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Study on public debt management systems and results of a survey on solutions used by debt management offices

A debt management system is the backbone of any sovereign debt management office. A robust, well-functioning and user-friendly system allows governments to strengthen their debt management environment. This study aims to contribute to the literature on (i) the essential requirements of a debt management system, (ii) the selection criteria for software that fits the system modernization and integration needs of a debt management office, and (iii) how the solutions currently used by governments meet those requirements. It also contains the results of a survey that shows the current landscape of solutions used by a sample of debt management offices from 31 countries. The target audience is emerging and developing countries that seek to strengthen the information technology platform they use for debt management. The study concludes that it is fundamental for a debt management system to meet the debt management office's evolving needs, while at the same time differentiating among functions and coverage that are mandatory, relevant, and desirable. This differentiation provides a helpful guide for debt managers deciding between building a tailored debt management system from scratch or purchasing an off-the-shelf system. The survey results suggest that current systems can handle the critical functions and instruments of debt management offices. However, if the nature of respondents' debt portfolios evolves over time, system limitations may present challenges. One clear takeaway is that debt managers should consider the ability of their debt management system to interact with external (for example, financial management information system) information technology platforms as an essential characteristic of their information ecosystem.