Herstatt Bank (Bankhaus I.D. Herstatt K.G.a.A.) was a privately owned bank in the German city of Cologne. It went bankrupt on 26 June in a famous incident illustrating settlement risk in international finance. Settlement risk is sometimes called “Herstatt risk,” named after the well-known failure of the German bank Herstatt. On June 26, , the bank. Herstatt risk: read the definition of Herstatt risk and + other financial and investing terms in the Financial Glossary.

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Please see our privacy policy. Herstatt risk is an alternative term for settlement risk with particular reference to FX foreign rusk transactions. The name comes from the collapse of a German bank in the s.

On 26 th JuneHerstatt Bank had received deutschmarks from some of its counterparties, which expected to receive their side of the transaction in US dollars later in the day. Although the counterparties had fulfilled their obligations to Herstatt, the bank was closed down before being able to make the offsetting payments. Similar events have happened more recently: Because Herstatt risk has manifested itself on various occasions since the case it is therefore more appropriately known as FX settlement risk or cross-currency settlement risk.


Settlement risk has been a particular problem in FX transactions because each currency must be delivered in its home country. This is regardless of the location of the parties involved in the transaction. The difference in time zones means that sometimes several hours elapse between a bank making a payment in one currency and receiving a payment in another. In a transaction involving yen disk US dollars, for example, the payment in yen would herstaatt to be made before the payment in dollars to ensure that the instruction could be processed during the Japanese working day.

The American payment would only be processed once the New York market had opened. The transactions would still have to be processed according to the American and Japanese time zones regardless of where the herstatf are based.

There is a period of risk from the point when the first payment is made to the point where the offsetting payment in the other currency is received.

Herstatt risk

The problem arises from the separate nature of the two transactions. Each party maintains an account with a settlement agent at CLS Bank, which then acts as an intermediary for hersattt parties by simultaneously making the two payments when each party has sufficient funds to proceed with the transaction.


By making the transactions simultaneously, CLS removes the period of risk between payments.

Although settlement is not guaranteed, there is no longer any danger of losing the gross value of herstaht transaction, since principal values are protected and will be returned if settlement fails. CLS also provides real-time online settlement information ahead of the settlement date.

Settlement risk – Wikipedia

This confirms whether settlement data has been agreed by both parties, thus allowing potential problems to be identified more quickly and remedial action to be taken. Without this facility the first hetstatt of a problem was often the non-receipt of a payment which, as in the case of Herstatt Bank, could be too late to avoid a loss of principal.

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