Notice to Members 97-16

NASD Updates Year 2000 Activities and Advises Members

In 1996 there was an abundance of news and magazine articles, web pages, and special hearings in Congress designed to promote awareness of the Year 2000 (Y2K) challenge and to communicate information about the potential effect on computer systems brought about by the upcoming change in century. This trend is likely to continue in 1997 as businesses around the world work to ensure that automated processes with date-sensitive components will correctly identify "00" as 2000, rather than 1900, when the date changes to January 1, 2000.

The NASD is committed to coordinating its efforts with the securities industry to meet the Y2K challenge. In early October 1996, NASD participated in the formation of the Y2K securities industry advisory group. Joining the NASD were representatives from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), the Depository Trust Company (DTC), and the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC). The purpose of the group was to establish inter-organizational data interchange guidelines and a plan for "street-wide" testing to ensure that exchanges, stock markets, clearing corporations, depositories, and securities firms perform data transfers and interfaces correctly when the millennium changes. Later, the group was expanded to include representatives from member firms, regional exchanges, and other similar organizations.

The NASD is continuing its work with the NYSE, AMEX, NSCC, DTC, SIAC, and member firms to establish an industry-wide Y2K test environment. It is envisioned that existing test facilities in the participating organizations will be connected in an integrated architecture to simulate an industry-wide production environment. This testing framework will allow members and "utility" organizations to test their data interfaces in an integrated manner. It will also facilitate the testing of securities transactions throughout their life cycle as they flow from one organization to the next (e.g., a trade flows from a member firm to Nasdaq/NASD, to NSCC, to DTC, and back again to the member firm). At this time, two committees have been established: a Steering Committee comprised of senior executives from the referenced organizations to provide overall guidance and support, and the Exchange and Utility Sub-Committee comprised of technology managers to develop technical and logistical details, and later, to oversee the day-to-day operations.

In addition, the NASD is participating in a number of other Y2K Committees formed by the Data Management Division of the Securities Industry Association, and is continuously communicating with other Y2K project teams in the industry to exchange ideas and relevant information.