SWIFT is announcing a far-reaching plan to accelerate its investment and presence in Asia Pacific, reflecting the region’s growth and development in the global financial industry. The financial messaging provider for financial institutions and corporations in 209 countries will increase its headcount in the region by 53 percent by 2015.

SWIFT’s Asia Pacific plan reflects the region’s increasing economic and financial growth.

Standard Chartered Bank, for example, forecasts Asia’s 29 percent share of world GDP in 2010 to grow to 44 percent by 2030. Domestic demand will be a key driver as Asia’s middle class reaches nearly one billion, driving demand for financial credit and for increasingly sophisticated – and international – investment products.

The financial messaging provider for financial institutions and corporations in 209 countries will increase its headcount in the region by 53 percent by 2015.
The financial messaging provider for financial institutions and corporations in 209 countries will increase its headcount in the region by 53 percent by 2015.

Accordingly, SWIFT’s headcount expansion will be focused on the key financial services hubs of  Hong Kong and Singapore, plus the major emerging markets of China and India. SWIFT is also reorganising its senior management team under Ian Johnston, SWIFT’s Chief Executive for Asia Pacific, with Patrick de Courcy taking on a new markets & initiatives team, Neil Stevens responsible for regional relationship management activities and Beth Smits taking responsibility for a new corporate affairs team.

 Headcount expansion will be focused on the key financial services hubs of  Hong Kong and Singapore

Ian Johnston, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific, SWIFT says: ”

Asia’s ongoing economic growth, presents SWIFT with an historic opportunity to drive business evolution within the region. To do so effectively we need to rebalance the organisation’s global centre of gravity and focus on learning and interpreting the opportunities that Asia presents in line with the needs of our customers and the industry.”

SWIFT’s 2015 strategy sees it focusing on a number of key initiatives:

  • RMB internationalisation: The increasing use of the Chinese currency presents a significant development in the financial sector.SWIFT is working to facilitate RMB transactions and automation, increasing industry awareness and engagement in market practice development in the offshore markets.
  • ASEAN integration: The governments of the ASEAN nations have set in place plans for tighter market integration and harmonisation. SWIFT’s goal is to work with the industry and governments to set forth a blueprint for the financial infrastructure required to achieve economic integration and lower the costs and risks of capital flows within these 10 markets and with the rest of the world.
  • China: SWIFT is working with the Chinese banking community and authorities as they build the domestic financial infrastructure China needs to support its internal and external economic growth.
  • India: SWIFT has put forth a proposal to the Indian banking sector for creating a SWIFT India that will be owned and designed with the Indian community. It will provide the messaging infrastructure for the Next-Gen RTGS and to deliver localised messaging services for other sectors including trade and securities.
  • JASDEC: The Japan CSD is currently migrating its proprietary communications mechanisms to SWIFT and ISO20022 standards for all messaging between JASDEC and its participants, going live by early 2014. In addition to working with this important securities market infrastructure, we are identifying other infrastructure projects that will allow Japanese corporates and financial institutions to incorporate ISO20022 standards and the SWIFTNet platform into their securities and payments businesses in support of their domestic and cross-border growth strategies.

Asia Pacific now accounts for 13 percent of SWIFT’s FIN traffic and 15 percent of total revenue

“These initiatives represent areas where world-class, reliable, scalable and localised financial infrastructure is required to sustain and indeed accelerate the region’s economic growth and to bring Asia Pacific’s representation within the global financial community to levels commensurate with its increasing economic weight,”

says Mr Johnston.

ASEAN and infrastructure

“Indian corporations are setting up offices in Singapore today,” said Anil Kishora, Chief Executive Officer of the State Bank of India Singapore (SBI), “because they are preparing to capture the ASEAN market and see Singapore as the major centre.”

This means that the Singapore financial community has an opportunity to centralise their own processing for ASEAN in Singapore, he suggested.

SWIFT’s Chief Executive for Asia Pacific Ian Johnston agreed that creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (targeted for 2015) is a major growth driver and source of increased collaboration.

“The industry is wasting billions on systems on standards that cannot ‘talk’ to one another. We believe that interoperability is key to the success of the ASEAN economic community.   The actions you are taking to create a powerful economic block in this region must include building a financial infrastructure that captures the dynamic demographic and economic growth taking place in ASEAN.  SWIFT is playing an increasingly important role in shaping the standards and platforms needed for this infrastructure.”

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