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Bring Back The Smoke-Filled Back Room

Your conversations aren't safe anywhere else!
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The good old and future days.

A quiet, unprepossessing bar in an out-of-the-way place is one of the only places to do business without your bosses and the people who want to fine them getting in the way. That or you can meet people in cars under the Verrazzano Bridge or hang out in church confessionals or communicate via circled page numbers in your copy of The New York Times. Otherwise, assume the FBI is listening. And make sure you trust the bartender.

Lately, banks and their regulators have focused on perusing the minutiae of phone conversations traders have each day with colleagues, competitors and customers….

Technology and regulatory requirements are making the phone a zone of total surveillance as well, with conversations constantly recorded and sometimes automatically transcribed for examination. Some bank executives and traders said they have toned down humor or shortened conversations on the phone, while others are increasingly using electronic trading venues that don’t require as much chat. Meanwhile, meeting in person has increased in importance because that is one of the few means of communication where regulators can’t eavesdrop.

Traders’ Phones Are Becoming a Surveillance Zone [WSJ]


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