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Author: Boris Cherkasskiy Advisor Director General "Infinitum Asset Services”
This is summary of "ASSI - 50 theses" which covers the issue of setting up ASD - Asian Settlement Depository.
Although most countries have an efficient securities safekeeping and settlement infrastructure built around their CSDs, there is no global securities settlement system that would allow easy, safe and affordable cross-border securities operations. Meanwhile, further economic integration calls for a new global securities settlement infrastructure to appear within the next decade.
While CSDs fully cover local securities settlement on reasonable conditions, cross-border transactions are more cumbersome, risky and induce higher costs.
In the absence of a supranational securities settlement system, transactions in foreign securities become costly and time-consuming while being executed via either ICSDs and/or global custodians. Moreover, in some cases absence of respective CSDs direct links may prevent international investments and decelerate country’s economic development.
It would appear that establishment of a world-spanning securities clearing and settlement system would begin with regional clusters, such as European T2S (Target2-Securities), which started operations in 2015. This structure was called to existence by the need of a closer integration of European markets. Inspite of Asia being the region of fastest economic development, for a number of reasons its financial markets have far fewer common securities clearing and settlement infrastructures than those in Europe. Different forms of government and different levels of economic development make establishing a common platform much more difficult for Asian states. Nonetheless organizing Pan Asian financial infrastructure remains a priority task. Developments in this respect would benefit economic integration in the region and contribute to acceleration of growth.
ASD is going to facilitate integration of national securities markets in Asia. Settlement and depository services in cross-border securities transactions provided by CSDs will become easier and cheaper. ASD is neither a replacement for national CSDs nor an obstacle for their business and growth. ASD’s core function would be cross-border FOP and multi-currency DVP settlement via bilateral links between ASD and national CSDs.
ASD would also:
ASD shall be a special international organization, established according to the agreement of the leading Asian CSDs with the support of national governments, central banks and Asian banks, concerned with the growth of common infrastructure. This institution shall benefit from most modern software and communication networks such as SWIFT etc. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems may be found instrumental for ASD and allow main participants to control a common database. An indirect access to ASD via large-scale CSDs shall be available to other CSDs at low costs. New system should be based on a flexible combined retail/wholesale model.
The ASD initiative can come into being only if supported by CSDs, national banks and governments of Asian leading countries such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore and Turkey.
In 2018-2019 prospects of establishing of ASD should be scheduled for discussions at forums of associations of central securities depositories.
The first step in the ASD project is to acknowledge its relevance and viability. After that the time would come for an international team of professionals to provide political, technical and administrative support. Success of this project shall enhance economic growth in Asia and could also lay ground for a global securities safekeeping and settlement system.