Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in the use of text and app-based messages. COVID-19 and the shift to a global remote work environment have only accelerated this “texting trend” as employees increasingly turn to digital means of communication for business-related matters. The trend of employees communicating via text (e.g., SMS and MMC) or messaging apps (e.g., GroupMe, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger) carries with it significant implications for multinational corporations, health care and life sciences companies, and financial institutions.
U.S. and U.K. regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Department of Justice, as well as the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, continue to grapple with ever-changing technology that allows for business-related communications through text messages or messaging apps. Companies in regulated industries should be aware of the legal risks associated with employees using text and app-based messaging, including the risk of ignoring red flags that employees are using such means of communication.
- Advising multiple clients, including multinational financial institutions and private equity firms, in connection with proactive reviews of their employees' personal device use for business purposes.
- Assisting multiple firms in responding to recent SEC inquiries concerning electronic communications matters.
- Served as pool counsel for employees of multinational financial institutions related to an SEC investigation into the use of personal devices for business purposes.
- Conduct internal inquiries and provide counseling at investment advisers and broker dealers related to issues associated with preservation of off channel communications.
- Engaged by multiple global health care and pharmaceutical companies to evaluate and revise its communication policies, with a particular focus on the use of text and app-based messaging.