Deutsche Bank report warns of fallout from Russia's Swift ban

Facing criticism for its reluctance to pull out of Russia, Deutsche Bank has published a research report warning that banning the pariah state from Swift will "complicate trade and amplify jitters".

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Deutsche Bank report warns of fallout from Russia's Swift ban

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In a report first picked up by The Telegraph, Deutsche Bank macro strategist Marion Laboure warns that the Swift ban could "precipitate the expansion of rival messaging networks and payment methods that circumvent sanctions".

Adds Laboure: "In the long run a danger may lurk - countries displeased with Western allies flexing their financial hegemony may club together to set up a rival system with infrastructure they can control."

Russia has developed an analogue of Swift, the SPFS system, to which any foreign bank, foreign company or foreign financial institution can freely connect. China has also been developing its own option, the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System.

Deutsche posted a tweet linking to the report before deleting it. It also posted a summary of the report on its "flow" website on Thursday but by Friday the article had disappeared.

A bank spokesperson says: "We support the decisions of the German government and its allies and will promptly and fully implement the sanctions and other measures imposed."

Deutsche has declined to follow the likes of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase in exiting Russia, with CEO Christian Sewing telling staff in a note that it needs to support clients working in the country and that such a move "would go against our values".

Germany's biggest lender also has a major technology centre in Russia and has been busy carrying out stress testing and disaster recovery exercises as it faces up to possibly losing the site, which houses 1500 staffers and develops and maintains software for the global trading business as well as the corporate banking system.

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Comments: (1)

Andrew Smith Founding CTO at RTGS & ClearBank

Obviouisly countries like Russia will set up technology that enables them to potentially comunicate with banks off of SWIFT rails. This shouldnt be seen as a surprise or a threat (maybe a threat to SWIFT but thats all). This is because they still need a bank to correspond with/partner with the other side of those communications. The "way" in which they communicate is totally irrelevant - western banks will still have to follow their regulaotry obligations, therefore their countries sanctions lists. 

Clearly if they build their own rails then they are able to communicate more freely with those banks that still elect / are able to do business with sanctioned banks. But if that's the case, they are probably still communicating what they wish via the good old telephone or email...

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