ASX is replanning the CHESS replacement implementation timetable due to the uncertainty created by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. It is also in response to user feedback on timing, requested functionality changes, and the need for ASX to complete aspects of its own readiness.
In June, ASX will seek user input on the new schedule that will move the go-live date from April 2021 to a later date. In the meantime, the target of opening an Industry Test Environment (ITE) in July is retained. The replan will provide additional time for users to complete their operational readiness activities and to consider the rule changes that accompany the new system. It will also increase the time available for back office software developers to familiarize themselves with key aspects of the new system in a production-like testing environment, and enable them and ASX to complete software development and testing.
ASX deputy CEO Peter Hiom said in a statement: “In light of recent events, ASX is replanning the implementation of the CHESS replacement system. We are conscious of the importance of providing a new schedule, and the need to get the valuable input of CHESS users. Right now, however, in this environment of heightened volatility and activity levels, the industry needs to focus on day-to-day operations.”
“Our priority is to ensure the orderly and safe completion of this project with the continued close oversight of our regulators…ASX remains fully committed to CHESS replacement. We continue to progress the project, including system development and testing, supporting back office software developers, and assisting users in their readiness activities,” said Hiom.
In January 2016, ASX selected Digital Asset as a technology partner to develop, test and demonstrate to ASX a working prototype of a post-trade platform for the cash equity market using distributed ledger technology, often referred to as blockchain as well.
Recently, ASX had been in further discussion with users on the project schedule. Feedback was diverse, with some users advocating no delay and others indicating they would like the project extended to give everyone more time to prepare. Users have also requested changes to the functionality of the new system as part of the recently completed consultation process on detailed business requirements. ASX also needs some additional time to complete some of its development and readiness activities. These issues were under consideration by ASX prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The investments we are making in the new system and in distributed ledger technology are for the long-term benefit of the financial services industry and the Australian economy,” Hiom said.