T2S from now until Sibos 2014
Getting ready for user testing - By Marc Bayle, T2S Programme Manager, European Central Bank
The past couple of years, the SWIFT Institute, the driving force behind Sibos University, has developed a working relationship with the Gates Foundation around financial inclusion for the poor; a recurring topic on the Sibos conference agenda.
In six months from now we will meet at Sibos in Boston, and once again I expect T2S to be a widely debated topic. T2S is the project of the Eurosystem (composed of the ECB and all the euro area central banks) for integrating securities settlement in Europe. This major new market infrastructure is set to become operational in June 2015 – allowing settlement in Europe to take place safely and efficiently across borders and across CSDs and central banks. The six months between now and SIBOS correspond exactly to a key phase in the T2S project.
So, what are the next six months about? Why are they important for the securities industry in Europe? The T2S project phase that started just a few days ago, on 31 March, is called “Eurosystem Acceptance Testing” – or, using an easy-to-remember acronym, EAT; this critical assessment phase will come to a close at the end of September, namely during the SIBOS days. EAT is the phase in which the T2S platform, now fully developed, is tested by the European Central Bank to confirm that the Eurosystem can accept it. This essentially means checking whether the services delivered by the T2S platform comply with the defined scope and with the requirements set out by the market. If this is the case, the Eurosystem will give the green light to central securities depositories, national central banks and their users to launch their own testing activities on the T2S platform as of 1st October 2014.
So before the users start with their testing, the Eurosystem Acceptance Testing is a first “seal of approval” for T2S, and that’s why it is important for the project. If successful, EAT will hugely increase confidence among the T2S Community in the overall success of T2S, reinforcing the commitment of all stakeholders. Also, EAT will help us prepare better for user testing, the last stretch before go-live. Over the next six months, the stakeholders in the post-trade industry in T2S markets will be keeping an eye on the results of EAT. We aim to keep them properly informed throughout.
In the run-up to T2S, central securities depositories, central banks and market participants from 21 European markets have been reshaping their systems to get ready for user testing and migration. This reshaping has a technical as well as a strategic dimension: technically, it aims to ensure a smooth connection to T2S; strategically, it is directed towards making the most of the business opportunities and the efficiency benefits of T2S. The user testing phase will be a moment of truth for our stakeholders, as they test the adaptations they have made. As user testing is planned to start during Sibos, on 1st October 2014, we will of course tell you more about it in Boston.
The goal of the Eurosystem is to deliver T2S to its users on time and with the expected quality. For a project of this nature and size, I do not expect the testing phase to be an easy journey. During EAT, the ECB will conduct as many as 3,992 tests that are rated as “critical”, and this will require substantial effort. However, I have confidence in our ability, and in the ability of the T2S Community as a whole, to succeed. We will face challenges, difficulties and unexpected situations, but we are well prepared for that.
On 4 April we published a new issue of our regular T2S project review, “T2S OnLine”. You can find in this issue more details about Eurosystem Acceptance Testing – as well as other news from the T2S project. For updates on T2S between now and Sibos, please stay tuned at http://www.t2s.eu or follow us on Twitter at @T2SECB.
I look forward to seeing you in Boston!