JVeon: I have a follow-up question to the euro. We have Europe amalgamating into a new currency and now the Free Trade Areas of the Americas and I am assuming the Federal Reserve as the Central Bank, how does this all fit in with the year 2000? What do you all see in your crystal ball?
White: I think that there is no doubt that the year 2000 is a significant complication to the Euro and all this other stuff that is going on or conversely the Euro and all this other stuff is a complication to the year 2000. There is no question that there are a lot of people working very hard out there trying to make the changes to the infrastructure and operating systems that are really required and it is a very big endeavor. I am confident that it is going to happen, however, the amount of money that it will require to be spent to make it happen, is very significant. You can see it already, even in our own institution, we have a lot of work to do internally to deal with this thing.
JVeon: I have a friend who is rather high up in the US and he called me the other day to ask how he could buy gold. He said, "I am gravely concerned that we are not going to make it."
White: Certainly everybody has been warning about this for the last number of years and certainly not coming out of this institution. The Fed, Bank of England--the amount of effort that has gone into this is already very substantial and here for example, we had a big conference in may with 80 countries represented on the year 2000 problem and they have set up a Joint Council which includes the CPSS, Basle Commission, IOSCO, insurance people--they have got a well-developed work plan which is mostly directed to (1) Warning people over and over again and (2) trying to monitor in a rather more systematic way who is doing what in order to make sure that particularly the big financial institutions are thoroughly prepared.
JVeon: They have a year and a half how can they do that?
White: The work has been underway for ages in most of these institutions--this has been around for a long while... It's up on the website.