Category Archives: International Trade

SEC “Cybersecurity is one of the greatest risks facing the Financial Services Industry”


Mary Jo White, Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), delivered a Keynote Address Investment Company Institute 2016 General Meeting in Washington, DC on the 20th May

The Commission is the primary regulator of the mutual fund industry which is comprised of 8,131 mutual funds with approximately $15 trillion in assets held by 54 million U.S. households as of March 2016.

White advised that the current and future health of the markets and the financial security of investors depend on the success of both its regulatory efforts and how well the industry participants do their jobs as fiduciaries and responsible leaders of the marketplace.

She highlighted 3 significant areas of regulation for the asset management industry:

  • controls on conflicts of interest;
  • a robust registration, reporting and disclosure regime; and
  • controls on specific fund portfolio composition risks and operational risks

Looking to the future, White highlighted disclosure effectiveness and ETFs as key areas of focus for the SEC. She also highlighted a number of areas where the sector must take the lead.

White believes a key challenge for the industry is the risk in using technology and service providers. She stressed the importance of firms ensuring that a fund is adequately prepared to promptly and effectively respond to risks that may be triggered by service providers and its own use of technology, including implementing alternative and reliable means to satisfy the fund’s regulatory requirements.

Cybersecurity is a particularly critical element of this challenge – as I have said before, cybersecurity is one of the greatest risks facing the financial services industry.  Cyber risks can produce far-reaching impacts, and robust and responsible safeguards for funds and for their investors must be maintained”.

The Commission has been very active in drawing attention to the issue and examining and enforcing the rules it oversees in respect of cybersecurity. Its regulatory efforts are focused primarily on ensuring that our registered entities have policies and procedures to address the risks posed to systems and data by cyber-attacks.

While no one can prevent all disruptions from cybersecurity events, you should consider the full range of cybersecurity risks to your funds and consider appropriate tools and procedures to prevent breaches, detect attacks and limit harm”.

BRG recently undertook a Cybersecurity Preparedness Benchmark Study. The study examined six main areas:

  • Leadership
  • Information Governance
  • Risk Management
  • Essential Protection
  • Incident Response and
  • Security Culture

For financial services, BRG partnered with the Institute of Operational Risk.

The results of the Benchmark will be released shortly.

For further information, please contact:

USA:                      Faisal Amin

UK/EMEA            Tony Moroney

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, position, or policy of Berkeley Research Group, LLC or its other employees and affiliates.

How to disrupt the financial services SME banking market through digital

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are one of the most complex sectors of the financial services industry. They simultaneously have the characteristics of both personal and business customers, especially in the owner-managed segment. Financially, their needs span aspects of retail banking, corporate banking, wealth management and insurance.

Governments believe the SME sector is of strategic importance to economic growth. National strategies look to encourage and support the development of SMEs, particularly through export initiatives. Internationally, the financial services sector has been criticised by national governments for its failure to provide sufficient lending and support to the SME sector. This has prompted government interventions such as loan guarantee schemes, trade insurance cover and the establishment of state-backed entities to work with banks in funding SMEs. Continue reading How to disrupt the financial services SME banking market through digital

The Pope, poverty and free trade

I was prompted to put pen to paper by the Pope’s plea this week to end poverty in the Philippines—coming just a couple of months after the Doha free trade talks stalled.

If there is one strategic change that we could make now to better the world by lifting millions of people out of extreme poverty over the next two generations, it would be a move to freer trade. So, why don’t we? Continue reading The Pope, poverty and free trade