NZ central bank decides to keep settlement system, rejects NZX bid

WELLINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has decided not to sell its clearing and settlement system NZClear, it said on Friday, meaning New Zealand financial markets will keep two separate settlement systems.

The RBNZ had sought bids for NZClear after a strategic review in 2014, but said in a statement on Friday that there were no bids that met its requirements.

New Zealand stock exchange NZX, which operates a competing settlement system, had made a bid for NZ Clear.

“The intention of the solution NZX proposed to the Reserve Bank during the Reserve Bank’s process to divest NZ Clear, was that NZX would operate a single clearing and settlement system for the New Zealand market, to support the future growth of New Zealand’s capital markets,” NZX said in a statement, after the announcement.

An RBNZ spokesman said a “handful” of bids had been received from international and New Zealand bidders.

“We had a range of operational and commercial requirements that we needed a new owner of NZClear to fulfil, and there was a range of interest from businesses, but none of them were able to fully meet those requirements,” said RBNZ spokesman Angus Barclay.

RBNZ would not comment on precisely which requirements NXZ was unable to meet.

NZClear currently holds around NZ$198 billion ($132 billion) in securities in its depository, according to the RBNZ’s website. The RBNZ said that it would invest in a new platform for the settlement system.

$1 = 1.5008 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Ruth Pitchford