ECB calls on depositories to join securities settlement project

ECB calls on depositories to join securities settlement project

The European Central Bank (ECB) is calling on central securities depositories (CSDs) to sign up to Target2-Securities (TS2), its proposed integrated securities settlement system in the euro zone.

The pan-European system would connect all clearing networks in the euro zone into a single platform, extending the payments system used for central bank operations to cover securities settlements. The ECB believes an integrated securities settlement infrastructure in the euro zone could cut settlement costs by up to 90%.

Europe's banks have come out in support of the scheme, although only on condition that they get more say in the design and implementation of the system and that banks have direct access to T2S.

But the plans have come under fire from European Central Securities Depositories Association (ECSDA) as TS2 would supplant services currently provided by its members. The Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE) has also voiced concerns over the cost implications to its members and has called for the ECB to provide a clear business case for TS2 in order to assess the efficiency of the initiative.

Now in a bid to get more depositories on board, the ECB is providing new information for CSDs, including detailed user requirements, proposals of the legal and contractual requirements of CSDs using the system and details of the governance structure of the next phase of the project.

The ECB is also providing the results of an "economic impact analysis" which it says shows that T2S "has the potential to bring significant benefits both to securities market participants and to the European economy generally".

The central bank has called on CSDs state by 4 July 2008 whether they support T2S and intend to use the service once in operation.

The ECB's governing council is expected to make a decision on whether to proceed with the T2S project this summer. The central bank says the decision will be based on based on the full T2S 2 documentation, the level of support conveyed by CSDs, the views expressed by market participants more widely and those put forward by the Council of the European Union.

See the ECB's documentation here

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