Postcard from Belgium



With its longstanding history of providing ‘neutral ground’ on which to build collaborative organisations like Euroclear, SWIFT and MasterCard, it’s perhaps no surprise that, today, Belgium is fostering some innovative fintech projects. Our CMO, Andrew Carrier, reports from the country where he grew up.

It was an unlikely combination of sweaty messengers and armoured trucks that provided Belgium with a unique position within the European financial sector. And they did so by prompting an unprecedented model for innovative collaboration that thrives still.

You see, until 1980, The Bridge was physical: The Pont Adolphe in Luxembourg linked Cedel’s (now Clearstream) depositories with Euroclear’s own. Every day, thundering vehicles and breathless messengers would physically delivery securities in settlement of the constant trades between the two.

The danger and impracticality of such a system…