11th January 2019

Cybersecurity concerns will increase in UK wealth management, says GlobalData
Opinion

In the UK, clients of wealth managers are less apprehensive about data breaches than the majority of their global counterparts. However, examples of data breaches closer to home will influence consumer awareness around the topic and increase concerns, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s 2018 survey of wealth managers found that, globally, 60 per cent of providers believe that cyber-attacks are increasingly worrying their clients. However, this is a different story in the UK, where only 31 per cent of providers agree that clients are increasingly concerned about data breaches and cybercrime.

Sergel Woldemichael, Wealth Management analyst at GlobalData, said: “This somewhat nonchalant level of concern among clients mirrors the view of the firms themselves. Our data shows that over a fifth of UK wealth managers are not at all concerned about the aftermath of data breaches to their reputations. On a global level, the proportion of those who are not worried stands at only 8 per cent.”

The lack of alarm can be explained by the fact that the UK wealth industry has not seen data breaches related to cybercrime. The Panama and Paradise Paper leaks were of a different nature and, in fact, the offshore wealth industry has been doing well regardless, with HNW offshore holdings rising since the 2016 leak.

According to GlobalData, the currently low levels of client concern will not persist. The TSB debacle in April 2018, when customers were able to view others’ financial information when using online banking is the most recent and relevant data breach in the wider banking industry, and contributed to rising consumer awareness. Outside of financial services, Facebook and British Airways both experienced security breaches in 2018. Such high-profile cases will undoubtedly heighten consumer sensitivity about their data.

Woldemichael concludes: “As even these outside factors can influence consumer concerns, UK wealth managers should not underestimate the risks related to cybercrime and data breaches – not only because of the risk of reputational damage, but also the hefty fines introduced by the GDPR. Reassuring clients that companies have relevant security measures and contingency plans in place is critical.”