Mass market conversion to the new IP-based interbank messaging network SwiftNet has begun with the opening of the first country migration windows in Italy and the Netherlands.
The two-year migration to SwiftNet is expected to cost the worldwide financial community some $200 million, over and above the $200 million investment made by banking co-operative Swift in getting the project off the ground.
SwiftNet FIN has been live since 15 August 2002, with a small number of early adopters exchanging messages.
Neal Campbell, SwiftNet FIN migration programme director says one of the key lessons learned from the early adopters is that both Swift and its customers need to plan ahead and start their preparations early on.
The Society is offering dedicated design, planning and implementation services to its largest customers and online self-help tools to banks assigned to country migration windows. The migration windows have been introduced to help customers focus on the conversion programme and maximise community peer support.
Says Campbell: "From Swift's point of view, everything is starting on time. Trials with our early adopters have produced good results. Together with our community and advisory group we have defined a prudent ramp-up for 2003 which gives us complete confidence in the overall migration timeframe."
Belgium and Austria will open their own country migration windows next week, with Germany and New York scheduled for conversion in March.