The National Association of Securities Dealers has announced plans to crack down on the use of instant messaging, amid fears that the technology might be used to violate rules governing sales literature and correspondence.
The NASD says securities firms must retain a three-year archive of all instant messaging communications or bar employees from using the technology.
Members are advised to evaluate instant messaging according to the "content and audience" of the instant messaging communications in much the same way they currently do for written and electronic correspondence.
Mary Schapiro, NASD vice chairman and president of regulatory policy and oversight says the regulator recognises the growth in popularity of instant messaging and wants to be clear about expectations for its use.
She says: "Firms have to remember that regardless of the informality of instant messaging, it is still subject to the same requirements as e-mail communications and members must ensure that their use of instant messaging is consistent with their basic supervisory and record keeping obligations."