Financial market infrastructure supervision

The Bank of England is responsible for supervising certain financial market infrastructures in the UK. FMIs are a vital part of the economy. 

What are FMIs?

Financial market infrastructures (FMIs) allow the clearing, settlement, and recording of financial transactions. They enable millions of transactions to take place each day. Find out more in our short guide.

We supervise certain types of FMIs. These are:

  • payment systems recognised by HM Treasury
  • central securities depositories
  • central counterparties (CCPs)

Why we supervise FMIs

Our role is to protect and enhance financial stability in the UK. We supervise FMIs because they are a vital part of the UK’s financial system and its wider economy.

For example, payment systems allow customers and businesses to buy and sell things. People also rely on them to get their wages or benefits.

Central securities depositories enable shares and bonds to be held or sold. And central counterparties guarantee a transaction will be honoured if a party defaults on a trade.

FMIs we supervise

We supervise certain financial market infrastructures that are based in, or operate in, the UK.

    • Bacs (recognised 5 January 2010)
    • CLS (recognised 5 January 2010)
    • CREST (recognised 5 January 2010)
    • LCH Ltd (recognised 5 January 2010)
    • Faster Payments Service (recognised 24 February 2010)
    • ICE Clear Europe (recognised 24 February 2010)
    • Visa Europe (recognised 19 March 2015)
    • LINK (recognised 23 May 2016)
    • Mastercard Europe S.A. (recognised 21 October 2021)
    VocaLink as of 25 April 2018, has been specified as a service provider in the recognition orders of Bacs, Faster Payments Services and LINK.
    CHAPS as of 13 November 2017 is supervised on a non-statutory basis.
  • The Bank has authorised these UK central counterparties (CCPs):

    ICE Clear Europe Limited

    LCH Limited

    LME Clear Limited

  • Some central counterparties that are not based in the UK are allowed to offer clearing services in the UK until the end of 2023 under the Transitional Regime (TR).
    Read a list of CCPs in the TR. At present there are no other recognised non-UK CCPs. 

  • We have authorised the following central securities depositories (CSDs):

    Euroclear UK and International Limited

    • Effective date: 8 December 2020
    • Address: 33 Cannon Street, London EC4M 5SB
    • Further information: Register info
  • Some CSDs that are not based in the UK can offer services in the UK until they are permanently recognised under the Transitional Regime (TR).

    Read a list of the CSDs in the transitional regime. At present there are no other recognised non-UK CSDs.

  • CME Clearing Europe Limited

  • We have designated the following systems designated under the Settlement Finality Regulations: 

    • Bacs (operated by Pay.UK Limited)
    • CHAPS (operated by Bank of England)
    • Continuous Linked Settlement (operated by CLS Bank International)
    • Euroclear UK and International
    • Faster Payments Service (FPS) (operated by Pay.UK Limited)
    • ICE Clear Europe
    • Image Clearing System (ICS) (operated by Pay.UK Limited)
    • LCH Limited
    • LME Clear Limited
    • SIX x-clear
    • Visa Europe (operated by Visa Europe Limited)
  • Some systems in the European Economic Area (EEA) have temporary UK settlement finality protection under the Temporary Designation Regime (TDR) of the Financial Markets and Insolvency (Amendment and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (as amended) until they receive ‘steady state’ designation. Non-EEA systems can also apply for designation.

    Read a list of EEA law systems in the TDR. At present there are no other designated systems. 

  • We recognise the following operators under the Uncertified Securities Regulations:

    • Euroclear UK & International
  • We have published a list of central banks notified to HM Treasury as receiving settlement finality protection for securities held as collateral security pursuant to The Settlement Finality Regulations.

How we supervise FMIs

We set out our approach to supervision across three publications:

  1. Our approach to the supervision of financial market infrastructure (2013). This sets out our objectives, explains what we expect of FMIs, and how we will assess them.
  2. Our supervision of service providers to recognised payment systems (2018). This recognises payment systems specified in the Banking Act 2009.
  3. Information on the effect of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on FMI supervision (webpage). We update this page regularly. Firms must act on any legislation changes we refer to here.

