The European Central Bank has set a three-year deadline for the introduction of stricter business continuity planning and crisis management procedures for 'systemically important' payments systems and key market participants.
The latest paper from the Eurosystem of banking regulators updates previous consultation documents and sets a June 2009 deadline for compliance with the revised standards.
Under the guidelines, payments system operators - and in certain unspecified instances, key suppliers and participants - should have well-defined strategies and monitoring mechanisms for dealing with major outages aimed at the recovery and resumption of critical functions within the same settlement day. Systems should also have a secondary, geographically separate site, capable of independent operation in the event of failure at the primary facility.
The latest set of demands come as the European payments industry is grappling with concurrent deadlines for moving to a Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) and integrated whoelsale payments through the Target2 project. Nonetheless, the ECB maintains that the ability of payments systems operators to recover from large-scale disasters should "remain a prime concern".
The ECB says it would be prepared to extend the June 2009 deadline for implementation by infrastructure providers on a case by case basis, and grant a further one-year extension to critical participants, to a final cut-off in mid 2010.
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