FCA fines former investment banker for sharing confidential information over WhatsApp

The former Jeffries International banker (managing director (CF30)) received a 30% reduction to his penalty, still amounting to a hefty £37,198 fine.

On a number of occasions between 24 January 2016 and 16 May 2016, Mr Niehaus shared client confidential information which he had received during the course of his employment with both a personal acquaintance (“Friend A”) and a client of the firm, who was also a friend (“Client A”). Some of the confidential information disclosed related to a client who was a competitor of Client A. The information was disclosed using WhatsApp, not for the purpose of it being used by the recipients, but because he wanted to impress them.

Contrary to Statement of Principle 2 (a firm must conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence), Mr Niehaus demonstrated a lack of care in disclosing information, without the permission of his clients, in circumstances when there were no reasonable grounds for doing so. None of the recipients of the information needed this information and disclosure served no purpose.