We also publish an annual report on its regulation of FMIs and these contain information about updates to our supervisory approach.

We use the CPMI-IOSCO Principles for financial market infrastructures as an international benchmark for our standards.

There are different legal regimes for central securities depositories, CCPs, payment systems and systems designated under the Settlement Finality Regulations. Some FMIs may have requirements under more than one regime.

Who we work with

We work with domestic and overseas regulators to supervise FMIs.

We have a memorandum of understanding with the FCA on supervising FMIs. We also have a MoU with the FCA, PSR and PRA that covers the supervision of payment systems.

CHAPS

On 13 November 2017, the Bank of England started to deliver the CHAPS service.

Our Financial Market Infrastructure Directorate supervises this work. We expect the same standards of it as any other systemically important payment scheme. 

How to become an approved FMI and receive UK settlement finality protection

Recognition process for non-UK FMIs

We have published information on how non-UK FMIs may apply to become a recognised FMI and receive UK settlement finality protection.

Recognition process for UK FMIs

  • Payment systems need to contact HM Treasury (HMT) to discuss recognition. 

    HMT has published a guidance note on the recognition process.

  • A firm must apply to us it if it intends to provide CCP Services in the UK.  Onshored and amended Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)) and the associated Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) lay down the requirements an applicant must meet and information that must accompany the application. 

    Prospective applicants may wish to contact us at an early stage for advice on the practical aspects of an application. 

    There is no standard application form for recognition as a recognised clearing house that is not a central counterparty (CCP). Section 288 of the Financial Services and Markets Act specifies some details of what must accompany an application. Prospective applicants should contact the Bank of England at an early stage for advice.

    There is no standard application form for overseas CCPs seeking a recognition order under 170B of the Companies Act 1989. Prospective applicants should contact us at an early stage for advice.

    Firms wishing to become a recognised overseas clearing house should contact us at an early stage for advice. Firms can no longer apply for recognised overseas clearing house status if they are a CCP.

  • A UK firm must apply to us to be a recognised CSD under the onshored Regulation (EU) No 909/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 July 2014 on improving securities settlement in the European Union and on central securities depositories (as amended) ( UK CSDR), if it intends to provide CSD services in the UK.

    UK CSDR and the associated Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) lay down the requirements an applicant must meet and information that must accompany the application. 

    Prospective applicants may wish to contact us at an early stage for advice on the practical aspects of an application. 

  • UK law systems (e.g. payment and securities settlement systems) can apply for settlement finality designation and receive settlement finality protections against the operation of the UK insolvency law under the Financial Markets and Insolvency (Settlement Finality) Regulations 1999 (as amended). The SFRs seek to reduce the risks associated with participation in these UK law systems by minimising the disruption caused by insolvency proceedings brought against a participant in such a system.

    To receive these protections, systems must meet the criteria set out in the SFRs and be designated by the relevant authority, which is the Bank of England for all entities other than recognised investment exchanges.

    There are different application processes for different types of FMI. UK law private systems should contact us directly by emailing SFD-Enquiries@bankofengland.co.uk.

     

UK EMIR reporting - breach notification form

Under Article 9 of UK EMIR, CCPs have an obligation to report derivatives transactions to an FCA-registered or recognised trade repository.

CCPs can use the breach notification form to notify us about any errors or omissions in their reports under Article 9 of UK EMIR. Completed forms should be sent to emirreporting@bankofengland.co.uk.

Notifications on selling and buying CCP shares

Under article 31 of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) as onshored, those proposing to directly or indirectly dispose of, acquire or increase their qualifying holding in a UK CCP must first notify the Bank of England (the Bank).

Anyone who fails to comply with this obligation or who provides information to the Bank which is false in a material particular is guilty of a criminal offence under Regulation 15 of the Financial Services and Markets Act (Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories) Regulations 2013 (SI/2013/504).

