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Swift Provides Rules for BIC Usage and Launches Awareness Campaign

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As stated during Reference Data Review’s exclusive interview with Paolo Bernini, head of information products at Swift, last week, the industry owned cooperative has published a Bank Identifier Code (BIC) policy document to detail the rules for registration and usage of the codes. Swift has also launched a new awareness and information gathering campaign to spread the knowledge about the BIC Policy and to collect additional information from the community about all registered BICs.

The BIC Policy consolidates all existing rules about BIC registration and usage in one reference document to facilitate consultation and compliance with the rules, says Swift. This and the awareness campaign are in keeping with the plans described by Bernini last week. “Our top priority at the moment is to keep the market aware of what we are doing and we hope to come to some sort of conclusion in the next three to six months with regards to progress (towards developing business entity identification standards around the BIC),” he told Reference Data Review.

Over time, institutions have registered one or more BICs for different operational or organisational purposes and from a community perspective this means that one institution is not always identified by a single identifier, according to Swift. The market has therefore asked the industry network provider to improve the identification of institutions using multiple BICs. As a result of this feedback, Swift is planning to include and publish additional attributes for every BIC record, including legal name, registered address and a unique BIC. The enriched directories will be deployed during 2010.

In the coming weeks, Swift users will receive a form with their institution’s BIC data, which they must complete with the additional information that is required. This is with a view to enriching the Swift BIC directory and will facilitate effective counterparty identification and the subsequent exposure and credit risk management. Swift is the designated ISO registration authority for BIC and the ISO standard 9362 was extended to include financial and non-financial institutions in September this year. The BIC provides an identifier for institutions within the financial services industry to facilitate automated processing of telecommunication messages in banking and related financial transaction environments.

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