HK regulator suspends trader who received order via phone message

HONG KONG, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s securities market regulator said it had suspended a former employee of broker BTIG for receiving a customer order over a messaging service, which breached the firm’s internal communication policies.

The regulator also said it found that the former employee, Fabiano Hugues Joseph Mascolo, had violated the regulator’s code of conduct by facilitating the personal trades of a friend by allowing this person to use his personal securities account between April 2010 to September 2013.

BTIG, a global financial services firm that specialises in institutional trading and brokerage, informed the SFC about the breach of its internal rules after learning that Mascolo had received a buy order from a U.S. client and discussed it over a messaging service.

“Notwithstanding Mascolo’s claim that he disclosed his entire saved WhatsApp messages to his supervisor at his request, BTIG has no control over the recording and retention of the WhatsApp messages,” the SFC said.

The regulator said BTIG had in place a written electronic communication policy that strictly prohibited its employees from using electronic communication including text messaging on mobile phones that are not supported by BTIG’s IT department and if the intended purpose was related to BTIG’s business activities.

Mascolo has been suspended for three months from Dec. 21, the SFC order said. Reuters could not reach Mascolo for a comment. BTIG was not available for an immediate comment. WhatsApp owner Facebook Inc was not immediately available for comment.

The full SFC order can been read here : here (Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Jane Merriman)