What is the Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS)?

The Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS) is a unified system for managing assets used as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations. Its launch is planned for November 2022.

Together with the other TARGET Services that the Eurosystem offers – and making use of the components it shares with those services – the ECMS will ensure that cash, securities and collateral flow freely across Europe.

The ECMS will be made available through the Eurosystem single market infrastructure gateway, along with the other TARGET Services.

Why ECMS?

The ECMS will replace the existing systems of the 19 national central banks that are currently used to manage assets used as collateral for Eurosystem credit operations.

Although all the existing systems adhere to the same set of rules on the use of collateral (as set out in the Eurosystem legal framework for monetary policy instruments ), each one is maintained individually.

This means that each Eurosystem national central bank implements changes to the legal framework separately, leading to a duplication of effort and making it more likely that the rules will be applied differently in different countries. This in turn could affect the level playing field that monetary policy counterparties should enjoy.

Replacing the current fragmented and decentralised structure is in line with other Eurosystem initiatives aimed at developing common platforms and systems that work across the euro area to further consolidate and simplify the provision of market infrastructure services.

The implementation of the ECMS is expected to deliver considerable benefits to the Eurosystem, its counterparties and to the market more widely, including:

  • Harmonisation
    • for all national central banks via the single and simultaneous implementation of the collateral framework and framework changes
    • for counterparties, who will no longer need to interact with different local collateral management systems
    • for the market, by providing a single system for managing the pools of assets used as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations
  • Operational and cost efficiency through the implementation of changes in a single system
  • Contribution to financial integration and fostering of the capital markets union

How does it work?

The ECMS keeps track of the individual collateral and credit positions of national central banks’ counterparties.

It does this by using data sourced from central securities depositories, triparty agents and ECB/Eurosystem databases and/or applications. The ECMS calculates the credit line available to each counterparty and sends this information to the central liquidity management tool.

Counterparties’ mobilisation instructions are converted into settlement instructions which are sent to and settled in TARGET2-Securities (T2S).

The ECMS handles corporate actions, triparty instructions and the mobilisation of credit claims in a harmonised way.

Timeline

The realisation phase started in December 2017 and will end when the new system is launched in November 2022.

Migration to the new system will take a “big-bang” approach. This means that all interaction related to collateral management between national central banks and their communities (counterparties, central securities depositories and triparty agents) will be carried out using the ECMS from the migration date onwards.

Relevant collateral and credit positions will also be transferred from national central banks’ systems and made available in the ECMS from that date.

National central banks’ communities may also need to adapt their systems to be ready to use the ECMS. National central banks will conduct testing activities with their communities before the launch to ensure that they are ready to migrate to the new system. Further information on the ECMS’ functionalities will be provided at the appropriate time.

The ECB has published this Business Description Document to assist counterparties, central securities depositories and triparty agents in adapting their systems.

The new system will not alter existing business and legal relationships between counterparties and national central banks – counterparties, central securities depositories and triparty agents will still contact their usual interlocutors at the relevant national central bank, and national central banks will continue to collect counterparties’ bids in Eurosystem credit operations.

The Market Infrastructure Board, the management body responsible for the ECMS project, has mandated an internal Eurosystem working group to represent future ECMS users throughout the realisation phase.