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July 27, 2022

UBS faces scrutiny by US regulators over staff messaging

Zurich-headquartered investment bank UBS is facing scrutiny by the US regulators over work-related communications between the staff, reported Reuters.  

Said to be part of a broader probe of the sector, the investigation is looking into whether the bank has properly documented communications among its employees.  

Last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation to see if UBS has been documenting communications between its staff during the pandemic when it staff were working from their homes.

These included the documentation of work-related text messages and emails.

In December, JP Morgan Securities was fined $200m by the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for “widespread” neglect to document staff communications on personal mobile devices and messaging apps including emails and Whatsapp.

UBS said in its quarterly report: “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.”

Last week, Bank of America said it had set aside around $200m for a regulatory matter linked to the unauthorised use of personal phones by staff.

Meanwhile, UBS posted a smaller-than-expected rise in second-quarter net profit as client activity at its wealth management and investment banking divisions stalled amid tough market conditions.  

The Swiss banking giant a net profit of $2.1bn in the three months to 30 June 2022, a rise of 5% from $2.0bn a year earlier.

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