Costs of relocating Euro Clearing significantly lower than expected

  • Up to thirty-percent savings for asset managers if Euro Clearing moves to EU27
  • 100 billion USD costs estimated by London Stock Exchange found far too high
  • Maximum costs over five years to be around EUR 3.2 billion

Frankfurt am Main – The discussion on the effects of Brexit on Euro Clearing and its supervision continues to concern experts, practitioners and politicians. A working paper from Frankfurt based asset manager, Union Investment, indicates that relocating Euro Clearing to an EU27 financial centre would result in significant cost savings for asset managers. These savings should be realised in initial margin costs and clearing broker fees which currently account for approximately seventy-percent of the total clearing costs for asset managers. The paper explains that in the long term, the up to thirty-percent savings would compensate for any temporary additional costs caused by a wider bid-offer spread.

Another working paper by the Center for Financial Studies (CFS), an independent non-profit research institute at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, contests London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) estimate and other similar studies. According to the paper’s author and CFS Managing Director, Professor Dr. Volker Brühl, “Due to the fragmentation of the market there may be a temporary increase in costs. However, the costs of up to USD  100bn cited by LSE are not verifiable and are far too high. Basing an estimate on more realistic assumptions, the maximum costs over a period of five years are likely to be around EUR 3.2bn. This is before even accounting for the potential savings that asset management companies could make as a result of the relocation.”

Central counterparties (CCPs) and clearing houses are systemically relevant and critical components for maintaining global financial stability. Any crisis situation would likely require an injection of euro liquidity from the ECB and thus, these CCPs deserve to fall under ECB supervision. “The primary goal of any discussion on Euro Clearing must be protecting stability in European financial markets,” explains Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “The exaggerated estimates stemming from London are neither constructive nor prudent. While decisions on Euro Clearing should not be made purely on a cost basis, the findings of CFS and Union Investment are reassuring. Should clearing relocate, the Financial Centre Frankfurt would be a competent alternative to London, especially with Deutsche Börse’s Eurex Clear.”

Currently, ninety-percent of euro-denominated OTC derivatives are cleared in London. Following Brexit, the calls to relocate Euro Clearing to a European financial centre under the ECB’s supervision, like Frankfurt, were reborn. In response, estimates from the London Stock Exchange pointed to a cost increase of more than 100 billion USD if clearing were to leave London.

The study from the Center for Financial Studies can be downloaded here.

The study from Union Investment can be downloaded here.