EUROPE – The European Commission has set up an expert group on clearing and settlement following on from the Giovannini report.

The group, which had its first meeting in Brussels today, will “advise and assist the Commission in the integration of EU securities clearing and settlement systems”.

The Clearing and Settlement Advisory and Monitoring Expert group, or ‘Cesame’ is chaired by the Commission and comprises around 20 representatives of various mainly private bodies involved in clearing and settlement.

There are four observers from public authorities. Alberto Giovannini, author of two previous reports on the issue for the Commission, is Principal Policy Advisor.

“Making cross-border clearing and settlement as efficient, safe and cost-effective as at national level is crucial to a real single securities market in the EU,” said internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein.

“The stakes are high and the Cesame group will help the opening up of the EU clearing and settlement environment by providing impetus to the whole project.”

The Commission added: “For the success of the whole project, it is important that all market participants and service providers are aware and share the overall objectives and direction of the project, and transmit them to the market at large.”

The new group will advise on market-led initiatives to bring down the barriers to integration that Giovannini identified.

The formation of the group follows the Commission’s consultative communication on securities clearing and settlement in April.