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SEC Puts Year 2000 Database on the Web
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission has put a new database on its Web site giving investors access to the Year 2000 readiness reports filed by brokerage firms, mutual funds and other financial companies.

The database now has more than 13,000 reports describing companies' computer readiness for the Year 2000 date change, how much it is costing them to prepare, and their contingency plans in case the systems fail, the SEC said this week.

The market watchdog agency says it views the Year 2000 problem as a serious issue that, if not adequately addressed, could disrupt the functioning of many of the world's computer systems. To prevent disruptions, companies need to examine their computer systems, retool them, and test the systems and their interactions with other companies' systems.

The SEC recently charged 37 relatively small brokerage firms and nine stock-transfer agents with failing to fully disclose their Year 2000 readiness.

And last week, the SEC's chief accountant said a check of financial reports that publicly traded companies must submit to the agency shows that many of them are still not complying with Year 2000 disclosure requirements.

He said more than half the companies in an unspecified sample failed to disclose how much it is costing them to get their computer systems ready for the millennial change, while close to half didn't describe their contingency plans.

Known as Y2K, the Year 2000 problem reflects programming in many older computers that recognizes just the last two digits of a year in reading a date. Machines that haven't been upgraded are likely to interpret Jan. 1, 2000 as Jan. 1, 1900. That could cause massive computer failures, lost data, or broken connections with customers.

The SEC's Web site address is www.sec.gov.

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