Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) and Royal Bank of Canada have become the first financial institutions to sign up to Swift's member/concentrator connectivity initiative, which enables larger banks to provide smaller financial firms with access to interbank payment and processing services.
BBH was the first the first to sign and will provide Swift connectivity to its asset manager clients via its Infomediary STP outsourcing platform.
Left to right at Sibos: BBH's Keith Haberlin and Swift's Francis Remacle
Keith Haberlin, head of business development at BBH's Infomediary division, told Finextra that the firm expects to provide connectivity to around 50 clients, with BBH handling the joining process for each new member along with all invoicing.
Swift has also signed Royal Bank of Canada to the programme. Royal Bank VP Cathy Honor says that the bank has a target of 50 financial clients, and also plans to extend the service to corporates.
The member/concentrator initiative was launched by Swift in June in a bid to drive more traffic across its network.
Swift's head of connectivity services Wim Raymaekers says that while the Swift network currently has 8000+ members, there are around 135,000 financial institutions around that world that are eligible to connect to the system and this programme will tap into that market.
Banking members who bring five or more new users onto the network can act as a service bureau - providing connectivity and handling Swift-related business for clients at discounted prices, something that has traditionally been done by third party service bureaux.
But Raymaekers claims that the initiative may actually increase business for the bureaux as some banks may opt to outsource the process, rather than extend their own in-house networks.