PRESS RELEASE

Assessment of EU securities settlement systems against the standards for their use in ESCB credit operations

29 September 1998

As a part of the preparatory work for Stage Three of European Economic and Monetary Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) will today release a Report, entitled "Assessment of EU Securities Settlement Systems against the standards for their use in ESCB credit operations". The Report is the follow-up to the EMI report published in January 1998, and entitled "Standards for the use of EU Securities Settlement Systems in ESCB credit operations".

The ECB and the EU national central banks have assessed twenty-nine EU securities settlement systems against the standards laid down in the above mentioned report. The objective is to ensure that European System of Central Banks (ESCB) credit operations are processed through securities settlement systems which will: (i) prevent the national central banks from bearing inappropriate risks when conducting monetary policy operations and in providing intraday credit to TARGET participants; and (ii) ensure the same level of safety for all national central banks' operations settled in different ways throughout the European Union. In particular, the new Report contains a list of those eligible securities settlement systems, which qualify for involvement in ESCB monetary policy and intraday credit operations. A separate assessment concerning links between securities settlement systems is currently under way.

The results of the assessment of the twenty-nine securities settlement systems show that all of them can be considered to be eligible for use in ESCB credit operations. However, most of the securities settlement systems are eligible on a particular basis.

More specifically, from an operational point of view:

  • only two SSSs (France-RGV and Sweden-VPC) currently offer intraday delivery versus payment (DVP) facilities on a real-time basis with payment in central bank money and in accordance with TARGET operating times;
  • nine other SSSs (Belgium-NBB/CIK, Denmark-VP, Germany-DBC, Greece-BOGS, the Netherlands-Necigef, Portugal-Siteme/Interbolsa and Finland-RM) offer intraday facilities with payment in central bank money on a real-time basis or with several batches, but do not currently fulfil TARGET operating times. They intend to fulfil TARGET operating times by 4 January 1999;
  • one system (Austria-OKB) provides intraday DVP settlement, but not in central bank money; however, it intends to do so as of 4 January 1999;
  • two SSSs will be used on a free delivery basis because they do not provide DVP facilities (Italy - CAT/Monte Titoli);
  • seven SSSs will be used on a free delivery basis because they do not provide DVP settlement in central bank money (the United Kingdom-CGO/CMO/CREST, Ireland-CBISSO/NTMA, Euroclear and Cedel);
  • nine SSSs do not allow the delivery of securities intraday with finality: securities held in these systems can be used in intraday credit only where they have been delivered in advance to the ESCB (i.e. pre-deposited) (Belgium-Euroclear, Finland-OM, Luxembourg-Cedel, Spain-CADE (CADE plans to implement real-time free deliveries as of 15 January 1999 and real-time DVP as of 15 March 1999) SCLV/Espaclear/SCLBarcelona/SCLBilbao/SCLValencia);
  • one system (Italy-LDT) cannot be used for the intraday settlement of ESCB operations.

Further details are provided in the report. Based on the current assessment, the ESCB does not believe that there is reason to abstain from using any of the twenty-nine systems. Therefore all of them are eligible for use from the start of Stage Three (although the basis of use may differ). The eligibility of each system may be periodically reviewed in light of the operation of and developments in the system and market needs.

The report will be distributed by the EU national central banks to interested parties in their respective countries. Copies will also be available from the ECB, at the following address:

Media contacts