Swift, the industry-owned global financial messaging co-operative, announced today strong financial results for 2005.
Traffic grew by 9.5% to a total of 2.5 billion messages in its core store-and-forward messaging service, SWIFTNet FIN. This strong volume growth permitted a rebate for the fourth year running, which at 7% of FIN revenue yielded EUR 23 million to customers, and a mid-year price reduction of 8%, worth EUR 14 million. Before rebate, total revenue was EUR 559 million. SWIFT is on track to meet its pricing challenge set in May 2001, to reduce the overall price of SWIFTNet messaging by 50% between 2002 and 2006, helping the financial industry cut its costs.
"We delivered robust financial and operating performance in 2005 against a background of transformation," said Chief Executive Officer Leonard H. Schrank. "We completed the migration of the SWIFT community to SWIFTNet, our new secure IP-based messaging platform and network, adding value and functionality for our customers. We began work on initiatives that will broaden and deepen our reach, including the Trade Services Utility, now in pilot mode, and enhanced corporate access through existing and proposed new models. SWIFT is playing an important role in providing standards and messaging for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and the TARGET2 RTGS (real time gross settlement) system for Euro zone countries. Under a mandate of the European Commission, we coordinated industry input to the Giovannini initiative to establish standards for a common communication protocol for securities cross-border clearing and settlement in the EU."
Strong performance was also matched by a successful structural cost reduction programme over 2005 and 2006. "Our strong financial results mean we are in a good position to fund future growth and development. We have reduced our recurring cost base by 10% over two years, freeing up resources to invest in new initiatives," commented Chief Financial Officer Francis Vanbever.
As SWIFT continues to sharpen its commercial focus and its 2010 strategy gathers momentum, the focus is on recruitment. "We are looking to make important investments this coming year. Many new positions will be based in Belgium," commented Leonard Schrank.
Based on its 2005 messaging usage, Belgium has been promoted to the top six SWIFT countries. As a consequence, Belgium is now entitled to nominate two Board members. In 2005, Belgium sent 148.7 million FIN messages or 5.9% of SWIFT's total FIN traffic, an increase of 19.2%, driven mainly by the ongoing expansion of its large banks and securities houses.