Deutsche Bank

Employees at Deutsche Bank will have their bonuses reduced for misusing WhatsApp

In response to a broad US investigation, Deutsche Bank AG will reduce employees salaries who improperly utilized messaging platforms for work conversations. Those knowledgeable of the situation indicated that employees who were found to have extremely severe policy violations due to illegal devices or messaging applications would have their variable compensation significantly reduced.

According to the persons, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing private matters, the reduction effect salary that had not yet been paid for the previous year. Deutsche Bank is one of several international lenders that have settled investigations into whether bank employees used unapproved communication channels by paying fines totalling more than $2 billion to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The German lender has pushed out new software to solve the problem, and last year its senior executives received salary cuts as a result.

US investigation has also triggered other reforms in the sector

“We have a consequence management framework in place,” Deutsche Bank said in a statement. “Depending on the quantity and quality of violations, this will also impact performance evaluation, individual compensation and promotion and can lead to disciplinary measures.”

The US investigation has also triggered other reforms in the sector. Earlier on Thursday, Barclays announced that it had deducted 500 million pounds from its 2022 bonus pool as punishment against employees who used WhatsApp and other messaging apps. Another organization that reached a settlement with US regulators last year was the British bank.

Deutsche Bank to cut bonuses of staff misusing WhatsApp messaging,  Companies & Markets
Credits: The Business Times

A group of companies, including Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley, have each committed to hiring a compliance consultant to examine how they track and preserve any communications that are related to their jobs, including those that occur on employees’ personal phones or other electronic devices.

The Deutsche Bank bonus for investment bankers is already expected to be lower this year

According to Bloomberg, the SEC is still looking at hedge funds and asset managers as part of its continuing investigation. The fact that Societe Generale’s American division was also included suggests that smaller broker-dealers may now also be targets.

Some investment bankers at Deutsche Bank are already on pace to receive a lesser bonus this year. According to Bloomberg, variable pay in the department that advises businesses on acquisitions and issues loans and equity may decrease by 40%. Bonuses for the trading unit, which did much better, may increase by roughly 10%.

Banks have been obligated by industry regulations for a long time to record business communications so that regulators can review them if necessary. Nevertheless, that attempt has been weakened by the quick growth of private messaging services independent of bank restrictions.