Commodity traders at Morgan Stanley lose jobs for using WhatsApp at work

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Two most senior commodity traders of Morgan Stanley have lost their jobs after they were found using WhatsApp and other unauthorized messaging platforms at work.

Nancy King, Morgan Stanley’s global head of commodities, and Jay Rubenstein, the bank’s head of commodities trading are leaving the bank after investigations revealed that they used unauthorized messaging systems. They are accused of violating the company policy that restricts the banks’ communication only through channels that it can monitor, though the investigation into their communication history didn’t reveal any wrongdoing.

Nancy King had a long career of 34 years with Morgan Staley, where she joined after graduating from Duke University. Stanford graduate Jay Rubenstein also had a career of 13 years with the financial giant. The duo’s responsibilities will be handled by Jay Hallik, Morgan Stanley’s head of micro (including credit and structured products), and Jakob Horder, who heads the bank’s macro business, which includes rates and foreign exchange.

Neither Ms. King nor Mr. Rubenstein responded immediately to a request for their comments, while Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the issue.

In January this year, JPMorgan Chase had suspended one of its top credit traders, Edward Koo, over his use of WhatsApp for business communication. There are reports that the company had punished many other traders too for using WhatsApp at work. In the year 2017, a former Jefferies Financial Group banker faced a £37,198 fine (about $48,449) from the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK for sharing confidential information over WhatsApp.

Regulators are not against the use of encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp, but they stress that financial firms must be able to monitor the communication of the employees and must be able to record and archive the communication. Financial firms must strictly follow protocols and must record SMS messages, monitor phone calls and resort to WhatsApp archiving and WeChat archiving. It could be used during eDiscovery or when courts demand its production during litigation procedures. Read more on regulations and compliance risk of mobile messaging apps.

Financial firms must use mobile archiving solutions and resort to WhatsApp call recording and WhatsApp archiving. The use of WeChat is increasing in the workplace and financial firms must also choose to do WeChat monitoring, as a matter of priority.

It is time for financial firms to adopt innovations in technology and modern communication and make use of it to enhance compliance. The year 2020 saw the adoption of such new technology by many financial firms who are enthusiastic about innovations. It is expected that in the year 2021, larger financial firms will implement new technology in augmenting their business through better compliance. And in 2022 it is surely going to be the norm, where financial firms of all sizes will implement mobile archiving solutions.

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