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US Pries Into Over 100 Trader and Banker Phones in Texting Probe

  • SEC prompts banks to each copy and examine dozens of devices
  • Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Citi have mentioned related probes

The US is forcing Wall Street banks to embark on a systematic search through more than 100 personal mobile phones carried by top traders and dealmakers in the largest-ever probe into clandestine messaging on platforms such as WhatsApp.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been sending firms lists of key positions -- in some cases pointing to around 30 people including heads of certain investment banking teams or trading desks -- that are subject to the review, according to people with direct knowledge of the requests. Personnel in those roles are being ordered to hand over phones so devices can be examined by lawyers.