Securities industry making Y2K progress : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Securities industry making Y2K progress

NEW YORK (AP) - Testing by the securities industry found only rare instances of Year 2000 computer problems and officials Thursday reassured investors they need not worry about being locked out of trading stocks, mutual funds, bonds or options at year's end.

Six weeks of tests simulated the execution of 850 mock trades involving 260,000 transactions for the period of Dec. 29, 1999 to Jan. 3, 2000. The tightly scripted tests turned up problems related to the Y2K bug in just 0.02% of the transactions required to process the trades, the Securities Industry Association said.

''The Y2K issues were rare and quickly repaired,'' said Donald D. Kittell, executive vice president of the group that represents 740 investment firms. ''The test served its purpose in that it helped us detect problems or areas that needed further work while we still have time to fix them.

''Our contingency plans will be much more thorough as a result of what we've learned.''

The SIA estimates the securities industry will spend $5 billion to correct the problem, which stems from the fact that most computers use just two digits to denote the year, causing an unknown number to misread 00 as 1900 instead of 2000. If the problem is not fixed, it could cause some computers to malfunction or be unable to sort dates, calculate transactions and perform other operations.

Kittell said the industry is now closer to its goal of ensuring that the turn of the millennium is a ''nonevent'' for investors.

But much remains to be done.

The tests coordinated by SIA are meant to detect trouble in the millions of daily transactions between the brokerages, clearing houses, mutual funds and investment banks.

But each of those institutions has its own internal testing to do of everything from payroll to accounting systems -- all in various stages of completion, John Panchery, vice president and Year 2000 project manager for SIA, said in a recent interview.

''Each firm has to test what is its own responsibility,'' he said. But the SIA will help in that effort, he said.

The group will be available the second Saturday of each month between May and October to help those who want to continue testing, Panchery said.

Meanwhile, SIA contingency planning committees continue to make preparations for any possible glitches, such as power or telephone outages, he said.

But as far as the action that takes place on Wall Street, he said, all bugs have been eradicated.

''We've proven the stock exchanges and clearing corporations involved in all the tests can all process in the Year 2000, and we did it with seven months to spare,'' Panchery said. ''Investors should be pretty comfortable.''

-- Norm (, April 29, 1999


Done by Dec. 31, 1998, leaving a full year for testing.

Whaaa? OH! that was LAST year. By golly guys ... "Investers should be pretty comfortable."

-- Jim the Window Washer (, April 29, 1999.

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