Time is money: the hidden challenges of T+1

Man squeezed

Man squeezedThe Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the Investment Company Institute (ICI), and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) last year published a report targeting the first half of 2024 to shorten the US securities settlement cycle from trade date plus 2 days (T+2) to trade date plus one day (T+1).

Perhaps this will be a first step toward broader coverage in other currencies, regions and exchanges. Proponents suggest that the immediate benefits of moving to a T+1 settlement cycle include reduced market risk and lower margin requirements, as well as significant cost savings.

A move to T+1 will certainly have its challenges: industry participants will have to align and implement the necessary operational and business changes. T+1 will pressurise the industry to get things right on trade date, which means more straight-through processing and less cumbersome or customised processes. In a T+1 settlement cycle, if a trade is executed today, the confirmation or affirmation process should occur on trade date – mostly at the close of business in the region – for the trade to settle the following day. There’s very little time for the firm to identify a mistake that could lead to failed trade settlement.

When industry executives consider T+1, a natural starting point for the conversation is from the US perspective. Most firms perceive the main challenges impacting asset managers based in the US, who are dealing directly with the DTCC locally. The truth is that the impacts of this truncation of the settlement cycle are actually far greater due to multiple factors stemming from the differences in time-zones for participants trading outside of the US. This article looks at some the operational problems of T+1 from outside of the US footprint.

 

Across the time zones
For a firm located outside the US, T+1 automatically becomes extremely difficult. For example, currently with a typical UK investment management firm its staff have ended their working day well before the markets close in the US. In a T+2 environment, many traders don’t complete the deal records until the morning of T+1. Occasionally they might log in at around 11pm to sweep up any unbooked trades, but if they don’t match perfectly with a broker the trade will remain unmatched until the operational team returns the following morning.

Under T+2 that firm would have an entire day to correct and instruct the settlement of the trade, so there would be little or no issue, although if the counterparty is a US broker, it will be early afternoon in the UK before they can fix it. If we put this scenario into a T+1 context, the firm has effectively lost a day. While a trade is in an unmatched status, the parties can’t confirm the net settlement amount for the cash component of the trade, impacting funding processes.

 

Stock lending, custodians and FX
There are additional complications if a party is participating in stock lending. A custodian, for example, will not know about a requirement to recall stock until an asset manager sends the trade instruction to sell. If an asset manager sends an instruction after markets close, there is little or no chance to recall stock on the same day.

This scenario will have an impact on the number of failed trades because there’s not enough time to facilitate settlement. The net result when the settlement cycle decreases will be that custodians may impose earlier instruction receipt deadlines. Furthermore, if stock is not readily available, then trades are going to fail. Service level agreements may also have to be revisited, as each party wants to protect their position and not be responsible for failed trade fees.

Many custodians allow UK-based asset managers to instruct on settlement day for US equities, but that’s because the US market is still open when the UK market has closed. Deadlines for asset managers in Asia may become even tighter as their day is ending before the US market opens.

In India, T+1 has already been introduced and many UK firms already feel the pinch because the market there closes around 11am GMT and some custodians are looking for instructions by or before 9:30am. As this new trading lifecycle is established, many UK asset managers may struggle to meet these deadlines, resulting in pre-funding issues and foreign exchange challenges.

Similarly, there have been discussions on the impacts in the broader Euro markets of moving to T+1. From experience we often see that if the US markets introduce change, the tendency is that other regions follow suit. With new Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR) impacting processes, there are potentially going to be more failing trades, therefore more penalties incurred. All creating additional headaches for asset management firms.

 

Changing working practices
At this stage, many asset managers will be establishing forums or working groups to understand their custodians’ requirements under T+1, to then formulate internal procedures to support T+1 when it does go live in the US markets. This might involve testing their operational team presence in the local market time for executed trades, so perhaps trialling support in US market hours to see how that might work in practice. Team shift-work, accommodating a much longer working day may well be the necessary endgame.

Indeed, the imperative to adapt operating models is an interesting yet challenging area for discussion. Changing local working hours is an easy statement to make, but every firm has a finite number of resources in their operational teams. Getting an even split between staff members would be key so that the workload naturally flows, requiring careful analysis and staff commitment to change. For example, if US hours are typically 2pm to 11pm GMT, then there is likely to be a trade processing bottleneck around 4pm when all euro and UK trades are often still being booked. However, UK based asset managers are anticipating very low volume activities between 6pm and 10pm, adding to the challenges of balanced resourcing in a lengthy window of inactivity.

 

Conclusion
When firms look at a move to T+1, it is essential that they fully comprehend required changes to the post-trade environment. This is even more crucial for firms that have not re-engineered legacy systems.

