Fin Firms: Look to Mobile, Social for Comms Risks

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A survey of nearly 200 financial services compliance individuals conducted throughout February and March 2018 found that organizations are struggling to keep pace with evolving technologies and have fallen behind when it comes to oversight of electronic communications, according to Smarsh.

Results of the 40-question survey were released this week in the Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report. The survey looked at current trends in policies and practices with the usage, retention and supervision of electronic business communications, and the study revealed that companies aren’t keeping up with their retention and supervision efforts, especially when it comes to the technology used by the younger workforce.

Given that young adults rely so heavily on mobile-friendly channels, such as social media and text messaging, the report concluded that companies need to rethink their approach to the adoption and oversight of electronic communications.

Increasingly, social and mobile platforms are becoming as big a piece of the electronic communication landscape as email is. As a result, social and mobile play an important role in how firms, and investors, conduct business. Of those surveyed, 50% said they are concerned about social media, instant message/collaboration platforms and SMS/text messaging.

A majority of participants (59%) said that SMS/texts messaging poses the biggest perceived risk, coming in ahead of social media and instant messaging/collaboration platforms. However, respondents admitted that the two channels with the least supervision are SMS/text messaging and instant messaging/collaboration platforms.

In addition, the report found that a top concern for 42% of participants was the growing complexity of managing employee use of mobile devices for business communications.

“This year’s survey reveals that firms are focusing too much energy on older technologies and not enough time on the mobile and social communication channels that are growing in popularity among their customers and their advisers,” said Marianna Shafir, corporate counsel and regulatory adviser at Smarsh.

“Many don’t have archiving solutions in place for the retention and oversight of modern communications channels, such as text messages, which causes problems and significant risk when facing a regulatory examination, open records request, an investigation, e-discovery event or litigation.”

The need for comprehensive oversight policies for electronic communications is widely understood, yet the report noted that most firms are slow to formally adopt and support the governance of new channels, such as social media and mobile.

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