Reserve Bank’s Payment and Settlement Systems win international award

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua has been named the winner of the ‘Payments and Market Infrastructure (Wholesale) Award’ at the Central Banking Publications annual awards. The award was given in recognition of the Reserve Bank’s work on its new payment settlement system launched last year.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said it was an honour to receive the award and commended all those involved.

“I am extremely proud of our team who succeeded in completing this transition. This project involved many years of hard mahi, and it was critical we got the best outcome. These two new systems allow every New Zealander and major institutions to go about their daily lives settling their financial obligations with integrity and confidence,” Mr Orr said.

In February 2020, the Reserve Bank went live with a new payment settlement platform, launching two separate systems – ESAS 2.0 and NZClear 2.0 – under a multi-vendor support model. The upgrade replaced a 20-year-old inter-bank settlement system and central securities depository.

Mr Orr describes the project as the “most complex technology switch” that the Reserve Bank’s Payments and Settlements group had done.

“Simultaneously replacing these systems that are both vital to New Zealand’s financial system required meticulous planning and change management. The completion of the project could not have come at a better time. Just weeks after the launch, COVID hit putting enormous pressure on the economy and our markets, but we had confidence in the integrity of our newly-launched system, knowing that we had prepared our staff and users, and all our processes and technology could handle the unprecedented volumes with ease,” Mr Orr said.

The Reserve Bank also credits the strong support by system users as a key part of the project’s success.

“Our system users all worked collaboratively and constructively with us to ensure a successful outcome. We also acknowledge the commitment our key project partners, SIA, Datacom and Allfields, as well as everyone involved in delivering a successful outcome,” Assistant Governor and Chief Financial Officer Mike Wolyncewicz added.

Central Banking Publications took notice of how the two new systems have reduced payments system risk and have freed up capacity to start thinking about the future of payments in New Zealand. “The successful launch of these two new systems during a period of increased payment volumes during the pandemic is testament to the diligence of the Reserve Bank’s migration efforts,” the judges commented.

The Reserve Bank has previously won in other categories of the Central Banking awards. Last year, it won the ‘Transparency Award’ for the Monetary Policy Handbook. It was named the ‘Central Bank of the Year’ in 2015. The Reserve Bank also received the ‘Initiative of the Year’ award twice – in 2016 for its enterprise risk management system and in 2019 for the Bank Financial Strength Dashboard. Former Reserve Bank senior adviser Leo Krippner also won the award for ‘Economics in Central Banking’ in 2017.

About the Central Banking Awards

Central Banking Publications is a financial publisher owned by Incisive Media and specialising in public policy and financial markets, with emphasis on central banks, international financial institutions and financial market infrastructure and regulation.

Central Banking Publications was founded in 1990, and makes a number of annual awards to central banks and market participants over a range of categories. This is the eighth year of the awards.

Judging was done by the Central Banking Awards Committee, comprising members of the Central Banking Editorial Team and Editorial Advisory Board.

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