What role do CSDs play in financial crises?

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CSDs have proven highly resilient during periods of market stress, including the 2008 financial crisis which followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Their role is to mitigate risks for market participants, thereby supporting financial stability. In times of crisis, CSDs ensure that higher transaction volumes can be processed seamlessly while handling the failure of major market participants so as to minimise the effects on other market players and on the system as a whole.

The 2008 financial crisis highlighted concerns over counterparty credit risk, and in particular credit derivative products traded OTC. CSDs, on the other hand, primarily service the cash markets and mostly deal with operational rather than credit risks. This is an important difference with CCPs. It explains why the G20 post-crisis reform agenda focuses on the central clearing of derivatives without mentioning CSDs.

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