View from City Road: Why settle just for selling off Crest?

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The Independent Online
The Bank of England has declared that it wants to design, build and own Crest, the replacement for the aborted Taurus share settlement system, and then sell it off when it is up and running.

This idea - to keep close control of the project, and in particular the costs involved - shows a commendable determination to avoid another disaster. Taurus went years over deadline and cost the City more than pounds 300m when it was finally scrapped. London's position as a financial centre was also damaged, that harm being no less serious for being intangible.

The hot potato was then given to the Bank of England, which had experience of building a number of settlement systems in time and under budget, such as the money market and gilts offices.

The Bank's role in Crest is strictly limited, however, in that it intends to sell off the system as soon as it is seen to be running satisfactorily. The sale may make it a tidy sum. If the share settlement system is best in the hands of its main players then perhaps the same goes for money markets and gilts settlement.