23 May 2017
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Bank of England to take over running of Chaps as RTGS make-over comes onstream

09 May 2017  |  9374 views  |  1 London skyline - old Natwest tower and gherkin

The Bank of England is to take over the direct running of the UK's Chaps high value payment system as part of a blueprint for a rebuild of its real-time gross settlement platform to accommodate new market entrants and a future-proofed interface to distributed ledger technology.

On an average day, Chaps settles around £500 billion between banks - around a quarter of the UK’s annual GDP - processing £76 trillion in central bank money in 2016.

The current split of responsibilities for the UK’s HVPS, in which the Bank operates the central infrastructure but the direct member-run private sector firm ChapsCo owns the rulebook and is responsible for system-wide risk management, is unusual internationally.

In a document detailing its plans, the Bank states: "Given the structural constraints imposed by the current arrangements and the changing shape of risks facing the HVPS, the Bank and its Financial Policy Committee, have concluded that financial stability would be enhanced if the United Kingdom adopted the ‘direct delivery’ model used in the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions globally."

The Bank says it is working with Chaps Co and its stakeholders to deliver "a swift and orderly transition" to a direct delivery model. The aim is to have heads of terms for a share purchase transaction ready by July, with the transition completed in the latter part of 2017.

Work will then progress on a three-year rebuild of the RTGS platform with the objective of improving resilience against cyber-threats and ensuring broader access and wider interoperability through a transition to the ISO 20022 messaging standard and the delivery of an API for ease of connection.

The Bank has decided not to build the renewed RTGS service on distributed ledger technology, stating that the technology is "not yet sufficiently mature" to provide the high levels of robustness required for RTGS settlement.

"But the new generation of RTGS will be built with the flexibility needed to ensure it can interface with such technology as and when it is developed in the wider sterling markets," states the Bank.

Read the full blueprint.» Download the document now 1.4 mb (Chrome HTML Document)

Comments: (1)

Dinesh Katyal
Dinesh Katyal - Xero - San Francisco | 09 May, 2017, 17:42

Interesting move! Should the clearing houses be centralized? It appears that would induce more instability than if they allowed other entities besides ChapsCo to enter the clearing market. Making that a part of BoE likely makes the system less resilient.

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