There are several ways by which international payment transactions are done around the globe.
Central Banks also have created a Currency Swap network for providing liquidity in international financial markets.
Recently, there has been a decline in correspondent banks network transactions. Many global banks have withdrawn correspondent relationships with other banks due to increased regulations.
There is also a newer trend in using ACH networks for international transactions. SEPA in Europe and FedGlobal ACH in USA are two examples.
SWIFT and CLS bank also play a critical role in international payments.
There is also very large OTC FX market in which 5.1 trillion USD per day are traded. I am not yet sure about the clearing and settlements of these transactions.
There are some newer technology platforms which have started providing Global payment services. Earthport in UK and Ripple Labs are two such examples.
I am not sure how many of these networks are currently operational since countries in EU have migrated to TARGET2 since 2008.
There are several newer solutions for international payment and money remittances at retail level. B2C and C2C international money transfers. They are listed here along with old solutions but are not discussed in this post.
One of the main reasons for this discrepancy is the inadequacy of the infrastructure for cross-border renminbi payments. Cross-border payments are currently made via a patchwork of clearing hubs and correspondent banks. These payments are hindered by complicated routing procedures, the need to maintain multiple foreign correspondent accounts, liquidity shortages in some offshore RMB centers, different hours of operations between clearing centers, a lack of common standards between international and Chinese domestic payment systems, and China’s capital controls.
Despite these hurdles, the use of the renminbi as an international payments currency has continued to grow rapidly. In the first half of 2015, there were more than RMB 5.7 trillion (USD 866.7 billion) worth of payments made to and from China using the renminbi. Currently, around a third of payments between China and the Asia Pacific region are conducted using renminbi. These numbers are projected to increase substantially over the coming years due to the desirability for Chinese businesses to use their own currency for trade transactions.
The increased use of the renminbi has led to around RMB1.5 trillion (USD 231 billion) in offshore renminbi deposits, with the largest amounts in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, respectively. As more renminbi accumulate outside of China, investors will increase their demands for channels to repatriate funds back onshore.
China’s Cross-border Inter-bank Payment System (CIPS) seeks to address many of the existing problems facing cross-border renminbi payments. CIPS provides one-point entry by participants and a central location for clearing renminbi payments It allows participation by both onshore and offshore banks and provides direct access to China National Advanced Payment System (CNAPS). These features reduce the need for banks to navigate complicated payment pathways via offshore clearing hubs or through correspondent banks. This should result in faster payment processing and reduced costs for cross-border payments.
CIPS is a real time gross settlement system, meaning that banks settle payments immediately between each other on a gross rather than a net basis. This reduces credit risks that can arise in systems where payments are netted before settlement.
Payment messages sent within CIPS are written in both English and Chinese. This eliminates the necessity of translating messages into Chinese before they can be transmitted to CNAPS. CIPS utilizes the ISO20022 messaging standard, a widely used international messaging scheme for cash, securities, trade and foreign exchange transactions. CIPS will also utilize SWIFT bank identifier codes, rather than CNAPS clearing codes. These factors will allow CIPS to smoothly process payments flowing between offshore banks using SWIFT and mainland banks using CNAPS. As a result, cross-border payments made through CIPS should be able to achieve straight through processing.
CIPS operating hours will extend from 9:00am to 8:00pm Shanghai-time. This allows the system to overlap with business hours in Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. Banks within these jurisdictions will be able to settle renminbi transactions during their business day. Though North and South America are not currently covered, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has stated that an expansion of CIPS’ operating hours is possible.
As of the launch in October 2015, CIPS had 19 direct participants and 176 indirect participants. The initial direct members of CIPS include 11 Chinese banks and the Chinese subsidiaries of 8 foreign banks. There is currently only one American bank that is a direct participant in the system, Citibank. Of the indirect participants, 38 were Chinese banks and 138 are foreign banks.
Details on plans for the future development of CIPS are sparse. Chinese officials have spoken of a Phase II for CIPS that will improve liquidity management and the efficiency of cross-border clearing and settlement. PBoC officials have also stated that Phase II will include longer operating hours, support for securities settlement and central counterparties.
The creation of CIPS is an important milestone on the renminbi’s road to becoming a major global currency. It has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of cross-border payment transactions and increase liquidity in the offshore market. CIPS provides a more direct pathway for processing transactions, improving speed and lowering fees. Liquidity in the offshore renminbi market will be improved due to the large number of participating financial institutions and the direct link the system has with CNAPS.
