125 Million Reasons for BDs to Keep Cellphone and Text Message Records

JP Morgan Securities admitted that from at least January 2018 through November 2020, its employees often communicated about securities business matters on their personal devices, using text messages, WhatsApp, and personal email accounts. None of these records were preserved by the firm as required by the federal securities laws. JPMS further admitted that these failures were firm-wide and that practices were not hidden within the firm. Indeed, supervisors, including managing directors and other senior supervisors – the very people responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with JPMS’s policies and procedures – used their personal devices to communicate about the firm’s securities business.

JPMS agreed to the entry of an order in which it admitted to the SEC’s factual findings and its conclusion that JPMS’s conduct violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 17a-4(b)(4) and 17a-4(j) thereunder, and that the firm failed reasonably to supervise its employees with a view to preventing or detecting certain of its employees’ aiding and abetting violations. JPMS was ordered to cease and desist from future violations of those provisions, was censured, and was ordered to pay the $125 million penalty. JPMS also agreed to retain a compliance consultant to, among other things, conduct a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures relating to the retention of electronic communications found on personal devices and JPMS’s framework for addressing non-compliance by its employees with those policies and procedures.

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