Fines tied to unauthorized communications on Wall Street have topped $2.5 billion, and that’s probably not the last of it.
(Bloomberg) — Fines tied to unauthorized communications on Wall Street have topped $2.5 billion, and that’s probably not the last of it.
Filings and media reports show that regulators have quizzed more than a dozen other firms about the use of unofficial channels like WhatsApp, personal texts and email to conduct business. The list includes some of the biggest names in asset management, private equity and hedge funds, as well as smaller banks beyond the Big 6 that have already reached settlements.
Read More: Wall Street WhatsApp, Texting Fines Exceed $2.5 Billion
An inquiry from regulators as they gather facts doesn’t necessarily mean that an enforcement action will result, or even that the recipient is a target for investigators. As some of the filings point out, it’s a wide-ranging “sweep” of the industry, and nearly all of the firms said they are cooperating.
Brokers and investment advisers are required to monitor and save communications involving their business to head off misconduct. When they don’t, regulators say it’s harder to investigate any wrongdoing. Their work is made even more difficult when bankers use messaging tools that delete communications automatically.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said its probe so far has found that “off-channel” communications were pervasive at some Wall Street firms, and it wasn’t just a few low-level rogues. At some companies. the SEC found that senior managers were involved, including heads of groups, managing directors and senior supervisors responsible for overseeing the conduct of junior employees.
–With assistance from Austin Weinstein.
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