The European Central Securities Depositories Association (Ecsda) has made the first concrete steps in removing the barriers for efficient clearing and settlement arrangements in the EU that were identified by the Giovannini Group.
In April 2003, the Giovannini Group charged Ecsda with responsibility for removing three of the fifteen market barriers they identified to low-cost, cross-border settlement.
An Ecsda working group chaired by Michael Kempe of CrestCo has now published ten standards for implementation over the next year that will aim to remove barrier four and enable intraday finality, and barrier seven relating to the harmonisation of operating hours and settlement deadlines.
In a statement, Ecsda warns that meeting the recommendation will entail considerable effort by some members: "While there is a high degree of compliance by Ecsda members with some of the standards, others are met by only 50% of CSDs...This short time scale is an indication of the importance that all Ecsda members place on the standards.
The third barrier, concerning corporate action harmonisation, will be addressed later this year, says the depository group.