ASX denies decision on CHESS replacement partner

ASX replacement CHESS denial

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has released a formal statement refuting recent claims by a Labor Senator that it has already selected a technical partner for its rejigged CHESS Replacement Program.

The statement read: “ASX confirms that no decision has been taken to determine the solution for the replacement of CHESS from the range of possible technologies and partners being considered.

“This is consistent with information disclosed at ASX’s investor day held on 6 June 2023.”

On Tuesday, Senator O’Neill disclosed during a senate inquiry that the securities exchange had selected US stock exchange and exchange platform developer NASDAQ as its technical partner for its CHESS Replacement Program.

ASIC chair Joe Longo, appearing before the Committee, expressed surprise regarding O’Neill’s claim, stating that he was not aware that the ASX – which is required to regularly report its progress on the CHESS Replacement Program to the corporate regulator – had yet selected its technical partner for the clearing and settlements platform overhaul.

The ASX reconfirmed its intention to formally announce its choice of solution “in the fourth quarter of 2023. At the same time, it said, it will also release details on its “high-level project plan and timing” allowing for “further public consultation with stakeholders on solution scope and implementation”.

“This is in addition to the scope refinement workshops currently being undertaken and the other feedback sought on industry impacts from Technical Committee members,” the ASX added.

Following a decision to explore the feasibility of a “product-based solution” – one of four potential ‘archetypes’, or methods of development – the ASX noted that a request for information (RFI) from vendors was issued in April.

Based on responses to the RFI, the ASX confirmed that it has already “down-select[ed]” a shorter list of product vendors, and is currently in the process of assessing their respective proposals.

The ASX hastened to add that “[these] processes with potential partners are all commercial-in-confidence for ASX and the other parties involved.”

It concluded: “For completeness, we would also like to advise the Committee that ASX continues to keep ASIC and the RBA updated on progress throughout the solution option assessment processes and any associated decision-making.”

Article also published on sister publication, Financial Newswire