The Investment Association is to develop an industry-wide shield against cyberattacks, enabling member groups to ‘monitor evolving threats, technologies and attack protocols’.
This would include the development of a ‘threat intelligence network’, in addition to ensuring fund firms fully understand their legal and regulatory requirements and stay abreast of new technology.
The initiative was revealed by the Treasury in the second edition of its UK investment Management Strategy, initially revealed in the Budget last month. In addition to escalating cybercrime, the government said the growth of fintech made the issue of network protection a national priority.
‘The heavy reliance on the outsourcing of intermediary services in the asset management sector can give rise to vulnerabilities and means that the sector faces unique cyber-security challenges,’ the Treasury noted.
‘It is now therefore more important than ever to understand and assess cyber security risks and establish robust processes that ensure that asset managers are kept continually informed of the emerging and emerging cyber risks.’
Cybercrime was included in the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales for the first time this year, with 3.6 million cases of online fraud reported, making it one of the most widely-experienced offences.
Speaking to the BBC the chief inspector of constabulary for England and Wales Sir Tom Winsor said the problem was reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions. ‘The capability at police forces is quite skeletal and that needs to change and change a great deal,’ he added.
Elsewhere, the government has pledged to work with the IA to better manage its support for asset management training, reducing the number of recipients in order to target it more closely.
In addition to previously announced attempts to promote industry apprenticeships, the Treasury said that it recognised the need to support sector recruitment post-Brexit.
‘The government recognises the need to develop a strong domestic skills pipeline to support the UK asset management industry, drawn from a diversity of backgrounds,’ it said
‘It will be particularly important to ensure that those who may not have traditionally seen a career in financial services as an option are included.
‘The government is committed to supporting the industry to establish Centres of Excellence at UK universities and to support proactively the development of a talent pipeline for the UK asset management industry.’