The fact that the renminbi has progressed so quickly despite the underlying deficiencies in the payments infrastructure is a testament to the global demand for the currency. CIPS seeks to rectify these deficiencies and is likely to play a critical role in the renminbi’s future growth as an international payments currency.
The Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS) is a bank-owned, privately operated electronic payments system.
CHIPS is both a customer and a competitor of the Federal Reserve’s Fedwire service.
The average daily value of CHIPS transactions is about $1.2 trillion a day.
The Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS) is an electronic payments system that transfers funds and settles transactions in U.S. dollars. CHIPS enables banks to transfer and settle international payments more quickly by replacing official bank checks with electronic bookkeeping entries. As of January 2002, CHIPS had 59 members, including large U.S. banks and U.S. branches of foreign banks.
The New York Clearing House Association, a group of the largest New York City commercial banks, organized CHIPS in 1970 for eight of its members with Federal Reserve System membership. Participation in CHIPS expanded gradually in the 1970s and 1980s to include other commercial banks, Edge corporations, United States agencies and branches of foreign banks, and other financial institutions.
Until 1981, final settlement, or the actual movement of balances at the Federal Reserve, occurred on the morning after a transfer. Sharply rising settlement volumes raised concerns that next-day settlement exposed funds unduly to various overnight and over-weekend risks. In August 1981, the Federal Reserve agreed to provide same-day settlement to CHIPS participants through Fedwire, the Fed’s electronic funds and securities transfer network.
The number of CHIPS members has fallen from about 140 in the late 1980s, mainly because of consolidations in the banking industry. Membership might have fallen even more sharply if CHIPS had not acted in 1998 to eliminate a requirement that members maintain an office in New York City.
CHIPS is governed by a ten-member board consisting of senior officers of large banks that establishes rules and fees and admits and reevaluates participants. CHIPS handles about 240,000 transactions a day with a total dollar value of about $1.2 trillion. Historically, CHIPS specialized in settling the dollar portion of foreign exchange transactions, and CHIPS estimates that it handles 95 percent of all U.S. dollar payments moving between countries. However, the CHIPS focus has shifted to domestic business since CHIPS introduced intraday settlement in January 2001.
Until January 2001, CHIPS conducted all of its settling at the end of the business day. Now, however, CHIPS provides intraday payment finality through a real-time system. CHIPS settles small payments, which can be accommodated by the banks’ available balances, individually. Other payments are netted bilaterally (e.g., when Bank A has to pay $500 million to Bank B, and Bank B has to pay $500 million to Bank A), without any actual movement of funds between CHIPS participants.
Other payments are netted multilaterally. Suppose Bank A must pay $500 million to Bank B, and Bank A is also expecting to receive $500 million from Bank C. Without netting, Bank A would send $500 million to Bank B, and it would thus experience a decline in its available cash while it was awaiting the payment from Bank C.
Using the CHIPS netting system, however, Bank A submits its $500 million payment for Bank B to a payments queue, where it waits until Bank C’s offsetting payment is received. The effect of matching and netting these payments is that Bank A’s cash position is simultaneously reduced by its payment to Bank B and increased by receipt of its payment from Bank C. The overall effect on Bank A’s cash position is thus zero.
Payments for which no match can be found are not made until the end of the day, but each payment is final as soon as it is made. To facilitate the working of the intraday netting system, each participant pre-funds its CHIPS account by depositing a certain amount between 12:30 and 9:00 a.m. The size of this “security deposit,” which is recalculated weekly, is set by CHIPS based on the number and size of the bank’s recent CHIPS transactions, and none of it can be withdrawn during the day. At the end of the day, CHIPS uses these deposits to settle any still-unsettled transactions. Any participant that has a negative closing position at the end of the day (that is, it owes more than what it has in its security deposit) has 30 minutes to make up the difference. The 30-minute period is referred to as the final prefunding period. If any banks do not meet their final prefunding requirement, CHIPS settles as many of the remaining payments as possible with funds that are in the system, and any payments still unsettled must be settled outside of CHIPS.
Banks that have positive closing positions at the end of the day receive the amounts that they are due in the form of Fedwire payments. Because the ultimate CHIPS settlements are provided by Fedwire, CHIPS is a customer, as well as a competitor, of Fedwire. The vast majority of CHIPS members are also Fedwire participants, and the daily value of CHIPS transfers is about 80 percent of Fedwire’s non-securities transfers.
CHIPS has recently added electronic data interchange (EDI) capability to its payment message format. EDI allows participants to transmit business information (such as the purpose of a payment) along with their electronic funds transfers.
