The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its 2015/16 business plan. It has identified technological challenges as one of the key risk drivers, while recognising that of course innovative uses of technology bring benefits to consumers.
Cyber-crime is highlighted as one of these challenges and in particular the risk of such activity causing serious disruption to financial markets. The increasing reliance upon the internet as the channel by which consumers provide personal data increases the risk of this data being compromised. It is recognised that firms with older and more complex IT systems can find it more difficult to implement adequate security measures and that this is a real risk factor. The FCA confirms that its commitment to working with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Bank of England on visibility of IT resilience and risks at board level, and with Treasury and regulatory partners on addressing cyber risk.
It is encouraging to see that the FCA is taking the risks posed by cyber-crime seriously, although it may be thought that the topic warranted more than three paragraphs of an 80 page document. Cyber-crime in its many forms is one of the biggest risks faced by both firms and consumers today and many will be looking to the regulator for leadership on this issue.