Year 2000 Preparations in the Australian Banking and Financial System 4. Co-ordination Arrangements

4.1 Domestic Activities

Regulators

The three Australian financial sector regulatory agencies – the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and Australian Securities and Investments Commission – have, under the auspices of the CFR, established a Year 2000 Coordinators Group. The broad role of this group is outlined in Chapter 1.3.

This Group has already considered a number of issues, including seeking the views of major financial sector institutions and industry bodies on the merit of having special public holidays around the date change as a means of assisting contingency planning. There was negligible support for a holiday on 31 December, but unanimous agreement on the benefits of having a nation-wide public holiday on Monday, 3 January 2000. All States and Territories have declared 3 January to be a holiday.

The RBA and APRA also meet regularly with representatives of the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) and Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) to share information on Year 2000 issues, especially in respect of media reports and possible ways of addressing any public concerns that may arise.

Year 2000 Interbank Working Group

Since August 1997, the four major Australian banks and the RBA have met regularly as the Interbank Working Group (IWG) to address Year 2000 issues affecting the banking community. APRA and the ABA have also participated in the IWG where relevant. Further details on the IWG structure and activities can be found on the web site www.bankers.asn.au.

The IWG has focused on issues that could be progressed better by a broader industry-based group rather than by individual organisations, and has shared its work with all banks. The ABA and APCA assist by communicating relevant information and developments to all participants in those organisations.

The IWG has accomplished many of its original objectives and, as reported in earlier publications of this booklet, has been refocusing and scaling back its activities during 1999. In summary, the remaining operations of the group are:

  • Telecommunications
    The IWG continues to liaise with the major domestic carriers and the Australian Communications Industry Forum on issues of potential impact on the banking community and on the continuing disclosure of their Year 2000 preparations and end-to-end connectivity compliance.
  • Property & Building Services
    The IWG welcomes the moves by industry bodies and utilities' regulators (particularly electricity supply) to coordinate and publish the state of readiness for their particular utility supply chain. The IWG will continue to liaise as appropriate with these industries.
  • Risk Management
    The IWG Risk Management group will continue to support the activities of APCA's Year 2000 Contingency Group. There are common members of the IWG Risk Management group and APCA's contingency group to ensure a continued sharing of knowledge and a common approach.
  • Global Co-ordination
    This is discussed under the Global 2000 Co-ordinating Group in Chapter 4.2.

4.2 International Activities

Joint Year 2000 Council

APRA is represented on the Joint Year 2000 Council, which was established by international financial supervisors in April 1998. The Council consists of representatives from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (Basel Committee), the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). The Council has agreed on a range of initiatives to ensure a high level of attention is focused on the Year 2000 problem by supervisors, to share information, to discuss possible contingency measures, and to serve as a point of contact with national and international private sector initiatives. The Council is currently focusing on procedures to ensure effective communication between regulators over the Year 2000 transition period, including procedures for sharing information in respect of institutions with significant cross-border operations.

Global 2000 Co-ordinating Group

The private sector Global 2000 Co-ordinating Group continues to work on those areas where coordination will improve the readiness of global financial institutions to address the Year 2000 problem. The Group recently approved a framework for industry-wide contingency plans which will provide options for individual markets to consider when developing their own contingency plans.

The Group liaises with the relevant regulators and supervisors with all outputs available on its website at www.global2k.com.

Australia was a founding steering committee member of the Global 2000 Group and the IWG has supported Australia's representation.