Current topics in payment and settlements systems

December 1999


In July last year, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) established its first presence outside Switzerland in the form of the Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific in Hong Kong SAR. In November of the same year, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) of the G10 central bank governors decided to hold its next meeting in Hong Kong in May 1999. The Committee wanted to make use of the opportunity offered by the BIS Office in Asia and the Pacific to establish and renew contacts with central banks in the region. To this end the CPSS organised a workshop the day after its meeting.

The aim of the workshop was to enhance the exchange of information and cooperation on all issues relating to payment and settlement systems between, on the one hand, the central banks of Asia and the Pacific and, on the other hand, between them and the central banks represented in the Committee. At the same time, the workshop contributed to the ongoing discussion on enhancing financial stability worldwide, as the CPSS is one of the institutions represented in the newly created Financial Stability Forum. The workshop, which was widely attended, brought 26 central banks and monetary authorities together. The workshop was special in two respects. Firstly, because the CPSS was meeting for the first time outside Basel. Until then, CPSS meetings, which are held twice a year, had always taken place at the BIS in Basel. Secondly, because it was the first time the CPSS had organised an event with central banks from a specific region. While there had previously been meetings that had included central banks from non-G10 countries, they had not focused on a particular region.

The workshop covered four broad areas: operational and policy experiences in periods of transition with respect to payment systems, central bank oversight and the Core Principles for payment systems, a progress report on foreign exchange settlement and a central bank perspective on securities settlement infrastructure. The fact that the chairpersons of the different sessions at the workshop were drawn from both G10 and non-G10 central banks clearly underlined the common interest and shared expertise in the area of payment and settlement systems between all participating central banks.

Wendelin Hartmann, Chairman  
Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems  
Member of the Directorate of the Deutsche Bundesbank