Smarsh Releases Eighth Annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey

Oct 18, 2018


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Smarsh, helping customers get ahead of the risk within their electronic communications, released its eighth annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report. The survey of compliance professionals in the financial services industry shows that organizations are not keeping pace with their retention and supervision efforts— particularly with a growing, younger workforce that relies on expanding, mobile-friendly channels, such as social media and text messaging. As a result, evolving technologies and shifting demographics within the workforce, and within firms’ customer bases, are forcing organizations to rethink their approach to the adoption and oversight of electronic communications.

While email remains the largest piece of the overall electronic communications landscape, social, and mobile platforms are playing an increasingly important role in how firms, and investors, conduct business. Half of all respondents (50%) reported concern around non-email communications channels, such as social media, instant message/collaboration platforms, and SMS/text messaging. Likewise, the growing complexity of managing employee use of mobile devices for business communications was a top five concern for 42% of those surveyed, matching recent increases in regulatory scrutiny and enforcement.

Here’s Why Firms are Concerned About Social and Mobile Communications

While nearly all firms recognize the need for comprehensive oversight policies for electronic communications – the content of a message is determinative of its status as a business record, not the platform or device that sent it – many have been slow to address the channels of the modern workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce demographics are rapidly shifting toward Millennials. The same report finds that nearly 30% of personal financial advisors are Millennials, while another 44% are members of Generation X.

However, despite clear employee desire to have more flexibility in the communications channels that they consistently use for business, most firms are slow to formally adopt and support the governance of new channels such as social media and mobile.

Outside of email, SMS/text messaging presented the greatest perceived source of risk by a large margin. 59% of respondents cited SMS/texts messaging as the biggest perceived risk, ahead of social media and instant messaging/collaboration platforms. At the same time, respondents identified content from instant messaging/collaboration platforms and SMS/text messaging as the top two channels where they devote too little time to supervision.