TECHNOLOGY -- ABN Amro’s CLS victory

ABN Amro was among the first to realise this potential, and according to Joerg Pinkernell, head of the CLS development group at ABN Amro in London, its early promotion of CLS is a major factor in its victory in the inaugural third-party CLS service award.

"In 1999, I did my first presentation. In 2000, I made about 150 client calls. What you see in the product now is what clients told us in those meetings," said Pinkernell.

Some changes have been made of course, as the reality of CLS sinks in. In 2000, for example, settlement members [CLS shareholder banks offering settlement on CLS to their clients] were expecting to impose the same tight, pay-in schedules on third parties that they would have to observe themselves. Today, payment windows vary from settlement member to settlement member, but many offer clients different payment schedules.

Not all banks maintained an early investment in CLS -- some of those ABN Amro was pitching alongside in the early days have changed approach and reduced focus on the service. Many underestimated what is involved in providing CLS access to clients, said Pinkernell. "You’re not selling a product, it’s a partnership."

Some of the key ‘value-added’ features of ABN Amro’s CLS service are not even related to CLS, for example. As part of the service, the bank can confirm clients’ non-CLS trades via Swift, if the client is not on the Swift network.

UBS, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC were also highly rated for their CLS services.

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