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Fewer financial service firms will increase their technology budgets in 2001 compared to this year, according to a third annual survey issued last week by the National Investment Company Service Association of Wellesley, Mass.

The survey found that 63 percent of financial service firms will increase their technology budgets next year. That number is down from last year when 78 percent of the firms polled said they would increase their budgets.

Many firms last year increased their technology budgets in anticipation of Y2K problems and spent money on new computer hardware and systems, said Darlene De Remer, a spokesperson with NewRiver Corporation of Andover, Mass. NewRiver conducted the study in conjunction with NICSA and Sapient Corporation of Cambridge, Mass. The survey polled all NICSA members and received 100 responses, De Remer said.

Of the 63 percent that indicated they will increase their technology budgets, 40 percent indicated they would spend 20 percent more this year while 20 percent said they would spend 10 percent more, she said.