UK watchdog warns firms take care on Feb 29 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

UK watchdog warns firms take care on Feb 29

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Britain's main financial regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said on Monday there had been a smooth transition through 2000 and firms should now watch out for any computer problems linked to the leap year.

"The date of February 29 requires particular attention, because of the possibility that computer programs will not take account of the Year 2000 being a leap year," FSA Managing Director Michael Foot said in a statement proclaiming a successful Y2K transition.

"There is no reason to expect any material disruption, however, provided firms continue their vigilance," he said.

February 29, 2000 is a 'one-day-in-400-year event' and is seen thwarting some programmers who accounted for regular leap years scheduled for once every four years.

But 1800 and 1900 were not leap years. The rule is that all years divisible by four are leap years, except those divisible by 100 -- unless they are also divisable by 400.

The FSA also defended the huge spending in Britain and elsewhere on fixing the Year 2000 computer bug, saying there had been many spin-offs from the spending that would have a lasting benefit.

Estimates of the cost of preparing for the 2000 date change and any possible computer problems caused by the change worldwide range from over $200 billion to $600 billion.

Governments and companies, particularly in emerging markets, who appeared to spend little on fixing systems had few problems with the bug, causing some to question the heavy spending in the developed world.

The FSA said the many spin-offs included early upgrading of systems, better understanding of operational risk and improved coordination between regulators.

12:50 01-05-00

Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

-- Cyndi Crowder (, January 05, 2000

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