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Swift Emphasizes Nov. 16 Migration

Swift has a safety net for firms that don't make the Nov. 16 15022 conversion but it's not going to be free.

The Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunication is sticking to its Nov. 16 deadline for firms to migrate their messaging traffic from the ISO 7775 standard to ISO 15022.

However, Swift has created an ISO 7775 message-user group (MUG) so firms that do not make the deadline will still be able to send and receive messages until May 2003. Charles Welham, Swift's global program director for the ISO 15022 migration, says that the 7775 MUG should be seen as a last resort for firms, as Swift will charge a type of penalty for firms still using the old standards after the migration date. Those fees will rise over time.

Welham says that a further incentive to migrate is that counter parties will most likely charge a non-compliant firm some sort of fee for converting a 7775 message into the new 15022 format.

Currently, 15022 traffic on the Swift network, which Welham says is monitored daily, is at around 35 percent, a figure he is "reasonably comfortable" with. That figure may be a little misleading, he says, because 93 percent of Swift users have done some amount of volume in 15022, with most firms slowly phasing in the amount of traffic they send in the new format. The other 7 percent of users, says Welham, are small firms that don't do much volume.

For low-volume users, Swift has made available a number of free services to help with the migration, which can be accessed from www.swift.com. These include: Quick Start computer-based-training program, which gives information and training on ISO 15022 message creation; SwiftAlliance manual-input guide, which demonstrates how to create securities-settlement instructions in SwiftAlliance Access and Entry; and SwiftAlliance templates, which give pre-formatted-message templates in line with market-practice templates.

Adoption may further increase at this time, says Welham, because Swift's interface vendors (companies like IBM and Logica which facilitate connectivity to Swift's network) recently released their 2002 specifications.

For users who want to start testing, Swift has developed the ISO 15022 Compliance Analyser, which will enable users to test ISO 15022 messages directly with Swift. The facility will measure message quality against predefined market best-practice rules, enabling users to complete end-to-end testing of their applications. The ISO 15022 Compliance Analyser will be available to all Swift customers on Aug. 12.

Welham says that although the 7775 MUG is available, converting on time is a much better way to go. "If you don't do it you are running the risk of bring charged for using the 7775 MUG and it is likely you will also be charged by the receiving counter party who has to manually process or repair your 7775 message," he says. "Look at it and do it. It's not that complicated."

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