Bank-owned co-operative Swift is looking to extend its influence in the corporate treasury market by relaxing stipulations that limit access to exchange-listed entities only.
The new criteria - voted upon unanimously by the Swift Annual General Assembly in June - means that any corporate can now join the network, provided it is recommended by a bank located in a FATF (Financial Action Task Force).
Under the previous rules, only corporates actually listed on an exchange in a FATF country could join the network, effectively barring entry to major privately-owned multinationals such as Sweden's Ikea and Tetra Laval.
A recent survey by Financial Insights of corporate treasuries in the US picked up on growing interest in the Swift for Corporates (score) offering. The ongoing financial crisis has proved to be an important driver as corporates look for maximum visibility on their global cash positions. At the same time, the new Alliance Lite interface provides lower-volume users with a means of rapid access to the network and to the key cash management information services offered by their banks such as statements of account.
Despite the relaxed entry criteria, Swift says it will continue to support the existing range of access mechanisms that corporates and banks have established.
"We expect most corporates that are not yet users of Swift to opt for Score when they do sign up," says the company in a statment. "However frameworks such as member administered closed user groups (MA-CUGs) will receive all the support necessary to their users. No one will be compelled to change their agreed approach."