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Cyber risk a bigger threat to economy than Trump presidency

A survey has shown that the top systemic threat to the global financial system is cyber risk, while the outcome of today's presidential election in the US came second. Geopolitical risk, the impact of new regulations and Brexit were placed third, fourth and fifth.

The survey was carried out by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services. Some of the main findings were as follow:

  • 22 per cent of respondents cited cyber risk as the single biggest threat to the financial services industry;
  • 56 per cent said cyber risk is a top five concern;
  • half of the respondents said the US election outcome was a top five risk;
  • 38 per cent said geopolitical risk is a top five risk;
  • 33 per cent said Brexit is a top five risk;
  • two-thirds said they have increased the amount of resources dedicated to identifying, monitoring, and mitigating systemic risk over the last 12 months.

Growing sophistication of cyber attacks

The survey report noted: “Respondents expressed concerns that the evolving nature and sophistication of cyber attacks could place the industry at greater risk. The threat is particularly acute for the financial industry due to the interconnected nature of global markets.” It gave a quote from one respondent who said, “A cyber attack against a key market participant could precipitate systemic risk and de-stabilize markets.”

Some respondents also highlighted their concern about the growing incidence and sophistication of state-sponsored cyber attacks, which occur as geopolitical risks and cyber risks converge.

The table below shows the top systemic risks according to the survey:

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