Traders’ New Favorite Way to Swap Secrets

Issue 04-10-17   |   Reviewer:   Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.


Investment banks regularly monitor only certain trading-floor lines, and at least until 2018, financial firms generally aren't required to record employees' calls. The use of encrypted messaging varies widely on Wall Street. At the big banks, employees will often use such apps to share gossip, tell clients during morning sales meetings what they're looking to buy and sell (often within sight of their bosses), or even boast about a particularly profitable trade. A "don't ask, don't tell" mindset prevails.

Others say the apps are crucial because they're faster and more convenient than the monitored software their own firms provide. Popular texting apps, like iMessage, already route conversations around most systems that financial firms use to monitor emails and chats. WhatsApp itself doesn't store users' encrypted messages, according to the compliance experts. The app Signal provides "end-to-end" encryption services that can be set to delete messages for more sensitive matters—from both the sender and receiver—in as little as five seconds.

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