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SEC Sues Advisers on Y2K Shortcomings

The SEC is continuing to press the money management industry on year 2000, or Y2K, computer programming and compliance issues.

Amervest Company of Los Angeles agreed to pay a fine of $22,500 for failing to file a form informing the SEC of Amervest's progress in preparing its computer systems for Y2K. Amervest advises an investment company - an entity that can include mutual funds, trusts and partnerships - according to a complaint that the SEC filed against Amervest on Aug. 26.

Data companies that track mutual fund performance had no record of an Amervest mutual fund. Representatives of Amervest did not return a call seeking comment.

Amervest was the only investment adviser for an investment company among the five investment advisory firms that the SEC sued on Aug. 26 for alleged failure to file updated Y2K reporting forms. The forms were due June 7. In addition to Amervest, KMI Realty Advisors of Indianapolis agreed to pay $15,000 to settle the SEC's allegations.

Amervest and KMI neither admitted nor denied the SEC's claims in settling the cases.

"We place great importance on full and fair Y2K disclosure by those we regulate," said Richard Walker, director of the SEC's division of enforcement, in a statement. "With only four months left to the millennium, it is vital that both investors and regulators be given a current report card by each firm as to their state of readiness."

Other firms and individuals which the SEC sued for allegedly failing to file Y2K reports include Huber Hogan Consulting of Red Bank, N.J., Russon Financial Services of Woodland Hills, Calif. and Robert Sears of Northampton, Mass. Officials at the firms could not be reached for comment.