Financial messaging network Swift is to introduce a new 'light' interface for SwiftNet connectivity next year in an effort to streamline processes and reduce costs for low volume users.
The plans, approved at a board meeting Saturday, were outlined by Swift CEO Lazaro Campos at the opnening plenary of Swift's Sibos user conference in Boston Monday.
Campos told the conference the first priority for his tenure at Swift would be to lift the barriers to the use of Swift for a growing and diversified user base. The bank-owned payments network has expanded its participant categories over the years in a bid to extend its influence with large corporate treasuries and in the securities industry.
However, the co-operative's move into new markets has been hampered by the perceived cost and complexity of connecting to the network for occassional users. In the securites markets, for instance, Swift has so far struggled to attract fund managers, key players in the transaction processing chain alongside broker-delaers and custodians.
Despite years of effort, Campos said it would be no surprise if fund managers had given up on Swift.
"In many cases they have yet to see the relevance of Swift to their business. We are too expensive. It is too complicated to sign up and connect. Running Swift in the back office doesn't factor into their plans"
Unless Swift acts to offer them something that's easy to install and use, light and cost-effective to run and operate, they may well stay at the margins, he said.
The SwiftNet Lite device will be delivered by a new products group, created under a recent restructuring of the organisation. "Internally we call them the iPod people" said Campos. "They must make the use of Swift intuitive...simpler to use and integrate."
The new interface will be supported by a change in the pricing model, including the option of a three-year fixed fee contract for large volume players. Rabobank is the first bank to take up the offer, citing improved budgetting as the principal attraction.
Francis Vanbever, CFO, Swift, says the new pricing structure has been introduced to reflect the diversity of the customer base: "Lower volume users will soon benefit from a new service model that will significantly reduce the cost of connecting to Swift, while large volume users can benefit from the fixed fee pricing scheme to make even more use of Swift at no additional cost."