Standard Chartered hires former UK surveillance chief to combat cybercrime

An exterior view of the Standard Chartered headquarters is seen in London August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered has appointed the former head of Britain’s security and intelligence body GCHQ to its new financial crime committee as part of efforts to strengthen its cyber defense.

The Asia-focused bank said Iain Lobban would become a member and senior advisor to the committee responsible for matters including anti-money laundering, sanctions compliance and prevention of corruption.

Lobban was director of GCHQ, Britain’s electronic intelligence gathering agency, from mid-2008 to late 2014.

Standard Chartered said cybersecurity had been at the heart of Lobban’s role in recent year. Cyber criminals pose a rising threat to the public and private sector, and banks are being targeted by increasingly sophisticated criminals trying to steal money or client data, cause havoc in financial markets or score political points.

Standard Chartered said Lobban’s appointment is for a two-year renewable term. The Committee was announced in December as part of the bank’s attempt to combat financial crime and improve conduct and compliance capabilities.

Standard Chartered announced the committee a day after U.S. authorities extended monitoring of the bank until the end of 2017, which follows the bank’s $667 million fine in 2012 over violations related to U.S. sanctions on Iran and other countries.

Reporting by Steve Slater, editing by Louise Heavens