Technology rather than headcount is the basis for managing risk in the clearing and settlement of equity trades, according to an executive with alternative trading platform Chi-X
The revelation that the central counterparty clearing service used by Chi-X, a multilateral trading facility (MTF)launched in March 2007, employs only two full-time risk managers was defended by Scott Riley, a Chi-X director who stressed that its model was based on systems and intellectual capital rather than headcount.
"With our European Multilateral Clearing Facility (EMCF), risk is built into the process. In terms of the headcount, our approach to risk is about the intellectual capital and the systems."
Riley, director of operations at Chi-X, added that, following Monday's default of investment bank Lehman Brothers, by the following day all of Chi-X's participants confirmed that there would be no major impact from the default.
Riley was speaking at the Sibos event in a panel debate on new execution venues in Europe's equity market where the issue of risk and fragmentation in the post-trade space was a fiercely debated topic.
Fellow panellist Angus Fletcher, head of European business development and market infrastructure at broker Morgan Stanley, added that although there few issues resulting from this week's events, there would have to be "greater focus on risk for CCPs and a need for more transparency in the post-risk model".
The arrival of new execution venues such as Chi-X and newly launched Turquoise is expected to bring competition, choice and cost reduction to Europe's equity markets but the fact that each venue has its own clearing partner has also brought unwelcome fragmentation and cost to the post-trade space for participants forced to use multiple clearing partners.
"In the UK we have three settlement types, three central security depositories and three netting types to manage," said Fletcher. "What we want to see is a single CCP and a single clearing methodology for all our trades."