As operational efficiency and regulations bring technology to the fore, now is the time to overhaul dated technology and systems and move away from practices like batch processing, which is still common in a great number of companies around the world.

The many operational problems associated with T+1 can be alleviated by corfinancial’s Salerio® software. Salerio deals with confirmation, matching and settlement instructions management, helping the middle office deal with high volumes of trades that must be processed on trade date. Salerio achieves this through complex matching automation leaving users to only deal with exceptions, thus enabling firms to process high volumes of transactions in the most time-efficient manner. Our software takes control, because as soon as the firm can send an instruction to a custodian, the custodian can issue notifications on the matching and settlement status of trades that Salerio centrally manages.

Archer turns to Salerio to add retail trade processing

Archer logo

Boston, May 3, 2022 – corfinancial®, a leading provider of specialist software and services to the financial services sector, announces that Archer, a leading technology enabled service provider for investment managers, has extended their use of corfinancial’s  Salerio® Post-Trade Execution solution to commence trade processing for their retail services.

Headquartered in the Philadelphia region, Archer provides a robust ecosystem of technology and services to the asset management industry. An early adopter of Robotic Processing Automation, Archer continues to deploy advanced technology like Salerio to streamline processes for investment manager clients and their brokers.

“As more investment managers launch new products specifically for retail investors, we’re continuing to invest in technology that creates powerful operational efficiencies for our clients,” said Bob Lage, EVP, Global Head of Product and Technology at Archer. “At Archer, we’re always looking to upgrade our tools in ways that allow our clients to grow their businesses. By integrating Salerio into our trade settlement process, we are adding automation that creates significant efficiencies in matching trades across our clients’ counterparties.”

Archer used Salerio to migrate its institutional clients away from DTCC’s OASYSTM utility in December 2021 and began moving its retail clients in March 2022. This latest move with the retail application of the technology enables asset managers to match trades more rapidly through a centralized service. Specifically, Salerio facilitates enhanced connectivity to banks and brokers via DTCC’s CTMTM utility, including SWIFT messaging – all highly automated and fully integrated into the Archer IBOR, dashboards and reporting.

David Veal, Senior Executive for Client Solutions at corfinancial added: “Archer’s confidence in our Salerio solution is well-received and this recent change reflects the flexibility of our product to adapt to different operational processes, creating a comprehensive, centralized solution that can scale as our clients’ businesses grow.”

corfinancial’s Salerio selected by Man Group to migrate OASYS trade processing

System migration
London, 28 June 2021 – Salerio, the post-execution trade processing solution from corfinancial, has been selected by Man Group, the global active investment management firm, to assist in their migration from the OASYS™ US securities trade processing flows to the DTCC’s Institutional Trade Processing (ITP) CTM™ (Central Trade Manager) platform.

Last year, DTCC announced that it would decommission OASYS™ on 31 October 2021.

Man Group has been automating key post-trade processes, including trade confirmation and settlement for international securities, for many years using Salerio. It was, therefore, the natural solution to manage the migrating US trade confirmation workflow.

Salerio provides seamless connectivity to DTCC’s CTM platform and Man Group was able to manage the transition of US equity trades processing via OASYS to the CTM utility without the need for vendor support.

Antonio Dos Santos, Head of London Investment Operations at Man Group, said: “We wanted to ensure the continuity of our centralised post-trade processing in light of the changes soon being introduced by the DTCC. With Salerio’s rich workflow capabilities, the transition was a simple one and we moved most of our US equity traffic over to the Salerio CTM module with ease.”

David Veal, Senior Executive – Client Solutions at corfinancial, said: “Our post-trade processing solution is intuitive, making it easy for clients like Man Group to manage their operations with confidence. During 2020, we enhanced Salerio to ensure that it fully encompasses the changes being introduced by the DTCC that allows the processing of both US and international post-trade securities through the CTM service.”

corfinancial’s Salerio selected by Man Group as treasury solution for FX processing

Foreign exchange

London, 19 July 2021 – corfinancial today announces that Man Group, the global active investment management firm, has selected its treasury solution, Salerio, to manage the firm’s foreign exchange confirmation, settlement and netting processing.

Man Group uses Salerio to automate the management of securities post-trade processing and is expanding the use of Salerio to incorporate automation of foreign exchange processing. The investment management firm’s international growth has relied increasingly upon Salerio, which automates key middle office processes.

Salerio will also support Man Group’s CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement) netting – a standardised, automated bilateral payment netting service.

Richard Craske, Change Management Specialist at Man Group, said: “We have been a long-term user of Salerio to manage our trade confirmation and settlement.  The high volume of our securities trading – that can reach in excess of 30,000 allocations per day – demands the very best in technology and Salerio has more than proved its worth. We now want to incorporate foreign exchange processing and CLS netting in the same, centralised processing model. With Salerio’s treasury modules in place we can continue to scale our operations efficiently, allowing our teams to focus on handling exceptions.”

