Compliant WhatsApp Recording vs. Total Ban of Chat Apps: Should Financial Firms Follow Deutsche Bank?

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WhatsApp is just one of the plethora of mobile chat apps currently being used by broker-dealers, investment advisors, and all other employees in the financial sector. But while highly reliable for employees, this type of platform poses a terrifying compliance and security nightmare to financial firms that are already burdened with other complex mandates fromFINRA, SEC, IIROC, FCA, and MiFID II to record voice calls and archive text messages.

From a compliance standpoint, WhatsApp, like other consumer-grade end-to-end encryption chat services in the market, is a platform where messages can be extremely challenging to capture and record for supervision and monitoring purposes. That is why despite its popularity, many financial firms which are required to archive relevant trade conversations in a secure, accessible, and unalterable data repository still choose to ban WhatsApp and other mobile messaging apps in their workplace.

The Case of Deutsche Bank

In 2017, Deutsche Bank decided to completely  ban mobile communication apps on all company-issued phones as well on all BYOD devices used by employees for work purposes, one of the first largest financial companies in the world to do so.

According to reports, the Germany-based global bank and financial services company cannot archive text messages and chats with the same level of efficiency as they archive emails. So while it will require Bank employees to make adjustments on how they communicate, the company choose to deactivate such mobile messaging tools in order to remain compliant with regulatory and legal requirements.

Many experts believe that the decision of the firm is completely justified, given that they previously suffered a rough year due to several non-compliance issues and cases. In November 2016, the bank even suspended a rates trader after the latter asked a trading party to join a WhatsApp group where they would have discussed views on interest rates. The bank also suffered a $14 billion penalty from US Department of Justice after allegations of mis-selling. The fine came after Deutsche Bank failed to show an audit trail of communications with their clients to disprove the allegations.

This prohibition on mobile messaging among employees by Deutsche Bank has served as a wake-up call for other companies in the financial industry, with many firms believing that implementing such a measure will improve their compliance and reputation in the eyes of industry regulators.

The Problem With Prohibiting WhatsApp at Work

While a no-texting or no-WhatsApp policy may seem compliant at first glance, it is not really an effective measure for meeting regulatory and legal standards.

While email still remains the most commonly used mode of communication in the workplace, recent messaging trends show that its usage has been declining. On the other hand, text messaging and mobile chat apps such as WhatsApp are fast becoming the tool of choice among employees because: they are easy to use, instant, and widespread – ensuring faster response than email.

Financial industry regulators are well-aware of this fact and will still check company-issued and privately-owned mobile devices of employees during a compliance audit. If they find that an employee has sent a message containing trade information or customer data, a company with a no-WhatsApp or no-texting policy will suffer the same level of charges and penalties as those that allow their employees to use such apps.

The Need for Compliant WhatsApp Archiving Platform

In order to fully satisfy the requirements of the advisors, regulators, and clients, it is essential for financial companies to implement an enterprise-grade messaging platform that will allow their employees to remain productive and compliant.

TeleMessage’s WhatsApp Archiver is a unique enterprise messaging platform tailor-made to solve WhatsApp compliance and regulation issues by allowing financial firms to capture and archive WhatsApp messages. This platform works exactly like the standard WhatsApp application, ensuring that employees will still be able to send work-related communications easily and quickly and that the employer remains compliant with various WhatsApp regulations as well.

The benefits of using WhatsApp Archiver in your business include:

  • Archive all WhatsApp text messages and attachments
  • Use WhatsApp to communicate with customers, employees, and stakeholders
  • Search, track and retrieve WhatsApp messages in the corporate archive
  • Deposit WhatsApp messages with any email archiving vendor
  • Full administration and reporting

The TeleMessage WhatsApp Archiver is the latest addition to our mobile archiving solution set that securely captures content from mobile carriers and mobile devices for a variety of ownership models (BYOD, CYOD, and employer-issued). With our multiple archiving methods, you can always find the right tools or blend for your requirements:

TeleMessage offers cross-carrier and international mobile text and calls archiving for corporate and BYOD phones. Contact us today to try our mobile archiving products.

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