Dutch custodian Kas-Associatie has set up a clearing operation on the Brussels Stock Exchange via an electronic link from its Amsterdam headquarters.
The initiative is part of a drive to benefit from the Benelux project which seeks to integrate the exchanges of Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Pieter Aartsen, head of relationship management, financial institutions Benelux at Kas, says: “The Benelux project means you have connections with all the exchanges and can trade on all three.
“Trading is not a problem on Europe’s exchanges at the moment, but how to organise the settlements certainly is.
“This is the reason we decided to move into the Belgian market and start a clearing business.”
Kas will not be setting up a Belgian office. “All the processing will be carried out in Amsterdam, because then we can guarantee the quality. This is our strategy for moving into Europe,” Aartsen says.
Kas has an electronic link to the Belgian Central Bank, clearing system and central depository, and Aartsen explains business operations will focus at the beginning on clearing and settlement for brokerage houses.
“We see good opportunities in Belgium, firstly through brokers and banks in Amsterdam without any clearing capacity - which have been looking to start up cross membership of exchanges and know who we are.
He says custody will be the next step after the company has introduced more clients into the system. “I don’t know exactly when we will start the institutional custody side of the business, but hopefully it will be before the end of the year. Our main policy is to be a European equity clearance specialist from our Amsterdam office.
“ We also have plans to go to Frankfurt and hope to finalise that this year,” he adds. Hugh Wheelan