Two-thirds of asset managers believe cyber crime presents a greater threat to their business this year than it did in 2017, according to a survey conducted by Osney Media and BackBay Communications.
As a result, 50% of respondents said their firm is set to increase expenditure this year to improve cybersecurity measures across their businesses.
The report, Upcoming Trends in Asset Management 2018, interviewed 88 respondents from across all areas of operations including client reporting, technology, marketing, investment, accounting and finance, performance measurement, risk management, senior management and product development.
A number of companies in the financial services industry experienced cyber attacks last year such as Lloyds Banking Group, whose digital services were brought down for the best part of two days after a Distributed Denial of Service attack believed to be the work of a criminal gang in January last year.
Another factor that could increase firms' focus on cybersecurity, the report said, would be the introduction of GDPR in May, because under the new rules, regulators can fine firms up to €20m if they fail to report a cyber attack within 72 hours.
The need for stronger security is becoming increasingly prevalent. A report conducted by security, private advice and comparison website Comparitech.com found companies that experience cyber attacks are likely to underperform the market by 40% in the following three years.
Jonathan Wiser, director at Osney Media, said: "Cybersecurity is clearly in focus for asset managers right now.
"Not only is it firmly on the agenda for regulators, but with the vast majority of firms turning to technology to enhance the services they offer to customers and drive down costs, they need to make sure they have appropriate cyber defences in place.
"The potential operational and reputational risks from a breach are immense."
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