SWIFT to make Malaysia its ‘second home’ by 2020
By Lum Ka Kay March 2, 2016
- ‘We are really, really betting heavily on Malaysia,’ cites vast talent pool
- Global payments innovation initiative will ‘reinvent correspondent banking’
GLOBAL financial messaging services provider SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) will expand its Malaysian site, aiming for it to be its second largest in the world by 2020 after its office in Belgium, where SWIFT was founded back in 1973.
The head of its Kuala Lumpur corporate services centre Christophe Michel (pic above) said he hopes to grow the Malaysian team to 600 by 2020, adding that March 1 marked the third anniversary of its Malaysian office.
“We are really, really betting heavily on Malaysia,” he told the media at the sidelines of the SWIFT Business Forum Malaysia 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.
SWIFT supplies secure financial messaging services and interface software to wholesale financial organisations. It is connected to more than 10,800 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in over 200 countries.
When asked why Malaysia, Michel cited its huge talent pool, cost effectiveness, support from local government agencies such as ICT custodian Multimedia Development Corp, as well as its good infrastructure.
He said that since 2013, the Malaysian office has screened more than 30,000 CVs (curriculum vitae).
“This shows the availability and deepness of the talent pool here in Malaysia,” he argued.
When it comes to cost, “Singapore is awfully expensive – even more expensive than some European markets, so when you look at the whole framework, Malaysia is the most suitable place for us,” he added.
Michel said that when SWIFT started its Malaysian office in 2013, it had several objectives in mind.
“We wanted to have access to more Asian markets and to be seen as a more global company.
“We also wanted to access the vast talent pool here, and aimed to have a team of 100 people by the end of 2015.
“And look where we are right now – after 36 months, we have about 280 people with us,” he declared.
He said that SWIFT’s Malaysian workforce has grown by more than 50% each year, and this shows that it is “a vibrant market out here.”
According to SWIFT’s chief executive of Asia Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa Alain Raes, SWIFT has been operating in Asia Pacific for over 30 years, having started in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The company now has nine offices across the region, in Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea.
Global payments innovation initiative
Raes (pic above) also spoke about SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative (GPII), which he claimed would “reinvent correspondent banking” when it goes live by the end of the year.
Globally, 45 banks have signed up to the GPII including Malayan Banking (Maybank), Citibank, DBS Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank.
GPII speeds up cross-border payments, and makes them more cost effective, more transparent, and more predictable, he claimed.
“We’re trying to make sure that there is a framework between the banks whereby they understand each other on how much they’re going to charge each other, hence transparency,” said Raes.
“It also helps one bank understand how long the payment is going to take to reach the recipient bank at the other end,” he added.
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