Electronic Communication Recordkeeping Compliance

Financial firms and other institutions are under pressure from regulators to implement a strict recordkeeping process. Regulations apply to electronic messages as well as traditional hard-copy communications, and the data is used to investigate cases of suspected fraudulent activity, market abuse, or other criminal activity. 

To comply with electronic communication recordkeeping requirements, companies must archive and store communication data in a way that is both secure and can be monitored for suspicious or illegal activity. 

What are the Key Electronic Communication Recordkeeping Rules? 

Countries across the globe have recordkeeping compliance laws that may vary depending on the local authorities. In the United States, for example, some of the key rules include:

  • File format – communication data must be stored in a non-erasable and non-rewriteable format. Each record must be time stamped and able to be readily downloaded if needed.
  • Types of communication – among the types of electronic communication that companies have to capture and archive include: email, voice messages, social media or other messaging platforms (i.e., WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook, etc.), and any other forms of digital communication. 
  • Length of time – in most cases, communication records must be stored for up to seven years, but specific retention periods are based on particular factors.
  • Availability – the stored data has to be easily decipherable by regulators or auditors if needed, and it must be made available within 72 hours of request. 

Challenges Related to Electronic Communications Recordkeeping Compliance

The Covid pandemic reinforced a change that was already beginning to take place in how clients interact with financial services and other firms. With more people working from home, the increased use of personal mobile devices has introduced challenges that firms must contend with to ensure they remain in compliance with electronic recordkeeping regulations. Such challenges include:

  • Monitoring remote communications – with many employees working remotely, companies have to make sure they are able to capture communications that happen off-premises. 
  • Proliferation of new apps – with constant advances in technology, there are many messaging apps and communication methods that people are using. It is difficult to limit or control which apps clients may want to use to communicate, which also makes it a challenge to monitor all communications.
  • Unstructured data – it is also a technical challenge to collect, manage, and monitor data. Communications data is unstructured, which means that data coming from different sources is not uniform and can’t necessarily be stored in the same format. It is very time consuming to then manually consolidate the data.
  • Regulatory changes – staying on top of regulatory changes and making sure that company policies are updated accordingly is another time-consuming challenge faced by companies. 

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Neglecting to enforce compliance-related policies exposes a company to a number of risks. Not only can breaching regulations lead to reputational damage, but it can also result in significant fines and even criminal prosecution. 

Technological Solutions for Electronic Communications Recordkeeping Compliance

The best way to stay compliant with regulations stress-free is to take advantage of existing technological solutions that can automate the process. LeapXpert, for example, offers a unified messaging and voice platform that integrates with existing business systems to protect company and client data and ensure regulatory compliance.