PRESS RELEASE

Assessment of accession countries’ securities settlement systems against the standards for the use of EU securities settlement systems in Eurosystem credit operations

28 January 2004

The European Central Bank (ECB) will today publish a report entitled “Assessment of accession countries’ securities settlement systems against the standards for the use of EU securities settlement systems in Eurosystem credit operations”.[1] (pdf 637 kB). In November 1997, the European Monetary Institute established nine standards which securities settlement systems seeking to qualify for Eurosystem credit operations had, and have, to comply with. They were published in January 1998 and are available on the ECB’s website (pdf 111 kB). These standards create the necessary framework for the mitigation of risks related to the settlement of credit operations and the safekeeping of collateral during these operations.

The main purpose of this assessment is to help central banks in the accession countries to identify those parts of their securities settlement arrangements that will still need to be addressed in order to facilitate the smooth functioning of Eurosystem credit operations. A formal assessment of the eligibility of the respective securities settlement systems for Eurosystem credit operations will be carried out as soon as these systems hold collateral eligible for Eurosystem credit operations.

The assessment has revealed that the securities infrastructure in many accession countries may already be deemed relatively adequate. Almost all of the 21 securities settlement systems that have been assessed could be considered eligible for use in Eurosystem credit operations under certain operational conditions.[2] It should be noted, however, that the securities settlement systems in the accession countries are not all equally advanced. In most countries, the securities clearing and settlement infrastructure has largely been developed over the past decade. Within this time frame, some accession countries have not sufficiently developed their securities infrastructure owing to a lack of resources as well as the low volume of securities traffic, which has hampered the recovery of initial investment costs. A number of other countries, however, seem to have taken advantage of the fact that they had to build completely new infrastructures. The relevant authorities in most countries have been strongly committed to bringing their infrastructures into line with internationally recognised standards.

Further details are provided in the report. This publication is available on the ECB’s website (http://www.ecb.europa.eu). Hard copies are available on request from the ECB at the address given below.



[1] It is important to note that the term “accession countries” in this context refers to 12 countries in total, i.e. the ten acceding countries that are going to join the EU in May 2004 plus Bulgaria and Romania.

[2] In Cyprus, the government securities used for central bank credit operations are being dematerialised and the registers transferred from the Central Bank of Cyprus to the Central Depository and Central Registry (CDCR). Pending the completion of the project, which is foreseen for 2004, the CDCR would be deemed eligible for Eurosystem credit operations on a pre-deposit basis combined with free delivery of securities.

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