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JPMorgan bankers & traders upset by new personal phone rule

Some bankers and traders at JPMorgan have a new gripe. While they're not (yet?) having their bonuses docked for sending work-related WhatsApp messages of the kind that have cost their employer $200m in regulatory fines, they are being subject to a clampdown on personal phone use. 

Sources on the trading floor at the bank in London say they've received a succession of increasigly "firm" messages from management instructing them to install message monitoring software on personal mobile phones, and that this follows the withdrawal of their work cell phones. 

"JPMorgan is asking us to install JPM software on personal phones to replace JPM work phones," says one trader. "If we refuse, then the advice is to buy a new phone at our own cost and to install the software on that. There's a lot of internal pushback, but the decision was made by senior management and we're being told it's non-negotiable."

JPMorgan declined to comment on the claims. The trader said the new policy impacts up to 7,000 people at the corporate and investment bank, although insiders said the actual number is fewer than this.

Sources said most people at JPMorgan already operate under the bank's Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which was introduced several years ago, and so won't be impacted by the removal of work phones. Where work-related software is added to a personal phone, it seemingly won't have access to personal applications or information, although it's not clear how this applies to WhatsApp.  

JPMorgan's new rule comes after some analysts at other banks claim they've been compelled to handover their personal phones so that banks can check their messages. In 2017, one junior banker at an unnamed bank was fired after sending an inappropriate Tinder message on his work-approved phone. 

In June 2021, JPMorgan requested that all its 'traders, bankers, financial advisers and even some branch employees' looked through all messages sent in the previous three years, on both personal and work devices, and save any 'related to work'. The bank said failure to do so would lead to "consequences" from its legal team.  The installation of the new software will, at least, presumably avoid the need to do this ever again.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • FG
    16 February 2023

    I don't think this policy allows to protect employees personal data, especially if some personal data collected from personal apps on the personal phone were used to monitor employees behaviour ... whatever consequences it had as employment termination

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