USA FedGlobal ACH Payments
To facilitate this mapping process, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta joined with U.S. and foreign depository institutions, international clearing and settlement service providers, and other interested parties to form the International Payments Framework Association (IPFA). The IPFA is a nonprofit membership association comprising 29 members representing Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose purpose is to create a framework for bridging national formats for non-urgent international credit transfers. IPFA establishes rules, standards, and operating procedures for the exchange of these payments. The first effort by IPFA was to create rules that would facilitate a bridge between the IAT format for ACH credit transfers and the payment format, ISO 20022, which supports the several retail networks within the single euro payments area (also known as SEPA), under the SEPA credit transfer scheme. The next step underway is to leverage the framework created for the United States and SEPA in order to add other countries—such as Brazil, Canada, and South Africa—that want to exchange payments with the United States or SEPA ACH networks.
The Reserve Banks, through FedGlobal, launched their first commercial international ACH service with Canada in 1999.43 The service began as a pilot program for outbound commercial ACH transfers from the United States to Canada and became a production service in December 2001. Subsequent to the Canadian service, the Reserve Banks launched individual services to Europe,Mexico, Panama, and Latin America, covering 34 countries in total.44 In 2010, the Reserve Banks processed 1.3 million international ACH transfers—accounting for about 20 percent of the total volume of international payments being cleared and settled through the U.S. ACH network.45
The Reserve Banks offer FedGlobal account-to-account services to Canada, Mexico, Panama, and 22 countries in Europe. The Reserve Banks offer FedGlobal A2R services to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay.
Europe Cross Border LVPS
- Target 2
- STEP 2
- STEP 1
Starting my career as a trader on Wall Street, one of the big mysteries I had, was just how all these trades on the NYSE got executed and reported. Within the maze of specialist booths and flying paper, trades were being crossed and buyers and sellers were recognized. While the occasional errors occur, the wild system is highly efficient at reporting and settling trades.
In the world of OTC, settlement represents a larger factor, as participants are not bound by a central exchange system that insures against counterparty risk. As such, companies are on their own to ensure that trades are settled correctly with their counterparties, and an exchange of funds takes place.
In Forex Magnates’s Q1 2013 Industry Report, we took a look at the world of FX settlement and post-trade flow and researched CLS Bank and Traiana. We wanted to know just what they did, and how their products help FX players handle their settlement needs, create efficient markets, and lower overall transaction costs. In this first part, we focus on CLS Bank.
Launched in 2002, CLS Bank was created as a private sector initiative, to deliver and operate services to mitigate settlement risk in the FX market. Owned and operated by member institutions and working alongside central banks, CLS offers members the ability to settle trades within a central location, thus, providing efficiencies to FX markets.
To understand what CLS does, it is first important to know how settlement works. Settlement is the process in which the payment and securities of a transaction are delivered. Within the securities world, this occurs in a three day window. For example, if a trader buys 100 shares of IBM stock at $100/share, the broker has three days to collect the $10,000 from the client, transfer it to the seller, and collect the shares back for the client.
Within FX, settlement does not involve securities, but instead different currencies. Therefore, in a EUR/USD trade, the seller sends dollars while receiving euros. For OTC participants, one of the greatest worries is settlement risk, which occurs when a counterparty is unable or unwilling to provide either the payment or transfer of securities.
While a deal between two parties can easily be voided, thus limiting impact of a problematic counterparty, the greater concern is the systemic risk. As traders are simultaneously trading with multiple parties, if one party fails to honor a transaction, it can affect counterparties and could prevent them from having the funds and/or securities to settle other trades.
Jake Smith, Head of Communications at CLS, explained that “FX settlement risk is also known as ‘Herstatt Risk’ ”. The name is derived from the failure of a privately owned German bank in 1974. At the time, Bankhaus Herstatt had received delivery of Deutsche marks from US counterparty banks, but had been put into receivership before the corresponding dollars were sent, due to the time zone difference.” Smith explained that, while this occurred nearly 40 years ago, “due to volumes growing substantially since that time, settlement risk has grown significantly.”
To mitigate this risk, CLS was created. Currently, there are over 60 members, who represent some of the largest financial institutions from around the world. CLS provides a central settlement network for FX transactions between its members and their customers. To facilitate settlement, all members are required to have a single multi-currency account with CLS, supporting the 17 currencies that are settled by its system.
