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Thursday, 29 October 2020 07:04

ASX again delays switch to blockchain-based system, this time to April 2023 Featured

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ASX again delays switch to blockchain-based system, this time to April 2023 Pixabay

The Australian Stock Exchange has put off a switch to a new blockchain-based system which it had last said would come on stream in April 2022.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ASX said the new go-live update for its replacement for the existing CHESS system — which handles clearing, settlement, asset registration, and some other post-trade services which are critical to the orderly functioning of the market — to April 2023.

In the statement, the ASX said while most CHESS users had indicated they could meet the April 2022 go-live date, many had sought more testing by industry and new functionality to cut down on manual processes — like electronic corporate action elections — to be provided as soon as possible.

It said industry had also asked for an increase in post-trade processing capacity than had been sought before the pandemic.

"This is in response to the extreme increases in trading volumes on the ASX platform during the most volatile period of the pandemic in March 2020," the statement said.

"This period saw unprecedented ‘bursting’ of daily trade volumes, with additional trades in early March eclipsing previous records by approximately 3.5 million trades, compared to historical bursts of less than 0.5 million trades.

"This increase has reset industry and regulator expectations about the possibility of further step increases in daily trading records. The need for the replacement system to scale to much higher processing levels and sooner, is now a Day 1 requirement.

"As a result, ASX has adjusted the Day 1 scope and schedule for the CHESS replacement system to target significantly more throughput capacity and scalability, more functionality, more industry testing, and more time for users and ASX to prepare."

ASX chief executive Dominic Stevens said: "“ASX has listened to the industry, regulators and its technology partners throughout this project. It is clear that COVID-19 continues to impact the whole industry, including ASX, and this has evolved what our stakeholders want from the CHESS replacement system.

"In parallel, ASX has considered how we can reduce delivery risk, enhance the customer experience and continuously improve project execution. Consequently, we have increased the scope of the project and extended the timeline. The result is a program that provides a significantly enhanced CHESS replacement solution on Day 1.

“The functional scope, capacity, scalability and testing of the CHESS replacement system now being developed is greater. It captures the increased requirements of ASX and the industry, and lowers the risk in delivering them. It is also consistent with ASX addressing the expectations of the regulatory agencies that CHESS be replaced as soon as it can be achieved safely and that the new system meets the market’s needs.

“By its nature, a consultative process that considers all industry feedback will not satisfy everyone. We acknowledge those who have been working hard and would have preferred a faster delivery time.

“However, replacing CHESS is an important and innovative project, with significant long-term benefits for Australia’s financial market users. It is ASX’s responsibility to deliver it in a safe and timely manner, and to consider the feedback from all our stakeholders.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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