Speeding Up Share Trading: Wall Street's Influence on EU Markets

The European Union, Britain, and Switzerland are facing pressure to accelerate share trading, following Wall Street's move to one-day settlement. This article explores the potential benefits, challenges, and the need for cross-channel coordination in aligning market practices. Discover how this shift could increase competitiveness and efficiency in EU financial markets.

The Move Towards One-Day Settlement

Understanding the shift from T+2 to T+1 settlement

Wall Street's impending change to one-day settlement has put pressure on the European Union, Britain, and Switzerland to follow suit. Currently, trades are settled within two days (T+2), but the move to one-day settlement (T+1) aims to increase efficiency and competitiveness in EU financial markets.

Reducing the settlement time means that cash will be tied up for a shorter duration, freeing up capital for other investments. This shift is expected to remove risk and cost from trading, especially during volatile market conditions.

While the benefits of one-day settlement are evident, the transition may not be straightforward. The EU, Britain, and Switzerland have a more complex market structure compared to Wall Street, with numerous exchanges, clearers, and settlement houses involved. It will require careful coordination and regulatory intervention to ensure a harmonized switch among all market participants.

Potential Benefits and Increased Competitiveness

Exploring the advantages of shorter settlement times

Shifting to one-day settlement in EU markets can bring several advantages. Firstly, it increases efficiency by reducing the time cash is tied up, allowing for quicker reinvestment or capital allocation. This improved liquidity can attract more investors and enhance market competitiveness.

Additionally, shorter settlement times can lead to a decrease in collateral requirements, reducing costs for market participants. It also aligns EU markets with Wall Street, facilitating smoother cross-border trading and enhancing global market integration.

However, it is crucial to carefully consider the potential challenges and ensure a coordinated approach to avoid any disruptions or mismatches in market practices.

Complexities and Challenges in Implementation

Navigating the complexities of transitioning to one-day settlement

Implementing one-day settlement in the EU, Britain, and Switzerland poses unique challenges due to the market's structure and the involvement of multiple institutions. Unlike Wall Street, which operates with fewer exchanges and settlement houses, the European market requires careful coordination among various stakeholders.

The transition will necessitate changes to existing IT systems for European firms and U.S. investors trading European shares. The complexity of the process raises concerns that some operations and trading activity may shift to the U.S. or Canada, as wealth and fund managers cannot ignore the significant presence of the U.S. market.

Furthermore, considerations must be made for stock lending to short-sellers, as the shorter settlement time may impact the recall of lent shares. Regulatory intervention and cross-channel coordination will be essential to address these challenges and ensure a smooth transition.

Cross-Channel Coordination and Harmonization

The need for coordinated efforts among the EU, UK, and Switzerland

Given the interconnectedness of the EU, UK, and Swiss markets, cross-channel coordination is crucial for a successful transition to one-day settlement. A lack of synchronization could lead to mismatches and create uncertainty and complexity for market participants.

For instance, if exchange-traded funds (ETFs) move to one-day settlement while their underlying shares remain on a two-day settlement, it could disrupt trading and investment strategies. The euro bond market, heavily traded in London but settled within the EU, also requires careful coordination to avoid market fragmentation.

Public authorities in the EU, UK, and Switzerland must consider the benefits of a harmonized approach to ensure a seamless transition. Regulatory intervention may be necessary to align market practices and facilitate a coordinated switch to one-day settlement.


The move towards one-day settlement in the European Union, Britain, and Switzerland is inevitable, given Wall Street's impending shift. This transition aims to increase efficiency, competitiveness, and liquidity in EU financial markets. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, including the complexity of the market structure and the need for cross-channel coordination. Regulatory intervention and careful planning will be crucial to ensure a smooth and harmonized switch.


What are the potential benefits of one-day settlement?

One-day settlement can bring several advantages, including increased efficiency, reduced collateral requirements, enhanced market competitiveness, and smoother cross-border trading.

What challenges are involved in implementing one-day settlement in the EU?

The EU faces challenges due to its complex market structure, involving multiple exchanges, clearers, and settlement houses. IT system changes, stock lending considerations, and the risk of operations shifting to other markets are some of the challenges that need to be addressed.

Why is cross-channel coordination important in the transition to one-day settlement?

Cross-channel coordination is crucial to avoid mismatches and disruptions in market practices. Synchronization among the EU, UK, and Switzerland is necessary to ensure a seamless transition and prevent market fragmentation.

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