Bank of America poaches cyber security expert from UK regulator

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired a veteran cyber security expert from the UK’s financial regulator to oversee its cyber security public policy.

Simon Onyons, the principal cyber specialist with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for the last five and a half years, joined BAML as a senior vice president in its London office earlier this month.

Onyons' arrival comes at a time when banks are sharpening their focus on managing cyber security risks, amid increasing attention from regulators and policymakers. Over the last few years, financial institutions have become prime targets for cyber criminals looking to steal money or data, or compromise critical infrastructure. The cyber risks that they face include attacks on operating systems, locking users out of their computers and data, theft or corruption of data and systems, and release of confidential data.

Meanwhile, regulators are under increasing threat of losing staff to banks because the job market in sought-after functions such as cyber security is competitive. Banks tend to pay more than regulators across most roles. A 2017 survey by recruiters Barclay Simpson found that senior market risk managers at investment banks earn in excess of £400k. In comparison, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top regulator, took home just €278k in 2016, according to a Reuters report.

Onyons started his career with the tech giant IBM in 1998 and spent over a decade there in various roles including business recovery specialist, business recovery manager, and service delivery manager for business continuity services. In 2009, he shifted to Phoenix as head of business continuity projects and outsourcing. He joined the FCA when the regulator was set up in 2013.

Image credit:  monsitj, Getty

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