The financial services sector sees EMU as a business rather than an IT issue, according to a report last week.
The report, commissioned by services company Sema Group, contradicts earlier research (including that published by ECsoft in April) which implied EMU will have a serious impact on IT systems, and that firms will need to set aside resources to adapt their financial software for it.
Neil Barbour, head of the financial sector dealing with EMU at Sema Group, said although the survey showed a disturbing lack of understanding of EMU's impact it was "not an IT issue".
He added: "It's a business issue. It's not like the Year 2000 which, although expensive, is very clear with what needs to be done. Clearly there are IT ramifications in getting EMU right, but it is much more complicated and expensive."
Sema Group's survey also claimed that UK financial services organisations, with the exception of large clearing banks and subsidiaries of European banking groups, are dangerously behind schedule in dealing with EMU. Over one third of the 60 senior business executives at UK financial services companies questioned said they do not believe EMU will impact their business.
Of those, one fifth didn't understand its impact at all.
Despite the view that EMU is not an IT issue, respondents believed technology does have a fundamental role to play in realising cost reduction and exploiting the market opportunities associated with EMU. However, respondents said few IT companies have taken the time to understand if preserving margins is possible and to discover what institutions generally require from an IT solution.
Jonathan Kay, head of consulting at Sema Group's financial services team, said: "IT companies need to take heed of the requirements of each sector of the UK financial services market as they seek to prepare for EMU compliance and realise the business opportunities."
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