Saturday 23rd August 2014
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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

DTCC urges restarting federal pilot program that targeted cyber espionage

Monday, 04 June 2012
DTCC urges restarting federal pilot program that targeted cyber espionage The US DTCC has testified before a Congressional subcommittee that federal agencies and the financial sector must expand information sharing on cyber-threats to more effectively protect the capital markets from attack. DTCC also called for restarting the Government Information Sharing Framework (GISF), a successful but now-defunct pilot program that targeted cyber espionage as part of this information sharing effort. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The US DTCC has testified before a Congressional subcommittee that federal agencies and the financial sector must expand information sharing on cyber-threats to more effectively protect the capital markets from attack. DTCC also called for restarting the Government Information Sharing Framework (GISF), a successful but now-defunct pilot program that targeted cyber espionage as part of this information sharing effort.

Mark Clancy, DTCC managing director and corporate information security officer, told the House Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee during a June 1 hearing entitled Cyber Threats to Capital Markets and Corporate Accounts that the termination of the GISF program in 2011 eliminated a critical source of threat data and analysis for the financial sector.

 “While financial institutions have robust information security programs in place to protect their systems from cyber threats, they are not foolproof,” Clancy said. “A critical resource the industry relies upon to help safeguard the system is information sharing between federal agencies and the financial sector. DTCC strongly supports restarting the GISF program, removing its pilot status and expanding its reach within the financial sector to ensure that all resources are working in concert to protect and defend the capital markets from cyber-attack.”

The GISF program commenced in 2010 as a collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Financial Services–Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), the primary group for information sharing between the federal government and the financial sector. It allowed for the sharing of advanced threat and attack data between the federal government and 16 financial services firms that were deemed capable of protecting highly sensitive information. The program was expanded over time to include the sharing of classified technical and analytical data on threat identification and mitigation techniques.

The DoD in effect terminated the GISF program in December 2011, and information sharing through DHS, which was expected to continue, also ceased that month. Since the termination of GISF, several organizations in the financial sector have experienced threat activity from actors first identified to the industry through GISF reporting. A recent FS-ISAC assessment found that these threats will continue to increase in the years ahead.

Clancy credited the GISF program with enhancing the financial sector’s:

* Access to actionable information to search for similar threat activity in their own networks,

* Access to contextual information to better understand risk implications of various threats,

* Ability to adjust assessments of cyber espionage using quantifiable information that had previously been unavailable, and 

* Understanding of the need to develop standards to support the automation of sharing and consuming threat data.

 “Information sharing like that which occurred under the program represents the most critical line of defense in managing and mitigating cyber risk today [sic],” Clancy said. “GISF drove innovative new initiatives in the industry and helped reshape the sector’s approach to assessing cyber espionage risks while prompting pilot firms, including DTCC, to revise best practices for managing threat information. It also spurred financial institutions to make significant additional investments in threat mitigation and detection capabilities that otherwise could not have been easily justified due the lack of understanding of the risk to the sector.”

Clancy added that while GISF was successful in many aspects, it should be expanded to include a broader group of financial institutions because the pilot program’s reach and impact were too limited and did not scale to the depth and breadth of the sector.

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