“A major bank will fail…”

A round-table discussion on current cyber security issues

Held on Monday, March 6, 2017

With support from Allen & Overy.


  • Brian Lord (PGI)

  • William McLeod-Scott (Regester Larkin by Deloitte)

  • Lawson Caisley (Allen & Overy).



At the beginning of the year, Prof. Richard Benham, chairman of the National Cyber Management Centre, told the BBC that, in his opinion, “a major bank will fail in 2017” as a result of cyber-security breaches. He expanded on that comment to predict a run on a bank this year as a result of customers losing confidence following a cyber-attack, and indicated that more regulation may be needed. According to him, the UK banking industry is “effectively unregulated on cyber-security”.

That may come as news to some, but there have certainly been some well-publicised security breaches in recent months – and not all in financial backwaters like Bangladesh and Ecuador. What happened to Tesco Bank may presage bigger, and more damaging, attacks in major financial centres.

While recognising (since we first started looking at cyber-security) that this is an area of obfuscation and hyperbole, Prof. Benham’s comments have struck a chord, and we are delighted that senior figures in the field have agreed to give us their thoughts – on both the threat and what the industry and regulators can do:

  • Brian Lord is currently managing director for cyber and technology at PGI, a major private sector security firm. He also heads its cyber academy, which offers security training for business and government professionals. Prior to joining PGI in 2013, Brian spent 21 years with GCHQ, leaving as its deputy director for Intelligence and Cyber Operations.
  • William McLeod-Scott is a partner at Deloitte with over 20 years’ experience in financial services. He is a crisis management and contingency planning expert and has worked with several financial institutions to help them prepare how they would respond to a cyber incident. In December 2016, Deloitte acquired crisis management consultancy Regester Larkin.
  • Lawson Caisley is head of Allen & Overy’s corporate and commercial litigation group in London. A dispute resolution specialist, his experience includes a number of large and complex cyber security breach cases – both during incidents and in the subsequent “clean up” of civil claims, regulatory liaison, and employee discipline.

While I retain a certain scepticism about the imminence of cyber-Armageddon, it is clear that the threat is growing, and that at least some of the bad guys are as well armed as the good guys. So, a lot to discuss.

If you (or a colleague) would like to come along – and perhaps share your thoughts – please let us know by calling the office on 020 7621 1056 or emailing alex@csfi.org. As usual, wine and sandwiches will be provided.

Sincerely yours,
Andrew Hilton Director