Users complain about SEC computer system

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The Independent Online
US securities exchange officials - some of whom were less than kind in their comments about London's Taurus fiasco earlier this year - appear to be having computer problems of their own.

As of yesterday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is obliging 500 of America's largest corporations to file financial disclosure documents electronically, plugging into Edgar, its Electronic Data Gathering And Retrieval system. And while many of the 14,000 companies registered with the SEC are only too happy to eliminate the 10 million pages of paper they file with the commission each year, some of those that have been using the system voluntarily since last July complain of serious problems.

One report suggested that Edgar had crashed four times during its trial period over the past two weeks, in one instance being out of commission for an entire day. Other users complain of the system's inability to accept and disseminate graphic material.

The SEC's chief information officer, John Lane, denied the report, calling the start-up of Edgar 'one of the smoothest transitions I've ever seen'.

Edgar, which promises to make public dissemination of financial filings almost instantaneous, has been operating on a voluntary basis for nine months. By the end of the year, 3,000 of the largest US companies will be obliged to report via Edgar, with the balance coming on line in mid-1996.

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