Instant Messaging Compliance: The Rise of Business Messaging Apps and the Need to Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Instant Messaging Compliance: The Rise of Business Messaging Apps and the Need to Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Published 31/03/22 under:

In the past, investment banks and financial firms barred employees from using encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp and its rival Telegram Messenger. Internally-driven penalties to discourage flouting such rules could also result in high profile suspensions and dismissals. in today’s hyper-connected world, that stance has had to be adjusted with the introduction of compulsory message recording laws.

Clients increasingly call the shots – legitimately – over how they want to engage and communicate. That doesn’t leave any option when it comes to whether or not to record deal-relevant communications over whatever medium.

Comms preferences strongly linked to loyalty

The ease and speed advantages of live synchronous messaging for deal instruction and execution are clear where milliseconds determine how much money is made or lost. Likewise, tools such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Signal and Telegram offer the ideal broadcast platform for flagging price fluctuations, stocks to watch, and similar one-to-many communications.

Pandemic-enforced home working and continuous lockdowns have taken their toll on business relationships. Video conferencing has helped fill the void, but we’ve all missed in-person face-to-face meetings. In a recent survey, 58% of advisors attributed the loss of clients to failure of meeting communication needs. Brand loyalty is on the wane, with Foresight Research uncovering a whopping 27% rise in churn rates within the banking sector. 

The key takeout is customers are more likely than ever to defect to rivals if you cannot meet and beat their service expectations – and that includes the use of messaging apps.

Ignorance is no excuse

Most bright Generation Z workers have grown up digital natives. It seems like a marriage made in heaven. Yet, the reality is anything but. In the case of financial firms, all communications relating to deals and investment must be recorded and kept, even if they don’t result in a transaction.

So, unless you can track conversations over media like WhatsApp and WeChat, you can’t use them. And, as firms are discovering, there are no longer any grey areas. Regulators are clamping down worldwide and only too willing to issue substantial fines.

Gaining control of encrypted messages 

What’s needed is a new approach; one that expedites the safe adoption of messaging apps without presenting IT and compliance executives with still more costs and complexity to manage. For example, replacing dodgy workarounds such as copying and pasting chat messages into emails (a risky practice that wastes time, is open to abuse and unlikely to stand up in court).

Now, there are purpose-built recording solutions on the market that are able to securely access encrypted messaging apps. All text conversations are immediately time-stamped and safely archived, making it impossible to delete or edit them. Surveillance alerts can be set to expose potential breaches and demonstrate even stronger compliance. 

As an example, one of our clients, a large brokerage, has transformed productivity and customer service. They now handle around 30,000 messages a day, safely and compliantly. And they sleep soundly at night knowing that they can always prove it.

Don’t overlook calls 

Many firms have no direct control over employees making calls via WhatsApp or WeChat. That’s often because their mobile device management systems can’t prevent users from doing so through IT policy enforcement. So, short of relying on employees’ goodwill, firms are effectively leaving themselves open to possible compliance breaches.

Messaging app recording solutions remove this worry too. They are also pretty versatile and can cover most workplace situations. For instance, it’s now possible to record on both corporate-owned and personal mobile devices, across Android and IOS operating systems, without encroaching on staff’s right to keep their personal, non-business communications private. And new solutions are being developed all the time for emerging platforms like Signal.

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