SWIFT MT to MX Converters: Don’t throw away your biggest asset

After many years of delays and discussion, ISO 20022 go-live came into effect in November 2022. But despite the new payment messaging standard being years in the making, many banks appear to have been caught unprepared. We're working with several firms that require help with SWIFT MT to MX mapping and conversion (and vice versa) to ensure that they are ready to send and receive messages in the new ISO 20022 file format. At the same time, we're also imploring them not to waste the strategic opportunities ISO 20022 presents.

The stopgap SWIFT MT to ISO 20022 mapping conundrum

Firms who come to us looking for an MT to MX conversion tool have legitimate concerns about being ready, even a few years after ISO 20022’s introduction . After a turbulent couple of years disrupted by the pandemic, some ISO 20022 implementation projects may have slipped down the priority agenda, leaving teams scrambling to catch up as the deadline looms.

We're happy to provide stopgap solutions—MT messages are so deeply embedded in the systems, processes and technology ecosystems of banks, their partners, and customers that MT to MX conversion tools will likely be an inevitable requirement, at least in the short term. Meeting immediate compliance obligations is, therefore, of the utmost importance.

However, relying on MT to MX conversion as a long-term strategy will mean sacrificing something that banks have been spending a great deal of time, effort and investment to effectively manage and monetise: their data.

The data opportunity in ISO 20022

Messages in the new ISO 20022 specification contain richer, higher-quality and more granular data compared to the antiquated MT format. By merely relying on an MT to MX converter rather than adopting ISO 20022 natively, banks are effectively throwing away a valuable asset: the standardised, structured and unambiguous data that ISO 20022 provides.

This enhanced data model offers immense strategic potential, including:

  • New value creation: The additional metadata and richer content in ISO 20022 messages enables banks to offer new value-added services, from analytics to banking services to compliance.
  • Automation acceleration: ISO 20022's consistent, structured format allows for seamless straight-through processing and fundamental process re-engineering through enhanced automation.
  • Faster cross-border expansion: The global ISO 20022 standard facilitates smoother integration with new payments channels, partners and geographic markets.
  • Innovation fuel: Granular data is the key ingredient for data-driven innovation - ISO 20022 provides fertile ground for developing next-gen banking products and services.
  • Cost optimisation: Streamlined, automated processes enabled by ISO 20022's enhanced data reduce operational overheads and human capital requirements.

So while an MT to MX converter may be a necessary short-term bridge, banking leaders need to set their sights on the bigger picture opportunities that harnessing ISO 20022 data can provide for their firms.

Our ISO 20022 solution suite

If you find yourself in need of an MT to MX conversion tool, speak to our team today. We offer a comprehensive set of off-the-shelf standard transformations, pre-mapped and ready to implement, saving you significant time and effort. 

Even better, we maintain and revise these transformations on your behalf with each iteration, ensuring you remain current. And if required, we can quickly customise the transformations to align with your firm's unique data needs.

Meanwhile, we also encourage you to think beyond this tactical fix toward a more strategic, holistic embrace of the ISO 20022 paradigm. We're working with firms around the world to provide a complete, end-to-end solution suite for ISO 20022 migration, message transformation, multi-banking connectivity, cash and payments management. This modular suite lets banks and financial institutions capture the full value of the richer ISO 20022 data model.

Our solutions help banks harmonise data across the enterprise, facilitating automation through native multi-format processing capabilities that avoid costly translation. Robust data governance and enrichment tools allow you to enhance ISO 20022's inherent data strengths. And our modern integration architecture easily connects your existing systems to enable transition at your own pace.

In essence, we empower financial institutions to go beyond mere compliance and truly harness the long-term strategic advantages of ISO 20022's enhanced data, setting you up for innovation, cost optimisation and sustainable competitive differentiation.

Don't settle for short-term workarounds

The transition to ISO 20022 is a watershed moment for the financial services industry. While stopgap MT-MX conversion tools are okay as a contingency for firms that still need to catch up, forward-thinking banks should be positioning themselves to capitalise on ISO 20022's revolutionary data-driven potential long into the future.

We'd be pleased to share more on how our complete ISO 20022 solutions can facilitate your firm's strategic journey. By avoiding inefficient point solutions like one-off converters, you'll be able to unlock ISO 20022's full transformative business impact, accelerating automation, fueling innovation and gaining a sustainable competitive edge.

Contact us today to discuss taking your first steps toward realising the ISO 20022 vision and not just checking a compliance box.


* Phil Flood is Global Business Development Director - Regulatory and STP Services at Gresham Tech.


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