Deutsche Bank has started installing an app on bankers’ phones to track all of their communications with customers amid regulatory investigations into inappropriate messaging that have rocked the industry.
The German lender has started requiring some bankers to download Movius, a US mobile app that allows compliance staff to monitor calls, texts and WhatsApp conversations, according to people familiar with the policy.
Movius, which has partnerships with telecommunications companies such as Sprint, BlackBerry, Telstra and Telefónica, has been adopted by several banks during the pandemic to allow staff to work remotely in heavily regulated roles such as commerce.
JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Julius Baer, Jefferies and Cantor Fitzgerald have all used the software in recent years.
Banks are increasingly looking for tools to help them monitor employee contact with customers following several regulatory investigations that led to the departure of bankers.
The US government is investigating record-keeping practices on Wall Street, while the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Germany’s BaFin have asked banks for information on how they monitor the personal communications of their staff.
Deutsche has been installing Movius on employee phones for several weeks, although the exercise focused on work phones rather than private devices, according to people familiar with the approach. The company’s code of conduct prohibits work-related electronic communications with customers and business partners through channels it does not monitor.
The bank declined to comment on its use of Movius.
A former executive of Deutsche’s asset management arm, DWS, has flagged alleged heavy WhatsApp use by outgoing chief executive Asoka Wöhrmann and other DWS executives in a whistleblower complaint to the dog. German financial watchdog BaFin, reported the Financial Times.
The FT also reported this year that Deutsche chief executive Christian Sewing had exchanged friendly WhatsApp messages with a German businessman whom the bank had dumped as a customer after a number of potentially suspicious payments.
Deutsche was approached by BaFin this year to provide information on how staff use messaging apps, people familiar with the bank said. Bloomberg previously reported that the bank was testing a technical solution to improve communications monitoring.
Regulatory investigations have had serious repercussions for individual employees. Credit Suisse sacked a top investment banker this year after it was discovered he had been using unapproved messaging apps with clients, the FT reported this week.
HSBC’s London-based compliance team conducted a personal messaging investigation this year, which resulted in the dismissal of an anonymous forex trader. The investigation uncovered messages on the individual’s phone which revealed that a broker was buying tickets for a sporting event from the trader
In December, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $200 million in fines to the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for failing to keep records of staff communications on personal devices, in an action that has spooked many Wall Street banks.
Most banks have policies in place that state that communication with customers must be conducted through official channels, such as company email or recorded phone lines, which can be monitored by the compliance department. .
But bankers often find that their customers prefer to communicate on applications on their personal mobiles.