By Luca Trogni
MILAN, June 8 (Reuters) - Italian banks will not join a new platform aimed at unifying the settlement of securities across the euro zone when it launches on June 22 due to technical difficulties, the chairman of Italy’s broker association told Reuters.
In a landmark project, the European Central Bank (ECB) is launching this month the Target 2 Securities (T2S) platform which will settle euro-denominated securities, exchanging legal ownership for cash in the final part of a transaction.
Rejecting a request for a postponement by Italian banks, the T2S board decided at the end of May to stick to June 22 as the planned launch date.
Assiom-Forex Chairman Giuseppe Attana said the ECB Governing Council over the past few days had given a green light to Italy’s delayed entry.
“The T2S Steering Group will formalise the decision at a meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday,” Attana said.
“It’s most likely that Italy will join in on Aug. 31.”
The ECB declined to comment.
Three sources close to the matter also pointed to Aug. 31 as the expected date for Italy to shift securities settlements to the T2S platform.
The most recent tests show that only just over 80 percent of settlements had successfully gone through, Italian Central Securities Depository Montetitoli said on its website.
The problems highlighted by tests would affect trading in Italian government bonds. The country’s public debt runs to over 2 trillion euros ($2.3 trillion) and is the world’s fourth-largest.
The platform is set to launch initially in a group of countries comprising Greece, Malta, Romania and Switzerland, in addition to Italy.
Attana said Italy accounted for around 90 percent of the volume of settlements in the group.
Among euro zone heavyweights, France is scheduled to join the T2S platform in March 2016 and Germany in September 2016.
$1 = 0.8901 euros Writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Mark Potter