TARGET consolidation: what is it?

The Eurosystem has launched a project to consolidate TARGET2 and T2S, in terms of both technical and functional aspects. The objective is to meet changing market demands by replacing TARGET2 with a new real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system and optimising liquidity management across all TARGET Services. The new consolidated platform will be launched in November 2021.

New RTGS system

TARGET2 has been running smoothly for over a decade, ensuring safety and efficiency in European payments. However, payments have changed significantly in the meantime due to technological developments, regulatory requirements and changing consumer demands.

The new RTGS system will offer the market enhanced and modernised services. The messaging standard ISO 20022 will be used, which is also the case for T2S and TIPS. The new system will also be able to facilitate payments in several currencies, if so decided by the respective central bank.

Central liquidity management

The consolidated platform will feature a centralised tool that will allow participants to steer, manage and monitor central bank liquidity across all TARGET Services. The tool will function via a main cash account that participants can open with a national central bank. This account will be linked to the participant’s dedicated cash accounts for the new RTGS system, T2S and TIPS.

The main cash account will also offer a dashboard for a centralised overview of liquidity positions and advanced liquidity management tools, meaning a higher level of automation. An important feature is that any liquidity held on dedicated cash accounts will be considered for minimum reserve purposes without the need to transfer the balances back to the main cash account.

Common components

The Eurosystem will also introduce a number of components that will be shared across all TARGET Services.

  • A harmonised interface – the Eurosystem single market infrastructure gateway – will make it easier for participants to access and use the Eurosystem's services from a single entry point.
  • The interface will support multi-vendor connectivity, allowing for participants to choose between different connectivity options and fostering competition among network service providers.
  • Common reference data will reduce the effort required to create and maintain multiple copies of reference data and will centralise the management of user access rights.
  • A common data warehouse will make it possible for participants to access historic information.
  • A common billing system will help the Eurosystem optimise its operational costs.

Timeline

The investigation phase started in September 2016, during which the scope of the service was defined and the user requirements were compiled.

A task force on future RTGS services was created in October 2016 to support and contribute to the collection of these user requirements. The task force completed its task with the launch of the public consultation on the draft user requirements in May 2017.

The ECB’s Governing Council approved the consolidation project on 6 December 2017 and the final user requirements were published. In addition, a new contact group consisting of market representatives, central banks and providers of the future services has been established. This TARGET consolidation contact group will inform and advise on planning, functional and technical specifications, user testing, migration and change management activities related to the project.