What Happens On WhatsApp, Stays On WhatsApp (Unless You Delete It, Which You Should)

Keeping traders one step ahead of the law (and, like, 50 ahead of compliance).
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How do you say, "low six-month fix" in emojis? Helar Lukats [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

How do you say, "low six-month fix" in emojis? Helar Lukats [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Which is awesome if you’re looking to do a little rate manipulating or front-running or client-tipping, and the like. All of which remain illegal, BTW. Not that it matters if you’re using your own phone.

From traders to bankers and money managers, just about everyone in finance is embracing these apps as an easy, and virtually untraceable, way to circumvent compliance, get around the HR police and keep bosses in the dark….

A big reason more and more Wall Street types have turned to messaging apps is because they are tired of having every written word -- work-related or not -- ingested into vast, Big Brother-like databases and scrutinized for tone and taste in ways that strike many as overbearing. They’ve learned even the slightest misinterpretation can land them in hot water -- not only with compliance, but with prosecutors on the lookout for financial crimes.

Just remember: Don’t be like this jabroni and turn you iPhone over to the in-house NARCs before deleting the messages. Or try Signal and its “delete after five seconds” feature, endorsed by Edward Snowden for whatever illegal activities you may wish to engage in but keep from the authorities.

A former Jefferies Group LLC banker was fined 37,198 pounds ($46,000) by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority for sharing confidential client data on WhatsApp with a personal acquaintance and friend, in the regulator’s first action related to a messaging app….

The messages came to light after an unrelated complaint made against Niehaus led him to voluntarily hand over his phone to Jefferies, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who didn’t want to be identified because the details are private. The messages were discovered and the matter was referred to the FCA, the person said.

Also: Don’t then take to BBM or e-mailing your buddy at work telling him to check his real phone.

Because so many traders and salesmen rely on persistent chats to talk with clients, banks have taken a page from prosecutors and implemented software to immediately flag phrases like “check your phone,” “sent you a text,” “take this offline” or “call my cell.” Some are set up to find the names of specific messaging programs.

Wall Street’s New Favorite Way to Swap Secrets Is Against the Rules [Bloomberg]
Ex-Jefferies Banker’s WhatsApp Boast Leads to FCA App Fine [Bloomberg]

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