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Risk Management

10:09 AM
Cristina McEachern
Cristina McEachern
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As E-mail usage Explodes, Financial Institutions Search for Best Archiving Method

The volume of e-mail has been exploding and financial-services firms are struggling to capture, store and archive messages as regulators tap e-mail as evidence.

As the use of e-mail continues to grow in the financial-services industry so does the need for technology to capture, store and archive those messages in order to comply with regulatory requirements. IDC estimates that the number of messages sent per day is expected to increase from 31 billion in 2002 to 61 billion in 2006.

A Web seminar this week hosted by Wall Street & Technology magazine and its sister publications Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, explored the importance of e-mail archiving and the technology behind it. Barclay Blair, senior analyst with Kahn Consulting, pointed out several trends taking place in the e-mail archiving area. Major trend number one? Growth. Blair said that as the sheer volume of e-mail messages skyrockets, firms are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with the messages and store them properly. And moving forward, Blair pointed out, "The problem is only going to get worse."

A second trend is the increased visibility and awareness around the issue of e-mail archiving as major firms such as Merrill Lynch have been fined millions of dollars for analyst/investment banking conflicts of interest uncovered through "smoking gun" e-mail messages. "The issue is moving from the back room to the boardroom for a variety of reasons," said Blair, adding that recent legal and regulatory activity as well as greater liability for boards and senior management that has been occurring over the past year has helped to bring the issue to light.

Blair also explained that e-mail has become a target for regulators and litigators as they have become more familiar and sophisticated with electronic forms of communication. As these figure heads look to e-mail as evidence, the task of retrieving e-mails in a timely manner has become a new technology hurdle. Blair adds that to address these new burdens, firms need to have a comprehensive e-records strategy in place with policies and procedures specifically for e-mail archiving as well as employee training on these policies and the technology.

"Firms need to treat e-mail archiving for compliance and management as a corporate governance and structure issue," says Blair. "This requires necessary collaboration among legal, compliance, tax, audit and IT departments." The take away message from the e-mail archiving Web event came down to activity. Firms need to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to the e-records strategy.

To hear the archived event got to: www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=7973

To just view the power point slides go to:https://img.cmpnet.com/insurancetech/events/webevents/20021008.ppt

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