Case studies

Turn on, tune in, watch out: audio monitoring for banks

Using our audio monitoring technology to review 4 million messages and 77,000 calls at a financial services company

It's what we do that makes the difference

The Libor and FX-rigging scandals have, to date, cost banks over $5 billion in fines in addition to the untold damage to public trust in our financial institutions. In response to the misconduct and to increasing scrutiny of communications from regulators, banks are stepping up their surveillance of emails, chatrooms and phone calls. For example, new regulations such as MIFID II will require all telephone conversations in financial services companies to be monitored and retained - potentially for up to seven years.

A major European financial services group that had received a substantial fine for Libor manipulation asked us to assist it in developing its audio monitoring and surveillance strategy to meet its regulatory obligations. The bank’s previous method relied on manually selecting and reviewing telephone conversations - unsuitable for the analysis of large volumes of audio data.

We worked with the bank for 18 months to clear its audio and email communications backlog, and to implement a robust audio surveillance strategy for the ongoing monitoring of its benchmark submissions. Our work included uploading and processing the relevant audio and email communications through our search and review technology, applying a lexicon of over 700 different terms, to identify the relevant parts of telephone conversations or messages for further investigation by the bank.

Over the course of our work, we received communications data for more than 150 traders, supervisors and submitters, amounting to over 4 million messages and 77,000 calls totalling in excess of 7,000 hours of talk time. In addition, by using analytics tools within the search and review technology to produce word clouds, recurring themes and sentiment analysis, we could compare the most used words in the conversations and messages on a monthly basis. This allowed us highlight any new or unusual terms traders might be using, as well as identify colloquial expressions.

Our work enabled the bank to clear its communications review backlog and create a more efficient and cost effective audio communications monitoring and surveillance process. Not only has this work ensured the bank met its regulatory obligations and avoided further regulatory sanction, more efficient and effective communications monitoring and surveillance by all banks will also be an important step in restoring trust in the financial sector.

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