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User pressure wins interim release of Euroclear settlement system

Nick Huber
A key element of a project to consolidate the IT systems at the heart of a multibillion-pound payment settlement system for financial markets will be delivered one year early in response to user demands.

Euroclear has said it will introduce a single settlement system in 2007 for traders in the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris markets of the Euronext stock exchange.

A spokesman for Euroclear said the interim measure, part of a £69m project, was in response to demands from Euronext users to make it easier to settle trades.

"We are comfortable with the delivery date of 2007. It is a scaled-down project [introduced in phases] rather than delivering everything in 2008," he said.

The settlement platform will use a common electronic messaging standard, ISO15022, for firms to send and receive transactional information and instructions.

John Owen, founding partner of financial sector IT consultancy Capco, said the flexible approach taken by Euroclear would help reduce the project's risks.

"In a large project the key is to deliver it in small steps rather than a big bang," he said. "The biggest complexity is always delivering the overall project according to the timetable and to the expectations of the users."

Between 2008 and 2010 the settlement system will be developed to handle custody and security business in addition to settling trades for all Euroclear customers - not just traders in the Euronext stock exchange.

Presently, firms have to send payments to 15 separate settlement systems across Europe to complete deals. Euroclear has estimated that a single integrated settlement system would save its clients about £240m a year in reduced risk and settlement costs.

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