Morgan Stanley’s two most senior commodities traders have lost their jobs for using WhatsApp and other unauthorised messaging platforms, reflecting Wall Street’s continued clampdown on communications channels that it cannot monitor.

Nancy King, Morgan Stanley’s global head of commodities, and Jay Rubenstein, the bank’s head of commodities trading, are both leaving the bank after a probe into their use of unauthorised communications systems, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Their departures, which were previously reported by commodities news site SparkSpread, follow JPMorgan Chase’s suspension of one of its top credit traders in January over his use of WhatsApp. That credit trader, Edward Koo, has since left the bank, a person familiar with the situation said.

At Morgan Stanley, Ms King and Mr Rubenstein’s use of unauthorised communications was reviewed, and the bank found no evidence of wrongdoing, the first person said. Still, using the channels is a breach of policy in itself, since the bank restricts communications to channels it can monitor, in line with regulatory guidance on supervising communications.

Neither Ms King, who joined Morgan Stanley 34 years ago after graduating from Duke University, nor Mr Rubenstein, a Stanford graduate who has been with Morgan Stanley for 13 years, immediately responded to a request for comment. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

The duo’s responsibilities will be shared by Jay Hallik, Morgan Stanley’s head of micro (including credit and structured products), and Jakob Horder, who heads the bank’s macro business, which includes rates and foreign exchange.

Regulators do not ban the use of WhatsApp or other encrypted messaging platforms but they have repeatedly stressed that banks must be able to monitor their employees’ communications and keep good records. This has encouraged Wall Street to gravitate towards industry messaging platforms such as Symphony, which are designed with regulators’ requirements in mind.

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Via Financial Times