(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| [Asian Banks Face Y2K] Singapore Leads Region in Resolving Y2K Problem
October 23, 1998 (SINGAPORE) -- A strong push by the government and a
high awareness of information technology in the corporate sector are
among the factors that have made Singapore a leader in the Asia-Pacific
region in implementing a Year 2000-compliant infrastructure.
|The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country's de facto central bank,
and the Stock Exchange of Singapore have been pushing banks and companies
to be fully Y2K compliant as early as mid-1999. The stock exchange,
in particular, has informed all listed companies that they must advise
shareholders if any aspects of their Y2K implementation will affect
corporate operations and have an impact on the interests of shareholders.
A recent survey by the Singapore Federation of the Computer Industry
(SFCI) reported that 64.1 percent of companies in Singapore were aware
of the need to become Y2K compliant, while 11.4 percent said they do
not need to convert their existing systems.
At a computer exhibition in September, the National Computer Board said
that it will certify companies to be Y2K compliant. The board launched
a program to award Y2K-In-Action logos to companies that are taking
serious steps to become Y2K-compliant. The National Computer Board is
in charge of computerizing the government sector.
"The IT industry has been responsive in coming forward to help businesses
tackle the Y2K problem," said Tang Guan Seng, senior parliamentary secretary
of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. "To date, 140 Y2K consultants
and tool providers have registered in the NCB Y2K vendor registration
system, and the number is growing."
In a new 450-page report released by U.S. securities company Merrill
Lynch, analyst Arthur Chai describes Singapore's Y2K compliance as above
average due to "the high levels of IT expertise and a long-standing
awareness of the issue."
"Our checks reveal that government agencies and many listed companies
covered by Merrill Lynch have remedial programs in place, some having
started as early as 1996. Nonetheless, successful completion of these
efforts may occur only just in time by mid-to-late 1999," Chai said.
The strongest assessment on the financial systems' compliance was given
by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
"We are fully confident of the system as a whole retaining its integrity
and resilience at the turn of the century," said deputy managing director
of MAS Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
According to a MAS survey, more than 90 percent of the banks, brokerages
and dealers are slated to complete their corrections by the end of this
year, or a full year before the Y2K problem sets in.
Also, Shanmugaratnam said that the MAS would intensify supervisory efforts
to ensure that the financial sector is able to deal with the problem.
He said that the MAS is taking a four-step approach to handle the Y2K
First, the authority will continue to raise awareness and help in any
correction efforts. Second, it will monitor compliance progress through
inspections and reviews. Third, it will help control Y2K risks through
supervision, testing and contingency planning. And, lastly it intends
to cooperate with local government agencies and overseas financial regulators
to address Y2K issues.
The stock exchange said it has passed a critical test in August to ascertain
if the Y2K bug would affect its operations. It said transactions were
successfully keyed in as if the market were actually in session in a
simulation that involved 33 member firms of the stock exchange, authorized
trading centers, approved foreign brokers, participants of the bond
quotation system and other subscribers to the exchange's broadcast services.
Merrill Lynch's Chai said that the earnings impact on Singapore-based
companies is expected to be insignificant.
[Asian Bank Face Y2K] Stories:
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Banks Say They'll be Ready for Y2K
Finance Industry Draws Measures for Year 2000 Problem
Financial Industry Makes Headway on Y2K Problem
Financial Industry Addresses Millennium Bug
Looks to U.S. Vendors to Solve Year 2000 Computer Problem
(Joseph Rajendran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)