It’s clear that the flexibility regulators including ESMA, the FCA, FINRA, and the SEC offered financial services firms around the relatively unfettered use of modern collaboration and chat tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex by Cisco during the pandemic has come to an end. No action relief issued at the outset of COVID-19 has expired, and regulatory missives in the second half of 2021 indicate a marked change of tone and expectations for firms using dynamic communication platforms.
As enterprise communications technologies have evolved, the related challenge of managing business rules for groups permitted to use them and communicate with one another have become more complex. In financial services, business information barriers prohibit communications between specific groups to mitigate the risk of misuse of material non-public information (“MNPI”) to prevent market abuse and insider dealing. Information barriers requirements are spelled out in FINRA Rules 2241 and 2242, Section 204A of the Investment Advisers Act, in FCA’s SYSC 10.2 Rule as well as the SEC’s Exchange Act Section 15(g), which requires broker-dealers to:
Financial services firms have long used technology to supervise the communications and activities of employees, to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and be able to detect issues such as market abuse, mis-selling or data privacy. It’s a key control for meeting regulatory obligations including MiFID II, CFTC, FINRA, IIROC and GDPR and a standard feature of working in a regulated industry. Likewise data loss prevention tools are commonplace across businesses to reduce the risks of data loss and exposure. All designed to protect consumers, employees, and shareholders.