After conducting a trade, members send transactional details to CLS Bank, including trade details, counterparties, and settlement data. On the day of settlement, CLS Bank multilaterally nets all the instructions between the settlement members, calculating each institution’s pay-in obligations for the day, to ensure settlement of all their instructions on a payment-versus- payment basis. As settlement completes, pay-out of multi-laterally netted long balances will occur.
Example: GBP/USD = 1.50, EUR/USD = 1.25
Member 1: Buys 1,000,000 GBP/USD from Member 2
Member 2: Buys 1,000,000 EUR/USD from Member 3
Member 3: Buys 1,000,000 GBP/USD from Member 1
Member 1: Owes 1.5M USD & 1M GBP, collects 1.5M USD & 1M GBP
Member 2: Owes 1.25M USD & 1M GBP, collects 1M EUR & 1.5 USD
Member 3: Owes 1.5M USD & 1M EUR, collects 1.25M USD & 1M GBP
CLS then multi-laterally nets the total obligations:
Member 1: Pays 0.0
Member 2: Pays 1M GBP
Member 3: Pays 0.25M USD & 1M EUR
These obligations are funded into each member’s respective multi-currency account.
CLS then redistributes the obligations to the corresponding members
Member 1: Receives 0.0
Member 2: Receives 1M EUR & 0.25M USD
Member 3: Receives 1M GBP
By multi-laterally netting (also known as trade compression) payment obligations for each currency, CLS eliminates the need to fund trades on an individual basis per currency, resulting in approximately 96% netting efficiency. This increases to 99% with In/Out Swaps (an In/Out Swap is an intraday swap consisting of two equal and opposite FX transactions.)
That means, that for every $1 trillion of In/Out swaps settled, members need to provide funding for less than $10 billion, and $40 million for spot FX. With CLS handling nearly $5 trillion worth of daily settlements, the netting rates are a key element in allowing firms to grow their transactional volumes, while substantially reducing the amount of funding required. According to Smith, “CLS believes this safer and efficient process is one of the factors that led to the increase in FX volumes over the last 10 years.”
Smith explained that CLS provides a number of benefits to the FX industry, including, settlement risk mitigation, multi-lateral netting, operational and IT efficiencies, business growth opportunities, and the ability to develop industry solutions best practices, common standards and rules that benefit the FX market.
Within settlement risk mitigation also comes credit recognition. By being CLS members, credit departments have a greater understanding of each other and the counterparty risk. This allows firms to allocate less risk between trades to other members. For example, while a bank may decide to trade up to $10 billion with another member, they are more likely to limit their trade exposure to non-members.
In terms of operational efficiencies, a key factor is with regard to CLS’s one rule and oversight committee. Having one set of guidelines for members and central banks, provides all participants with a clearer understanding of their counterparties. When adding a new currency, the corresponding central bank needs to follow the standardized guidelines. These rules provide protection for members who benefit from the increased transparency a participating central bank will need to follow.
In July 2012, the critical role that CLS plays in global financial markets was recognised by the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council, when it designated CLS as a systemically important Financial Market Utility (FMU). CLS’s importance was highlighted further in November 2012, with the announcement of the US Treasury Department’s exemption of FX swaps and forwards from the clearing requirements required for many financial products under the Dodd-Frank legislation. The role that CLS plays in the mitigation of FX settlement risk was believed to be a contributing factor towards that decision.
CLS’s increased investment in technology, has enabled it to materially expand peak capacity as it updated core technologies, to meet the elevated standards required of a systemically important FMU. The result is that CLS can now accommodate trade matching volumes of up to five times the average daily volume, and process 20 per cent of a peak day’s volume in a one hour period.
Furthermore, CLS has put in place a flexible technology infrastructure, which enables “capacity on demand”, supporting future software upgrades to be delivered to increase capacity in a matter of days and weeks. This structure, allows CLS to pay for technology only when required, while fulfilling obligations to the market to settle all eligible FX settlement instructions.
The need to build capacity was demonstrated on January 22, 2013, when CLS settled more than 2.6 million instructions, 18 per cent more than the previous high, recorded on 19 September, 2012.
Looking to the future, as emerging markets grow, CLS has received interest from settlement members to include additional currencies. As such, CLS has been evaluating the addition of the Brazilian real, Chilean peso, Chinese renminbi, Russian ruble and Thai baht, amongst others.
Another area where CLS is extending its services is in same day settlement. A significant percentage of USD/CAD trades are intra-day and are not currently included in CLS settlement, due to the time of day. CLS is developing a same day settlement service between US and Canadian dollars to address this settlement risk, which has a proposed launch date in late 2013.