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Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions.

 

Context:

As tensions exacerbate between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine, political commentators say that the United States could, as a last resort, exclude Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

 

What happens if one is excluded from SWIFT?

  • If a country is excluded from the most participatory financial facilitating platform, its foreign funding would take a hit, making it entirely reliant on domestic investors. This is particularly troublesome when institutional investors are constantly seeking new markets in newer territories.

 

Current Affairs

 

What is SWIFT?

It is a messaging network that financial institutions use to securely transmit information and instructions through a standardized system of codes. Under SWIFT, each financial organization has a unique code which is used to send and receive payments.

  • SWIFT does not facilitate funds transfer: rather, it sends payment orders, which must be settled by correspondent accounts that the institutions have with each other.
  • The SWIFT is a secure financial message carrier — in other words, it transports messages from one bank to its intended bank recipient.
  • Its core role is to provide a secure transmission channel so that Bank A knows that its message to Bank B goes to Bank B and no one else. Bank B, in turn, knows that Bank A, and no one other than Bank A, sent, read or altered the message en route. Banks, of course, need to have checks in place before actually sending messages.

 

Where is it located?

The Belgium-headquartered SWIFT connects more than 11,000 banking and securities organizations in over 200 countries and territories.

 

How is it administered?

  • It is regulated by G-10 central banks from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, and Sweden, alongside the European Central Bank. Its lead overseer is the National Bank of Belgium.
  • The SWIFT oversight forum was established in 2012. The G-10 participants were joined by the central banks of India, Australia, Russia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the Republic of Turkey, and the People’s Republic of China.

 

SWIFT India:

SWIFT India is a joint venture of top Indian public and private sector banks and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). The company was created to deliver high quality domestic financial messaging services to the Indian financial community. Bhattacharya said the venture has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the financial community in many domains.

 

Significance of SWIFT:

  • Messages sent by SWIFT’s customers are authenticated using its specialised security and identification technology.
  • Encryption is added as the messages leave the customer environment and enter the SWIFT Environment.
  • Messages remain in the protected SWIFT environment, subject to all its confidentiality and integrity commitments, throughout the transmission process while they are transmitted to the operating centres (OPCs) where they are processed — until they are safely delivered to the receiver.

 

Insta Curious:

SWIFT, first used in 1973, went live in 1977 with 518 institutions from 22 countries, its website states. SWIFT itself had replaced the much slower and far less dynamic Telex.

Sources: the hindu.