Credit Suisse seeks access to personal staff mobiles

Credit Suisse is asking its employees to let the bank access their personal mobile phones and other devices if they use them to communicate with clients or colleagues, making it the latest big bank to tighten rules on electronic communications.

The new policy has ruffled feathers inside the group, where some bankers have complained the policy is intrusive while others have questioned how it can be enforced.

Credit Suisse in Europe and the US does not provide its bankers with a corporate mobile phone, instead offering staff a discount through an approved telecoms provider. Under its global policy on electronic communications, the bank says it may access, monitor or review any phone covered by the bank’s corporate plan.

According to this policy, a “logistical communication” such as arranging a meeting with a client on a phone not approved by the bank may make it subject to inspection, said two people briefed on the policy.

Also part of the policy is an expectation that staff do not delete any potentially relevant messages from their personal phones.

In the policy, the bank says any access to a private device will be limited to the purposes laid out by the bank.

The bank has set employees a deadline to acknowledge the policy.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The bank’s tighter controls reflect growing concern in the sector over compliance issues stemming from the use of personal devices when discussing and handling sensitive information.

The shift to remote work during the pandemic has made the compliance challenges for banks, which became more onerous after new rules following the 2008 financial crisis, even more demanding.

JPMorgan earlier this year disclosed it had received requests for information from regulators about its compliance with requirements to preserve messages sent through platforms that had not been approved by the bank.

JPMorgan’s bankers have installed on their work phones a messaging and calling app called “movius”, which records all calls. Staff also have to make a regular attestation that they will not use messaging apps for work material.

JPMorgan declined to comment.

In recent years, Credit Suisse was embroiled in a corporate espionage scandal, with two cases of intrusive surveillance by the bank against departing senior employees.

Additional reporting by Owen Walker in London

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