Financial firms around the world have found it challenging to adapt to the new environment brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic. As more and more employees decided to work from home and started to communicate remotely using virtual platforms, meeting compliance requirements have become difficult. Increased use of WhatsApp for business transactions made matters worse.
WhatsApp is extremely popular in Latin America and it dominates the instant messaging domain. Of all the mobile internet users in Brazil, 93% actively use the app, while in Argentina the number is 84%. Mexico and Brazil alone comprise 38% of WhatsApp users when there were half as many worldwide users. In the Latin American region, WhatsApp has effectively replaced texting as the main source of daily communication.
Though Latin America was one of the last regions to get affected by the pandemic, it faced a lot of logistical challenges due to its relatively disparate technological capabilities. But firms have made remarkable progress and with the combined efforts of the compliance, front office and technical teams, they ensured that their employees had effective and secure communication platforms to guarantee surveillance communications. A Bloomberg article shows how Latin American financial firms are meeting the compliance challenge amid COVID-19.
In Latin America, financial firms have been facing the challenge of creating corporate-wide compliant communication channels. The regulators demand complete compliance from the financial firms, including capturing all employee’s communications.
The use of WhatsApp for business communications is prevalent among financial firms in the region. However, since WhatsApp is an end-to-end encryption channel, capturing all communications through it has been a challenge for financial firms. It is not a new problem, but the pandemic has exacerbated it.
WhatsApp and the compliance challenge
For the past few years, WhatsApp has gained huge popularity in the financial world, as it is free, global and secure. Clients prefer the use of WhatsApp for communicating order and message sales. Though it has made trading easy and efficient, financial firms face the challenge of WhatsApp archiving, to meet compliance requirements. Firms have to either integrate WhatsApp within their monitoring system or lose the efficiency of its use in business communication and trading.
Financial firms have been grappling with this dichotomy of WhatsApp being a flexible communication platform that could be used for live voice or video calls, audio message or text messages and it being a non-compliant communication channel. Firms tried to face this challenge by relying on in-house archiving platforms or by migrating to cloud services.
Use of integrated communications
The need of the hour is a mobile messaging solution that can bridge the gap between corporate policy on compliance and technology. Introduce a corporate-compliant version of WhatsApp that can integrate well with the surveillance framework of financial firms. The regulations of the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil) require financial firms to keep records of all communications used for business transactions. Hence it is important for financial firms to keep records of WhatsApp conversations. Once a firm finds a solution for corporate compliance of WhatsApp archiving, they can use the flexible features of the communication platform to conduct business effectively. Firms can then use the new system to take proactive approaches to monitor company-wide communication.
Financial firms in Latin America must invest in new communication tools and mobile archiving solutions. The end of the pandemic is nowhere in sight and offices across the region are sparsely populated and are expected to remain so for some more time. Working from home and remote working are still prominent features of business life and there are fewer occasions for face-to-face communication. That means digital communication data generated in business firms are going to be huge. Integrated mobile archiving solutions are the way forward for proactive compliance frameworks. A mobile archiving solution could ensure that communications between employees and customers of a financial firm are secure, monitored and could be used to prevent compliance breaches.
What future holds
Compliance standards are getting stricter across the globe and financial firms must make compliance systems ready to meet the challenge. With remote working remaining to be a global feature of businesses for the foreseeable future, financial firms have to monitor digital communication data meticulously. Companies must demonstrate that they have real-time monitoring in place to observe the internal and external communication of employees.
The pandemic has made Latin American financial firms realize the need for increased vigilance of mobile communication for better compliance. The demand for compliance teams to effectively monitor and archive mobile communication, including WhatsApp archiving, will only increase. Financial firms must integrate the mobile messaging solution with their internal surveillance framework for better compliance.
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