Opinions

Earlier this month, Euroclear UK & Ireland (EUI) issued a consultation to participants concerning their proposals to enhance the US dollar settlement arrangements in the CREST system, and make relevant changes to CREST documentation. Thomas Murray wholeheartedly supports these proposals.

This is the first in a series of four articles considering central bank payment systems self-assessments against the PFMIs.

Introduction and the Bank of England Example

In response to the financial crises of 2007-2009, at the behest of G20 governments, the Financial Stability Board and its constituent bodies developed broad global standards to shore up a system that had proven all too fragile – though it must be said that the public, regulated marketplaces did function throughout (except in isolated cases where for a few days their governments closed them for fear of collapsing prices). The same cannot be said of the freezing up of the far larger OTC and banks’ market operations in that period, which was the source of the economic and social damage inflicted.

US Congressman Patrick McHenry recently sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen criticising the Fed’s participation in setting global banking rules of conduct and asserting that standards are agreed in opaque settings. But standardisation lowers business costs in finance as in manufacturing – for American banks and investors as well as their international counterparts. A common set of rules for the global financial industry is just a matter of common sense, argues Thomas Murray.

Institutions designed to provide stability have become the system’s linchpins.

Thomas Murray was founded 24 years ago to assure that investors’ property is respected by custodian banks. This was a time when institutional portfolios were spreading investments across multiple jurisdictions, a trend that has accelerated over this past quarter century. The firm’s remit widened to cover the spectrum of post-trade services, always with the same focus on investors’ safety and rights. Shareholder rights are, in fact, central to the financial system, and so also the key focus of Thomas Murray’s work.

Shareholder rights are a critical economic concern: when the members of the public are asked to hand over hard-earned savings as an investment in a corporation, whether in a stock or a bond or another financial instrument, the managers of that enterprise have an immediate obligation to handle that money fairly and honestly. Without trust in proper conduct by those managers in growing the enterprise such that value is created, we will not have the investment or capital formation (or jobs, or goods and services!) that our societies need.

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