With few exceptions, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s policy priorities for 2016 look a lot like its priorities for the current year, although it has made progress on some.
At a press briefing for reporters in New York, SIFMA CEO and President Ken Bentsen listed the trade association’s “major initiatives,” starting with cybersecurity, which “will continue to be a top priority for the industry across the spectrum from the largest to the smallest firms.” Here are some of the highlights of that briefing.
Just last month SIFMA announced the results of its third biennial cybersecurity test drill in September involving 650 participants from more than 80 financial institutions and government agencies. The test was deemed a success in terms of data sharing between firms and regulators, but the consulting firm that observed the exercise recommended that more be done by individual firms, including the creation of separate cyber incident response teams. Bentsen said SIFMA will continue those exercises.
SIFMA is also calling on Congress to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, which would allow companies to share information about cyber threats with the government while protecting those companies from lawsuits for sharing too much information. The Senate and House have each passed their own version of the bill, which have to be reconciled, and privacy advocates have argued that neither bill contains adequate privacy protections.
Protecting Senior Investors
SIFMA’s Year in Review report (which includes data through the third quarter) notes that “1 in 5 Americans aged 65 or older have been victimized by financial fraud” while only an estimated “1 in 44 cases” is reported. Senior investors also face cognitive issues, said Bentsen.
“We’re dealing with an outdated rule,” said Bentsen at the press conference. He added that SIFMA is working with its member firms, regulators, aging advocates, and the academic and medical community to “develop a new rule set that fits the aging population today.”
Earlier this week SIFMA announced its support for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s proposal to combat the financial abuse of seniors, with some reservations. Among other items, SIFMA wants the reporting of suspected cases of financial fraud to state securities regulators, other organizations and immediate family members to be voluntary, not mandatory, and a longer period than two days for firms to contact all authorized parties on an account.