HK slaps banker with ban for handphone, WeChat use

By BLOOMBERG

Hong Kong • Hong Kong’s securities watchdog banned a brokerage employee from the industry for four months for the manner in which he used his mobile phone and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat to take orders from clients.

Xu Tao, a former investment consultant of China International Capital Corp Hong Kong Securities Ltd, can’t work in the industry again until February, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. Xu used his mobile phone and the WeChat messaging application to accept order instructions from 13 clients between February and August 2015, in breach of the SFC’s code of conduct and his employer’s internal rules, according to the statement.

Regulators around the world are grappling with how to make sure finance industry employees meet record-keeping obligations as technology makes it easier to communicate and conduct business on private platforms. Earlier this year, a former Jefferies Group LLC banker was fined in the UK for sharing confidential data on WhatsApp.

This isn’t the first time that the Hong Kong regulator has penalised employees in the industry for using mobile phones and messaging applications without proper record keeping. The SFC in March banned Philip Leung Ming Yin, a former brokerage account executive, from re-entering the industry for six months in part because of such conduct.