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World Economic Forum forms new consortium to strengthen cybersecurity for fintechs

9 March 2018
Citigroup, Zurich Insurance and Kabbage among participants of a new consortium to develop a cybersecurity framework for fintech groups as part of the WEF initiative to address the increasing risk of cyber-attacks in financial services

The World Economic Forum has announced the formation of a new consortium to strengthen cybersecurity for fintech companies.

The consortium’s founding members include global bank Citigroup, insurance company Zurich Insurance Group, fintech lender Kabbage, information technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and financial infrastructure provider the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).

“Cyber-risk is the number-one threat to the financial services industry and its infrastructure, so it is critically important that we work together to share insights and drive best practice,” said Michael Bodson, President and Chief Executive Officer of DTCC. “This initiative will further strengthen cyber-resilience and foster greater collaboration with our colleagues across the public and private sectors globally.”

The consortium came about after leading cybersecurity experts identified the growing threat of cyber-attacks to financial services providers as a key concern for the global financial system. Their assessment and proposed solutions were published in its white paper entitled “Innovation-Driven Cyber-Risk to Customer Data in Financial Services”.

Incumbents are increasingly linking technology companies to their system infrastructure – either voluntarily or as a result of regulation such as the European Union’s Payment Services Directive 2 – making it crucial to have a reliable and objective cybersecurity framework in place.

Mario Greco, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Insurance, explained that cyber breaches recorded by businesses have almost doubled since 2013 and the cost of cybercrime is estimated to be $8 trillion over the next five years. “We expect the consortium to help adopt best cybersecurity practices and reduce the complexity of diverging cyber regulation around the world,” he said.

“Fintechs can only deliver on their customer experience promises if the financial system is able to manage the risks adequately,” said Matthew Blake, Head of the Financial and Monetary System Initiative at the World Economic Forum. “This consortium will offer technology companies a clear goalpost and thus enable them to implement sound cybersecurity measures at the product design stage.”

The consortium will commence work immediately in close consultation with the World Economic Forum’s new Global Centre for Cybersecurity in Geneva, Switzerland. It will develop common principles for cybersecurity assessments, guidance for implementation, a point-based scoring framework, and guidance on improving an organisation’s score.

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