Finra pushes for Wall Street exemption from social media monitoring rules

Finra pushes for Wall Street exemption from social media monitoring rules

US securities regulators are seeking an exemption for some financial firms to state laws banning employers from monitoring the Facebook and Twitter accounts of their staffers.

Several US states have introduced, or are planning to introduce, laws designed to stop firms from snooping on their employees' social media accounts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, financial services regulators and industry groups are worried that the rules will make it harder to spot suspicious behaviour among staff, putting investors at risk.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) and Securities and Exchange Commission require broker-dealers to keep records of all business communications.

To help employers abide by these rules, Finra has asked lawmakers in around 10 states to amend legislation to enable securities firms to monitor "business communications over a social networking site".

In a letter to Colorado lawmakers, quoted by CNN, Finra argues: "Prohibiting access to these accounts conflicts with a firm's responsibilities to comply with federal requirements and threatens investor protection."

Spokesman George Smaragdis told CNN that the watchdog does not want firms to be able to routinely monitor employee accounts or have access to login details, only to have the power to "follow up on red flags".

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