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Bringing it all back home

By netting more of their transactions internally, the world’s largest banks are transforming customer relationships and process capability into competitiveness and profits. They may take business from exchanges and clearers and it is possible that they are embarking on a course that could reshape Europe’s securities trading infrastructure.

Giulio Di Cerbo

When recently asked what the biggest challenge to his business was, a senior executive in the custody division of a newly merged European bank delivered an unexpected answer: Euroclear.

He could have cited one of a handful of competitors providing global securities services or even a regional upstart at work in local markets. But Euroclear is an international central securities depository (ICSD), an entity enabling broker and dealers to handle trades for clients outside the country where they are domiciled. That speaks volumes about the changing role of larger banks in the continental securities trading landscape.

Merger-driven titans such as Citigroup and Deutsche Bank are internalizing transactions flows, netting off the natural matches and conducting and settling transactions on their own. They are using straight-through processing technology that allows them to take in and execute orders and to book the trades directly into client accounts.

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