Money manager Bill Jacques had planned to celebrate the dawning of the new millennium by taking his family on safari to the Serengeti.
Mike Phillips, president of Frank Russell Co., intended to be on an icebreaker in the Drake Passage between Cape Horn and Antartica.
Tim Barron, a principal with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Investment Management, toyed with chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean.
None of those plans has materialized.
Instead, this New Year's Eve, Mr. Jacques will be at his Boston-based Martingale Asset Management LP office, Mr. Phillips will be at or near Russell's Tacoma, Wash., headquarters, and Mr. Barron will be "taking care of my clients." All have decided to stay put, in case any of the much-hyped Y2K issues causes computer problems.
"I'll be here to show solidarity with my co-workers," said Mr. Jacques, Martingale's chief investment officer. "We will have a good view of the fireworks (that the city is sponsoring). Anyone who wants to come in New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, their family is welcome."
Some investment professionals will be on vacation as Y2K dawns.
Alan MacFarlane, managing director of Global Asset Management's institutional division, will be at a family get-together in the Scottish Highlands. "I'll be reading the best of Mr. Burns' poetry, slightly the worse from Scotland's finest product," he said.
Rob Arnott, managing partner of First Quadrant LP, Pasadena, Calif., will be enjoying "a quiet evening of wine-tasting" at The Lodge at Ko'ele, a top-flight resort in the Hawaiian island of Lana'i, but ready to hop a plane back on Jan. 2 if necessary.
Industry veterans Lynne and Frank Minard win the prize for romance.
On New Year's Eve, they will ride six miles on horseback from their second home outside of Santa Fe, N.M., to the shores of the Rio Grande. At midnight, they'll drink champagne, said Ms. Minard, who is a partner and director of global marketing at Pareto Partners, New York. Her husband is president of Plansponorexchange.com.
Many other managers will be spending a quiet New Year's Eve this year. Peter Dencik, managing director of Singer & Friedlander Institutional Asset Management, London, has a front-row view of the fireworks over the Thames from his apartment.
Hundreds of others will be at the office or on call over the New Year's weekend. Managers expect fears of Y2K-related systems failures to be overblown or already addressed, but no one is taking anything for granted.
The problem is, nobody knows exactly what to expect.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It's never been done before," said Sandy Childs, senior vice president for defined contribution plan administration for Putnam Investments, Boston.
"Are people (participants) going to call (on Jan. 1)? We don't really know. But we will be fully staffed and will have extra people manning the phones," she said.
Putnam also has beefed up its Internet access and voice-response unit in anticipation of any Y2K problems, Ms. Childs said.
Echoed John Russell, vice president and assistant general counsel at Loomis, Sayles & Co., Boston: "We have a Y2K communications center now. We anticipate some will call on that Saturday, but my guess is there won't be a huge volume of phone calls. I expect there will be on that Monday. But we have to assume the negative."
Other 401(k) service providers - including Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Co., Boston -will staff phone banks New Year's weekend, even though the phones normally would be unattended.
At Vanguard Group, about 400 people will be working at midnight on Dec. 31, primarily in the firm's Malvern, Pa., office, said Carol Dow, principal in information technology, who has spearheaded the manager's Y2K-preparedness efforts for the past three years.
Most of those staffers are in back-office operations. They will be joined by John Brennan, chairman and chief executive, who will be on hand with non-alcoholic champagne to toast the turning of the century.