The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. and Scotia Capital (USA) Inc. for widespread and longstanding failures by both firms and their employees to maintain and preserve electronic communications. To settle the charges, HSBC and Scotia acknowledged that their conduct violated recordkeeping provisions of the federal securities laws and agreed to pay penalties of $15 million and $7.5 million, respectively.
The SEC’s investigation of HSBC Securities and Scotia Capital, both registered broker dealers, uncovered pervasive and longstanding use of off-channel communications at both firms. As described in the SEC’s orders, the firms admitted that their employees often communicated “off-channel” about securities business matters on their personal devices, using messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp. Neither firm maintained or preserved the substantial majority of these communications, in violation of the federal securities laws. The failings involved employees at multiple levels of authority, including supervisors and senior executives. Both HSBC Securities and Scotia Capital cooperated with the SEC’s investigation by, among other things, self-reporting the recordkeeping failures after gathering communications from the personal devices of a sample of the firms’ personnel.
Source: SEC.gov | SEC Charges HSBC and Scotia Capital with Widespread Recordkeeping Failures