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SEC gives JPMorgan Chase record fine for using WhatsApp to conduct business

SEC gives JPMorgan Chase record fine for using WhatsApp to conduct business
The fine against JPMorgan Chase is believed to be the largest ever from the SEC for record-keeping violations. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay a $125 million penalty for allowing employees on Wall Street to use smartphone apps to get around federal record-keeping laws, regulators announced Friday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said the violations occurred between 2018 and 2020, during which some JPMorgan employees used WhatsApp and personal email accounts to conduct official business.

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Under federal law, banking firms must keep detailed records of official business between brokers and clients so that regulators can inspect the transactions.

The SEC said the practice of using third-party communication apps was widespread at JPMorgan Chase.

Another regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, also said Friday that it fined JPMorgan $75 million for using unapproved communications.

"Since at least July 2015, JPMorgan employees, including those at senior levels, communicated both internally and externally on unapproved channels, including via personal text messages and WhatsApp messages," the CFTC said in a statement.

"None of these written communications were maintained and preserved by JPMorgan, and they were not able to be furnished promptly to a CFTC representative when requested."

"As technology changes, it's even more important that registrants ensure that their communications are appropriately recorded and are not conducted outside of official channels in order to avoid market oversight," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement.

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The fine is believed to be the largest ever from the SEC for record-keeping violations.

JPMorgan Chase did not immediately respond to the SEC penalty.

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