Hanna Vainio:

Hanna Vainio: Finland’s CSD will use ISO 20022

Finland’s central securities depository Euroclear Finland has just completed the first stage of a major project to completely replace its securities processing infrastructure. The CSD says the move is part of its preparations for T2S, the European Central Bank project to harmonise Europe’s post trade infrastructure.

The first phase of of the project, which has been underway for less than two years, was the replacement of the Ramses fixed income system with a new version called Infinity. According to Hanna Vainio, deputy chief executive and head of infrastructure at Euroclear Finland, one of the more significant achievements of the project is that it makes Euroclear Finland the first European CSD to adopt the ISO 20022 message standard for corporate action and settlement activity.

ISO 20022 uses a repository of data used in financial messaging to communicate business information of any type – and to be able to add any types of data that might arise in the future. The European Central Bank made the standard a mandatory part of migration to T2S, which itself is aimed at harmonising Europe’s clearing infrastructure and making it more efficient. Migration to T2S will begin in June this year and will continue through to 2017.

Euroclear Finland plans two more phases in its securities processing overhaul. The second stage, scheduled for May 2016, will involve the replacement of the current equity transaction processing systems, HEXClear, and the central register. The third stage will be the connection of the Finnish market to T2S in a scheduled migration in February 2017.

“Implementing the Infinity system for the fixed income market has been a tremendous effort for the whole market,” said Mats Råstedt, the chairman of Euroclear’s Finnish Market Advisory Committee. “Close cooperation and coordination between Euroclear Finland and the market participants has made this transition possible. This is an important milestone on the Finnish market’s roadmap to T2S, and at the same time aligns the Finnish fixed income market with the new European harmonisation standards.”

With T2S due to begin phasing in from June, banks will need to find a way to connect to the pan-European trade settlement platform, either directly or through a larger financial institution.