On 19 April 2021, the Bank of England (BoE) published a policy regarding omnibus accounts, a new type of account available as part of its real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service.
The BoE defines an omnibus account as one where the funds of different entities are co-mingled in a single account. In RTGS, the omnibus accounts will be offered to regulated payment system operators to pool participant funds. This will allow the operator to fully fund wholesale settlement on their platform with central bank money. The payment system operator will hold this account on behalf of their participants. The account can hold funds both during and outside of the RTGS operating hours.
The BoE explains that payment system operators holding an omnibus account could offer participants (financial institutions) a method of settling payment obligations that is fully funded with central bank money. These transactions can either be by market participants themselves or on behalf of their customers.
The policy goes on to provide a diagram setting out a stylised model of how an omnibus account can be used and describes the eligibility requirements for opening an omnibus account and the key steps in the approval process.