NASD: Securities Dealers Must Archive Instant Messages

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The National Association of Securities Dealers said last week that member firms must retain instant messages for at least three years. Firms must also ensure that the communication doesn't violate NASD rules governing sales literature and correspondence.

The New York Stock Exchange on Monday issued a requirement for members to archive instant messages.

Financial firms and other businesses have recently rallied to instant messaging as a fast and efficient means of communications. But many enterprises do not have policies in place governing employee use of IM. Many enterprises don't even support IM, instead allowing employees to download and use consumer IM software such as AOL Instant Messenger, which don't provide any central control of instant messaging.

"NASD recognizes that instant messaging is becoming increasingly popular as a real-time method of communicating and we want to be clear about our expectations for its use," said Mary L. Schapiro, NASD Vice Chairman and President of Regulatory Policy and Oversight, in a statement. "Firms have to remember that regardless of the informality of instant messaging, it is still subject to the same requirements as e-mail communications and members must ensure that their use of instant messaging is consistent with their basic supervisory and record keeping obligations."

The regulations will effectively require firms to either install software that allows IM to continue on a controlled fashion, or ban IM outright.

This story courtesy of Internetweek.

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