Share Price Reacts Negatively To Liberty Attack

PICTURE: Wideopen Platform

JOHANNESBURG: Liberty management says no customers appear to have suffered financial loss from the incidents.

Shares in financial services group Liberty have fallen 5% on Monday morning. This after the company was hit by a data breach resulting in hackers attacking their computers and demanding cash.

Liberty management says no customers appear to have suffered financial loss from the incidents. However, the share price has reacted negatively to the news. Experts say the data breach comes at a time when the company is trying to reposition itself in the market.

With only eight-months as Liberty CEO, David Munro main worry has been the implementation of his ambitious plan to restore the insurer to its former glory. The attack of the company’s IT system will add to a list of items that are keeping Munro awake at night.

He took over the reins from Thabo Dloti last year in May. Investment analyst Patrick Mathidi says over the last five years they have been having growth challenges in the SA market. “It resulted in the departure of the previous CEO. The parent company Standard Bank parachuted one of their executives, David Munro, who through a process of right-sizing get the company back [on] its feet to a sustainable growth path.”

Following a slew of failures to meet market expectations, the company has announced that it expects a slight recovery in the first half of 2018, which will pick up in the second half. But it’s not clear if the cyber-attack will affect Liberty’s ability to achieve its goals.

Mathidi says he’s optimistic about Liberty’s future prospects under Munro.

“I don’t think this is a great risk to the company. If you look at the share price is down about 5%. Perhaps the markets are a bit worried – maybe this time they will manage to avoid a serious breach in security, but still points to the environment where the controls are not up to standard yet.”

Brand reputation specialists have commended Liberty for coming out on the attack. According to Solly Moeng a brand management expert, most big companies tend to cover up such incidents.

“It is good that they were very quick to as soon as they were able to come back to us and say this is what happened we are taking controls, but they have to keep talking.”