The tension between, on one hand, the envisioned free-competition landscape for issuance and settlement across Europe, and, on the other hand, the nationally bounded and ingrained reality … This was the topic for a panel at AFME’s Optic conference on Tuesday morning.

With almost 30 central securities depositories authorised under the EU’s CSDR, the continent should thrive with competition in their space, right? Only, it doesn’t. The spaghetti of supervision could be a contributing factor, suggested Karel Lannoo of think tank CEPS. A low level of interest from the side of local custodians could be another one, suggested Euronext’s Pierre Davoust, whose company is pursuing a consolidation strategy.

The panel was titled “Building a competitive landscape for European Market Infrastructures”, with an explicit question being whether more can be done “to engender true competition across market infrastructures and deliver cost efficiencies”.


Moderator: Camille Papillard, Head of FI&C Client Line for EMEA, BNP Paribas.
Speakers: Karel Lannoo, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for European Policy Studies,
Pierre Davoust, Head of Central Securities Depositories, Euronext, and
Randy Priem, Coordinator of the Markets and Post-trading Unit, professor of finance, FSMA, UBI Business School and Antwerp Management School.

On DLT, Karel Lannoo argued strongly against the idea of regulating certain technologies differently from others, and pointed particularly to MiCA, the incoming regulation on markets in crypto-assets, which was largely designed before the fiasco of FTX a year ago.

“Regulators should know that the golden role is that regulation should be technology neutral,” he exclaimed.

In the Q&A tail to the session, a delegate asked Pierre Davoust whether Euronext seeks to consolidate all its CSDs into one. The question is connected to the supervision, he explained, but gave the picture that also while keeping businesses local, there is far-reaching opportunity for coordinating the underlying operations on one platform. Karel Lannoo suggested this consolidation capability within a group could prove that the pan-European T2S platform was never necessary in the first place. Pierre Davoust took a pragmatic approach to the answer, concluding that T2S is now there and can be applied when efficient.

The yearly Optic conference, in Brussels on 17–18 October 2023, is hosted by the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME). Optic stands for the “Operations, post trade, technology and innovation conference”. PostTrade 360° is there, with our coverage collected here.