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November 16, 2016

FCA pins financial security on big data & distributed ledger tech

Bank security under scrutiny following Tesco Bank hack.

By James Nunns

The CEO of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority believes that a combination of big data analytics and distributed ledger technology will be important tools in the fight against financial crime.

Speaking at an FCA conference on financial crime, Andrew Bailey, CEO of the FCA, said that financial crime is an area ripe for applying technologies such as big data and distributed ledger technologies.

“If ever there was an area that strikes me as ripe for applying technology to harness the power of Big Data alongside distributed ledger technologies to produce better outcomes, while rationalising the process and cutting costs, it is financial crime,” said Bailey.

This came as Bailey identified that while easier access to financial systems, markets and institutions is of great benefit to society, it also provides opportunities for criminals.

Bailey said: “But it can also provide more capability to identify and prevent financial crime risks. The issue then is whether we have or can have the systems in place to fight against such crime. Can we keep up?

Technology advances being made in the field of payments has significantly changed the landscape, said Bailey, by increasing the international and domestic scope for financial crime to take place.

Andrew Bailey, FCA, CEO.

Andrew Bailey, FCA, CEO.

While the growth in areas such as payments may have increased the scope for financial crime to take place, Bailey said that innovations in technology could help to tip the balance and favour the financial services industry.

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Plenty of effort is being put in to distributed ledger technologies as a way for financial services organisations to operate more efficiently while increasing levels of security. Banks have been working to increase the use of biometric security and big data analytics is likely to play an important role in threat detection.

Atos for example is using its bullion-based appliance to analyse and correlate the growing volumes of structured and unstructured data in order to pre-emptively reinforce security controls and neutralise cyber attacks before they reach the organisation’s environment, the company said.

While Bailey believes that these kinds of technologies will play an important role within the FS industry, he said: “If we know one thing, it is that financial crime will mutate and morph and it would be unwise to make statements to the effect that we have it beaten.”

Bank security is under particular scrutiny at the moment due to the recent Tesco Bank hack that saw at least £2.5m stolen.

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