JP Morgan suspends senior credit trader over WhatsApp concerns

14 January 2020: JP Morgan Chase & Co has placed one of its most senior credit traders on leave following concerns over his use of WhatsApp. The firm has taken the action of suspending Edward Koo, who has spent nearly 20 years with JP Morgan, while it reviews whether his use of a WhatsApp group with colleagues broke the company’s policies. 

It is thought that the WhatsApp group, which included around 20 JP Morgan employees, consisted mostly of market chatter.

A person familiar with the case reported that the banks investigations have so far failed to uncover any improper activity, though the bank has not ruled out taking action against other members of the WhatsApp group. There is a possibility that the review may be closed without any further action. 

It is interesting to note the strict stance that JP Morgan has taken in this instance, asking a senior employee to go on leave while they review WhatsApp (an incident which may previously have been swept aside). It affirms the new approach that firms are taking to unauthorised messaging and shows how serious banks are in addressing the dangers of eComms and encrypted messaging. It also raises again the ongoing issues with encrypted messaging and the difficulties compliance teams have in monitoring them.