Swift, the bank-run international network for financial transactions, has appointed Barry Morse as vice president in charge of its trade electronic data interchange practice.
Mr. Morse had been in charge of marketing at the Brussels-based network since he joined in 1992. He will move from Belgium to London and devote all his time to helping Swift develop an electronic international registry for trade documents.
Swift - the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - has been weighing whether it wants to form an electronic trade industry utility in partnership with the fledgling Bolero Association.
The appointment of Mr. Morse is an indication that Swift is getting more serious about working with London-based Bolero, which is owned by a consortium of trade groups, shipping companies, and international banks, including Citicorp.
"I want to demonstrate commitment to the Bolero organization," said Leonard Schrank, president and chief executive officer of Swift. "It's time to act and move forward."
Mr. Morse's work will help to inform Swift's board of directors for a vote on teaming up with Bolero. The vote should occur in December, Swift executives said.
Bolero, which was formed in 1994, is attempting to build an electronic registry for bills of lading and other trade-related documents.
Mr. Schrank said Swift would like to have some input on the construction of the registry. And, he added, it is interested in exploring the possibility of working more closely with the trade industry.
In a letter to be sent to its approximately 3,000 bank owners, Swift will propose acting as a "trusted third party" for the trade industry, providing access to freight forwarders, insurance firms, and other parties that require access to trade-related documents.
"The key to the whole thing is the credibility of the banks," Mr. Schrank said.
But he also said a trade utility must be "a cross-industry initiative," a venture that will be owned and funded by Swift and other trade industry groups.
Bolero would act as the rules-making body for the trade document utility, Mr. Schrank said.
He added that registry would be accessible through a gateway using several private and public network options.