Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) providers may be banned from doing business if they are not ready by October. Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) executive director Raymond Tam Wai-man said yesterday some providers were either having problems with computer systems or lacking people in management. 'We have issued warnings to these companies to urge them to make improvements,' Mr Tam said. If these firms did not improve their systems to comply with MPFA standards by October 1, the authority would revoke their licences or force them to link up or merge with other providers with better computer and administration systems, he said. Mr Tam said the authority had not found any problems in recent visits to the four largest MPF providers. However, he said some of the troubled providers could be big companies which were reluctant to put enough resources into their operations, unable to secure the desired market share due to keen competition. There were originally 21 providers in the MPF market, but as some have changed their strategy by not offering a full range of trustee and administration services, the number could fall below 17 after December 1, when the scheme becomes operational. Mr Tam said the authority had started a third round of visits to service providers to make sure they were ready.