The group has been established by the PSR and the Bank of England (the Bank) to consider key issues relating to the potential consolidation of the governance of three payment system operators, Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd (BPSL), Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) and the Faster Payments Scheme Ltd (FPSL).
The Forum proposed the consolidation of governance as part of a suite of measures aimed at reducing the complexity and costs of having multiple payment systems. In its draft strategy, the Forum provisionally proposed creating one single PSO in order to allow for easier access to payment systems, increased competition and efficiency, and a stronger drive for innovation.
The Forum’s consultation asked that the PSR and the Bank work together to determine the best approach to implementing the consolidation, should it go ahead, in order to ensure that no time is wasted in preparing for a smooth transition. The Delivery Group was announced by the Bank and the PSR at the Payment Strategy Forum’s meeting on 21 September.
"In response to the Forum’s proposal, we have worked with the Bank to set up this group to consider the key issues relating to the potential consolidation. We and the Bank appreciate the commitment from the PSOs and members of the Forum to help form the delivery group.
"If effectively delivered, consolidation of the Payment System Operators could generate a number of benefits and may contribute to advancing our collective objectives. We want to be sure that, should this proposal go ahead, the industry will already have a process in place to hit the ground running."
"We welcome the establishment of the PSO Delivery Group. If taken forward consolidation will be an important initiative, so it is right that arrangements are in place for the work to be advanced smoothly and efficiently."
The role of the group and what happens next
Robert Stansbury has been appointed the independent chair for the delivery group. Robert has been a senior advisor at the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Services Authority (FSA), and is currently a senior advisor at the Banking Standards Board.
"I’m relishing the opportunity to help support the evolution of an industry which is at the heart of the banking system and which impacts on the lives of everyone in the UK.
"Payment systems in the UK are recognised as world class and I see consolidating these organisations as an opportunity to make best use of the skills and experience that sit within the operators.
"Under one roof, the PSOs can amplify their capabilities in a new organisation that will help encourage further innovation and that, in turn, can offer people and businesses across Britain, a better payments service."
The group will set out implementation options and recommendations by the end of March 2017. The PSR, the Bank and the PSO boards will then need to endorse the group’s plan and agree on what needs to be delivered, before the implementation can commence. If it goes ahead, the target date for completion of the consolidation would be the end of 2017.
The Payment Strategy Forum will announce its final strategy on 29 November 2016.
"I welcome the work that the Bank of England and PSR have put into developing this group. Payment systems play a significant role in the lives of people across the country so it’s important that any changes to operators’ governance are managed properly."
For more information on the Payments Strategy Forum and the proposed consolidation, read the draft Forum strategy here. Draft terms of reference for the group are being developed by the Bank and PSR and will be published shortly.
Notes to editors
The PSR and the Bank proposed the creation of the PSO Delivery Group at the 21 September meeting of the Payments Strategy Forum.
The members of the PSO Delivery Group are:
The PSR was incorporated on 1 April 2014 and became fully operational on 1 April 2015.
The PSR has three statutory objectives: to promote effective competition in the markets for payment systems and for services provided by those systems, including between operators, payment service providers and also infrastructure providers, in the interest of service-users; to promote the development of innovation in payment systems, in particular the infrastructure used to operate payment systems, in the interest of service-users; and to ensure that payment systems are operated and developed in a way that considers and promotes the interests of service-users.
The PSR is the regulator and concurrent competition authority for payment systems in the UK and all participants in those payment systems (payment service providers, operators and infrastructure providers to those payment systems)