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Are you considering banning WhatsApp? Read this first.

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The FT reported that “a boastful WhatsApp message had cost a London investment banker his job and a £37,000 fine” in the first case of regulators cracking down on communications over Instant Message.This event shows there is now an even greater need for companies to have effective solutions to manage and monitor the use of all mobile communication channels. These tools are available and are already being used by a number of companies.

Christopher Niehaus, a former Jefferies banker, passed confidential client information to a ‘personal acquaintance and a friend’ using the Facebook owned messaging platform. Mr Niehaus, who turned over his personal device to his employer voluntarily, had shared confidential information on the messaging system ‘on a number of occasions’ between January and May last year to ‘impress’ people.

At VoxSmart, we developed our compliant communication recording solution VSmart™, to record, store and transcribe all types of communication including WhatsApp messages, globally. Meaning that financial institutions can comply no matter what their device policy.

Those who currently operate a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policy meaning that employees use their own personal phone to communicate with colleagues and clients, will now have to think twice about how they secure their mobiles, not only to protect brand reputation but also to comply with impending EU regulation under MiFID II.

So if you’re now examining your mobile phone policy what are the options and how can you ensure regulatory compliance across your workforce?

As the article states, the FCA does not specifically ban WhatsApp or any other messaging platforms but requires firms to “take reasonable steps to prevent an employee or contractor from making, sending or receiving relevant telephone conversations and electronic communications on privately owned equipment which the firm is unable to record.”

Therefore, firstly we must ask, is BYOD a practical and compliant mobile policy in a post crisis financial environment? If all communications can be recorded then yes, but would you like your employer to be able to listen to your personal calls and read private messages? We assume not.

Of course, banks could always just ban the use of messaging apps and new media as many have done this year so far. In January this year, Bloomberg published a leaked internal email from Deutsche Bank’s COO, informing staff that text messaging and instant messaging on any platform would be banned on all corporate issued mobile phones and also any personal phones used for work purposes.

Their reason? “This step is necessary to ensure Deutsche Bank continues to comply with regulatory and legal requirements.”

Therefore any trade or investment, would have to be executed over a monitored phone, or else that employee would be in breach of company policy. This not only damages business efficiencies but also damages company relationships. As any trader will tell you, their customers want to execute on trades immediately via a one word message, on the platform they choose. Not a lengthy unnecessary phonecall.

But, here at VoxSmart, we believe there is another option. Investing in technology solutions to achieve global regulatory compliance across your workforce no matter what the device or the network.

Our proprietary mobile recording solution, VSmart™, enables banks and financial institutions to record Calls, Texts, Voicemail and Instant Message across multiple platforms including WhatsApp Messenger. Not only is the solution ‘Always On’ it doesn’t rely on any carrier or third party network and is available on all BlackBerry and Android devices with an IOS solution already in production.

Achieving regulatory compliance shouldn’t be about restricting technology OR mobility. Companies need to be pro-active, conscious and innovative, investing in new technologies to achieve peace of mind for not only their senior managers but their entire workforce.

adminAre you considering banning WhatsApp? Read this first.