... and more euro preparations
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... and more euro preparations

For many cynics in the securities industry, the upcoming introduction of the euro had only one real benefit. The enormous cost of converting systems to the new single European currency could be used as timely camouflage to correct the firm's information technology cock-ups of the past.

Not any more. A report commissioned by the International Securities Market Association (Isma) has come out with a startling conclusion ­ it will cost hardly anything at all. The euro conversion cost will be Ecu8 million, or 0.00058% of an average financial institution's total operating costs.

The survey was carried out by the European Economics and Financial Centre in London, an independent body that Isma commissioned. Interviews with operational staff were carried out at all 900 firms, and where possible with firms' specially dedicated "euro project teams".

The survey discovered that some of the early estimates of billion-Deutschmark write-offs were plucked out of thin air and didn't bear close scrutiny.

But the report did highlight a degree of dispute over how long the transition to the euro would take. One firm with a staff of 3,500 across the EU, reckoned it needed a year.

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