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JPMorgan was fined $200 million for allowing workers to use WhatsApp to avoid authorities

JPMorgan

JPMorgan Securities acknowledged bookkeeping irregularities and agreed to pay $125 million to settle the charge, according to the SEC.

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $200 million in fines to two US banking regulators to resolve allegations that its Wall Street business allowed workers to dodge federal record-keeping regulations by using WhatsApp and other platforms.

JPMorgan Securities agreed to pay $125 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission after admitting to “widespread” record-keeping problems in recent years, according to the SEC. The bank was also penalised $75 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday for allowing improper communications since at least 2015.

JPMorgan’s refusal to retain those offline interactions, according to SEC officials who spoke to reporters Thursday evening, violated federal securities law and left the regulator oblivious to exchanges between the bank and its clients.

Financial businesses must preserve comprehensive records of electronic messages between brokers and clients under federal law so that authorities may ensure that they are not breaking anti-fraud or antitrust rules.

The action is the long-running struggle over the use of personal devices between regulators, banks, and employees. When most of Wall Street fell dark during the coronavirus outbreak, policing the use of illegal channels became even more important. As traders shifted to encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram, regulators in New York and London have stepped up enforcement of record-keeping standards.

JPMorgan

While phone conversations and messages on official business devices and software platforms are retained, monitoring interactions on third-party apps is significantly more difficult for bank compliance teams.

After two of the industry’s greatest trading scandals in the last decade, including Libor and foreign exchange market manipulation, incriminating comments kept in chatrooms led to multibillion-dollar fines for banks, that workaround gained traction.

For transgressions related to the technique, traders at JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and other firms have been fired or placed on leave. However, the SEC order exposed just how widespread it is.

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