Financial messaging network Swift is to invest EUR150 million in the creation of a new operating centre (OPC) in Switzerland and a command and control facility in Hong Kong, under a major re-architecture programme partially intended to allay European data protection concerns.
The move follows last year's news that the Bush administration was using emergency powers to secretly scrutinise suspect transactions sent over the network.
The furore led to a call from MEPs in February for Swift to stop its current practice of mirroring all data concerning EU citizens and enterprises in its US site or to move its alternative database site outside US jurisdiction.
The new Swiss global operating centre will serve as the companion for the existing European OPC to process and store messages for the European processing zone. This will ensure that intra-European messages remain in Europe. The new OPC will also serve as the companion to OPC US to process and store traffic for the Trans-Atlantic processing zone.
"Intra-zone messages will stay within their region of origin, thereby overcoming data protection concerns," says Swift CEO Lazaro Campos. "For example, messages internal to the European Economic Area and Switzerland will be processed and, where applicable, stored only at Swift's two European operating centres."
The command and control capability in Hong Kong will allows Swift's operations to be run from Asia, as well as Europe and the US.
The initiative will create approcimately 50 jobs in Swift's European and Asian operations. Swift says it expects the new European OPC to be operational by end-2009.