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Post-trade processing: Banks want consolidated clearing and settlement

This could be just the beginning of a battle between exchanges and their users.

The call for consolidation among Europe’s clearing and settlement houses got louder this February when groups of the largest exchange users in the UK, France, and Italy called on the European Commission to lead the charge.

The London Investment Banking Association (Liba), the French Association of Investment Firms, the French Banking Federation and the Italian Association of Financial Intermediaries, whose members include the most powerful banks in their respective markets, issued a statement saying that they supported the “imposition of the unbundling of the vertical silos if private stakeholders do not start the process on their own”.

The statement is a clear attack on integrated bourses – such as Deutsche Börse, Bolsa Italiana, and Bolsas y Mercados Españoles – that own and operate clearing and settlement houses as well as exchanges.

The joint statement is also significant because it demonstrates a growing consensus about the desired future of the European trading and post-trading landscape, at least among exchange users, if not exchanges and clearing and settlement operators themselves.

The uncharacteristic call for legislation is a clear signal of the high priority attached to the issue, as the trade associations’ members more commonly complain about there being too much regulation from Brussels.

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