“Many organisations and people provide the services that clients need. In my opinion, the differentiator is in the way those services are provided and to that extent, Kathy embodies the qualities that I have come to value from PSITL. Kathy is organised but not fussy; diligent but not dogmatic; persistent without being pushy and compliant in a pragmatic way. Whilst she takes ownership and drives issues forward, Kathy is a team player who uses her and her colleagues experience to provide services to her trustee client whilst working closely with those like me representing the sponsoring employer. She works collaboratively with advisers but constructively challenges the scope of services, fees and service standards whenever necessary and makes sure that member needs are always taken into account. I enjoy working with her and trust that she will deliver what is required by the trustee and the members they represent in a manner satisfactory to the sponsoring employer. ”
“I found the trustee training really beneficial, highly recommended. I am not a trustee, I represent the employer and I think it will be valuable for me in future, having a better understanding of the trustees' perspective.”
“I enjoy working with PSGS and we have a very positive relationship. I was new to pensions and found them very helpful.”
“The team provide an excellent service with practical and commercial input that we have not found with anyone else.”
“PSGS were overall more professional than others.”
“Excellent service - as expected and why PSGS was chosen.”
Cyber crime and the importance of pension scheme trustees understanding and preparing for cyber risks was a hot topic of debate at the recent Professional Pensions Live in May. At the event, I chaired the Administration & Data Stream which covered the theme of how a data-focused digital future could deliver better retirement outcomes. For me, the standout talk was given by Jim Gee of Crowe UK who is also Chair of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) Cybercrime & Fraud Working Group.
Jim shared rather alarming facts, saying cyber crime now accounts for over half of crime committed in the UK and has increased significantly over the last two years. In 2019, 42% of all crime was cyber and fraud but, post Covid-19, this figure is now 55% as criminals looked for new ways to boost their income during lockdowns and found out how lucrative this can be. One study revealed UK residents and businesses saw financial losses of £2.5bn from fraud and cyber crime in 2021.
This is supported by recent research from RSM UK, a provider of tax and auditing services, who note a “significant increase” in cyber attacks over the past year. They found over a quarter (27%) of businesses had experienced a cyber attack in the past year, up from 20% the previous year. Other research from Aon found only two in five occupational pension schemes have a robust incident response plan in place and only 2% have a cyber insurance policy.
Pension schemes are particularly attractive targets to cybercriminals because of the ‘rich’ personal data they hold and the need to pay pensions uninterrupted, which means pension schemes are vulnerable to ransomware attacks. The key message is for pension trustees is to:
To help pension trustees, PASA recently launched a Cyber Crime Protection checklist which we think is worthwhile reading.
Jim added pension trustees could only aim to be as secure as possible because it is nigh on impossible to be completely secure in a situation that is always changing. He recommended pension schemes can be cyber crime resilient by being:
Jim felt trustee boards should review cyber risks on the risk register very regularly. This is a good example of why there’s a need for a new start in the whole approach to governance.
Another recommendation was for pension trustees to have an incident response plan, which will be needed for The Pensions Regulator’s proposed single code of governance. As this code is likely to come into force this summer, pension trustees should be preparing this now. We’ve drafted a Cyber Incident Response Plan as part of our single code governance package. It is designed to help trustees plan their processes and procedures for dealing with a cyber threat, including ensuring everyone understands their role and the actions to be taken.
If you’d find a Cyber Incident Response Plan template helpful, or have other questions about cyber crime governance or other aspects of the single code of governance, please get in touch. We’d be happy to help.
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