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Archiving Solutions Help Financial Firms Meet SEC Email Regulations


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Guest blog by Bill Mannel,  VP & GM – HPC, Big Data & IoT Solutions, HPE Servers

The financial services industry is experiencing a period of hyper change driven by exponential data growth, recession recovery, heightened competition, and expanding regulatory compliance requirements. 

In this new high-speed, high-stakes era of finance, regulatory bodies like the SEC and FINRA have adapted their procedures in order to maintain governance over innumerable financial transactions occurring with increasing speed and frequency. As the industry progressively adopts a variety of digital technologies as a means for connecting with customers, regulatory agencies have tightened their requirements regarding the retention of emails and other digital records in an effort to protect investors.

While specific books and records requirements vary from one firm to the next, regulatory agencies may generally request any electronic communications related to a firm’s business activities for a defined period of time. As communication methods expand to include emails, text messages, instant messages, and social media conversations, many types of communication are now subject to strict archiving rules and may be requested in the event of a regulatory audit.  

Financial services firms face a number of challenges as they race to meet new regulations in order to avoid non-compliance fines. In this highly digital age, maintaining compliance is an ever-present task, and scaling storage infrastructures to meet the growing needs of financial data is becoming increasingly costly.

A recent poll conducted by Deloitte found that only 23% of financial organizations had both a process and a technology in place to capture, report, and analyze regulated communications, while only 25% reported feeling “very confident” about their ability to deal with changing regulatory requirements.

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Source: Deloitte online poll conducted during “Closing Pandora’s Box: New Approaches to Electronic Communications Archives” webcast, July 2015


Firms who fail to properly archive sensitive financial communications put themselves at risk to reap catastrophic consequences.  In November 2015, FINRA fined a prominent retail brokerage firm $2.6 million for failures to retain securities-related electronic records and certain categories of outgoing emails. Contributing to the firm’s record-retention shortcomings was the lack of a reasonable supervisory system to maintain compliance with certain SEC and FINRA books and records rules.  

A critical first step to improving the retention of electronic communications is exploiting a number of storage best practices across the enterprise. Applying rules-based classifications to all electronic communications will ensure the archive contains only highly-relevant data that could be requested during an audit. Implementing data security measures will ensure sensitive electronic records are protected, even streaming data from social media platforms. And periodically testing the archive’s integrity ensures relevant communications are indeed being captured and technology platforms are operating at peak performance at all times.

With both data volumes and compliance requirements rapidly accumulating, traditional data storage options are no longer cost-effective or efficient for archiving electronic communications. Saturated or legacy systems require constant in-house management, lack the ability to deliver data-driven business insights, and disrupt operational efficiency.

An intelligent risk compliant archiving solution can help financial organizations simplify their storage architectures, reduce storage costs, and quickly adhere to evolving regulatory compliance standards.

Optimized archiving solutions can be built onto existing storage infrastructures, enabling firms to realize cost efficiencies on the way to achieving IT transformation. By collecting, storing, and archiving information without the traditional data silos, organizations can achieve superior performance, ease of use, and scalability for supporting future data growth.  

Success in the highly-regulated financial services industry depends on the ability to keep pace with compliance requirements and implement proper information governance strategies. Risk compliant archiving can help financial organizations more intelligently manage their data assets, dramatically reduce TCO of their storage infrastructures, and gain the agility to respond to ever-expanding compliance regulations.

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About the Author


I am a Senior Manager managing external content and social media for HPE Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise and SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data and HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyD_Nich