The launch of the Single Settlement Engine (SSE) was completed at the end of January with Euroclear Bank’s move to the SSE.
The SSE is the first major milestone in accomplishing Euroclear's objective to harmonise services on a consolidated processing platform, merging five Euroclear group settlement platforms into one. The SSE was launched in Euroclear France on 29 May 2006, followed by CRESTCo on 28 August 2006.
As a result of enhanced internal testing and two extensive dress-rehearsal tests executed prior to the launch, only very minor disruptions to the availability of Euroclear Bank client reporting occurred during the launch weekend, notwithstanding the size and complexity of the project.
Performing the core function of securities settlement, i.e. positioning and booking of cash and securities transfers, the SSE is the foundation onto which all IT systems within the Euroclear group will be consolidated. A new settlement-optimisation processing module has been introduced with the SSE, offering technical netting of cash and securities positions. This new feature has already increased settlement efficiency in Euroclear France and CRESTCo, particularly for back-to-back transactions, and reduced the need for securities borrowings to avoid settlement fails.
Pierre Francotte, Chief Executive Officer of Euroclear SA/NV, said: "Thanks to the hard work and expertise of our people, along with the support of our clients, delivery of the settlement-infrastructure foundation for a 'domestic market for Europe' is now a big step closer. We are now more than half way through our platform consolidation and market harmonisation programme, removing key Giovannini Group barriers within the Euroclear group markets. We are already well advanced in testing the next major phase in our programme, which will be launched later this year."
The next step in Euroclear's migration to a single platform is the launch of ESES (Euroclear Settlement for Euronext-zone Securities). Using the SSE as its foundation, ESES will serve as a single processing solution to process both domestic and cross-border fixed-income and equity transactions in the Belgian, Dutch and French markets as if they were a single market. ESES will be launched in Euroclear France at the end of this year and in Euroclear Belgium and Euroclear Nederland in the second quarter of 2008.
Continuing to leverage the work done on the SSE, Euroclear will then enter the final phase of consolidation onto the single platform serving all Euroclear group markets. Starting with custody-related processing in late 2008, all components of the single platform are scheduled to be completed in 2009/2010.