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Wall Street’s New Favorite Way to Swap Secrets Is Against the Rules

Dirty jokes and NSFW GIFs. Snaps of unsuspecting colleagues on the trading floor. Screenshots of confidential client positions.

All that — and, on occasion, even legally dubious information — is increasingly being trafficked over the new private lines of Wall Street: encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp and Signal.

From traders to bankers and money managers, just about everyone in finance is embracing these apps as an easy, and virtually untraceable, way to circumvent compliance, get around the HR police and keep bosses in the dark. And it’s happening despite the industry’s efforts to crack down on unmonitored communications, according to conversations with employees at more than a dozen of Wall Street’s most recognizable firms.

Just this week, a former Jefferies Group banker was fined in the U.K. for sharing confidential data on WhatsApp.

In many ways, the development reflects a cultural shift. At big banks and small shops alike, rowdy trading desks and the boys-will-be-boys ethos are no longer tolerated, at least publicly. But the widespread use of encrypted apps is also raising a deeper concern: It could enable reckless behavior that’s all but impossible to police and lead to abuses like the chat-room scandals involving Libor manipulation and currency rigging.

“You’re really able to operate outside of the bank,” said William McGovern, a former SEC branch chief and senior lawyer at Morgan Stanley who now works at law firm Kobre & Kim. “We have seen in our investigations that the ground is shifting under everyone, and technology changes are driving a lot of it.

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WhatsApp messages landed an investment banker a £37k fine from the FCA for sharing confidential client information

A former investment banker has been fined by the City watchdog for sharing messages on WhatsApp which contained confidential client information.

Christopher Niehaus, an ex-anaging director at Jefferies, has been handed a £37,000 fine by the Financial Conduct Authority which said he wanted “to impress the people that he shared the information with”.

The watchdog said he “received client confidential information during the course of his employment and, on a number of occasions between 24 January and 16 May 2016, shared that information with both a personal acquaintance and a friend, who was also a client of the firm”.

In one of the instances where Mr Niehaus shared client confidential information with his friend, who was also a client of the firm, that information was about a competitor. Mr Niehaus used the instant messaging application “WhatsApp” to share this information,” said the FCA.

The information shared included client identities, mandates and fees but the FCA said neither Niehaus nor any other individuals involved “dealt in any securities relating to these disclosures and it is accepted that this information was not shared by Mr Niehaus with that expectation”.

Read moreHere’s what experts think about Amber Rudd’s WhatsApp encryption remarks

The fine was reduced from more than £50,000 after a full admission and agreement to settle early on in the watchdog’s investigation by Niehaus, who left the bank before a disciplinary process was completed.

A Jefferies spokesperson declined to comment.

Source: CITY A.M.

Angel Investment Network announces four new deals

Angel Investment Network announces four new deals

Angel Investment Network (AIN) are delighted to announce that they have recently completed four deals through their network. AIN helped Novastone to close off its last angel round which was oversubscribed in under 3 weeks. Novastone aims to disrupt the banking sector by giving a compliant, instant mobile and web messaging platform to handle client relationships. It has been shortlisted for the FT’s Future of Fintech Awards 2016 and its founder was invited to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss the future of fintech. Novastone’s  platform comes at a crucial time for the banking sector (Deutsche Bank have just banned Whatsapp) and its technology delivers the speed and convenience of instant chat, with the security of biometric scanning and banking grade encryption.

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Novastone in Davos 2017

Greetings from the Novastone team. Following is a quick update that Douglas Orr our founder and CEO has been invited by Innovate Finance to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Novastone has been selected as one of the 13 firms to represent the UK’s fintech community. This is a great opportunity to showcase Novastone to business and political leaders. Please see some news items below.

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Deutsche Bank Bans Text Messages, WhatsApp on Company Phones

by Steven Arons and Ambereen Choudhury
13 January 2017, 16:13 GMT 

Deutsche Bank AG has banned text messages and communication apps such as WhatsApp on company-issued phones in an effort to improve compliance standards.

The functionality will be switched off this quarter, chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat and chief operating officer Kim Hammonds told staff in a memo on Friday. Unlike e-mails, text messages can’t be archived by the bank, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.

“We fully understand that the deactivation will change your day-to-day work and we regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Matherat and Hammonds said in the memo obtained by Bloomberg. “However, this step is necessary to ensure Deutsche Bank continues to comply with regulatory and legal requirements.”

The policy also applies to private phones used by employees for work purposes. Communication apps such as WhatsApp, Google Talk, iMessage are also prohibited, the memo said.

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A PERSONAL FINTECH BRIDGE TO SINGAPORE

It was a privilege to be one of the companies representing UK FinTech at the inaugural Singapore Fintech Festival. Our guide for this trip, the UK Department of International Trade (formerly UKTI), ensured a packed agenda of meetings with local financial industry leaders and local experts.

The first thing that impressed me about Singapore is the modern and effective infrastructure. Like London, its one of those cities that work. You can have six meetings in a day and it’s no problem. The place is clean and safe. Perhaps the biggest threat is the almost constant rain that’s to be expected during the rainy season. There is much that is familiar for UK residents and visitors from the retailers to use of common law that it’s easy to feel at home.

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Mobile instant messaging as a solution to email fraud

Amongst the many use cases we have seen for enterprise secure mobile messaging, the rising tide of email fraud is one of the most important. For firms with high value clients, in particular, like private and commercial banks, law firms and so on, finding alternative mechanisms for having private conversations and to confirm transactions of all kinds, has become paramount. Using telephone call backs to confirm transactions, for example, creates logistical problems in coordinating conversions and different participants, particularly across time zones.

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