The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) recently conducted a large-scale industry-wide exercise for the financial sector involving simulated terrorist and cyber attacks (code-named Exercise Raffles) to test their business continuity arrangements.
The exercise was the fifth in the Exercise Raffles series with 139 financial institutions including banks, finance companies, insurers, asset management firms, securities and brokerage firms, financial market infrastructures, industry associations, the Singapore Exchange as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) participating in the Exercise.
The Exercise was also conducted with the support of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Singapore Police Force, the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the building and facilities management from approximately 50 buildings.
Mr Ho Kai Weng, Chief Executive of the General Insurance Association, said: “Recent developments in many countries around the world have highlighted the danger from cyber and physical threats. This exercise has emphasised the importance for the general insurance industry to collaborate in sharing information, undertaking active discussions and testing threat response and business continuity plans.”
During the Exercise, financial institutions practised established crisis management and contingency plans in response to simulated scenarios on terrorist attacks and cyber attacks that had disrupted operations and resulted in the unavailability of financial services.
Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Director of ABS, said: “The Exercise was valuable and provided an opportunity to practise coordination amongst the financial institutions, including crisis responses and sharing of information. The exercising of communication and co-ordination between financial institutions and authorities was intense and challenging. There are good lessons that the industry gained which will contribute towards enhancing the responsiveness and resilience of Singapore’s financial sector.”
Validation is one of the six main stages of the BCM Lifecycle according to the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines, and is essential for ensuring an effective business continuity programme. By regularly exercising your programme, you can find out where any vulnerabilities are and make improvements, and you can help ensure that people know what is expected of them.
Ms Pauline Lim, Executive Director of LIA Singapore added that, “As Singapore strives towards achieving our Smart Nation ambition, it also becomes increasingly critical for us to ensure that the level of protection we provide members of the community, and the integrity of our systems are not compromised. Today’s exercise highlights the importance of being crisis response-ready, and it is heartening to note the level of preparedness and swift actions of life insurers in effectively tackling the simulated crisis.”