Microsoft Announces BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, Provides Complete SWIFT Messaging and Connectivity Support

First Public Beta Customer, Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management, Expects to Reduce Current Infrastructure Costs by 50 Percent Using New Accelerator

SINGAPORE - Today at the SIBOS 2003 Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced the BizTalk® Accelerator for SWIFT, a new software solution that will support all SWIFT messages and provide comprehensive connectivity interfaces. In addition to helping to provide a secure, reliable and economically viable messaging platform for securities and banking transactions, BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT will enable easy integration with existing and legacy systems.

Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management, a subsidiary of the Allianz Dresdner Asset Management of America, is the first public customer to beta test the new accelerator for processing and integration of all SWIFT securities messages. "We expect to save 50 percent in infrastructure costs once we complete our implementation of BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT," said Daniel Stroot, chief technology officer at Nicholas-Applegate. "BizTalk Server, coupled with the new accelerator for SWIFT, allows Nicholas-Applegate to replace its current post-trade STP middleware with a more cost-effective solution. We also find it's a much more productive environment for our developers."

BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT uses the latest Microsoft® technology to provide a comprehensive SWIFT connectivity solution with support of SWIFT's connectivity interfaces and all SWIFT messages, both FIN and XML. It also supports the migration and interface requirements for all new SWIFT services. The technology enables disparate internal systems to fully support SWIFT messaging standards.

Financial institutions can use the business activity monitoring facilities of BizTalk Server to track all SWIFT traffic, giving a complete and accurate view of transaction status to minimize risk and improve operational efficiencies. This capability is extensible, enabling financial institutions to create custom dashboards for monitoring traffic and activity. SWIFT rules, mappings and validations are all embedded in the technology. In addition, BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT includes tools for manual message entry and message repair via the InfoPath(tm) information gathering program, a new component of the Microsoft Office System, designed to gather and manage back-office process information from
the desktop.

The solution also includes the RosettaNet Payments Toolkit, specifically designed to seamlessly integrate with existing RosettaNet industry standards to enable the automation of corporate to bank payments using the SWIFT payment initiation and cash-reporting XML standards. Microsoft is participating in the RosettaNet Payment Milestone Program with SWIFT and several large financial institutions and their corporate customers. The company aims to help reduce the current cost of payment processing on both sides of the supply chain through automation of the initiation, settlement and reconciliation of payments.

Following the launch of Microsoft's Accelerator for Financial Services (A4FS) last year, Microsoft has been working closely with SWIFT and key industry participants to develop support for a complete set of SWIFT-specific messages and adaptors, and is in the process of applying for SWIFT Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) Gold Certification.

"With the BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, the financial community has access to technology that is simple to implement and lowers the cost to connect to SWIFT," said Johan Kestens, member of the Executive Group at SWIFT. "In combination with the highly secure and reliable SWIFTNet messaging services, this provides a powerful solution, in particular for smaller users."

In a recent report on financial integration trends, TowerGroup has predicted that the financial services industry will spend 4 percent to 5 percent less on EAI technology in 2003-04. The new accelerator supersedes A4FS and aims to address shrinking IT budgets in financial institutions. The Microsoft platform addresses these industry demands by enabling financial institutions to do more with less. BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, which will be available after the first of the year, enables a rapid return on investment and low total cost of ownership, enabling institutions to focus on developing unique business value and new services.

"Falling technology budgets and a short-term horizon for return on investment are forcing financial institutions to reassess their IT spending," said Josh Weisberg, senior product manager for E-Business Servers at Microsoft. "Although automating the financial messaging process can save a lot of time and money in the midterm, the cost of doing so is often prohibitive in the short term. Microsoft is committed to SWIFT's vision of an automated financial services value chain, and we are working closely with SWIFT to provide financial institutions of all sizes with comprehensive and economically viable solutions for SWIFT messaging."

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