  • Anyone proposing to dispose, directly or indirectly, of a qualifying holding in a UK CCP is required to notify us in writing before making the disposal. They are also required to notify us of a decision to reduce a qualifying holding so that the proportion of the voting rights or of the capital held would fall below 10%, 20%, 30% or 50%, or so that the CCP would cease to be their subsidiary.

    You must send these details by email to FMIInformation@bankofengland.co.uk.

    The email should include:

    1. Details of the current and proposed shareholding in the CCP.
    2. Who the shares are being sold to.
    3. The date the sale is expected to take effect.
  • Anyone who wishes to acquire or increase, directly or indirectly, their qualifying holding in a UK CCP or to further increase such a qualifying holding with the result that their voting rights or capital held reaches or exceeds 10%, 20%, 30% or 50%, or so that the CCP would become their subsidiary, must first contact the Bank of England for approval.

    If the proposed acquirer is not a body corporate, please contact us by email at FMIInformation@bankofengland.co.uk to discuss the form of the notification.

  • We have a pre-notification stage which is designed to help those proposing to acquire or increase a qualifying holding in a CCP to understand the process and to submit a complete application.

    We recommend that you contact us at FMIInformation@bankofengland.co.uk to discuss whether a pre-notification meeting is necessary. You can submit a notification without contacting us first, but this increases the likelihood of your application being incomplete.

    To notify us, email a copy of the acquisition notification form and your supporting documents to FMIInformation@bankofengland.co.uk and send two hard copies to:

    The Director, Financial Market Infrastructure Directorate, Bank of England, 20 Moorgate, London EC2R 6DA.

     

Internalised settlement reporting

The Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR) (as onshored) introduces a requirement that firms that carry out settlement activity outside central securities depositories (CSDs) report data quarterly on this activity to the Bank of England. This requirement, which is contained in Article 9 of the legislation, applies as of July 2019. 

In November 2018, the Bank, with the help of the PRA and FCA, we wrote to UK firms to ensure that they were aware of the requirement. We also asked them to complete an online survey (list of questions available here) and to provide contacts details for further, direct, communication.

We contacted firms identified as having either, or both, of the following regulatory permissions, specified in Article 40 of the Regulated Activities Order, which are more relevant to carrying out settlement internalisation activities:

  • arranging safeguarding and administration of assets
  • safeguarding and administration of assets (without arranging)

Details about the timeline and the onboarding process for internalised settlement reporting are available below.

If your firm has not been contacted, and you think your firm will need to report settlement internalisation activity, please email InternalisedSettlement-Enquiries@bankofengland.co.uk.

Crisis information

Financial market infrastructures are critical to a stable financial system. Systems should contact their supervisors in the first instance if they have any issues. 

Insolvency practitioners’ protocol

The purpose of the industry insolvency protocol is to promote a clearer understanding of the regime (set out in Part VII of the Companies Act 1989) and the responsibilities of central counterparties (CCPs) and insolvency practitioners (IPs) in the event of a default in relation to an insolvent clearing member. 

The protocol is non-binding and sets out the mutual understanding of the IPs and CCPs as to procedures that they consider would be desirable to be followed in such a default event.

The protocol includes:

  • procedures to facilitate coordination and information exchange between IPs and CCPs
  • the legal obligations of IPs and CCPs under Part VII of the Companies Act and EMIR (for CCPs)
  • the responsibilities of IPs and CCPs in cases where either the special administration regime (SAR) or general administration (under insolvency law) is applied
  • practical arrangements for CCPs and IPs to achieve their respective objectives

The protocol is relevant for participants in central clearing including:

  • CCPs, clearing members and their clients
  • relevant authorities such as the Bank of England, HMT and the FCA
  • IP; and any other party that may consider itself impacted by the default of a clearing member

Guidance on recognised clearing houses for insolvency practitioners

FMI whistleblowing and confidential reporting

Whistleblowing is when someone reports suspected wrongdoing at work. You can make whistleblowing disclosures about financial market infrastructures to the Bank of England.

To make a disclosure, email whistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 3461 8703 or write to Bank of England (Legal Directorate - IAWB), Threadneedle Street,  London, EC2R 8AH.

This page was last updated 25 November 2021

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