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LONDON-The Financial Service Agency, the UK regulator, has set up a “nerve centre” within walking distance of its existing headquarters in Canary Wharf.

The back-up office will be fully operational within six hours in case of emergencies and forms part of the contingency plan prepared by the FSA after the September 11 terror attacks on New York.

But the Regulator, who oversees financial services in the UK, has also warned that 4000 companies, mostly small and medium-sized firms (SMEs), are still poorly prepared to cope with a possible 11 September-type attack in the UK.

A spokesman for the FSA said: “A large number of SMEs do not have adequate contingency plans. We’re telling them what we and other bigger firms are doing… so they should begin to address the issue themselves. It is in their interest to put up their own back-up systems.”

But he added: “We can’t require them to take FSA’s lead. It’s a financial decision which they have to take up themselves.”

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