April 13, 2007 Given the Bank of Canada's strong interest in the safe and efficient operation of major clearing and settlement systems, the Bank maintains a rigorous research agenda as a means of informing payments system policy and oversight. In this article, Arjani and Engert review recent research undertaken by Bank staff concerning the risk and efficiency of the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS). Based on the findings from this research, the authors conclude that the design of the LVTS strikes an effective balance between risk and efficiency. The article also demonstrates the increased use of simulation analysis as a tool for conducting payments system research. A brief summary of the Bank's oversight strategy for systemically important payments systems is also provided. Goals for future research are noted as well, including modelling of participant behaviour and continued external collaboration with other researchers.
Payments systems play a fundamental role in an economy by providing the mechanisms through which payments arising from transactions can be settled. The existing literature on the economics of payments systems is large but loosely organized, in that each model uses a distinct set-up and sometimes a distinct equilibrium concept.