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Swift announces pricing reductions for users; Capco plans to migrate STP Bridge Transaction Flow Optimizers for Swift, Omgeo, and FIX to the Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 platform; Omgeo researches obstacles to straight-through-processing adoption in Asia.

Swift announced a set of pricing reductions for SwiftNet InterAct, FileAct and Browse as well as a 10 percent cut on SwiftNet FIN prices. Additionally, for the 2003 billing period, Swift announced an eight percent rebate totaling EUR 25 million for all FIN users. Swift also introduced new introductory pricing packages that will lower the cost of entry for small users. The reductions cover a 45 to 67 percent price reduction for both InterAct and FileAct for domestic traffic, with pricing for intra-institutional traffic (typically branch-to-branch) now aligned with domestic prices. Features such as non-repudiation, message priority, store and forward and delivery notification will now be unbundled to ensure that pricing reflects the level of functionality required. The base message length for InterAct will now be reduced from 2,000 to 1,000 characters, resulting in a further price reduction of up to 50 percent for users sending shorter messages. A new breakpoint for FileAct files over one megabyte has been introduced, cutting the price by a further 33 percent for both international and domestic traffic. Pricing for SwiftNet Browse will also be reduced by upwards of 50 percent.

Capco, a financial-services and technology-solutions provider, announced at SIBOS 2003 that it plans to migrate its STP Bridge Transaction Flow Optimizers for Swift, Omgeo, and FIX to the Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 platform. Capco STP Bridge, launched in April 2003, is already based on the Microsoft .NET Framework. It is a transaction-lifecycle-management and operational-business-activity-monitoring set of solutions that support payments and securities transactions using a wide variety of services and protocols, such as SwiftNet FIN, FileAct and InterAct, Omgeo CTM, Oasys Direct, and FIX. STP Bridge currently runs on BizTalk Server 2002. STP Bridge's Transaction Flow Optimizers are a set of customized components for Transaction and Exception Lifecycle Management (TELM) and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM).

Omgeo, a provider of global trade-management services, announced the results of research examining the drivers and obstacles to straight-through-processing adoption in Asia. The survey examined trade-processing behavior and attitudes of 40 investment managers across Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The study was conducted via direct interviews with a cross-section of investment managers with assets under management (AUM) ranging from less than $1 billion to almost $60 billion. In order to rank each of the countries, the report examined STP factors, such as same-day-affirmation (SDA) rates, trade exceptions and trade-failure levels. The study shows that Australia leads the region in terms of automation, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore and then Japan, while Hong Kong stands out in the region as a leader in fixed-income trade automation. Hong Kong also has relatively high levels of SDA rates (51 percent), but Singapore's SDA rates remain the highest in the region at 80 percent.

ADP Wilco, a subsidiary of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., has announced that its Germany-based outsourcing-service bureau for Swift messaging has been successfully audited and complies with requirements set out in Swift's Service Bureau Security Rules and Guidelines for 2003. The ADP Wilco Swift service bureau provides fast-track access to Swift for the full range of Swift messaging services including securities, treasury, derivatives, payments and cash management, all in an outsourcing environment.

AT&T announced that it has been awarded more than 280 contracts by Swift members for AT&T's managed-network Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network Services (IP-VPN). The AT&T IP " VPN network connects members to the Swift network that underpins SwiftNet, enabling Swift to provide international financial transactions between banks. To date, AT&T has been selected by Swift members in more than 30 countries around the world, with over 100 contracts in Europe, Middle East and Africa, about 70 in Asia Pacific, and about 100 in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Fundtech Ltd., a provider of payments, settlement and cash-management software and services, announced the launch of a distribution partnership with BGC (previously Bankgirocentralen) to deliver outsourced SwiftNet services to the Nordic financial-services market. The partnership aims to offer financial institutions throughout the Nordic region an easier transition to SwiftNet, Swift's new TCP/IP-based financial-messaging network. Swift has mandated that Nordic financial institutions upgrade to SwiftNet as early as the end of 2003.

Also, Omgeo announced the appointment of Darryl Mueller to managing director for Asia. Mueller will be based in Hong Kong and will be responsible for driving the development and implementation of the strategic and operational missions of Omgeo's STP solutions within the Asian investment community. In addition, he will focus on developing key partnerships with regional depositories, exchanges and market-infrastructure providers. He spent nine years at Thomson Financial with Technical Data and First Call, where Mueller was general manager for Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong.

Microsoft Corp. announced the BizTalk Accelerator for Swift, a new software solution that will support all Swift messages and provide connectivity interfaces. In addition to helping provide a messaging platform for securities and banking transactions, BizTalk Accelerator for Swift will enable integration with existing and legacy systems. Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management, a subsidiary of the Allianz Dresdner Asset Management of America, is the first public customer to beta test the new accelerator for processing and integration of all Swift securities messages.

ABN AMRO and Allied Irish Bank have formed an outsourcing partnership that will provide an enhanced trade-services offering to Allied Irish Bank's international-trade clients. The partnership will provide Allied Irish Bank's clients with internet access to an array of trade-finance products and services, including standby letters of credit/guarantees. Allied Irish Bank will link its existing information systems with ABN AMRO's to create a shared platform, resulting in 24-hour customer access to transaction information. ABN AMRO will process all international-trade transactions for Allied Irish Bank's trade clients.

Dresdner Bank is transferring its Custody Solutions unit to Deutsche Bank. The two parties have signed a definitive agreement to this effect, transferring more than Euro 200 billion in assets under custody. The transfer will cover the settlement, custody and administration of mainly German securities and traded derivatives for national and international financial institutions. Deutsche Bank will make an offer to the respective Dresdner Bank employees to continue their work at Deutsche Bank.

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