Deutsche Börse has reacted furiously to calls by the European Securities Forum for the lifting of restrictions on clearing and settlement in Germany.
The ESF was established by leading investment banks to lobby for cheaper cross-border settlement in the EU. In a recently published Action Plan, the ESF called for the removal of restrictions on the location of clearing and settlement and removal of impediments to remote access.
The paper singled out the German system, in which all trades conducted on the Frankfurt exchange are settled by its wholly-owned subsidiary Clearstream. Its criticisms follow recent allegations by the European Commission that Clearstream had deliberately obstructed access to the German markets, discriminating against rival agency Euroclear.
Dismissing the ESF paper as 'polemic', the Frankfurt exchange said it is common practice for equities transactions to be settled through the respective national central securities depository.
Deutsche Börse reiterated that the discussion regarding the improvement of efficiency in pan-European securities trading must not be limited to exchanges, and clearing and settlement organisations.
The exchange claims that about 80% of the existing inefficiencies are attributable to differences in legal, fiscal and regulatory framework conditions as well as the existence of different currencies and languages.