Wednesday, a Bloomberg report revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking for more than 100 personal cell phones from Wall Street executives and employees. The telephone turnover is part of an ongoing investigation into record dress and communication in the big banks. And people don’t take it well, according to three unnamed sources that Business Insider would have spoken to.
“I think that’s complete bullshit,” an anonymous senior banker in New York would have said Initiated. “You trust me to sign billion dollar credit agreements, but you don’t trust me to communicate properly. Leave me alone.”
Another said: “If you’re investigating something big like insider trading, fine. But if you go over every text with my boss, I have no idea what might come up, and that’s scary,” according to Insider. “Going through every text, every group chat, you might find something you don’t want to see in the logs.”
A third unidentified banker told the outlet: ‘People are livid’ and further called the investigation an ‘invasion of privacy’.
On the one hand, anger is very understandable. If the writers at Gizmodo suddenly had to turn over all their texts to the federal government, we’d probably be upset, annoyed, and worried. It sounds like something that shouldn’t generally be allowed. On the other hand, extremely wealthy and powerful bank executives are hard to find and there’s probably a lot worth investigating in their text and chat history. This is both a wide and disturbing use of federal power and a small violin moment.
The SEC probe spans multiple banks. Most recently on Thursday, Deutsche Bank AG admitted to being one of the banks under investigation at the bank’s annual meeting, as reported by Bloomberg. Other banks subject to SEC scrutiny include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG which have all revealed they are in the midst of investigations by federal regulators.
The SEC did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment or for the commission to confirm the banks involved.
The aim of the survey is to gauge how often Wall Street users use unauthorized chat platforms like Whatsapp to discuss business with each other and with clients, which then results in lost records. Communication. And this isn’t the first time the SEC has looked into the issue.
In December 2021, an SEC review and Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigation into JPMorgan revealed the company did not monitor company-related communications via text and other external channels. This revelation led to official charges, $200 million in total regulatory fines, and the shooting of several frames.
And, even earlier, in October 2021, the SEC opened a sweeping investigation into how Wall Street tracked employees’ digital communications, according to to a report by Reuters.
“Since the 1930s, record keeping and book and record obligations have been an essential part of market integrity and a fundamental part of the SEC’s ability to be an effective cop on the beat. As technology evolves, it is even more important for registrants to ensure that their communications are recorded appropriately and are not conducted outside of official channels to avoid market surveillance,” said the Chairman. of the SEC, Gary Gensler, in a Declaration 2021 on JPMorgan’s charges.
“Record-keeping requirements are at the heart of the Commission’s enforcement and review programs and when companies fail to comply with them, as JPMorgan has done, they directly undermine our ability to protect investors and preserve market integrity,” SEC Chief Enforcement Officer Gurbir Grewal said in the same press release.
As the latest investigation progresses, the banks are trying to save their executives from at least some embarrassment. To try to maintain the illusion of privacy surrounding personal texts and “office chatter,” banks are bringing in external reviewers, according to Bloomberg. The examining lawyers were instructed to search for “company-related messages” and focus on the total number of messages from each source rather than the content of the messages.
Which is bad news for Gizmodo, because an article titled “Top 10 Worst Wall Street Bro WhatsApp Messages,” would likely make a big number on the site.