The Eurosystem engages in a number of initiatives which aim to promote efficiency, innovation and transparency and ultimately achieve greater integration in financial markets in Europe. In line with its strategy, the Eurosystem is investigating ways to enhance its financial market infrastructure so that it continues to meet the needs of the market, stays ahead of cyber security challenges and keeps up with the latest technological developments.
On this page you can find information about the initiatives that are currently under investigation. The investigation is used either to consult users on the need for new services or to explore the potential of new technologies.
TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS)
A service for instant payment settlement across Europe in central bank money.
Instant payments are electronic retail payment solutions available around the clock, 365 days per year. They are settled immediately meaning that the money is moved from the payer’s account to the payee’s account within seconds.
The Eurosystem aims to ensure that the growing demand for instant payments is met at European level and to avoid national solutions reintroducing fragmentation in Europe.
In June 2017 the Governing Council of the ECB decided to develop a new service for the settlement of instant payments, TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS).
The Market Infrastructure Board (MIB) has established a contact group that will accompany the TIPS project during the realisation phase.
The members of the contact group come from banks active in retail payments, automated clearing houses and euro area national central banks. They will provide the MIB with advice in the areas of planning, user testing and change and release management activities.
Consolidation of TARGET2 and T2S
The Eurosystem is exploring synergies across its market infrastructures.
The Eurosystem owns and operates financial market infrastructures for the settlement of payments (TARGET2) and securities (TARGET2-Securities, or T2S). It is investigating the possible consolidation of their technical and functional aspects so that TARGET2 end users can also enjoy the benefits of the state-of-the-art features offered by T2S. The Eurosystem is also evaluating whether TARGET2 should offer new services in response to changing market demands. The investigation follows up on the market feedback gathered during the consultation on the future of RTGS services.
In December 2017 the Governing Council of the ECB approved the T2-T2S consolidation project. The Market Infrastructure Board (MIB) established a TARGET consolidation contact group which will inform and advise on planning, functional and technical specifications, user testing, migration and change management activities with regards to the T2-T2S consolidation project.
The new contact group consists of market representatives, central banks and service providers of the future services. It replaces the task force on future RTGS Services which helped defining and specifying the user requirements for the services that are in the scope of the project. A public consultation on the user requirements ran between May and June 2017.
Eurosystem collateral management system
The aim is to harmonise the Eurosystem's collateralisation techniques and procedures.
The Eurosystem provides credit only against adequate collateral. Typically, collateral refers to either marketable financial securities, such as bonds, or other types of assets, non-marketable assets or cash.
The Eurosystem is investigating the business case for a shared system for the mobilisation and management of collateral used in Eurosystem credit operations. Areas where further harmonisation could be achieved will also be assessed in order to increase the efficiency of the common system, should it be developed.
In the course of 2017 the Eurosystem will define the user requirements and assess the business case for, and the costs of, developing a new system. An internal Eurosystem task force has been set up and market participants will be consulted on matters that affect them.
The ECB is exploring the impact of new technologies on financial market infrastructures.
The financial industry is experiencing significant changes due to broader usage of innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data analysis and distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Artificial intelligence unleashes opportunities for trading and market data mining, among other things. Big data analysis uses large amounts of both structured and unstructured data to extrapolate patterns and trends. And distributed ledger is a record of information, or database, put together using complex algorithms – to ensure the security and integrity of the data – and shared across a network.
The ECB has an interest in new technological developments as fintech innovations could affect its activities in the area of market infrastructure and payments.
As operator of both the payment system TARGET2 and the securities settlement platform T2S, the ECB is constantly exploring new ways to increase efficiency and embrace innovation in its market infrastructure services.
Assuming the role of catalyst for financial market integration in the EU, the ECB aims to ensure that the emerging fintech solutions do not hamper market integration by creating new fragmentation. In addition, fintech innovations may encourage the adoption of innovative market solutions to solve enduring inefficiencies standing in the way of market integration in Europe.
As an overseer promoting safe and efficienct market infrastructures and payment instruments, the ECB needs a solid understanding of how the adoption of DLT could affect the entities it monitors.
The Harmonisation Steering Group has set up a task force to explore the potential impact of fintech on post-trade harmonisation in T2S and collateral management. The task force made up of market experts on fintech innovation, cyber security and post-trade processes.
The ECB is also conducting a joint research project with the Bank of Japan to capitalise on the experience both institutions have in exploring and testing the possible uses of DLT.