bolero's technology platform for trusted trade in the financial supply chain. Swift says the TSU is an independent, complementary and non-competitive service to Bolero's offering as it is a bank-centric solution with no direct corporate access.
According to Alan Beattie, head of supply chain services of HSBC Group, "it is incumbent on those involved in the TSU to ensure that it meets its potential as being the industry standard."
Mark Davies, director, international product management, Royal Bank of Scotland, says: "Collaborating in the right areas actually helps to improve your ability to be competitive. Resources are scarce and more of them are swallowed up by mandatory and regulatory change. Co-operation reduces the need to spend on proprietary development and allows us to focus our resources on improving the competitiveness of the products and solutions we offer to customers. Piloting of the TSU is the first step in achieving end-to-end standardisation."
Jackie Keogh, head of supply chain management, Swift, comments: "The SwiftNet TSU aligns with the Swift philosophy of serving the whole market. One of the most important elements of the TSU is its suitability for any individual institution involved in supply chains, irrelevant of its size or location."