Wall Street staff more likely to dodge regulatory controls


While employees on Wall Street are more aware of compliance breaches and electronic monitoring of their communication than their colleagues in the City of London, they are also more likely to try to circumvent the controls.

This is despite the fact that Wall Street employees broadly support their employer's right to monitor their communication, according to a survey carried by Orchestria, a company which specialises in protecting confidential data.

The research found that more than six out of 10 Wall Street employees thought that it was right that their employer should monitor their e-mail. In London, the figure was fewer than four out of 10 (38 per cent).

Employees in New York are also under heavier scrutiny, with almost three quarters of respondents who worked in the finance sector believing their e-mail was already monitored compared to six out of 10 (62 per cent) of London finance workers.

Yet despite this, New Yorkers are more likely to try to dodge e-mail monitoring. Indeed fully six out of 10 admitted that they had sent something that they didn't want their employer to know about by using webmail. This compared to just four out of 10 of their colleagues in London.

An even higher proportion of New Yorkers – some seven out of ten – also admitted they had received an e-mail that broke corporate or regulatory policies, twice the proportion of Londoners.

The survey confirmed just how heavily today's businesses rely on e-mail as their primary business communication channel. On Wall Street, for example, the average finance worker uses e-mail for a third more communication than the telephone.

But the differing regulatory environments in New York and London have also been seizing headlines.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has attributed London's growth as a financial centre to two words: 'Sarbanes' and 'Oxley'. And this was echoed by no less than New York Stock Exchange chief John Thain, who yesterday warned that the U.S. regulatory climate, plus the culture of litigation are threatening U.S. competitiveness are "the causes of foreign companies not wanting to come to the U.S. capital markets".

Bo Manning, CEO of Orchestria, pointed out that while the London Stock Exchange has just seen one of the largest IPOs in its history with Rosneft raising more than $10.4 billion, not one of the top ten IPOs of 2005 took place in New York.

Yet he added: "Our survey shows there is broad support among employees for regulatory controls in New York. People recognise that regulations act in the interests of companies, their employees, investors and the markets in which they operate, while reducing the risks of doing business.

"Moving abroad is not a solution; it does not address the risks that regulation has been introduced to control. The solution is to use technology creatively to effectively manage communication and enforce good messaging governance."