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Critical service providers

In order to operate, financial market infrastructures may depend on the continuous and adequate functioning of service providers to whom they have contracted out critical parts of their operations, such as IT and messaging services. This means that the Eurosystem has a keen interest in these critical service providers functioning smoothly.

A key principle for the Eurosystem is that the individual systems retain full responsibility for any activity that is crucial to their operation. This includes responsibility for ensuring that these critical service providers comply with the applicable oversight standards. Annex F of the CPSS-IOSCO Principles for financial market infrastructures (PFMIs) sets out specific oversight expectations for these providers.


S.W.I.F.T. SCRL, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the messaging service provider for most of the systemically important payment and securities clearing systems.

Cooperative oversight

The G10 central banks, including the ECB, perform cooperative oversight of S.W.I.F.T. As S.W.I.F.T. is incorporated in Belgium, the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique acts as lead overseer.

Applicable oversight standards

Oversight of S.W.I.F.T. focuses on the security, operational reliability, business continuity and resilience of its infrastructure.

Cooperation between the central banks aims to ensure that S.W.I.F.T. has appropriate governance arrangements, risk management procedures and controls in place. Effective structures and processes are necessary to manage the risks for financial stability and the soundness of financial infrastructures.

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