If you give investment advice in the UK and your employer provides you with a mobile phone the chances are that from next year all your calls will be monitored and recorded.
Fixed phone line calls involving financial business such as share purchases are already recorded but the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), recently announced that the recording of calls would be extended to recording conversations held on company provided mobiles.
In an attempt to crackdown on insider trading activities all calls on fixed line and company issued mobiles will be recorded and kept for 6 months.
Insider trading is the illegal activity of using information which isn’t in the public domain to make a personal gain or avoid a personal loss.
For example, if you’re working with a client that is about to make a takeover bid for another company and you purchase shares in the target company before the takeover attempt becomes public knowledge, the chances are that the share price will increase and you’ll make a nice but illegal profit.
By recording mobile phone calls the FSA feel that that the incidence of insider trading will decrease.
Some of the banks have a number of concerns about the new scheme.
One global investment bank has estimated that it will cost £2.6 million per annum to record all the calls made per year on company issued BlackBerry devices.
The interesting thing is that the recording requirement only refers to company issued mobile phones.
Therefore, if you order a take away pizza from your company mobile your menu chioce will be recorded.
My guess is though that any financial advisor currently considering undertaking illegal insider dealing activities has no doubt worked out that they could buy a personal anonymous pay-as-you-go phone from one of the mobile phone providers for as little as £4.95.