Santander implements contingency connection to Swift via SMA Financial

Source: SMA Financial

SMA Financial, the SWIFT Regional Partner for UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands today announced that Santander Group, the fourth largest bank in the world measured by profits, has implemented SMA Financial's SWIFT Service Bureau. The Bureau provides an alternative method of connecting to SWIFT and has helped the Bank reduce operational risk and free up internal resources.

The risk to Santander of losing their SWIFT connectivity was highlighted when a connectivity issue meant that it was unable to send or receive SWIFT messages around the time of a cut off deadline for FIN and CREST traffic. One option that was considered involved using a new SWIFT gateway as a backup. However, following careful research and evaluation, Santander entrusted its contingency connectivity to SMA Financial's SWIFT Service Bureau.

Steve Niker, Technical Business Manager at Santander explained, "We wanted a more comprehensive backup facility and chose SMA Financial's Service Bureau as it was a cost effective, proven and reliable alternative to hosting an additional connection in London. As a managed service, the connectivity is always available and we could see that it would accommodate our future growth. SMA also holds the highest levels of accreditation by SWIFT and has an excellent reputation for installing and supporting SWIFT products and solutions."

Santander uses a number of back office systems that generate SWIFT messages, e.g. SWIFT FIN, CREST and Bank of England Enquiry Link. Niker added, "The CHAPS and Bank of England messages are often high value payments. Ensuring that these are processed and settled efficiently is vital to our ability to manage cash effectively. The additional certainty that we get from using the Service Bureau is a key part of the Bank meeting its regulatory requirements for knowing our cash and liquidity position at all times."

If there is a recognised problem such as a network issue or temporary Alliance Gateway failure, Santander's SWIFT traffic automatically switches over to the Service Bureau, and within a few minutes the Bank is able to send and receive SWIFT messages again. In the event of wider disruption, Santander has a Disaster Recovery (DR) procedure which includes the ability to connect to SWIFT from other locations and resume operations within an hour.

Niker stated, "By automaticalomatically switching our SWIFT traffic over to the Service Bureau the impact of any outage on Santander is minimal and we can keep our resources fully focussed on resolving the underlying issue. With SMA's Service Bureau as part of our contingency planning, Santander can maintain high availability of SWIFT connectivity thus lowering our operational risk and minimising any potential financial and reputational penalties."

Simon Murby, Managing Director of SMA Financial concluded, "Any company that relies on the SWIFT network needs to ensure that it has an adequate contingency in the event of service interruption. SMA's range of contingency connectivity solutions ensure customers can maintain vital business continuity if the primary gateway to SWIFT is unavailable."

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