As customary every year I received my invitation to register for the SOFE conference. It’s a particularly good opportunity to meet other SWIFT customers and discuss upcoming changes/improvements to the system. Since I’m participating on behalf of one the Nordics Service Bureaux I tried to register with their BIC but to my surprise my application was denied. Another colleague of mine had the exact same issue, using the same company development BIC code (Software companies developing own products for Swift connectivity).
Something which initially looked like a error now seems to be a feature! There was an option to contact Swift via free form to receive information regarding Service Bureau participation at SOFE, as a Bureau you now have to be exhibitor and pay 5000 EUR. SWIFT informed a friend of mine working at a Bureau in Zurich that this decision to deny participation of Service Bureaux is based on SOFE’s participants feedback. According to SWIFT, their customers do not want people from Service Bureaux participating at SOFE.
I am shocked, this is clearly complete fabrication! SOFE participants are generally not able to recognise if you are from bank or Service Bureau. I believe the reason is far simpler;
SWIFT, as I mentioned many times before, are competing with their own service partners. They are doing their utmost to deny the existence of Service Bureaux when not too long ago they couldn’t do enough to promote them. Now, however, there is no longer place for them in SWIFTs marketing campaigns.
And that’s the point. SOFE is no longer an Operational Forum. It’s just marketing campaign mainly focused on SWIFTs Products.
Recently I received another invitation from SWIFT to participate in their webinars but I encountered the same issue.
So my advice to potential buyers of SWIFT products. Before you make any decisions, PLEASE, do your own research and try to get an independent view of what is available on the market.