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SWIFT decided to move to XML standards in year 1999. Since then, we have been hearing about MX standards (XML based). In all SWIFT presentations I have seen so far, I always hear about MX messages. SWIFT also maintains and releases MX standards every year. I always get a message that SWIFT will finally be moving everything to MX, but I never get a concrete end-date!

Yes, we should not move to new technology/approach for the sake of changing! But here, I clearly see a case for moving towards XML based SWIFT messages. From SWIFT, I see a strategy of co-existence of 2 standards for 1 objective. Why would anyone do that! Is it just because SWIFT has done extensive investment to evolve and support MT standard? I think format of MT messages is not the best way to represent any message especially when it is so evolving and require updates every single year.

Moving completely to XML based would have immediate benefits:                  

  • Lower cost to update SWIFTReady Applications – Beneficial to all service providers.
  • Lower cost for all financial institutions to update their messaging solutions every year.
  • Time saving for both, service providers and financial institutions to upgrade their messaging systems every year. Additionally, risk involved for the upgrade will be lower due to XML.
  • It will become simple to implement and update messaging applications for XML based messages. This will result in more number of solutions in market in both open source and proprietary segments.
  • Having more number of SWIFTReady applications in market will ensure good competition, better SWIFTReady applications and yet lower cost.
  • Do not forget many institutions who requires minimal interface to SWIFT. So, moving towards xml based messages will help promote SWIFT as it will be easier to implement and maintain.

SWIFT has been through major changes before and should not hesitate to do this again if change brings long term benefits. With every growing volume of SWIFT messages and SWIFT customers - good changes should come sooner than later.

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2008 2:39 PM Financial Technologies | Back to top


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