Belgium’s financial services provider eyes foray into securities clearing, settlement

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

Saqib Sheikh, COO, SWIFT India

Looks to play a role in post-trade administration of NSE, BSE

Global financial messaging service provider SWIFT is looking to make inroads into the Indian capital markets and has drawn up a strategy to provide services around the securities clearing and settlement. It expects to go live next year, a company official said.

“We are already in talks with the NSE and other players in the ecosystem. Our intent is only to provide post-trade settlement services,” Saqib Sheikh, Chief Operating Officer, SWIFT India, told BusinessLine in an interview. About 116 financial institutions (including banks) in India already use SWIFT for their cross-border transactions. 

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) is a member-based cooperative through which banking and financial community as well as corporates conduct their business operations. The Belgium-based global banking cooperative currently provides services in 212 countries. In India, SWIFT is largely a services provider for cross-border payments.

Global players seek

“We will certainly leverage on our existing relationships to make inroads into the capital market space,” Sheikh said, adding that SWIFT was building a bridge on what was happening cross border into the domestic space and is now “extending that bridge into India”. 

When asked why they are into the domestic space, Sheikh said SWIFT was now focusing on the domestic payments space as the community (global banks) wanted it to do so. 

“India is a major player in the global economic stage now. Our community asked us to have a partnership with India and suggested that we should also provide domestic services within India.” 

In March this year, SWIFT received final approval from the RBI for launching domestic services, which will be provided by a local joint venture — SWIFT India, set up in 2013.

SWIFT India is a joint venture between SWIFT and nine partner banks (Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, SBI and the Union Bank of India). 

By December this year, SWIFT India hopes to go live with an alternate channel to existing domestic services, such as Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). 

“Today, if banks can charge ₹5-50 per RTGS, by using SWIFT they will have an opportunity to reduce that cost. Industry will save money and the savings can be passed on to customers,” Sheikh said. 

Published on October 26, 2015

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