HKMA to add cyber security, anti-money laundering knowledge to bankers’ certification

September 19, 2016

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it will require bankers operating in the city to be trained and certified to deal with cyber security and money laundering, beefing up its regulations to prepare for competition with Singapore to be the Asian hub for financial technology.

Beginning in December, the regulator’s Enhanced Competency Framework (ECF) for local bankers will carry a certification programme on cyber security, and anti-money laundering measures, said the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam.

While the certification is not a mandatory requirement, the new programmes would allow banks to ensure that their staff have the adequate expertise to nab hackers who try to steal money from people’s accounts and to ensure that customer accounts are not used for money laundering.

As competition from our neighbouring centres intensifies over the years, it is not only just “people that we need. It’s about turning people into good people, and from good people into great people”, Chan said in a speech to 700 bankers at the annual Hong Kong Institute of Bankers conference in the city. “Without people, Hong Kong has nothing.”

Arthur Yuen, the deputy chief of the HKMA, said that cybersecurity is a major concern for banks as hacker attacks have become more frequent and are targeting various types of customers who use online banking services.

“The hackers are not just targeting individual user accounts but also shifting to corporate accounts. Some payment platform such as Bitcoin are also being targeted,” Yuen said.

Most recently, Yuen said some new cases show investors’ online securities’ accounts being used by hackers to trade stocks illegally.

“This is why it is important for banks to make sure their staff are well trained to handle cybersecurity,” he said.

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