Top Morgan Stanley banker says foreign governments are trying to hack Wall Street

Greg FlemingREUTERS/Brendan McDermidGreg Fleming, Executive Vice President of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and President of the Global Markets and Investment Banking Group talks during the Reuters Investment Banking Summit in New York November 13, 2006.

One of Morgan Stanley’s top bankers says that a growing portion of Wall Street firms’ budgets will need to be dedicated to thwarting hackers.

Speaking at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas, Gregory Fleming told event attendees that “you need to invest more and more resources to stay ahead” of hackers — including foreign governments.

Fleming, who is president of investment management at Morgan Stanley, didn’t specify any particular countries he’s concerned with, but his sentiment was echoed by other Wall Street pros on stage.

Morgan Stanley isn’t the only big bank willing to spend big to keep cybersecurity impenetrable. Earlier this year, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said his cybersecurity program has been allotted an infinite budget to prevent hacks.

Sometimes, regardless of how much cash banks (and federal regulators) throw at the problem, the end result is failure. JP Morgan reportedly spent $US250 million on cybersecurity initiatives only to see hackers break into 83 million accounts.

As other major corporations (Home Depot, Target) struggle to thwart digital break-ins, it seems likely that a growing portion of all banks’ budgets will be dedicated to cybersecurity.

The bigger question is: if big banks’ R&D budgets are getting spent keeping hackers at bay, where will they have to offset cost?

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