Find out more about CLS, its role in the FX market and the benefits of membership.
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To enhance financial stability by providing risk mitigation services to the global FX market.
CLS plays a fundamental role in the foreign exchange (FX) market – it operates the largest multicurrency cash settlement system to mitigate settlement risk for the FX transactions of its Members and their customers.
Settlement of FX transactions requires the exchange of principal in two currencies. Settlement risk is the risk that one party pays the currency it sold but does not receive the currency it bought, resulting in a loss of principal.
The impetus behind the creation of CLS came from regulatory concerns regarding the potential for FX settlement risk to be a major source of systemic risk, following the collapse of Bankhaus Herstatt.
Launched in 2002 and owned by the world’s leading FX banks, CLS settles payment instructions relating to underlying FX transactions in 17 currencies and certain other transactions that result in one-way payments in a subset of those currencies.
How CLS Works
CLS mitigates settlement risk through the provision of its unique payment versus payment settlement service which has direct links to the real time gross settlement (RTGS) systems of the currencies it settles. In addition to mitigating settlement risk, CLS also streamlines and standardizes FX operations, reducing costs.
FX settlement includes potentially large cash funding values. These values are materially reduced in CLS through the multilateral netting of the obligations between Member banks to deliver best in class liquidity management. As regulatory requirements for larger liquidity buffers increase, the benefits from multilateral netting at an industry level are increasingly important.
CLS Passes The Test
The financial crisis proved a defining moment for CLS. Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, market sentiment deteriorated rapidly and money and capital markets were brought to a virtual standstill. The FX market continued to function, without disruption, throughout the market turmoil that followed. Many have attributed this stability to the role played by CLS in mitigating settlement risk.