FCA questions banks over Whatsapp use
The UK’s financial watchdog is quizzing top banks on the use of Whatsapp by staff as it follows US regulators in a clampdown on communication over text and private messaging apps in banking.
The Financial Conduct Authority said today it was holding discussions with a number of City firms, after 16 banks – including Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – were fined $1.8bn in the US when staff were found to have discussed deals on private apps.
“We are actively discussing personal device use with a range of UK authorised firms, not limited to those who may have been subjected to other regulatory enquiries,” a spokesperson said.
Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Nomura are among the firms to have been hit with information requests by the watchdog over the frequency and content of staff exchanges through texting and messaging, Bloomberg first reported yesterday.
The watchdog’s action is “supervisory” at this stage and it is yet to decide whether to launch a full probe into the firms, City A.M. understands.
City firms have been scrambling to stamp out the use of encrypted and private messaging channels after US regulators slapped banks with hefty fines last month.
One banker told City A.M. that compliance teams had renewed efforts to try and stamp out Whatsapp use and immediately flagged the US fines to staff.
“The increase in compliance around it is significant,” they wrote over Whatsapp.