By Ed Kelsey and Simon Rickenbach of the Bank’s Market Services Division.
The Bank of England operates the United Kingdom’s Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) infrastructure for the settlement of the main electronic sterling payment systems. This infrastructure plays a vital role in the safe functioning of the UK financial system, and therefore in maintaining financial stability. The Bank continuously seeks to improve the resilience of its infrastructure. Recently, enhancement of the resilience of payment infrastructure has become a higher priority for central banks. The Bank, together with other central banks, worked with SWIFT to develop a new RTGS contingency infrastructure with which to settle payments should the principal infrastructure become unavailable. The Bank is the first central bank to adopt this contingency solution.