Institutional investors avoid hacked firms, says KPMG

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Almost eight in 10 institutional investors (79%) would avoid investing in a business that has been hacked, according to the findings of a KPMG survey of 133 investors with over $3trn in assets under management.

Furthermore, those surveyed suggested that they do not place great faith in companies to have adequate skills to manage cyber risk. Indeed, the findings suggest some 43% of all board members “have unacceptable skills and knowledge to manage innovation and risk in the digital world.”

A similar survey by KPMG of FTSE 350 businesses recently found that 39% of boards and management “agreed that they were severely lacking in their understanding of this area.”

Malcolm Marshall, global leader of KPMG’s cyber security practice, said: “Investors see data breaches as a threat to a company’s material value and feel discouraged in investing in a business that has had its sensitive information compromised.”

“Following a number of high profile breaches, we are seeing global investors waking up to the issue of cyber security. The ripple effect of this has seen investor appetite for cyber businesses increase, with the survey revealing that 86 percent of investors see it as a growth area.”

“There is an expectation from investors for businesses to increase their cyber capabilities from top to bottom, including the board.  In a world where breaches are common, is reasonable to expect boards to have prepared themselves. My personal experience of working with organisations that have been breached is that businesses that are generally well run and understand risk, are better prepared for future risks. A serious breach brings the competence and team work of senior executives and the board into sharp focus. What we are seeing is companies struggling to demonstrate that they are taking cyber risk seriously to their existing and potential investor base. The inability to demonstrate that a business is doing so could make it a less attractive investment proposition.”

“A good start would be for boards to elevate cyber higher up on the agenda and invest more time towards it.  Our survey reveals that 86% of investors want to see an increase on the time boards spend on cyber compared to last year.”

KPMG has subsequently published a shortlist of key points that board should consider in order to improve their capability for dealing with cyber risk:

  1. Board directors need to understand and approach cyber security as a business risk issue, not just a problem for IT.
  2. Directors need to understand the legal implications of cyber risks as they relate to their company’s specific circumstances.
  3. Boards should have sufficient cyber security expertise, and discussions about cyber risk management should be given regular and adequate time on the boardroom agenda.
  4. Directors should set the expectation that management will establish a firm wide cyber risk management framework that has adequate scope for staffing and budget.
  5. Discussions of cyber risk should include identification of which risks to avoid, accept, mitigate, or transfer, as well as specific plans associated with each approach.


Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 17 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments. From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope. Jonathan was awarded Editor of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher Awards 2017. Shortlisted for the same in 2016, he was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2015 for the broader PPA Awards category Editor of the Year (Business Media).

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