Dealers bomb in survey

LICENSED securities dealers, investment advisers and insurance brokers have responded poorly to a Y2K readiness survey by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The ASIC received responses from only half of the 700 firm sample.

It is now writing to all securities licensees and insurance brokers — more than 3,000 — asking them to give an undertaking to the ASIC that details their preparedness for the Year 2000.

With just 270 days before January 1, 2000, the ASIC is concerned those who did not respond may not be prepared for the year 2000.

“We are disturbed by the low rate of response to our survey. It is vital at this time that financial service firms are taking the Y2K issue seriously and are doing all they can to deal with it,” Mr Cameron said.

Failure to do so may place them in breach of the law by putting consumers’ funds at risk.

ASIC chairman Alan Cameron said people who did not respond to the ASIC letter could expect a visit from ASIC officers to discuss their Y2K readiness.

While small advisory firms are appearing to be reticent to discuss their Y2K compliance activities, some of the big finance industry players have begun a Y2K test.

The test involves six banks, 10 stockbrokers, five institutions, Australia’s largest share registry processor and the Australian Stock Exchange. It concentrates on the most common equity trading and settlement transactions, starting with December 28, 1999 and finishing with a date in early March 2000.

ASX managing director Richard Humphry said it was an industry test.

“If critical Year 2000 problems are detected during the test it will provide an opportunity for participants to correct them before the end of 1999,” Mr Humphry said.

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