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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tackle Cyber Security, and Do It Quietly

News summary by MFWire's editors

Teddy Roosevelt's old adage about politics, "speak softly and carry a big stick," seems to be the mantra of fundsters facing down cyber security threats in the 21st century. In the wake of infamous attacks on the likes of Sony and J.P. Morgan, take heed.

On Sunday, Madison Marriage of the Financial Times reported on the state of cyber security for asset managers. Tellingly, most of those quoted in the article are not asset management executives themselves.

The FT quotes one unnamed CEO of "a large European fund house" as saying that his firm has "set up a new group to try to minimise the risk from [cyber crime]. The executive only spoke anonymously because of a competitor who talked about the cyber crime fight and subsequently, in the words of the FT, "experienced a big increase in the number of attacks on its systems." A fundster spokesperson for another company calls speaking up about cyber security a "red rag to a bull", the bull being hackers.

Only one asset manager, BlackRock, actually commented to the FT for the article, which includes quotes from a number of consultants and security experts.

Yet fundsters aren't ignoring the issue; they just don't want to paint targets on their backs. ICI Global's senior director of operations and technology, Peter Salmon, says asset managers "have been taking [cyber crime] very seriously for a long time." He told the FT that the trade group's first IT security conference, in December in Washington, D.C., sold out. Another one is planned for June in Europe. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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