Bruce Hobson, CEO at corfinancial, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Man Group to bring further efficiencies to their post-trade processes. We look forward to Man Group extending the use of Salerio to incorporate FX processing, completing the treasury deployment during 2021.”

corfinancial: Salerio software ready for OASYS decommissioning

December 2020 - corfinancial, a leading provider of specialist software and services to the financial services sector, announces today that its Salerio post-trade system is now fully tested and ready to assist firms in the migration away from DTCC’s legacy OASYS™ platform.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is a post-trade financial services company providing clearing and settlement services to the financial markets. The firm has confirmed plans to decommission its OASYS™ solution by October 2021, resulting in the compulsory migration of users to its CTM™ processing model in order to continue the automated processing of US domestic trades.

DTCC recently announced that a small number of financial services technology providers have agreed to certify their interfaces in support of enhanced US trade flow capabilities in DTCC’s CTM™ service. Salerio is now a certified solution to facilitate the transition away from OASYS, having successfully completed its conformance testing with DTCC.

David Veal, Senior Executive, Client Solutions, corfinancial: “Working as an early adopter partner with DTCC throughout the second half of this year ensured that we were well prepared for the modifications that they were applying to their CTM utility. Salerio has been updated with the OASYS parity functionality. Our solution is quick to implement, due to our standard model approach, fully functional CTM connectivity and workflow,” added Veal. “Salerio clients that require this functionality ahead of the October 2021 deadline are good to go.”

Baillie Gifford migrates the processing of its futures transactions to corfinancial’s post-trade system, salerio

London, 27 July 2020 – corfinancial, a leading provider of specialist software and services to the financial services sector, reports that Edinburgh-based investment manager Baillie Gifford has migrated the processing of its futures transactions to corfinancial’s post-trade system, Salerio.

Baillie Gifford selected Salerio in 2018 after a review of its proprietary trade matching and settlement practices. The firm decided that it was time to transition its existing operating model to a strategic solution that encompassed the entire trade processing lifecycle. Not only was it looking for a comprehensive, automated exception management system, but also the right people to work with.

Initially, Salerio was used for Baillie Gifford’s equity and bond trading, but since April 2020 futures transactions have been added to the asset class mix.

“The fact that we went live on futures during lockdown bears testimony to the robust nature of the Salerio application and the flexibility of corfinancial’s implementation team,” said Louise Laidlaw, Head of Settlements, Baillie Gifford. “We ran Salerio in parallel with our legacy futures application until we were ready to switch the old system off. Ultimately we had a flawless transition.”

One key benefit for Baillie Gifford of utilising Salerio for futures trades has been the replacement of faxed trade notifications (a requirement from one of its custodians) with more streamlined SWIFT instructions. In a working from home environment, this manual handling proved to be particularly challenging before Salerio came onstream.

“Bringing futures into scope with Salerio has eliminated some time-consuming, manual processing for us,” said Laidlaw. “Moreover, the transition has improved our control, authorisation and visibility of trade matching and settlement for futures transactions.”

Remote working during market turmoil has not affected our clients using Salerio

London, 22 June 2020 - corfinancial, a leading provider of specialist software and services to the financial services sector, reports that its clients have enjoyed uninterrupted trade matching and settlement during lockdown – even when trading volumes suddenly spiked.

 

One example is that of leading investment management company Baillie Gifford. The Edinburgh-based firm was using proprietary post-trade processing systems before choosing Salerio in 2018 and they believe that their smooth transition to remote working conditions, without any interruption to the service they provided to their investors, was testament to the software they had installed from corfinancial.

In March we experienced a huge increase in equity, bond and FX trades. For example, our bond trading volumes more than doubled from the previous month and over a seven-day period we had more than 500 bond trades alone. In April, our bond trading volumes went up even further, by almost another 50 percent,” said Louise Laidlaw, Head of Settlements, Baillie Gifford. “It didn’t matter how many trades came through; we knew we had the ability to cope using Salerio. Working remotely, even with these exceptional trading volumes, has had no impact on our operations whatsoever. The transition to home working was seamless and this theme came across strongly in feedback from my Settlements team.”

Since lockdown, trade settlement teams have needed secure software that enabled them to adapt to both multiple working locations and unique market conditions. Salerio was designed to handle unprecedented surges in trading volumes even while operating remotely.

Bruce Hobson, Chief Executive at corfinancial. “The system has been able to provide a remote service at the level that gold standard clients like Baillie Gifford expect, and this standard has not faltered during the unprecedented market conditions we are faced with today.”