Banks and finance firms report 138% increase in tech failures

MPs recently launched an inquiry into IT outages across the financial services sector

Caitlin Morrison
Tuesday 27 November 2018 17:05
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TSB lost thousands of customers due to a series of IT failures this year
TSB lost thousands of customers due to a series of IT failures this year

Banks and other financial services firms reported a 138 per cent increase in technology outages in the year to October, according to the City watchdog.

The rise in tech failures came alongside an 18 per cent increase in “cyber incidents”, the Financial Conduct Authority said.

The figures were revealed in a speech by Megan Butler, the regulator’s director of supervision for investment, wholesale and specialists.

She said the increase in incidents “doesn’t present a one dimensional picture of a surge in cyber attacks and outages”.

This is partly because companies have been “more robust” about making complains recently, although, she added: “We strongly suspect that under-reporting is still a problem.”

Ms Butler also said the FCA does not expect ‘zero failure’.

“The true test of the resilience of UK finance is not the absence of incidents. It’s how well incidents are managed,” she said.

One of the most notable tech outages of the past year occurred at TSB, which suffered a series of IT failures leading to chaos for thousands of customers.

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The issues at TSB led to a parliamentary inquiry, and ultimately cost the former chief executive, Paul Pester, his job.

The Treasury Select Committee recently announced plans to investigate IT failures across the financial services sector.

Commenting on the FCA’s figures, Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, said: “There has been a litany of IT failures in the financial services sector in recent years, so today’s revelation that tech outages at financial institutions have more than doubled in the last year comes as no surprise.

“As part of its newly-launched inquiry into IT failures in the financial services sector, the Treasury Committee will look at what has caused such a stark increase in failures, and what can be done to prevent them in the future.”

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