Reserve Bank seeks new support

Following the absorption of Australian banking software provider Austraclear into the Sydney Futures Exchange, New Zealand's Reserve Bank is having to reorganise its software support.

Following the absorption of Australian banking software provider Austraclear into the Sydney Futures Exchange, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank is having to reorganise its software support.

Austraclear is changing its business focus and will no longer provide support to the NZRB’s depositary (trading in high-value securities) or real-time gross settlement (inter-bank accounting) systems, says information chief Yogesh Anand.

The bank has issued a request for proposal for a new provider of support, which will also be expected to enhance the Austraclear-developed software as and when needed. There are no major upgrades planned in the near future, Anand says.

The two systems were the subject of controversy earlier this year, when it was suggested that they might be moved to Australia. A report by the SSC’s e-government unit, entitled “Protecting New Zealand’s Infrastructure from Cyber-Threats”, highlighted its concern at the “desire of some New Zealand banks to move their retail processing offshore”, and mentioned the possible migration of the Reserve Bank systems.

However, following discussions with Austraclear, the bank decided to keep the systems in New Zealand (see Reserve Bank IT stays put).

The support contract with Austraclear expires at the end of next year, so there is plenty of time to arrange a new support contract and no question of the bank being left in an awkward position, Anand says.

The systems run on Compaq Alpha hardware, only recently upgraded. No change of platform is currently contemplated. “By all accounts Alpha [a Digital Equipment architecture] will have some kind of future [under Compaq],” Anand says.

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