BNY Government Securities Unit Formed to Settle Treasury Trades

By Katy Burne Features Dow Jones Newswires

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said it has formed a new unit to support its growing role in settling trades in the nearly $14 trillion Treasury market.

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The new subsidiary, BNY Mellon Government Securities Services Corp., was created in recent weeks as the bank expects this year to emerge as the sole settlement firm for U.S. government debt traded between big bond brokers across Wall Street.

Last year, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., currently the only other provider, said it would exit the business of making sure that securities dealers deliver cash and Treasurys on time, but would continue to provide a range of related services, like managing government bonds as collateral in client portfolios.

It would be operationally burdensome for others to break into the business. But decades ago, there were half a dozen providers before a wave of consolidation swept through those firms. BNY settles about $1.5 trillion of the trades daily, whereas J.P. Morgan handles about $400 billion, by some estimates. The Federal Reserve has been pushing for the addition of a new central utility to process trades and strengthen the market further.

BNY's new subsidiary will focus on enhancing its services and technology for both existing and new clients. In the wake of J.P. Morgan's decision, BNY would settle the majority of Treasury debt sold at U.S. government auctions, most Treasurys trading hands in the secondary market, and most Treasurys exchanged in short-term trades called "repurchase agreements." In repos, brokers get cash loans for pledging securities as collateral.

BNY's Broker Dealer Services unit will still handle the contracts with clients, but GSS will establish a board of directors making strategic decisions to enhance its resiliency, in light of the company's unique role in Treasurys.

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A spokeswoman for BNY said regulators didn't require the move, but said the company "recognizes our important role and responsibility in the financial industry for the smooth and reliable functioning of this critical market."

In June, BNY will start taking on J.P. Morgan's broker-dealer clients, with a view to transitioning some 10 to 12 firms over the course of this year. Every "repo" trade, for example, now being settled through J.P. Morgan's systems will need to be unwound and rebooked at BNY.

The GSS seven-member board will include three industry veterans as independent directors -- Elizabeth Robinson, former global treasurer at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Richard Ketchum, former CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and David Weisbrod, a former vice chairman of risk management at J.P. Morgan

Write to Katy Burne at katy.burne@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 31, 2017 08:59 ET (12:59 GMT)