In the US, other banks and financial firms have to pay a total of 555 million US dollars in fines because employees used messengers such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Signal for business communication. This was announced by the US capital market authorities SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) and CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). The US bank Wells Fargo pays the largest fine this time with 200 million US dollars. The major French banks BNP Paribas and Société Générale each account for 110 million US dollars. Overall, the financial industry has been fined more than $2.5 billion for practices that violated retention requirements for business communications.
Even supervisors careless
The actions of the US financial market regulator are by no means over with the new penalties, reports Bloomberg. A large number of companies have already announced that they are also investigating. In the meantime, the stock exchange supervisory authority assumes that many companies have not yet reported. The SEC is now advising them: “Self-disclosure, cooperation and remedy”. Doing this will get better results than waiting for the SEC to come forward. With each investigation, the CFTC criticizes new examples of how employees have not been prevented from using unauthorized messengers. In some cases, this also applies to those responsible for internal compliance with the requirements.
The retention of internal and external communications is of the utmost importance because it can form the basis for subsequent official investigations. From the point of view of the US authorities, not providing these documents is like covering up one’s own misconduct. In addition, US civil procedure laws allow litigants to view each other’s internal records, including communications records, in court cases. As a result, US officials are upset when financial institutions allow employees to opt out of automatic storage. According to the Financial Times, at least one US bank, Morgan Stanley, has passed some of the penalties on to its employees. Some would have had to pay more than a million US dollars.
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