20 percent of all SWIFT connections in EMEA each year are implemented by BELLIN. We have great expertise in this field and always know how to approach a project. But what about companies who already have their own BIC but would now like to benefit from the BELLIN SWIFT Service? Is it possible to simply migrate a BIC? We have theorized solutions to this scenario many times – but a few weeks ago we were finally asked to put theory into practice.
One of our new clients – a European group with over 200 locations in 30 countries that is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange and is worth several billion euros – was looking for an efficient global payments solution. They already had their own BIC but were using it exclusively to collect account statements. The technical setup involved the SWIFT Service Bureau of their previous TMS provider. In a “standard” SWIFT onboarding project, the company-owned BIC is not activated until it has been fully embedded in the technological infrastructure. However, a BIC migration is a bit like a surgery where the still beating heart is transplanted from the old provider to BELLIN. This requires a detailed analysis of the processes in connection with the company-owned BIC. BELLIN must make the necessary preparations in the new system in order to “flick the switch” at a specific point agreed by all parties involved. A SWIFT consultant is responsible for the central coordination of such a migration, ensuring that everyone acts on cue.
The initial stage of this migration project consequently involved analyzing the account statements that our client receives via FIN and FileAct from a large number of banks. We also needed to prepare tm5 for the incoming data to ensure a seamless transition from one system to the other. The second phase, the actual technical migration process, was coordinated with SWIFT and implemented on a weekend. The entire migration process, from first being approached by the client to the migration of the SWIFT BIC, took around eight weeks. As soon as the migration was completed, the company could not only receive and process all statements in tm5 but also process payments with the first bank via SWIFT! Meanwhile, additional banks have been connected. With the BIC successfully migrated, we then followed standard procedure for a SWIFT onboarding project.
What can we learn from this project? Our theoretical musings did translate to reality, and we were able to prove that our technology allows us to migrate an existing SWIFT BIC without any downtime. With this experience – both on our end and for SWIFT – any future migration projects should be implemented even quicker. Everything went very smoothly. This shows first hand that the BELLIN-SWIFT cooperation is as reliable and collaborative when it comes to migration projects as it is with any standard project. Overall, the project was a great challenge but the nervousness associated with any “first time” was actually quite welcome.