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Millennium bug prompts banking lobby

Fourteen of the world's largest investment banks have formed an ad-hoc pressure group on the ``millennium bug'' amid mounting frustration at the likely cost of the problem.

BZW, NatWest Markets, Nomura International and Lehman Brothers are among the investment banks who say they are increasingly frustrated at the lack of information on the cost of compliance for 2000.

The banks are set to confront IT vendors at the end of January to demand an assessment of the extra cost required by the IT providers to update their systems. Executives at JP Morgan, ABN Amro and Chase Manhattan have also become concerned about a lack of guidance from regulators on the issue. At a meeting last week, IT directors of the investment banks voted to appoint Firth Ross Martin, the IT search consultancy, to co-ordinate joint action to assess the risk.

Terry Rickerby, a Firth Ross Martin executive, said: "Throughout the year we've increasingly noticed frustration about the year 2000 . They get no dialogue from the regulators, and no dialogue from the technical providers."