The Securities and Exchange Commission is losing a key member of its cybersecurity team at a time when the agency has been pushing private equity firms to expand protection against cyberattacks.

Christopher Hetner, senior advisor for cybersecurity policy to SEC chairman Jay Clayton, will be staying on in his position until a successor has been appointed, the regulator said in a statement.

Hetner has been a crucial part of the SEC’s effort to better co-ordinate cybersecurity policies by working with other federal financial regulators and helping the agency manage cyber-related market risks. He has been a leading force in working across the SEC’s divisions and offices to strengthen cyber incident response planning and threat intelligence capabilities, the agency said.

Hetner had also worked as a senior advisor for cybersecurity policy to former chair Mary Jo White and former acting chairman Michael Piwowar, who stepped down as a commissioner in July.

Prior to his current role, Hetner served as the cybersecurity leader for the technology control program in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE).

The SEC has been vigilant in ensuring that financial firms are implementing best practices.
According to a note from consulting firm Woodruff Sawyer, the agency has taken a role in making sure private equity firms are boosting their cybersecurity. In 2017, the SEC released a report that highlighted the results of its 2015 initiative to help private equity firms protect themselves from cyber-crimes.

The report explained how firms still had work to do in terms of implementing proper security measures that follow SEC guidelines. “Firms did not appear to adhere to or enforce policies and procedures, or the policies and procedures did not reflect the firms’ actual practices,” the agency wrote.

Investors are also calling for proactive measures from their fund managers. A 2017 survey by private equity firm Coller Capital found that of the 110 private equity investors polled worldwide, 55 percent of limited partners planned to demand that their general partners conduct cybersecurity risk assessments for their management companies.

In other SEC personnel moves, chief information officer Pamela Dyson will be joining the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as executive vice-president, head of the technology group and CIO. Among her achievements as SEC CIO, she delivered the agency’s 2018-2020 IT Strategic Plan and created the IT Strategy and Innovation program to lead the SEC’s digital transformation efforts.

Dyson, who joined the SEC in 2010 and worked her way to becoming CIO in 2015, will be temporarily replaced by Charles Riddle, the SEC’s chief technology officer.