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SEC obtains Wall Street firms’ private chats in probe of WhatsApp, Signal use

Ars Technica: “The US Securities and Exchange Commission has “collected thousands of staff messages from more than a dozen major investment companies” as it expands a probe into how employees and executives at Wall Street firms use private messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Signal, Reuters reported today, citing “four people with direct knowledge of the matter.” Firms being investigated include Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management, KKR & Co., TPG, Blackstone, and hedge fund companies including Citadel, Reuters wrote. Senior executives are among the employees whose messages were reportedly collected. “The executives gave their personal phones and other devices to their employers or lawyers to be copied, and messages discussing business have been handed to the SEC, three people said,” according to Reuters. The SEC is apparently collecting more messages in this probe of investment advisers than it did in previous probes targeting broker-dealers. In the earlier broker-dealer investigations, “the SEC asked companies to review staff messages and report to the agency how many discussed work,” Reuters wrote. “SEC staff reviewed only a sample of messages themselves, according to three sources with knowledge of the previous investigations.” The SEC declined to comment when contacted by Ars today. The government has been investigating how Wall Street firms keep track of employee communications for about two years, and the probes have already resulted in over $2 billion in fines for recordkeeping failures and use of unapproved communication methods..”

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