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The European Central Bank has been forced to delay an ambitious project to streamline Europe’s fragmented securities settlement systems. Slower-than-expected progress on initial stages of the project will mean delays of up to a year.

The development means that investment managers and broker-dealers across Europe will be forced to wait beyond 2013 for the relatively high cost of settlement to fall. Such costs, combined with the costs associated with clearing, are estimated to be up 10 times higher than in the US.