Zehrid Osmani, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust
These days, managing cybersecurity is just as important for a high-street retailer as it is for a Silicon Valley tech giant.
With technology now so embedded in the day-to-day operations of almost every company, data breaches can have a major impact on the privacy and security of customers, as well as a multitude of other stakeholders.
This can lead to a negative impact on trust, brand image, legal implications and ultimately, the long-term sustainability of any business model.
Because cybersecurity can represent such a huge material financial and reputational risk for any company, we believe it is an area that should be considered carefully at board level.
Indeed, properly understanding and mitigating its impacts is a vital part of the good governance of any company – the ‘G’ in the considerations of ‘ESG’ (environmental, social and governance) analysis.
This is why we carry out in a structured and detailed review of cybersecurity across all the companies we invest in. As part of our governance engagement, we want to know how each business perceives digital risks both now and in the future, and what measures it has in place to protect its technology assets.
How a company approaches cybersecurity also relates to how closely it is aligned with several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – another key consideration which we believe affects long-term sustainability.
The cybersecurity opportunity
The frequency and magnitude of hacks and cybercrime in recent years also represents a growing investment opportunity.
With government and corporate cybersecurity budgets increasing to meet the problem, companies offering the right cybersecurity solutions are in demand, and we see this as a developing structural growth theme for years to come.
Sustainable investing is a fundamental part Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust’s philosophy. Find out
more about its approach to ESG and stewardship at www.martincurrieglobal.com
Zehrid is a panellist at The Scotsman’s free Annual Investment Conference on Tuesday 30th March in association with Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust and Rathbones. Register here.