A Beginner’s About Continuous Net Settlement In 2022

Aug 30, 2022 By Triston Martin

Continuous net settlements, or CNS, are accounting tools that facilitate the electronic recording of a wide variety of line items. The goal of this automated procedure is to settle comparative transactions as fast and simply as possible while also giving accurate, up-to-the-moment data on the current monetary balances being monitored by the system. A continuous net settlement system will publish and integrate activities on numerous securities in addition to monitoring cash flow.

One of the key advantages of a continuous net settlement approach is that it allows the settlement process to be centralized. All incoming data is quickly incorporated into the system, allowing for instantaneous assessment of the present standing of investments and account balances. In contrast, some procedures may depend on data entry into separate but interconnected areas of the accounting record books to ensure that the books remain in appropriate balance. This might be a hassle if there are a lot of accounts that need to be monitored and their details are complicated.

How it Works

After T+2, all open positions, including those slated to settle that day and those that fail to settle, are netted along with all transactions for a specific NSCC member by issue to determine net long (buy) and net short (sell) holdings. Stock in the member's DTC account is verified for availability if the net position is short (i.e., securities owing by the member to NSCC). Stocks are moved from the member's DTC account, if any, to satisfy the short CNS requirement. When a member has a net long position (i.e., securities are owed by NSCC to the member), the member's DTC account will get credit for those securities. The net value of all concluded transactions plus the mark-to-market value of any open CNS positions is used to determine the member's daily money settlement.

The Benefits of Continuous Net Settlement (CNS)

By reducing the need for counterparties to trade securities with one another, CNS provides a major benefit. NSCC members' long and short holdings in an issue are netted out at the close of business each day. Large financial institutions as well as their clients may often participate into long and short stock and ETF transactions throughout a typical trading day. The majority of these transactions cancel each other out over time, but they nonetheless cause a high amount of trading amongst shareholders.

As the CNS process occurs daily, the NSCC acts as the counterparty for its members, removing any potential for loss due to the existence of a third party. The NSCC would be liable for fulfilling the obligations of a member who becomes incompetent on a trading day. In 2021, there were more than 3,480 listings for NSCC members, many of which were for several branches of the same corporation. Within the framework of continuous net settlement, the NSCC plays the role of an "honest broker" between participating brokerages. The NSCC can reduce daily money exchanges by 98% utilizing the CNS method. T+2 is the standard time frame that the NSCC applies for clearing and settling transactions.

An Example of Continuous Net Settlement

To illustrate, let's say you open a brokerage account with Fidelity and use it to purchase 100 shares of Apple (AAPL). Your trade will complete promptly, and the shares will be credited to your account. Fidelity will need to find a new source of Apple shares if the demand exceeds the supply from its clientele. Instead of another brokerage, its NSCC will act as Fidelity's counterparty. If more clients decide to sell than buy Apple shares today, Fidelity may be forced to sell some of its holdings to the NSCC. There will be consistent transactions between Fidelity and the NSCC. In the long run, the majority of these buys and sells will balance each other out. Under the CNS approach, Fidelity will conclude the day with a single long and short position in Apple shares.


Money and securities transactions have been reported thanks to the CNS procedure. This system executes most broker-to-broker transactions in the United States that including stocks, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), American depositary receipts (ADRs), and unit investment trusts. The Depository Trust Clearing Corporation owns NSCC and operates it as a subsidiary (DTCC). If you're a broker-dealer, clearing agency, or participant in the Depository Trust Company's book-entry system, you're good to go.

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