Stakeholders to safeguard capital market operations from cyber threats

Given the huge investments and powers deployed to reposition the economy along a path of sustained growth by broadening asset classes, improving liquidity and deepening transactions, the need for proactive measures to be put in place to safeguard the volume of transactions in the nation’s capital markets from cyber attacks have been underscored.

Governance professionals are of the view that for the Nigerian capital market to harness the advantages of Artificial Intelligence (AI), organisations must cultivate a culture of cyber security literacy; align specific metrics for cyber risk management and also increase the pace and substance of ongoing strategic risk management.

They alluded to this at this year’s company secretaries and registrars’ forum, organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), with the theme ‘The Implications of Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity to Capital Market Operations’.

Executive Director of the Large Enterprises Directorate, Bank of Industry (BoI), Simon Aranonu, said with the surge in diverse investment opportunities that the capital markets have witnessed in recent years, the integration of new and innovative technologies has resulted in increased economic activities, which makes the markets susceptible to cyber attacks.

Noting that the advancements in AI technology have permeated every facet of the capital market industry, he said AI has become deeply integrated and poised to redefine the landscape of financial services.

Accordingly, he said proactive measures must be put in place to safeguard the volume of transactions in the markets.

Aranonu mentioned that the market is exposed to two major cyber risks, which include the direct operational and financial loss impact of successful cyber-attacks as well as the indirect effect of such exposure to the market reputational and financial penalties resulting from the market regulators.

However, he added that either of the two effects would result in eroding financial performance, identity theft, reputational damage, legal repercussions for the market, loss of trust from investors and loss of intellectual property, among others.

President and Chairman of Council, ICSAN, Funmi Ekundayo, said the theme was chosen because of the magnitude of its relevance not only to current corporate secretarial practices, but governance practices in general, especially with the right focus that is set on capital market operations.

Noting that AI has come to stay, she said it was high time the country fashioned out ways to optimally harness the benefits it has to offer while whittling down any harm it may bring.

At the panel session, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Africa Prudential Plc, Catherine Nwosu, urged regulators that as trading in the capital market is going on, they must ensure their data is protected.

She urged organisations to ensure their applications minimise the potential to attack and the workers must be relevant to current realities.

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