11 Oct 2010

Reserve Bank, NZX keep separate clearing systems

1:19 pm on 11 October 2010

The Reserve Bank and the stock market operator NZX have agreed to keep their clearing and settlement systems separate, saying they'll continue to compete for business.

The Reserve Bank runs NZClear, mainly used by banks, while NZX runs New Zealand Clearing, which handles securities like stocks and derivatives.

Last year, the Capital Market Development Taskforce recommended they work together, with the goal of developing a single clearing and settlement system for the country's capital markets.

After ten months of talks, both organisations have agreed to maintain separate systems, which will compete with each other.

The Reserve Bank says trying to merge the systems was too hard technically, and combining a public agency with a commercially-driven entity in a joint venture was problematic.

The central bank says a memorandum of understanding was simpler and offered the benefits of competition and efficiency.

Users of one system will be able to seamlessly use the other, while the NZX system will be eligible for backup liquidity support from the Reserve Bank.

Both sides will also establish a joint settlements advisory council to create a unified approach to dealing with industry issues. They say the outcome will support the development of New Zealand's capital markets.