The UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) this week fined Royal Bank of Scotland Group £5.6m for ‘failing to have adequate [IT] systems and controls in place to prevent breaches of UK financial sanctions’. The Australian IT News quite rightly identifies this as a massive failure in IT governance – which, of course, it is.
IT governance is defined as “a framework for the leadership, organizational structures and business processes, standards and compliance to these standards, which ensure that the organization’s IT supports and enables the achievement of its strategies and objectives.” (IT Governance: a Pocket Guide)
“RBSG’s automated screening failed to screen the majority of trade finance SWIFT messages generated in the international trade transactions that it carried out,” said the FSA; it could have gone on to say something like: ‘RBSG’s Board of Directors evidently does not have in place any formal process for ensuring that it’s IT infrastructure supports and enables its compliance to UK laws and regulations or the achievement of its strategies and objectives,’ but it didn’t. That, nevertheless, appears to be the case.
It always seems to me a pity that organisations have to be pushed, by substantial fines, to do things that have significant business benefits – but there we are!