For companies in financial services, working from home during this crisis while staying compliant can be challenging. Whether it’s a broker-dealer shifting from a traditional office setting, an investment advisor looking to virtually meet with a client, or a bank conducting loan interviews over video and messenger, virtual meetings and communications have become the most viable option.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires financial firms that intend to communicate through a text messaging app or chat service to first ensure that they can retain records of those communications, as required by SEA Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 and FINRA Rule 4511. Moreover, FINRA recently released COVID-19 guidance, and it expects firms to maintain monitoring requirements of their employees who are working from home.
Regardless of where work happens, professional electronic communications continue to be reliably archived for monitoring and financial services compliance.
The good news is, there are solutions that work together so financial firms can implement popular messaging solutions and stay compliant, and the Zoom + Smarsh integration is one example.
Why Zoom + Smarsh
Smarsh integrates with Zoom to capture and archive chat messages and files that are sent through chat. This enables firms to communicate using Zoom and be confident they are meeting FINRA compliance requirements—a win-win in a remote working reality.
The Zoom + Smarsh integration helps organizations stay compliant via:
- Comprehensive archiving and search: For companies that enable the integration and must maintain compliance, Smarsh provides archiving support for content generated through meetings, phone calls, and chats on Zoom. Advanced search and display of contextual data make production, supervision, and reconciliation functions more efficient.
- Content audit: Content can be inspected by your compliance teams for sensitive information, suspicious behavior, and/or abusive language. Administrators can review policies that flag keywords across messages and pinpoint violations.
- Export to secure, context-aware archive: Capture and export Zoom communications to the Smarsh Connected Archive, an immutable and context-aware content store, or any other archive or ECM solution.
“For businesses like ours, the guidance is clear,” said Danielle Nolan, VP of Marketing at Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, an employee benefit consulting and administration firm. “We need to be able to retain our communications to meet our regulatory obligations. Zoom helps our remote workforce communicate and collaborate, and Smarsh provides the solution for records retention and oversight. The combination gives us the best of both worlds.”
Best practices for working remote & staying compliant
Some additional advice for organizations that need to maintain electronic communications compliance in this work-from-home environment:
- Plan long term: Having a fully scalable archiving system for all communication channels, including Zoom, is critical. Businesses should consider their obligations and plan for continuity in the current crisis and beyond.
- Foster a remote-work culture: Working from home is the new normal. Employees will have to develop new habits, keep documentation to meet regulatory obligations, and keep the firm up to speed on what’s happening. Remote working didn’t appear because of the pandemic, nor will it disappear once the virus is contained.
- Check (and double check) your systems: It’s not enough to just implement the tools if they are not properly configured. Content needs to be captured and archived to comply with regulatory recordkeeping obligations. Work with your implementation team to test out your processes.
- Training! It is imperative that employees who are required to comply with monitoring requirements are prepared as well. Compliance training will be key, and they should be equipped with the necessary guidance to foster remote working and stay compliant.
Learn more about how Smarsh’s Zoom integration can help your organization maintain financial services compliance while employees work from home. To learn more about integrating Zoom with your other business-critical applications, visit the Zoom App Marketplace.
Marianna Shafir is a regulatory advisor for Smarsh.
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