Is your financial advice clients' data safe from cyber hackers?

By Ryan Smith on August 21, 2018

The FCA has provided a warning and some advice to financial advisers about potential cyber attacks.

The rising threat of cyber attacks has prompted warnings from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and advice on how to maintain the provision of services in the face of hacking attempts.

In partnership with the Bank of England and Prudential Regulation Authority, the FCA published a joint discussion paper focused on the resilience of companies to these types of attacks.

Chief among the priorities is the capability in the face of broad technological changes and a hostile cyber environment to offer products and services while limiting the impact on consumers, the economy and overall financial stability.

The FCA said: “An operational disruption such as one caused by a cyber attack, failed outsourcing or technological change could impact financial stability by posing a risk to the supply of vital services on which the real economy depends, threaten the viability of individual firms and financial market infrastructures and cause harm to consumers and other market participants in the financial system.”

For financial advice firms, this means that senior managers should set, monitor and test impact tolerances across their businesses’ key services. The focus should be on the continuity of the services that are essential to managing operational resilience. The tolerances that you set should quantify the level of interference that you can endure. You should base this on the assumption that these attacks will occur rather than merely trying to prevent them in the first place.

An important part of your financial advice business planning should be to develop and improve your response capabilities, identify bottlenecks and establish best practice to contain any disruptions. Effective communication and robust communication plans will play a large part, not only within and between financial services but also with your customers.

The plans that you have in place should enable you to maintain customer relations and confidence, as both factors will be vital in preventing further detrimental impact for your clients, your business and possibly the economy as a whole.

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