U.S. watchdogs scrutinise UBS over staff messaging

ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. regulators are looking into whether UBS Group properly documented communications among staff as part of a wider probe of the sector, the Swiss bank said in notes to its second-quarter results on Tuesday.

Last year, Reuters reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was looking into whether Wall Street banks have been adequately documenting employees’ work-related communications, such as text messages and emails, during the work-from-home period of the pandemic.

In December, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) fined J.P. Morgan Securities $200 million for “widespread” failures to preserve staff communications on personal mobile devices, messaging apps like Whatsapp, and emails.

“The SEC and CFTC are conducting investigations of UBS and other financial institutions regarding compliance with records preservation requirements relating to business communications sent over unapproved electronic messaging channels. UBS is cooperating with the investigations,” UBS said in its quarterly report.

Bank of America said last week it had set aside around $200 million for a regulatory matter connected to the unauthorised use of personal phones.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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