Central bank oversight of payment and settlement systems

9 May 2005

Press release

The Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) is today publishing the report Central bank oversight of payment and settlement systems.

The report explains why and how central banks oversee payment and settlement systems. It looks at the need for oversight, the source of central banks' responsibilities for oversight, the scope of oversight, and the activities that oversight involves. In addition, it looks at cooperative oversight, where more than one central bank or other authority has responsibilities for a system.

As well as this description and analysis, the report also includes 10 principles for effective oversight. Five of the principles are generally applicable to oversight arrangements while the other five are specifically for cooperative oversight arrangements.

Central banks have traditionally influenced payment and settlement systems primarily by being banks which provide a variety of payment and settlement services to other banks. As such, central banks provide a safe settlement asset and in most cases they operate systems which allow for the transfer of that settlement asset. It is only relatively recently that oversight has become a function that is more formal and systematic - namely a function whereby the objectives of safety and efficiency are promoted by monitoring existing and planned systems, assessing them against these objectives and, where necessary, inducing change. Although recent, this development in the nature of oversight has been rapid and the function has now come to be generally recognised as a core responsibility of central banks.

Given this importance, and the experience that has been gained over the years, the Committee felt that it would be useful to set out publicly what has been learned about effective oversight. All the principles are consistent with, and indeed largely drawn from, the previous work on payment and settlement systems published by the Committee and earlier groups reporting to the G10 Governors.

Te report was produced for the CPSS by a working group chaired by Martin Andersson of Sveriges Riksbank. The CPSS serves as a forum for central banks to monitor and analyse developments in payment and settlement arrangements and to consider related policy issues. The chairman of the CPSS is Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. The CPSS secretariat is hosted by the BIS.