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The Reserve Bank’s payment system oversight role applied to settlement risk in the retail payment system

Phoebe Chan, Stuart Irvine

The Reserve Bank oversees the payment system for the purpose of promoting the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system. Consistent with the Reserve Bank’s relatively light-handed payment system oversight powers, the Reserve Bank’s approach is to be clear about its objectives and to encourage industry to develop solutions towards these objectives. However, as other central banks have found, industry-led solutions cannot always be delivered, or delivered in a timely manner. Consequently, the Reserve Bank is stepping up engagement with industry to expedite projects that help meet our policy objectives. A current payment system oversight issue for the Reserve Bank is settlement risk in the retail payment system. Empirical analysis shows that routing high-value transactions through the retail system significantly increases end-of-day inter-bank exposures. This article assesses this risk and possible ways to address settlement risk in the retail payment system.