BY STACEY GODWIN, Chief Compliance Officer
Cybersecurity has become an increasingly important focus for not only advisory firms, but for regulators as well. With data hacking and various schemes to defraud investors on the rise in recent years, ensuring the security of personal and critical client data is paramount. As a client, data security should also be at the forefront of any discussion with an investment professional about personal information and financial assets.
In early 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provided more detailed guidance as to how advisers should be safeguarding their clients’ assets and personal information. Advisers should be conducting regular cybersecurity assessments, measuring data security effectiveness and developing new protective strategies against digital threats. But, with the ever changing and increasingly shrewd methods fraudsters are using to obtain coveted financial and personal information, advisers must stay one step ahead. At MONTAG, this requires daily diligence and hands on care from our staff beyond just technological monitoring.
Two areas we’ve seen targeted among our client base are e-mail hacks and fraudulent wire requests…the two are related in many cases. It is important that clients inform us about security breaches in a timely manner so we can properly document these breaches for future tracking of suspicious account activity. MONTAG’s process also includes notifying custodians so that any necessary account monitoring can be established. While not always so sinister or with immediate consequences, e-mail hacks can result in future and ongoing attempts to defraud clients, so care is certainly warranted when it comes to suspicious activity in an e-mail account. Follow this link for some practical tips from ABC News on what to do if your e-mail account is hacked.
If you are interested in learning more about MONTAG’s cybersecurity efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact us.