The only item GTE's T. Britton Harris would include in his Y2K pension survival kit: Ear plugs.
This may be the guarantee of sanity during the date change and the only way to ignore people's doomsday scenarios, said the president of GTE Investment Management Corp., which oversees $28 billion in retirement assets for GTE Corp.
Other items pension survivalists might want to keep on hand include a set of printed checks made out to retirees, gold and possibly a good set of snow boots.
The key to a happy new year for pension executives might lie in how many retirees receive benefit checks.
At the New York City Retirement System, Harris Lirtzman, director of risk oversight, expects one or two payroll cycles' worth of checks will be printed out just in case electronic transfer doesn't work. The $90 billion fund generally pays out about $413 million once a month. Some portion of the amount will likely be on hand in cash before Jan. 1.
Jeffrey Clay, executive director for the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System, joked that his ultimate contingency plan would include cashing out the whole $46 billion pension fund and converting it to gold coins.
Other plan sponsors are worried about the potential collision between the dawn of the new millennium and plain old winter weather.
"You may have nature and Y2K working against you," said Walt Koziol, director of investments for the $13 billion Illinois Municipal Retirement System, Oakbrook, Ill.
Snow boots might be in order.