Who’s who in the TSU
The SWIFTNet Trade Services Utility became commercially available on April 2 this year. From the inception of the initiative three years ago there has been a growing community of trade players, many of whom work behind the scenes to drive the project forward. Who are they, what’s their role, how do they fit into the overall TSU picture
- Jackie Keogh, Head, Supply Chain Management at Swift, explains.
The Trade Services Advisory Group (TSAG): experience driving progress
This group of global heads of trade has been the driving force behind the TSU since the idea was first conceived. The members are individually chosen because of their trade expertise, and guide Swift’s strategic direction whilst taking a very hands-on approach to TSU development and adoption.
The group strives to ensure the banking industry has a positive impact on the efficiency of supply chain management worldwide. At the same time TSAG members remain mindful of the need to balance the equilibrium between competitive opportunities and the challenges of collaboration.
The TSU early adopters: reviving correspondent banking
The TSU has received strong support from trade banks worldwide with 38 banks in 18 countries signed up. It takes two to tango, and this is no less true in the world of trade.
Only the privileged few banks can independently service the geographical requirements of their corporate clients. With corporate trade extending to the furthest reaches of the globe banks are reviving their correspondent relationships to follow suit.
The TSU banks have talked openly about their counterparty relationships, allowing the Swift team to encourage those banks to come on board. This has driven a focus on gaining rapid adoption in Asia, with four Chinese banks leading the pack.
The TSU community: enhancing the TSU to meet business needs
Industry debate on supply chain services has gained momentum in recent years. Swift has played in its role in helping to facilitate this debate through many events including Sibos, regional conferences, business forums and specific TSU customer requirement meetings.
These events help banks to find consensus on their evolving business needs and feed these requirements into the TSU product life cycle.
A subset of these banks works with Swift to prioritise enhancements and upgrades.
Release 2.0 of the TSU, available in Q4 2008, will deliver on the demand for (1) involvement of more banks in a transaction, (2) greater flexibility on data presentation and standards, (3) easier reconciliation between the transaction and the resulting payment, (4) data from insurance and certificates and (5) the transmission of obligations to pay.
Software partners: making it happen
The technology path to revenue from supply chain services follows the norm of manual, semi-automated and then fully automated. The TSU standardises the bank-to-bank interaction and eliminates the human limitation of scaling the business.
The TSU interface enables banks to begin this back-office automation process which can be advanced with in-house development or vendor packages. Swift has developed a SWIFTReady Trade Services Utility label to assist banks with vendor evaluation and selection.
An application is awarded the label when it comprehensively demonstrates its functional and technical support for TSU messaging and standards.
The first SWIFTReady TSU label was awarded to Misys Trade Portal. By Sibos this year Swift is expecting to award at least three more labels. This will give banks a real choice of partners if they choose to go that route.
The corporate-to-bank engagement is driven by the tailored services a bank offers. Some players are offering capabilities that provide the generic foundation of these products. For example, JPMorgan Chase has enhanced its document preparation internet product, TradeDoc, to handle the TSU templates and messaging.
JPMorgan is offering this solution to counterparty banks on a white label basis to enable TSU processing and provide export document preparation services.
Corporates: where the rubber hits the road
At Sibos, Dillards and JPMorgan Chase, and Ito-Yokado and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, will share their experiences. Each corporate will discuss its requirements and the resulting bank solution. Each bank will link the bank offering to the value contributed by the TSU.
This forum should add a key ingredient to the TSU player mix – corporates sharing their experiences of TSU-enabled bank offerings.
Sibos: bringing all the trade players together
In Boston, banks and software partners will showcase their offerings, and all the trade players will have an opportunity to express their needs for the future of their business.
Sharing experience and finding out how best to ’make it happen’ is key to success. Sibos is a great opportunity to bring all the trade players together, and gain momentum for the TSU and supply chain services.