Half of private equity and real estate fund managers not satisfied with cybersecurity arrangements

Over half of private equity and real estate fund managers are less than satisfied with their firm’s current level of cybersecurity arrangements, according to a new survey carried out by fund administrator Augentius.

Some 54 per cent of managers also identified cybersecurity as one of their top two priorities for technology investment this year, with the other leading priority being data management and cloud.
The survey, which polled the views of firms across the globe, shows the extent to which managers prioritise investing in their businesses’ technology, in a sector that was once regarded as relatively low-tech.
Ian Kelly, Group CEO of Augentius, commented: “It’s fair to say the old stereotype of the industry lagging behind when it comes to seeing the importance of technology is now firmly outdated. The results underline how attitudes have shifted.”
“There are positive signs that regulator warnings about the rising threat of cybercrime are getting through to the industry and having the desired effect on investment in this area. However with half of the industry less than satisfied with their arrangements there is clearly still some road left to travel – regulators have been clear that there isn’t any room for half-measures on this front.”
Looking over a longer timeframe, the research also asked managers which areas of innovation they felt were most likely to transform the way they do business. Data management and cloud services emerged as the most popular answers. Interestingly, while not a spending priority at present, over half of the managers highlighted the nascent field of AI and machine learning as an area that could have a large impact on how private equity operates in the coming years.
However, managers also identified what they perceive to be the main barriers standing in the way of technology innovation within the sector, with difficult-to-replace legacy IT systems and an internal lack of technology leadership, talent and skill being the most common concerns.
Kelly says: “While the industry is shifting to embrace technology in culture and attitude, a gap in the necessary expertise presents a challenge. This internal lack of technology leadership and skill is understandably a problem for many smaller firms, given the prohibitive cost of building up in-house expertise from scratch. For many managers, partnering with a trusted third party is the optimal route, so they can focus on the core job at hand.”