In recent years, there has been a global shift away from the established pattern of business communications. The Covid pandemic, and the continuing uncertainty it has created, has accelerated a change in working practices that was already underway; namely that of staff working from non-office locations. Surveillance teams have seen an increase in the volume of recorded audio communications and the wider use of a variety of platforms traditionally used for personal, rather than professional, communications. As a result, financial services firms are under increasing pressure not only to capture and quickly analyse increasingly large audio communications, but also to futureproof their surveillance platforms in the quickly evolving and diverse landscape of media channels.
To comply with regulation, trading-related conversations in financial firms must take place over approved channels. When a communication is via an unapproved channel, data is not captured and stored, and this can be costly for the firm, when identified by the regulator. The use of WhatsApp, typically a channel for personal communications, is unsuitable for use in trading-related activities, because it includes functionality that allows messages to be deleted. In December 2021, JPMorgan Chase was fined USD 200 million by two US financial regulators for allowing employees at its Wall Street division to use WhatsApp and other platforms to evade being captured and recorded by compliance teams. However, as traditional face-to-face meetings transferred online in early 2020, communications platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, saw huge increases in the uptake of their products. Zoom captured 3.3 trillion minutes of recorded meetings globally between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021 (up from 97 billion between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019), while Microsoft Teams recorded 250 million daily users in Q3 2021, which was up from 145 million in the previous quarter.