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Retirement Services Group Forms Data Security Alliance

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A retirement services group is trying to help member companies do more to protect 401(k) plans and pension funds against attackers.

The group, the Spark Institute, is joining with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) to set up a Retirement Industry Council.

The Spark Institute, which is based in Simsbury, Connecticut, represents the players in the retirement services industry, including insurers, mutual fund companies, banks, retirement plan administrators, trade clearing firms and benefits consultants. It already has a 37-member Data Security Oversight Board.

(Related: Spark and Spark Institute Reorganize as a Single Non-Profit)

FS-ISAC, which is based in Reston, Virginia, serves about 7,000 companies in the financial services sector, including many banks and credit unions.

About 300 FS-ISAC 300 members belong to the FS-ISAC Securities Industry Risk Group, or SIRG.

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The new Retirement Industry Council will help Spark’s Data Security Oversight Board members and FS-ISAC’s SIRG members share more information about new data security threats, and about strategies for improving data security, FS-ISAC says.

Council members will share information about physical security threats as well as cybersecurity threats, FS-ISAC says.

The announcement could reflect an increase in attacker efforts to loot retirement, or of retirement services providers’ awareness of those efforts. Insurance regulators in several states have talked publicly in recent months about moves by identity thieves to get cash out of retirement savers’ annuities. The regulators have reported that the identity thieves have had accurate information about the annuity holders, including the holders’ account numbers and Social Security numbers.

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